Almost every channel has one; almost every channel needs one. The viewer who takes their relationship to the next level with a content creator and offers to balance the zen in chat and to solemnly swear to spank those up to no good.
A wizard zenyatta skin would be pretty dope, yeah?
The viewer who wears the moderator badge. We’re here to discuss what it means to be granted this authority and to show some examples of good and bad behaviors.
Takeaways to consider:
- Moderators should work to protect and promote the streamers vision for their brand.
- Being a moderator is the second-most powerful position in a channel. (Don’t let it go to your head)
- Not all moderators should operate the same way in chat (they’re people and viewers too, just with a pointy sword)
- Being a moderator means doing work the streamer doesn’t always have time for in the heat of gameplay.
- Moderators are not above obeying chat rules or community guidelines.
- Being a moderator doesn’t make you right about everything and it certainly doesn’t give you the power to use probationary methods to prove a point.
- Don’t ask for mod: if you’re asking for it you probably don’t understand what being a moderator is all about.
So you’ve listened to your community and decided to give Life is Strange a try (if you haven’t well you should). Three hours into your first broadcast of it, you reach a loading screen and decide to take a peek at chat only to find someone reminiscing on how sad the scene with so-and-so is next episode. Now, finding yourself in an awkward position, have to hide the frustration from your face and tactfully address the spoiler and before you know it immersion is broken.
“Do I timeout the viewer to purge the message? I mean already read it.. What about other viewers — have they been spoiled too now? Now I don’t even want keep playing.”
This is where a moderator comes in.
What is a Moderator?
Being a moderator is essentially being a viewer with the granted ability to purge chat, timeout or permanently ban users from chatting in a channel, as well as other benefits coupled with bots like Nightbot and StreamLabs ChatBot such as mod-only commands and cool-down bypass. Seem pretty sweet, amirite? Well, it is. But more importantly being a moderator means doing work the streamer doesn’t always have time for in the heat of gameplay. These powerful viewers also maintain the balance of the stream by dealing with rule breakers as well as protecting the content creator — often times before they even see it.
First, let’s explain what a good moderator is to a channel.
Calling a Timeout
Anyone can ban someone; anyone can time someone out. If you’re a content creator and you have streamed more than a few times, most likely you’ve had to do this yourself at least once. Your focus isn’t to worry about trolls or back-seat gamers; your focus should be offering entertainment to your viewers. Good moderator(s) is(are) hand-picked by you — The content creator — to uphold the ideals and rules you’ve set in place for the channel. Moderators should work to protect and promote the streamers vision for their brand. This will lead to the inevitable timing out of users and the (hopefully less often) swing of the sword. cue Ned Stark pun.
However, use of timeouts and bans shouldn’t be the sole expectation of your moderator or team of moderators. Moderators leave a mark on a community because they are a living extension of the content creator as a viewer (or at least they should be). The way a moderator interacts in chat sets the tone for the rest of viewers. Sometimes a viewer can be educated when they are toeing the line by a simple ‘They’ll figure it out, or else they will ask 4Head’. Some of the best moderation can be implemented by proper chat involvement and prevention techniques.
There’s no “I” in Moderator (got’em)
Moderators are revered differently and for different reasons — and that’s okay. Not all moderators should operate the same way in chat (they’re people and viewers too, just with a pointy sword). If you had three moderators present in your chat and all three of them tried steering someone away from breaking a chat rule — well it would just feel redundant. There are moderators who are particularly good at picking up on toxicity and may shut it down before it becomes a problem. Likewise, there may be some who are very friendly and bolster a warm chat environment. You may also have a moderator who’s hard at work sprucing up your bot commands or keeping conversation rolling if they notice a lull in chatter.
These are all signs of good moderators.
Now that we discussed one side of the spectrum, let’s talk about bad moderator habits.
No, You Cannot(Just keep reading)
Being a moderator is the second-most powerful position in a channel (Don’t let it go to your head). Bestowed by the content creator, a moderator has the authority to temporarily or permanently remove a user from the community. To some, that is more responsibility than they care to have on Twitch. Others go out of their way to obtain it.
Any moderator who takes their role seriously will tell you they do it because they believe in the channel and want to help the content creator and community stay the wonderful place they believe it to be. Doing that takes work. Still there are some who find channel that they like, spend a certain amount of time in or “support” a certain amount to via bits, subscriptions or donations and pop the age old question:
1. ‘Can I be mod?’
2. ‘Are you looking for mods?’
3. ‘I wish I was mod lol
4. ‘How much to be mod?’
5. ‘Mod me’
6. ‘@streamer mod plx’
Don’t ask for mod: if you’re asking for it you probably don’t understand what being a moderator is all about. There’s so much more I could say about why not to but at the end of the day It’s just common sense and if you don’t know from reading this article then there isn’t a better way to explain why.
Do you know how fast you were going, fam?
Rules set in place by a content creator should be taken seriously. It could be as basic as no racism or spoiling gameplay or as specific as no using real names in chat. Whatever the reason, respect them. You can see about privately whispering a moderator of the content creator (don’t just type /me whispers “why can’t I ask if she’s single?”) If you have concerns. On that note, moderators are not above obeying chat rules or community guidelines. If a community emphasizes inclusion and positivity yet a moderator is talking down to someone — well that just isn’t conducive to a clear message for newcomers. If you are having strife as a moderator and it isn’t relating to the stream or the rest of chat than do everyone a service, especially the content creator, and take it to whispers.
Stay a While, and Listen
Twitch is a place people come to for many reasons: to unwind, to research, and maybe even to meet like-minded friends. But one universal reason viewers, and furthermore moderators, frequent Twitch is because they want to. That is going to mean you won’t see the same faces every single day, not even moderators. This is not only to be expected, but should be looked at positively. People have lives. Your moderators are not expected to be chained up somewhere waiting for your next broadcast (but enough about my moderators).
There is, however, the expectation you show up sometime. If you can’t attend a stream you moderate at least semi-regularly then there’s a couple concerns:
- Can you answer questions chat may ask that the content creator can’t answer right away?
- Viewers may be alarmed this unfamiliar person is a moderator in a channel they like and start to wonder “why are they a moderator and not me?”
- Personalities of viewers have to fit themselves into the context of text chat. As a moderator who infrequently visits a content creators channel, how are you able to understand inside jokes from rudeness? What happens if you overextend your reach and time someone out who didn’t deserve it — or let something fly that shouldn’t?
Like previously mentioned: it’s okay to not be glued to a channel and to miss streams, but there comes a point maybe it’s not the right role for you in the community.
Makes All Sorts To Make Twitch Go ‘Round
Personalities clash on Twitch. It’s part of life, not everyone agrees with everyone else. The difference in good moderation is to accept these differences and to move on. Being a moderator doesn’t make you right about everything and it certainly doesn’t give you the power to use probationary methods to prove a point. Moderators who abuse their role or powers are dangerous, and can cause huge strain on a community. When a moderator threatens ‘I should ban you for that, mint chocolate chip is way better than moose tracks’ there needs to be a conversation with that moderator sometime after stream — ideally before your next scheduled stream. Moderators are set in place to emulate the content creator and I can speak from experience that we don’t want to ban someone because they disagree with us on something.
This, along with the previous two points, are bad moderator tendencies and shouldn’t be tolerated by your favorite content creator.
Being a moderator is great! You’re given trust and authority to make sure the channel you love and frequent is kept safe and continues to grow in the way you love about it. But don’t accept a role you can’t properly uphold. Know that you need to emulate the content creator — even if it means forgoing your own feelings at times. Know that your role may be moderator in one channel but not another and more importantly: if you ARE a moderator for multiple channels (B L E S S your determination) to understand your practices may need to change from one channel to another, i.e.: chat rules and general vibes. My channel allows trolls to graze until they explicitly target a member of chat or break a rule, once again, explicitly stated. Other channels may be more strict about all caps or spamming emotes — These are things you learn to pick up on during your duty.