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How to Manage Harassment in Chat

Last Updated: Feb 05, 2018 04:36PM PST
Learn about the many ways in which you can handle harassment in your chatroom.

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 dealing with this easier. This article covers all of the different methods at your disposal to deal with harassment.

Overview

Harassment can be frustrating, or demoralizing, or scary. It’s also against the rules, and we’re here to help. Anytime you feel someone is breaking Twitch’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, you can report them (see How to File a User Report below). Our admin moderators are on duty 24/7, and review every report.

You also have options you can use immediately. When you are being harassed, there is no one right answer or best approach, only the one that works for you and your situation. Many choose to deny the harasser any attention and quickly timeout or ban them, while others choose to handle it differently. If your go-to approach is not effective for a given harasser, you may experiment with another one. Ultimately, your reaction is up to you.

The most important thing to remember is that this is your channel, and you are in control. You have the power to take any of the actions described in this article, and to appoint moderators and empower them to take action; the right combination is whatever makes you feel safe and positive.

Tip: If you are a broadcaster, you may want to find a trusted person to give moderator status. Your moderators can help manage your chat, leaving you to focus on your broadcast!

Use The Ignore Feature

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 in any chat room on Twitch, and can ignore any user. The feature ties chat and whispers, meaning that if you ignore somebody through one of them, they are ignored in both.

To use this feature in chat, click the block button on their user card that appears when you click their username, or type:

/ignore <username>

To unignore someone, click on the unblock button which replaces the block 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>”.

There is one condition when you will still see messages from users that you have ignored. If you are a moderator of a channel, you must see all messages sent in that channel, including from ignored users, so you can perform your duties effectively. You will still not receive whispers from those ignored users, and will not see their messages in channels in which you are not a mod.

Block Whispers and Messages from Strangers

You can prevent harassment in private messages as well. In the Privacy section under the Security Settings page, you can choose to block Whispers and private messages from strangers.

A “stranger” is anyone who does not have a relationship with you or with Twitch: you have not followed or friended them; they are not an editor or mod in your channel; you have not whispered them previously; and they are not a partner, Twitch staff member, or admin moderator.

The “Block Whispers from Strangers” setting will prevent strangers from initiating Whisper conversations with you, and is effective in preventing spam messages as well as any harassive messages.

File a User Report

Twitch is committed to fighting harassment along with you. If you believe a user is breaking Twitch’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, you may file a user report. For example, if a harassing user is continually creating new accounts, especially if the new accounts have offensive words or personal details in the username, please report them. 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. Be aware that some conduct may not violate Twitch’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, and thus may not lead to the suspension of the reported account. To ensure you are protected, we suggest that you use the other tools and methods described in this article in addition to reporting.

Appoint Moderators

Moderators pay attention to your chat, so you can pay attention to your stream. Mods have the power to use most of the tools described in this article — responding to messages caught by AutoMod, setting chat modes, and timing out or banning users — and can help make sure your chat follows your rules. A good mod does more than timeout and ban: they interact with chat, welcome new people, cheer you on, and set a good example for everyone else to follow. If that sounds like a member of your community, it’s never too early to ask them to be your mod. To appoint them, click the mod icon (the lightning bolt icon) on their user card that appears when you click their username, or type in chat:

/mod <username>

To remove them as a mod, click the unmod button that replaces the mod button, or type in chat:

/unmod <username>

To learn more about building a team of moderators, check out our Guide to Building a Moderation Team.

Require Users to Agree to Channel Rules

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 not to violate them.

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

Use the Channel-Banned Words Filter

The Channel-blocked terms 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 blocked from your channel, submit it, and scroll to the bottom of the Channel Settings page to save your changes. You may add terms containing multiple words, and messages that contain all words in the term will be blocked, without blocking messages that contain only one word in the term (e.g. adding “hi there” as a term will not block messages containing only “hi” or “there”, but it will block “hi there”, and “there hi”). The number of terms you can filter is in the tens of thousands, so you do not need to worry about reaching the cap. Messages containing channel-blocked terms will not be posted to your 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 other variations.

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.

Enable AutoMod

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 or enable it via the Channel Settings page.

Consider a Moderation Bot

In addition to AutoMod, many channels use bots developed by Twitch community members for additional moderation. They look like any other user in chat, but are typically moderators and often (but not always) have “Bot” in their username. These bots can reduce nuisance messages such as excessive uses of Twitch emotes or symbols, repetitive messages, ALL CAPS, and other annoyances. A variety of bots are available with many different features: from moderation, to scheduled chat messages, to loyalty points and games, and more. Talk to others on Twitch to find a bot or bots that are right for you.

Note: These bots are developed by third parties and are not affiliated with Twitch.

Set a Non-Moderator Chat Delay

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.

Require Chatters to be Email-Verified

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.

Disable Links in Chat

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, admins or staff.

The Timeout Feature

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 in chat:

/timeout <username> [seconds]

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 in chat:

/timeout <username> 1

This will overwrite the old timeout with a new one lasting only 1 second, immediately allowing them to chat once again.

The Ban Feature

If a user does not stop harassing after being timed out, you can 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 in your chat:

/ban <username>

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>

Enable Follower Only Mode

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.

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. A public notification will show in chat when this feature is enabled or disabled so that the viewers are informed of the change.

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, use the cog or type in chat:

/followersoff

Enable R9K Mode

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

Enable Slow Mode

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.

Enable Sub Only 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 or Affiliate, 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.

Enable Emote Only Mode

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 participate 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.

Clear the Chat

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.