Not too long ago, Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez’ face got removed from the popular Twitch-Emote “PogChamp” in response to him inciting violence with a tweet during the Capitol Riots. There also have been other things that he got called out for in the past but Twitch specifically talked about this incident and none of the previous one, like the far-right conspiracies and the misinformation he spread on Covid-19 and the pandemic. Either way, I didn’t want to talk about that specific thing. That’s old news at this point, I guess.
I’d rather like to talk about the implementation of a daily PogChamp emote that was submitted by the community that would showcase the community on Twitch more by featuring a different content creator/streamer every single day. This was lovely as it featured people that are more fit to represent Twitch compared to someone who’d rather incite and provoke more violence during difficult times than using his platform to help. After the removal of PogChamp, someone suggested that there’d be a daily or random PogChamp that would be user-submitted and Twitch just went with it, featuring lovely streamers such as AshleyRoboto, Critical Brad, and Deere.
This feature ended up causing a lot of trouble, however, with Critical Bard receiving a lot of negative and toxic attention from trolls, racists, and death threats. Obviously, something like this can be an opportunity for the Twitch community to get to know their streamers more and it can even lead to people discovering new content creators… but it also allows trolls and bigots to bring hate speech to places they wouldn’t have found otherwise. Not to say that there can’t be any love and support for streamers through this feature… it just also has the risk of bringing people over to a place where they can do more harm than good, which sucks.
And obviously, that wouldn’t be a problem if Twitch had a handle on their platform but people can still create racist usernames or express hate speech with no issues at all. While you can’t put into your bio that you’ve got autism, anyone and everyone can call you an autist, the r-word, the n-word and anything they want to without any issues. The only protection that Twitch offers is Automod which… also blocks “How” and “Are” sometimes, which is weird.
I’m sure Twitch is trying to act as if they’re trying but instead, they decided to stop announcing who’s featured as the daily PogChamp after only ten days, making it virtually impossible to find them, alas just giving them no discoverability at all.
And now, the PogChamp global emote got replaced by KomodoHype altogether. I like KomodoHype, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t know why we need a “PogChamp” but not a trans tag or rule-enforcement for viewers. I don’t get why we need something silly like a global emote having two names while not having any discoverability for smaller streamers and while not having any rules in place that stop a user from creating hateful usernames that get potentially shouted out via alerts or TTS.
In a way, this could have been an opportunity to show love to a content creator that is positive and loving and could very much be the face of Twitch, like AshleyRoboto or Deere or Critical Bard, that isn’t as big as those huge streamers with toxic communities. The removal of PogChamp altogether could also have been a nice idea. Why do we need that emote anyways if the people – that use it so much and get so worked up about it – end up attacking and threatening featured content creators for various reasons. Why do we support that sort of behaviour instead of getting rid of it? Well, money. If Twitch starts banning trolls and bigots now, there’d be less money for them. At the same time, it’ll cost way too much to create a working system of filters and mechanisms to get rid of the trash on Twitch. Money rules the world.
And just posting about this whole thing makes it easy for me to understand why so many people think that Twitch is a truly toxic place. I’m blessed to be in a bubble of wholesome and inclusive streamers that produce good content but also are there for their communities and who enlighten these dark times, one stream at a time. I’m blessed to be able to make so many great friends through streaming and through watching streams on Twitch while not having to experience any form of bigotry apart from the occasional idiot who barges into a stream only to get banned. But stories like this only further enable people’s thoughts and prejudices on Twitch and the community on there. Stories like the one of Gootecks only further enable people to think that everyone on this platform must be a fanatic that would threaten a black person because they don’t look like a far-right conspiracy theorist. I don’t know.
Alas, good riddance to PogChamp and all the bigotry associated with it for now. Hopefully, the removal of the daily system will bring more good than harm… I hope that the toxic amalgamation of 4channers, toxic reditors and 14-year-olds that don’t realise that racism is just racism and not “b l a c k h u m o u r” eventually stops to exist. And again, praise the Komodo, or something.
Any thoughts on this? Let me know.