Streamer Etiquette

In addition to the Viewer Etiquette guide I wrote, I felt it only fair to share some pointers for streamers to follow. As a streamer, you are certainly more than welcome to behave as you see fit (so long as it is in line with your platform’s ToS), but in general here’s a few things I’ve learned and that I’d consider good etiquette guidelines for a streamer:

Enforce (And Follow) Your Own Rules

If you want your community to behave a certain way, you can’t be the exception. You are the face of your community, so anything you do on stream is going to be considered “acceptable” in the chat. If you have a rule against making fun of certain topics, you can’t break your own rule. If certain areas of discussion are off the table in the chat, you can’t bring those up on stream then turn around and scold people for continuing that discussion in chat. It’s a case of monkey see, monkey do.

On a similar note, consistency between your stream and Discord chat is important. If you have a rule in on stream, it should be a rule in Discord. Inconsistency between the two communities can make it difficult for viewers, so do them (and your mods) a favor and keep the rules as close as possible between your various communities.

Be Sensitive

When I ask people why they stopped following certain content creators, more than half the time it’s because they made a rude or insensitive remark on stream. While you can’t account for everyone’s feelings all of the time, you can avoid certain topics to play it safe. Not joking about religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental disabilities, and politics is a safe way to ensure you won’t offend someone. Most people watch streamers to relax and enjoy gaming experiences, and a curve ball in the form of an offensive joke can come across as abrasive enough to completely turn off a viewer.

Don’t Bad Mouth other Creators

If you have beef with another broadcaster, leave off-stream. Speaking ill of other streamers on-stream is tacky. It comes across as petty, and can make viewers uncomfortable. Furthermore, you never know who is watching you – and it tends to come full circle in the worst way possible when one of their viewers catches you in the act. If your chat tries to stir the pot, defuse it (timeouts work great for this) and remind them that drama in the chat doesn’t help anyone.

STOP COMPLAINING

Look, I’ve been there. 1-2 viewers, dead chat, no donations or subscribers. I’ve also had drys spells where I’ve had higher numbers, then dropped drastically for weeks at a time. It’s tough when you work really hard and feel like you’re going unnoticed. But guess what? Streaming doesn’t have a pity point system, and nobody wants to hear you complain.

Your viewers aren’t there to hear you whine about what you think you’re owed. I always tell new streamers to focus on the audience you have, not the audience that doesn’t exist. If you’re not getting followers or donations, don’t complain – instead, spend your energy trying to improve your content. Complaining (and begging) is a huge turn-off and makes your viewers uncomfortable, especially when they can’t do anything about it. It also makes them feel underappreciated, so it’s best to focus on what you’ve got, rather than focus on what you don’t.

Don’t call out Lurkers

Imagine if every time you went to watch TV, you had to talk to someone about it? Kind of takes the relaxation part out of it, right? Lurkers are a very common occurrence. Lurking is usually used to refer to the act of watching a stream without chatting. At the end of the day, they’re improving your viewer count and enjoying your content. They don’t owe you anything, so why should they have to participate in the chat?

Calling out lurkers is a huge turn-off for some viewers, and can result a loss of viewership. Besides, you can never know why someone not participating in the chat. Maybe they’re shy, maybe they’re at work, maybe they don’t speak your language and just want to watch the game play. Just let them be, and appreciate the time they are taking out of their day to watch you.

Use AutoMod Tools

Nothing is more unpleasant than xX_I_CEE_WEENR_Xx coming into your chat and spamming the “Nigerian prince.” If you don’t know what word I’m referring to, lucky you for not having to deal with racism in your chat.

How can we avoid this unpleasantry? Use an auto moderator. By default, Twitch supports a “black list” feature that lets you ban words from the chat. You can add as many words as you want, and any messages containing those words will not be posted to the channel’s chat.

You can also leverage a bot such as Deepbot to assist in moderating the channel. Bots like Deepbot are highly customize-able, support more advanced blacklisting, and can even allow for different rules to apply to different users. This allows you to make it so mods and subs can posts links, while regular viewers can’t. I encourage streamers who don’t have a mod team to look into automod options, so there won’t be a need to stop the action to deal with a troll – the bot will handle it for you.

Ultimately, any amount of moderation is better than no moderation.


That wraps up my guide for streamer etiquette. Be sure to check out the Viewer Etiquette as well, as it contains some advice not covered here that applies to being a viewer on other streams!