Twitch TV Speedrunner & Horror Fiasco

Its appears that over the course of last night and today that a lot of people have been banned from Twitch TV over what at first seems to be a joke taken too far. Similar events have happened before in the pass but not document to detail unlike today’s events.

Which appears to be over an emote, this issue came to surface after Twitch TV’s lead admin Horror has made his boyfriend’s fursona into a global Twitch emote. Under Twitch TV Guidelines this is considered inappropriate, the fursona in question is also considered underage. Horror has been accused of being very arrogant and disrespectful towards streams and viewers in the past. What has come to light over the course of the day seems to be much more. With bans being issued left, right and centre some for some dubious reasons.

A Speed runner on Twitch TV by the name Duke_Bilgewater had made the following comment after the emote had come to surface:

“Hey Horror, what’s the easiest way into your pants so I can get a global emote too?”

This later had set off a chain of reactions that resulted in a lot of streamers and viewers preaching “Remove Horror” other casters emotes which were considered appropriate at the time have been removed by Horror and deemed inappropriate. Anyone found supporting the “Remove Horror” campaign including Peaches and Werster will end up having their channel closed and IP Banned.

Peaches created some controversy by naming his stream “Using my keyboard to remove Horror” which was later changed to “Using my keyboard to remove” by fellow Twitch staff member Jason who followed to threaten Peaches that if he changed it back he would be banned. Peaches later changed this to “Using my keyboard to remove Horrific Zombies” not exactly directly related to the “remove Horror” campaign.

Another sign of not only members of staff abusing powers but clearly over stepping the mark entirely even using Twitch TV Support Twitter account to stir things up. While many have asked and demanded that Horror be removed from Twitch TV’s staff, Twitch TV seems to be ignoring their user base and continues to issue bans.

Many of the viewers & broadcasters who have been banned from Twitch TV mean no disrespect towards Horror’s lifestyle but towards how the situation has been handled.

While Twitch have directly contacted us they have since put out an official response on reddit found here: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/1r64e8/apology_official_twitch_response_to_controversy/

"We at Twitch apologize for our role in what has been an unfortunate and ugly chapter for the streaming community. We'd like to repair the damage that has been done to the relationship between Twitch and the Speedrunning community, in particular.

For context, here is a summary of the events as Twitch understands they occurred:

  • Twitch discovered that copyrighted images had been uploaded as emoticons to cyghfer’s chatroom on Twitch. Twitch policy clearly forbids unlicensed images from being used as subscription emoticons.
  • One of our staff members, Horror, notified cyghfer of this violation and removed the emoticons. Additionally, of the three emoticons which were removed, only two were actually unlicensed. One of them was actually licensed under Creative Commons and should not have been removed. We have notified cyghfer of our mistake in this matter.
  • Several Twitch users begin looking into our general policy for emoticons on Twitch, as they felt this policy was being enforced unevenly. One discovered the NightLight emoticon, a globally available emoticon, had been promoted to global status as a personal favor. It was clearly a licensed image however, as it had been commissioned explicitly as an emoticon for the Twitch site. The NightLight emoticon should not have been approved as a global emoticon and has been removed by request of the channel owner.
  • In reaction to this discovery about the NightLight emoticon and the previous emoticon removals, many users began to make jokes and other much less funny derogatory and/or offensive remarks in chat. Additionally, many of these users began harassing our staff and admins outside of Twitch chat using other social media channels.
  • Horror then banned many users from the Twitch site for this behavior. Harassment and/or defamation of any user on the site, including a staff member, is clearly against the Twitch terms of service. Some of the banned user’s remarks clearly cross this line, and those users were correctly banned. Other users made more innocuous remarks and should not have been banned. Horror was too close to this situation and should have recused himself in favor of less conflicted moderators. Being personally involved led to very poor decisions being made.
  • This whole situation began blowing up outside Twitch, including but not limited to Twitter and Reddit. One of our volunteer admins took it upon themselves to attempt to censor threads on Reddit. This was obviously a mistake, was not approved by Twitch, and the volunteer admin has since been removed. We at Twitch do not believe in censoring discussion, and more to the point know that it’s doomed to failure.

We take this incident very seriously and apologize for not better managing our staff, admins and policies regarding community moderation. There were several key mistakes made by Twitch in this process:

  • We failed to provide a valued partner with proper support when we needed to remove their unlicensed emoticons
  • We allowed a questionable emoticon to be made available in global chat
  • We failed to properly train our staff members to recuse themselves from personally involved situations, and as a result poor moderation decisions were made.
  • We did not have the structure or training in place in our moderation policies and training to deal with this episode properly.

What we're doing now and in the future:

  • Twitch users who were unfairly banned due to this incident are being systematically unbanned today.
  • The Twitch partners who were banned due to this incident have been provisionally unbanned pending investigation.
  • The NightLight emoticon has been removed.
  • Disciplinary action is being taken with regard to Twitch staff and members of the volunteer admin team who overstepped their authority.
  • Due to this incident, we are embarking on a full review of Twitch admin policies and community moderation procedures.
  • Horror has voluntarily stepped back from public facing moderation work at Twitch, as right now pretty much every moderation issue will be tainted by this episode.

In Our Defense:

  • Note that harassment and defamation (as opposed to criticism) of Twitch employees, partners, users, broadcasters, and humans in general is strictly prohibited by our terms of service and remain grounds for removal. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated. Users who committed acts of harassment or defamation will remain banned. Feel free to complain, protest, petition, etc. if you feel Twitch is making a mistake. Don’t harass or defame people.
  • Twitch staff did not ask any reddit moderators to remove or censor any threads.
  • “Twitch Administrators” are volunteer moderators who are not employed by Twitch. The activities depicted here and being falsely attributed to Twitch staff were undertaken by a volunteer admin who has since been removed from the program.

If you have further questions or comments, feel free to contact us directly via email at [email protected]. Due to high expected volume, please be patient with us for responses in general on this topic."

Sources: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=719733 & http://www.reddit.com/r/speedrun/comments/1r2f1k/rip_in_peace_werster/cdj10be

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