If you’ve ever streamed games using Twitch or YouTube, you know how toxic those communities can be. While it’s near impossible to rid these platforms of toxicity completely, some do so better than others. Microsoft’s Mixer streaming service, while it has a much smaller audience, has a reputation for fostering a positive community. Mixer co-founder James Boehm attributes this to the platform’s transparency and strict harassment rules.
Speaking with Polygon, Boehm said, “When we started Mixer, working with streamers and working with content creators, one of their key feedback points was wanting to know what’s going on with the platform. ‘We want to understand the rules, we want to understand what we can and can’t do.’ When we took to drafting our conduct and terms of service, we wanted to make it really clear what was okay and what was not. That way we could build a community that everyone could partake in; they knew the rules, knew how to behave.
“That’s translated into a community that has grown and become increasingly positive, which is something people are noticing, as we saw last week.”
Mixer’s rules on harassment state that the following can result in bans:
- Using clips, audio files, or out of context quotes to mock or make fun of another community member
- Creating multiple accounts to evade channel bans
- Calling a streamer a “cam-girl” or other derivatives referring to physical features
- Submitting false reports against a streamer
- This includes filing repeat reports on the same streamer/activity after the C.A.T team states the streamer is not violating the rules
- Telling a user to “kill yourself”
- Repeated sexual comments after the streamer states such comments are unwelcome.
These may seem like common sense, but platforms like Twitch and YouTube have a tough time enforcing similar rules. Of course, it’s always easier to enforce such rules when you have a more manageable active user base. Mixer has 10 million active users a month, which isn’t even close to YouTube’s 1.5 billion monthly active users or Twitch’s 100 million.
Boehm also told Polygon that Mixer partners who earn top dollar are vetted by the company and must uphold certain behavior in order to keep their monetization privileges.
“We set the expectation of how we want our partners to act in the community, and how we wanted them to be a good representation and be able to build a certain community,” Boehm said. “Depending on [partners] off-platform behavior, it could affect [their] partner status.”
YouTube has recently been criticized harshly for how it handled punishing Logan Paul, a popular YouTuber, after he filmed a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, known as a prevalent suicide site. Likewise, there are popular Twitch streamers that have been called out for racist behavior and harassment who have seen little consequence. Mixer, so far, has avoided such controversies.
According to Boehm, Mixer will continue to ensure that the community remains as positive as possible by investing in moderators and a report team.