Good afternoon, こんにちは, ようこそ, and welcome.
I want to take a moment to address the recent occurrences of what are known as hate raids on Twitch recently. I’m going to discuss what one is, where it’s happened in the Twitch communities of which I’m a part and then some, and what’s being done to address it (along with resources).
What is a Hate Raid?
A hate raid is a phenomenon that occurs when numerous viewers, bots, or both, enter a channel for the purposes of disrupting the stream with hateful, bigoted language. They generally aim to cause distress to the broadcaster, distress to their viewers and communities, and a disturbance to their show.
These recent occurrences of hate raids have been primarily targetting those in the LGTBQIA+ community, women, and BIPOC.
It’s Close To Home
While a number of Twitch streamers were struck, one such example comes from a talented woman going by Epolight (https://twitch.tv/epolight), who I had the pleasure to find through the community of The Thunderfoot Bros. (https://twitch.tv/thunderfootbros).
She was the victim of a hate raid only a couple of nights ago (as of the date of this post). Being a transgender woman, she gets her share of people who attend her streams to make prejudiced remarks. The hate raid she received, however, gave cause for her to defend herself. Sadly, it initially resulted in Twitch suspending her account instead of addressing the problem at hand. It’s my understanding that Twitch reversed their decision.
Unfortunately, Epolight wasn’t the only one whom Twitch met with victim punishment. It’s happened with Toxicidi (https://twitch.tv/toxicidi), as well.
Beyond any community I’m presently in, Epolight retweeted a video of a hate raid in progress as presented by CypherOfTyr (https://twitch.tv/cypheroftyr) in a video she took along with one of the moderators of the channel, HackBolt (https://hackbolt.co, https://twitch.tv/hackbolt), running a mass banishment on those participating in the hate raid. I encourage you to go to Cypher’s tweet, https://twitter.com/cypheroftyr/status/1428895122058530823?s=21, to watch the video.
What’s Being Done About It?
Twitch has released a statement vowing their commitment to work toward mitigating the problem on Twitter.
Some content creators on Twitch are also taking measures to stop or prevent hate raids on their own channels. Some (myself, included) seem to be taking suggestions from this article on The Verge (https://theverge.com/22633874/how-to-stop-a-hate-raid-twitch-safety-tools), which highlights tools and methods streamers can use right now. Some streamers have also organized a broadcast boycott on September 1, 2021, using the #ADayOffTwitch hashtag to spread the word (reported on Screenrant, https://screenrant.com/twitch-streamers-protest-harassment-hate-raids/). This is being done in an effort to bring more attention to the situation with hate raids and demand that Twitch make the best efforts they possibly can to ensure this and all forms of harassment are properly addressed.
What Is Taizen Doing About It?
As you know, I do my best to cultivate a community that’s safe for everyone in which to participate. This includes anyone who is BIPOC, LGTBQIA+, and anyone who falls under a marginalized group. Generally, all are welcome on my streams as well as my community and social spaces. I want people to feel safe being themselves without prejudice, cruelty, and scrutiny.
Hate raids, along with hate speech, harassment, and abuse, would serve to slow, stifle, or prevent me from doing this. More importantly, these things cause tremendous amounts of suffering. I have vowed to help alleviate this not just as a Buddhist, but as a human being. So, I had to think of the most feasible and compassionate way to help prevent this from happening on my channel (https://twitch.tv/taizenorg).
As people who watch my streams and participate in my community are diverse and many are potential targets for hate raids, I have chosen to mass ban any known bot and person accounts tied to them. I’m using a list compiled by HackBolt and Pixelsuchter (https://twitch.tv/pixelsuchter) called Twitch Bots N Bigots on GitHub (https://github.com/hackbolt/twitchbotsnbigots) as a reference (of which there are well over 1.5 million accounts listed), and the Chat Ban Manager tool by the person behind CommanderRoot, a known bot account who lurks on channels to gather leaderboard information, sometimes streaming the data collection live (Thank you to all three of you for making these things possible to help protect ourselves and our communities on Twitch.). I understand that means hiding the welcome mat from a lot of accounts, however, I feel this is necessary to help protect my community both current and future participants and, as many of you know, there is a zero-tolerance policy on this kind of thing anyway. This process has already begun, but it will take some time. Your patience is appreciated.
As for #ADayOffTwitch, September 1st falls on a Wednesday this year, so I will not be streaming anyway.
My hope is that those who participate in hate raids, whether personally or by proxy, find the healing they need to release the suffering they cause to others through the poisons of hate, anger, and ignorance in which they immerse themselves and that they may be ready to do this sooner rather than later.
Closing Words For Those Who Were or May Be Affected
To those of you who are Twitch broadcasters who have had the unfortunate luck of receiving a hate raid, may potentially get one, or fear you may be hate raided, I would like for you to know something.
Please, do not let these people rattle you, shake you, or break you down. Know that your presence online is important, desired, and makes a difference in peoples’ lives. You are so valued and treasured among us. If ever you feel your resolve dwindling, please remember that you are absolutely loved so much by your fans and communities no matter what the haters say.
Also, please be sure to (continue to) do healthy self-care, whether that’s meditation (which I recommend, of course), relaxation, exercise, etc. Talk to someone if you need, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
May all beings be safe, healthy, and joyous. Gassho. 🙏