I don’t get it…Why would anyone watch someone play video games?”  Every time I tell someone that I stream video games, that is always the first question out of their mouth.  And if they’re not fans of video games or the Internet, the conversation is usually a lost cause.  But the question still remains: Why do thousands of people come to twitch every day and hang out in streams for hours?  Well, some are there just for the gameplay, but the majority of people come for the interaction.  The conversation.  The chat.

Sooner or later as a streamer—if you’re consistent with your streaming times and not completely silent—you will begin to get people in your chat and interaction will begin to occur. Your chat can be the happiest place on earth, filled with witty comments, silly gamers, funny jokes, and some of your new best gamer friends.  That’s when it’s like heaven to stream.  But with all thegood, also comes some bad.  And this is when you have to know how to control your chat and keep the conversation in its happiest form.  Because new viewers could quickly lose interest if the chat is toxic.  What do I mean by toxic?  Well that’s what we’re here to discuss: The ups and downs of chat moderation for a beginner streamer.

THE GOOD:

The best viewers you can get are the talkative gamers: the ones that pop in and aren’t afraid to ask questions about the game, say funny things, and even interact with other people in the chat.  This is when your job as a streamer is at its easiest.  You can comfortably sit back and game and enjoy the healthy conversations.  And if you’re real lucky, you’ll even get people that’ll make you laugh while you stream.  So what is there to do for the streamer in this situation?  Nothing.  Your job is to keep the conversation going if you see it fall flat and to just have fun.  If you happen to have great Moderators, they will even do that for you, so you can concentrate on gaming and keeping the viewers interested.  This is bliss.  It happens.  But sadly, sooner or later the Trolls will pick up your scent and you’ll end up in…

THE BAD:

Have you chosen good Moderators for your channel yet?  No?  Oh my goodness…you better get on that!  A quick moderator side note: if you don’t want to commit to picking a permanent Mod or Mods for you channel, then you can always do what I did: I created a rotating Mod system.  Every month I granted the power of the Sword to two regulars that came into chat and at least hung out almost the entire stream.  What did this do?  This allowed me to judge who would be a good fit and who would not.  And after several months I was able to choose a permanent Moderator who I knew would be perfect for the job.  If you don’t find one in a few months, then just continue rotating until you do.  I’ll have to do an article on what to look for in a good Mod later on.  But for now, just know that you will need these wonderful and gracious people that give you their time and patience for free.  They are fantastic individuals and should be held up as the finest examples of viewers.  Why?  Because the Trolls are coming.

So what the heck is a Troll?  Despite popular belief, Twitch Trolls do not live under bridges and do not eat small children.  But they can take a healthy conversation and flush it right down the toilet.  And there are a lot of different Trolls out there and new breeds are being spliced in toxic labs every day.  So let’s review some of the more colorful types you might come across.

The Multi-Line Troll: this fantastic breed of creature is the best at taking a simple question like, “What type of game is this?” and using six lines of chat to do so.  And the fully grown Multi-Line Trolls can even go on for dozens of chat lines using just a letter to take up space.  Why do they do this?  So they can see their name over and over again.  The best way to deal with this type of Troll is to politely ask them to keep their questions on one line of chat.  And if they continue, then it’s a Moderator’s job to time them out.  No need for a ban unless they get unruly after the time out.

The Repeat Troll:  this breed of beast is known for asking the same question over and over again or posting the same emotes over and over again.  This fantastic behavior can go on for a while.  The best way to deal with these unique creatures is to answer the question once and then ignore the Troll and see if it goes away.  If not, a Moderator must come to the rescue and politely tell them to stop, because the streamer has already answered the question.  And if they don’t stop, well…you know the drill.

The Rowdy Troll: this breed is by far the most reckless of the Trolls.  They will come in a perfectly fun chat and begin to make fun of the streamer, the streamer’s gaming ability, other viewers, and sometimes—if they’re nutty enough—themselves.  This Troll is the most toxic and should be dispensed immediately without asking them to politely stop.  Why do they act like this?  Because they want attention.  They’re there only for attention.  So don’t give it to them.  Don’t even say their name.  Just ban and forget.  And have a nice day.

The Creepy Perverted Troll: this breed of troll is toxic for almost any female streamers and even some male streamers.  They are known to be nice at first and may even offer advice on the game being played.  But then sooner or later will begin talking about the streamer’s looks and the different things they’d want to do to their body.  If you are a female streamer, I truly feel for what you must go through day in and day out.  Because these Trolls don’t stop.  Even after being asked to politely stop.  So after a warning this breed should be dealt with swiftly.  A quick ban should turn the chat around and allow people to have fun again.

The Spam Trolls: this breed of Troll will have you believe they’re a walking dictionary, when in fact, they are just copying and pasting everything from this new invention called the Internet.  Whether they post ridiculous symbols or pick-up lines (sorry ladies), or dirty jokes…this Troll knows them all.  A polite “please stop that” might do the trick.  But if they continue to post more junk, then a time out is in order, followed by the ban hammer.

The above paragraphs are just some of the Trolls found around the Internet and are also only suggestions for new streamers and Moderators.  Of course your chat is your chat and handling any or all of the above should be by your own discretion.  If you like Trolls, then by all means feed them and more will come.  But if you don’t, remember to be stern and never let them control your chat.

THE MOOBOT:

Do you have a bot in your channel yet?  No?  Well what are you waiting for?  These friendly AI’s will monitor chat, relay special commands, and if you’re good to them…may even make you breakfast in the morning.  Okay, maybe not the breakfast thing, but a Bot is essential.  Especially to new streamers.  You’ll come to realize that some people in chat will hate the Moobot—or any bot you choose—but they are still an absolute necessity.  Why?  Because there are plenty of wonderful people that will pop in your stream and just post a pornographic link filled with all kinds of delicious viruses and disgusting images.  Why people do this is beyond comprehension, but one thing is for sure, they specifically search for smaller channels because they know there’s a chance you do not have a Bot and probably no Mods.  So if you’re just starting out, do a search for twitch Bots and pick the one that’s right for you. Check out our Moobot guide here.

CONCLUSION:

The chat is a wonderful place and can be the only reason a streamer broadcasts.  It’s my favorite part of streaming.  The people that hang out with me every weekend make me laugh, encourage my playing, keep my stress low, and even teach me a few things along the way.  But—like anything else in life—with all the good, there’s always a little bad.  So learn what to look for in a Troll.  Get yourself some good Mods (whether they are close friends or regulars that will be a good fit), and definitely go down to the Bot store (my way of saying the Internet) and pick up an AI.  These things are essential to controlling your chat and making your streaming life much easier.  Good luck and remember to always have fun.  You’re streaming because you love it and not because you want to be the greatest streamer in the world.  That comes when you least expect it.

twitch.tv/hankbananas  Gaming with a hint of sarcasm.

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