Last weekend, Take This hosted a discussion about toxicity in content creation with content creators ZombaeKillz, Negaoryx, BlackCompat, and our Research Director Dr. Rachel Kowert, hosted by Dr. Kelli Dunlap.
Take This hosted the conversation to provide an open forum to discuss the creators’ experiences with toxicity in content creation and share what they see as the best potential solutions.
Kelli asked the streamers to start with a formal definition of the topic itself, which Dr. Rachel defined as “the outcome of deviant behaviours that cause harm to another’s health or well-being.”
ZombaeKillz jumped in to also add this can include “toxic positivity” which is over overlooked as a form of toxic behaviour due to its positive bent and inclusion of the word positivity. However, it was clear from the discussion of the panelists that it can be damaging to pretend that “everything is okay when it isn’t.” In other words: It’s okay to not be okay. Beyond that, it is important to recognize when you are not okay and address that, because content creation doesn’t exist in a bubble.
The participants also discussed the potential long-term consequences of toxicity and harassment in online gaming spaces. As noted by Dr. Kowert, “bad actors are the majority. A 2019 report from the ADL reported that 74% of adults who play online multiplayer games in the US experience some form of harassment while online. The ADL also found that 1 in 10 game players reported having depressive or suicidal thoughts as a result of harassment in online multiplayer games. Heightened anxiety and lower self-esteem has also been reported as a result of victimization within online games.” Negaoryx noted that these numbers are likely underestimated because stigma around discussing mental health concerns remains a growing issue.
Dr. Kelli Dunlap posed several questions to the panel about what they would like to see change, specifically when it comes to the way toxicity is managed and addressed via Twitch. Several themes arose, including:
- the desire for fast, consistent, swift repercussions in and around enforcing the Terms of Service and
- moderation support from Twitch when streamers from marginalized communities are featured on the front page.
They also discussed the effectiveness of current protocols put in place, including the limits of using “follower only chat.” Panel members also talked about their own personal strategies for advocating for themselves and their community, including zero tolerance policies for racism, sexisim, and other discriminatory behavior.
In a particularly moving segment, Kelli asked the panelists what they would do if all harassment disappeared from Twitch overnight. Universally, the response was, “stream more, because we love it, and invite more people to join us.” This sentiment was the subtext for the entire conversation and underlines how important it is to support marginalized creators – it’s both good practice and good business.
On that note, the conversation concluded with a brief discussion about what the panelists wished for future content creators: radical kindness, empathy, and accountability.
The video is archived on the Take This YouTube channel and can be viewed here.