Chances are high that you stumbled across the “Don’t mention the view count” rule while browsing for new channels to watch on Twitch. It’s a common rule that a lot of people include in their own channel-specific ruleset but I’d even argue that it has become part of Twitch Etiquette as a whole, simply because of how weird it is to mention the view count and how it not only isn’t really adding value to any given conversation but it also may have negative effects on a channel’s vibe and the streamer itself. To start things off before I get into the “why” of things, I’d have to mention that there are plenty of streamers on Twitch. Many people just play games and let people watch while others do it to create a community or provide entertainment or spread awareness on certain topics. At the same time, some people do it for a living or for whom it is a big part of their income – and well, while I don’t intend on making it a job and while I personally am more of a casual, I do care about improving at it and increasing the stream’s quality. My point is you may stream on Twitch and you may do it for different reasons and hence, it may not bother everyone when you mention metrics such as the view count.
The issue comes more into play when there is a dip in viewers or when the numbers are lower than the usual statistics or the numbers necessary to keep on living with this as a source of income. Again, a lot of people make a living off of streaming but it’s not the safest income source. Dips in viewership happen, ad revenue sucks, and sometimes global events like the C19 pandemic can affect your income may not spend five bucks on your channel. Recently, Twitch even lowered the cost of subs in a lot of countries which had an impact on people’s income.
Metrics such as the view count, unique chatters, unique viewers, followers gained, and even the sub count can but don’t have to indicate the quality of a channel. “Good numbers” often reflect that you’re doing something right. When you grow as a channel, it feels good and you think you’re doing it well, right? Well, getting bad numbers also can have an effect on you. It’s hard to not let it get to you as metrics often can be interpreted as direct feedback from the community. Their shift in schedules offline will impact your stats, obviously, but the stats don’t have a “why did people stop watching” statistic. It’s just numbers that can easily be understood as “I suck as a content creator” or “I’m not entertaining”. Getting bad numbers translates to “I’m doing a bad job” just like how good numbers reflect in doing something right. Most of the time, that’s not the case and you just get a drop in viewership from time to time because of the way Twitch works – and it has nothing to do with your content at all… But you still may let it get to you as a streamer.
Hence, getting a drop in viewership can often discourage, frustrate or annoy streamers. Some streamers on Twitch also have that bad habit of going quiet when “nobody is watching”, which is why I recommend turning off the view count in OBS. Getting reminded that what you do sucks, even if that’s not the case, hurt and even if you act happy and as if you don’t care, people often pick up on the little things like your voice and tone when you’re streaming. You may try to hide it but if there’s a slight chance that mentioning the view count may get to you, it will. And that results in you streaming worse and the quality drops… and then people leave the stream because of that, and you’re in a spiral. At the same time, for a lot of people that pursue streaming as a hobby, dips in viewership mean less ad revenue, fewer sponsored opportunities, potentially fewer subs, and less discoverability. When you have to get X amount of viewers and you ten less it may not be that much of a big deal once you’re at a certain size but it makes an impact when you have a lot less than before. A streamer I adore is SmallAnt1 who has it in his rules even if his view count is big. People that mention the view count, immediately get banned or timed out, because it gets to everyone. Another reason why it could get to someone would be the fact that they’re shy or self-conscious. Imposter-Syndrome is a thing as well and sometimes, you end up getting nervous when a lot of people are watching. That’s the main reason why I have no view count in OBS.
Of course, that’s not the case for everyone but even I get down when I see my stats or metrics drop, which is why I don’t want people to mention the view count. Yes, I’m not doing this for a living and yes, I don’t care all that much about growth as I want to stream for the people that are there and not for the potential strangers that I may meet in the future if that makes sense. I wanna say that I don’t really care, but we all kinda do. It’s an unconscious thing and it can get to you when you create content and it doesn’t get the attention you want to see. Razbuten mentioned it in a recent number as well – and he’s a big YouTuber, so… yeah. Even he gets down when he sees that he isn’t getting the statistics that he wants to achieve or that he needs to make a livelihood. It only makes sense. Even among bloggers, there are times when you wish that this high-effort post you made was to do numbers but it isn’t doing well traffic-wise. Meanwhile “Can you watch Arcane without having played League?” is suddenly this post that is super successful despite it being pretty low-effort. It’s a bummer but it often is just the way it is and even if numbers don’t matter as much for most bloggers, it can get to ya and that’s just the point on Twitch or YouTube as well.
At the same time, it’s a dumb thing to do. Mentioning the view count is stupid because Twitch’s statistics aren’t always 100% accurate. The view count displayed on Twitch to people watching your stream is different for every person that is there. Yes, there are times where it can be quite accurate but a lot of the time, it fluctuates and there was even a time where at least twenty people were chatting in this stream I watched but the view count displayed seven, weirdly. It’s weird to bring up the view count in any conversation on Twitch, I think. It doesn’t add much value and I wouldn’t know why you’d bring it up. It’s such a weird thing to do. It also can feel disruptive and most of the time the view count is brought up in a way that feels negative. Even if that’s not your intention, you may come across as snarky, cynical, sarcastic, or just a dickhead. “Oh, wow, you have two viewers” may not actually be meant that way but it feels like a joke, in theory, while “you lost 100 viewers just now” also isn’t usually as “neutral” as you may think.
To sum it all up, there are a lot of different streamers on Twitch. All of them are different people meaning that they have different goals and different aspirations. It also means that they’re not perfect beings that can just shrug off anything. In theory, everyone has something that gets to them and for a lot of content creators, statistics may not bring them down when you mention them but it can get to them and indirectly affect them. Hence, a lot of people have it as a chat rule to not mention the view count. It’s a very simple rule to follow and if you ever encounter it, don’t question it but just go along. Even if it’s not in the actual channel rules or Terms of Service or whatnot, chances are that people have something against you mentioning because of the way it sounds and because of how it usually isn’t meant in a good way, if that makes sense. It usually doesn’t reflect well on you because of Twitch Etiquette. So, just try to respect it or ask when in doubt.