Blizzard and Twitch Team Up To Battle Racism in Chat

By | 5 months ago 

Following an incident, Blizzard announces its plans to work with Twitch to develop a program to combat racism and other abuse in the streaming community.

After a recent incident with racism, targeting professional Hearthstone player Terrence ‘TerrenceM’ Miller, developer Blizzard has promised to take action against abuse in livestreaming.

During DreamHack Austin’s recent Hearthstone tournament, TerrenceM was the victim of racial abuse from Twitch’s built-in chat function, to the point where moderators couldn’t keep up. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime has since released a statement regarding the event, claiming that the developer will be teaming up with Twitch in order to develop a new moderating program that should help to prevent such abuse occurring in the future.

“We’re extremely disappointed by the hateful, offensive language used by some of the online viewers during the DreamHack Austin event the weekend before last,” said Morhaime. “One of our company values is “Play Nice; Play Fair”; we feel there’s no place for racism, sexism, harassment, or other discriminatory behavior, in or outside of the gaming community.”

Morhaime also commented that he hopes this issue being brought to light will help encourage people to be more thoughtful and positive with their commenting, as well as to “fully reject” mean-spirited commentary both from themselves and from their fellow gamers. This isn’t the first time that Blizzard has quoted its “Play Nice; Play Fair” policy in recent times, with the recent announcement that cheaters in the company’s upcoming game Overwatch will be permanently banned on their first offense.

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In order to combat abusive behavior, Blizzard is reaching out to players, streamers, and moderators, along with partners such as Twitch and DreamHack in order to gather a consensus on what to do differently as the company moves forward. The company will also be looking to help Twitch with development of its pilot program that should help to streamline moderation and combat ban evasion. Blizzard’s eSports tournament partner policies will also contain a stronger system of checks, balances, and repercussions going forward, to provide a better chat experience around its content.

It should be no surprise to anyone that the anonymity that the Internet provides can lead to hateful remarks being thrown around, but careful moderation can lead to a more pleasant user experience. However, it seems that even Twitch chat has no issues with the work of Bob Ross, with last year’s marathon of The Joy of Painting attracting a vast majority of positive comments to the site. Hopefully if all goes well with the pilot program, we won’t have to keep relying on the late painter’s talent to cool off the chat systems.