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How to Manage Harassment in Chat

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2017 01:40PM PDT

How to Manage Harassment in Chat

Learn about the many ways in which you can handle harassment in your chatroom! 

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Harassment comes in many forms and can be taxing to deal with. Fortunately, Twitch provides you with a number of tools to make this easier. This article covers all of the different methods at your disposal to deal with harassment.

As a viewer, you can:
  1. Choose Your Reaction
  2. Use The Ignore Feature
  3. Block Whispers and Messages from Strangers
  4. File a User Report
As the channel owner, you can:
  1. Require Users to Agree to Channel Rules
  2. Use the Channel-Banned Words Filter
  3. Enable AutoMod
  4. Set a Non-Moderator Chat Delay
  5. Require Chatters to be Email-Verified
  6. Disable Links in Chat
As the channel owner or moderator, you can:
  1. Timeout a User
  2. Ban a User
  3. Enable Follower Only Mode
  4. Enable R9K Mode
  5. Enable Slow Mode
  6. Enable Sub Only Mode
  7. Enable Emote Only Mode
  8. Clear the Chat

The first thing you can do when being harassed is to choose how you are going to react. Most people who come into a channel with the intention to harass will do so because they are looking for one thing and one thing only: attention. Therefore, one of the most important tools in your arsenal is to simply not react. Combined with any of the other tools discussed below, giving harassers as little attention as possible will usually be enough to get them out of the chat and out of your mind in no time. If they continue, try one of the other options listed below, but try to do so without calling attention whatsoever to the situation. Giving the spotlight to the harasser is giving them exactly what they want so it is best to handle any further action discreetly.

Tip: If you are a broadcaster, you may want to find a trusted person to give moderator status. Your moderators can do all of these things for you, leaving you to broadcast without pause!


What if you are being harassed in somebody else’s channel where you are not the moderator, or through whispers? With a click of a button or a single chat command, any user can be ignored, which means that their messages will no longer appear on your screen. You can use this command anywhere on Twitch, meaning that you have the ability to stop somebody from harassing you no matter where you are.

To use this feature in chat, click the ignore button on their user badge that appears when you click their username, or type “/ignore <username>”. To unignore someone, click on the unignore button which replaces the ignore button, or type “/unignore <username>”.

To use this feature in a whisper, click on the cog at the top of the whisper window, and then on “Block <username>”. You will be asked to provide one of three reasons for ignoring the user, and the user is immediately ignored after that simple step.

The feature is tied together between chat and whispers, meaning that if you ignore somebody in one of them, they are ignored in both!
 

In the Privacy section under the Security Settings page, you can choose to block Whispers and private messages from Strangers (people you do not follow). This is effective in preventing spam messages as well as any harassive messages.
 

There is also a report user function, saved for extreme situations such as if a harassing user is continually creating new accounts, especially if the new accounts have offensive words or personal details in the username, since this overrides most of the filters discussed above. When this happens, you should use the final tool in your arsenal, which should always be a last resort, and should never be abused. By reporting an account, you directly notify the Admin team that somebody is breaking the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines of Twitch, which lets them react swiftly and take appropriate action. For more information on how to file a report, see How To File a User Report. If someone is violating the ToS or RoC via whispers and you wish to report them, see How to File a Whisper Report.

For reports about users repeatedly harassing or evading chat bans, use the “Harassment” or “Chat Ban Evasion” categories respectively. In the description, note any details such as other usernames you suspect them of using, which channel it happened in, and at what time. Do the same for any new account used by the person to harass you.

Always be sure to provide as much information as possible and never abuse this function. Doing so is a violation of the Terms of Service.


Under the Chat Options sections of the Channel Settings page you can write your channel rules in the blank box provided. This will show your channel rules as a pop-up over top of your chatroom to first-time viewers and require them to click "Agree" before they can type in the chat, ensuring that new viewers are aware of your rules and are more likely to not violate them.

Be sure to type one rule per line so the rules show up formatted correctly to your viewers.
 

The Channel-banned words filter is only accessible to the broadcaster via the Channel Settings page. No one else can see or alter the words list. To use this feature, type the word you wish to have banned from your channel and be sure to have every banned word on its own line in the filter box. The number of lines you can filter is in the tens of thousands, so you do not need to worry about reaching the cap.

Channel banned words will show as *** by default in your chatroom and cannot be circumvented by any third-party chat app. Because the word simply never appears in the first place, it therefore cannot be revealed by an external source. Third-party apps can only show what moderators remove after the message has appeared in chat.

This filter also has wildcard functionality so all variations are effectively banned from the chat. This means you do not need to input every variable of a word you wish to remove, just the core of the word and the ban filter will censor all variations of that word. Just add wildcard, "*", at the start or end of a word and it will match any characters there. For example, adding the word "shoot*" would also filter "shooting" "shoots" and any other variation.

It is recommended that aside from any words you find offensive or wish to protect your viewers from, that you add any words which might be rare and tied to your personal information. However, while adding such words to your filter is a good way to hide sensitive personal information, it can also confirm whether or not that information belongs to you which is why it is best to only filter out words that are not commonly used (for example, do not add your house number to the filter, but perhaps add your street name or last name). Another good strategy to protect your personal information is to add several false-positives so no one can try to figure out your information through trial by error.

Note: There is also a globally banned words filter which is enabled by default. These are words that Twitch has removed because they are the most commonly banned. To opt out of this filter, you must click the checkbox under the banned words filter window.
 

One of the newest features on Twitch is the AutoMod tool, which can be found via the Channel Settings page. AutoMod uses machine learning and natural language processing algorithms to hold risky messages from chat so they can be reviewed by a channel moderator before appearing to other viewers in the chat. Moderators can approve or deny any message caught by AutoMod. With AutoMod, broadcasters can establish their own reliable baseline for acceptable language and around-the-clock chat moderation, a way to create a more positive experience for themselves and their communities. Read more about how to configure AutoMod here.
 

Under the Channel Settings page, there is an option to set a non-moderator chat delay which, if enabled, prevents all chat messages from appearing for 2, 4, or 6 seconds. Any message that is timed out or banned will completely remove the message, even from third-party chat features. Therefore swift-acting moderators can stop harassive messages from even appearing to anyone other than other moderators and the channel owner.
 

There is also an option to require all chatters in your chatroom to be email verified on Twitch. This means that anyone that would like to send messages to your chat room must first verify their email address. Enabling this can help to lower the likelihood that someone creates a "throwaway" account just to harass you or your viewers.

Beyond that, you can also require all chatters in your chatroom to be a follower. To enable this, simply type in your channel /followers. To set your threshold to a certain amount of minutes someone has followed for, just add a number at the end like this: /followers 60. To disable this mode, type /followersoff.
 

Clicking the Delete links in chat checkbox found on the Channel Settings page will block all hyperlinks from appearing in your channel. Your channels chat will automatically delete posted URLs, showing them as "<link removed>", except for the ones posted by you, your moderators and site global moderators, admins or staff.
 

Next are the other tools specifically designed to help in a harassment situation, and are available to all broadcasters and their moderators.

The timeout feature is your bread and butter for dealing with harassment. This feature will prevent the harasser from sending messages to your channel for 10 minutes by default, which means they are forced to take a moment to cool off while they wait for this timeout to expire, or they will simply leave due to impatience. 

The timeout feature can be used by clicking the clock symbol either directly in chat or on the user badge which appears when clicking on a username, or by typing “/timeout <username> [seconds]” in chat. The seconds amount can be any number, so feel free to create your own length of time a timeout should last for if you wish for something other than 10 minute intervals. If you accidentally timeout somebody, all you need to do is to type “/timeout <username> 1”, which will overwrite the old timeout with a new one lasting only 1 second, immediately allowing them to chat once again.

If a user does not stop harassing after being timed out, the next thing to do is implement a ban. This works as an indefinite timeout, and will prevent the user from chatting in your channel for as long as they are banned.

The Ban feature can be used by clicking the ban user button directly in chat, or on the user badge which appears when clicking on a username. You can also use this feature by typing “/ban <username>” in your chat. You can see a list of any banned users in your channel settings, and hovering over the name will display which moderator issued the ban. If you then wish to unban them, all you need to do is either click the unban user button which replaces the ban user button, or by typing “/unban <username>”.


Activating Follower-Only Chat allows you or your mods to restrict chat to all or some of your followers, based on how long they have followed - from 0 minutes (all followers) to 3 months. If you are the recipient of an unwanted raid, or if someone is creating new accounts to evade your chat ban, turn on 10-minute or 30-minute Follower-Only Chat to stop the unwanted visitors from chatting (and please report any harassing conduct). Use longer durations, like 1-month or 3-month Follower-Only Chat, to reward longtime community members — it’s like adult swim, but for chat.

Turn it on from the chat settings menu by clicking the cogwheel icon. You can turn on the chat mode and select the minimum time a viewer must follow in order to chat. You can also use the /followers chat command to set it.

Here are a few example commands, which can be any length of time, up to 3 months:
/followers 30m, or /followers 30 minutes
/followers 2h, or /followers 1 hours
/followers 2d, or /followers 2 days
/followers 1w, or /followers 1 week
/followers 3mo, or /followers 3 months

To disable followers only mode, type /followersoff in chat or use the cog.
 

The Robot9000 feature (R9K for short) is a special filter designed to disallow repeated messages. This is a great tool to use if multiple users repeatedly send the exact same message in chat.

R9K can be turned on by typing “/r9kbeta”, and turned off by typing “/r9kbetaoff”.
The feature works by remembering a list of all the recent messages over 9 characters long, and then refusing to send any message that is already on that list.

While this feature is not the greatest tool for specifically dealing with harassment, it is a powerful moderation tool in its own right. The feature is turned on or updated by typing “/slow” or turned off completely by typing “/slowoff”. When enabled, it disallows users from sending messages within 120 seconds of each other by default. You can also edit the slow mode duration to be longer or shorter than 120 seconds by adding an amount at the end of the command, like this: "/slow <number>". A public notification will show in chat when this feature is enabled or disabled so that the viewers are informed of the change.

Partnered broadcasters can also enable an option via their Partnership tab on their dashboard to allow their subscribers freedom from slow mode.

The sub-only mode should only be used in special circumstances, as it only allows users subscribed to your channel and moderators to chat, preventing all other messages. If you are not a Twitch Partner, this means that only your moderators will be able to talk. Nonetheless, it is a powerful feature that may be useful in critical situations such as unwanted raids. A public notification will show in chat when this feature is enabled or disabled so that the viewers are informed of the change.

This command allows you to set your room so only messages that are 100% emotes are allowed. This is an effective mode to remove all chatter that could be harassive but still allows viewers to share something in chat, just emotes only.

This mode can be turned on by typing “/emoteonly”, and turned off by typing “/emoteonlyoff”. A public notification will show in chat when this feature is enabled or disabled so that the viewers are informed of the change.
 

If something harassive has been said in chat by several people in a short span of time, the fastest way to remove all comments is to clear the chat.

This command will allow the broadcaster and chat moderators to completely wipe the chat history that can be visible by scrolling up (up to 200 lines). To use this command, type /clear. However, please note that users with IRC or browser add-ons may not see the chat get wiped due to history saving features and logging.