Fact: No chat user in Twitch history has ever believed they were rightly banned. But in general, a streamer or moderator has actually banned them for a reason. Despite this, Twitch has introduced a new feature that allows viewers to appeal their bans and gain a new perspective on their life by hurling obscenities or insults in chat. Streamers, predictably, aren’t exactly in love with the feature.
Contraction announced the new feature on Twitter yesterday, noting that it is part of the Mod View suite of tools that allows channel moderators to approve or deny chat messages, see previous actions taken by other mods, and watch viewers’ chat histories.
“We have added a widget in Mod View that allows you to manage unlock requests,” Twitch wrote. “Users of the banned channel can file an appeal through the Chat column, which you can review and act on anonymously.”
Of course, not all banned chat users are an edgelord who screams abuse. Maybe a viewer didn’t read the chat rules carefully enough and then shared a spoiler, or played in the background. But streamers and moderators still greeted this news with a raised eyebrow. First, many are concerned that this gives offenders another means of doing their thing via messages they are able to send along with their banning requests. Outcast streamers, in particular, have talked about how the feature offers another place for people to go to insult them because they’re trans, people of color, or any other identity that doesn’t fit into the default white setting. Some even have it shared images of viewers who have used the N word already trying to request a de-mist.
“They are banned for a Reason, ” Twitch partner Veronica “Nikatine” Ripley she tweeted, echoing the same sentiment of hundreds of like-minded streamers. “My wonderful moderators work too hard to deal with harassment after a long day of banishing (many) trolls. I will. never ask them to read this junk mail. “
“It’s like when I block someone on Twitter so they jump to their alt to keep doing shit,” he said eSports host and Twitch partner Jess Brohard. “Only now on Twitch they don’t even have to have an alt.”
On the upside, excluded viewers can only make one request. If a streamer or moderator takes them down, it’s over. But it’s even more work for moderators (often unpaid) and contributes to a pre-existing model where particularly lousy viewers launch attacks to be banished from every available angle. Typically, this involves repeated emails and, in some cases, multiple accounts. Now these users have those tools plus the stripping request feature.
Some streamers and moderators are cautiously optimistic about banning requests. If nothing else, hopefully this means that bona fide requests are no longer prevalent among Twitch DMs, Twitter, emails, Discord messages and whatnot. But many streamers don’t ban people, like it or not. Bans often only come after repeated timeouts (temporary bans, basically) and rule violations. This in mind, some streamers have joined in to ask Twitch to allow them to manually disable the feature.
“There is ongoing racism, harassment, homophobia, sexism, etc. [on] Twitch, “wrote a moderator commenting on the official Twitch feature tips forum.” Your awesome new feature delivers [those] kind[s] of people a platform to go a second time about harassing, insulting or even threatening streamers and moderators. And with all seriousness: there must be an option to disable it! “