Weekend Discussion - October 2nd, 2021

Spooky Season has begun. It's time for your favorite part of the week.


Good evening, folks. Welcome to another Weekend Discussion. Let's dive right in.

Twitch is experimenting with putting monetization ahead of discoverability and safety

It's a brand new weekend and yet another week of Twitch being in the headlines for a very bad idea. I've been using Twitch for over a decade now (it sounds weird even saying that) and I've been a content creator on the platform since 2015. There's always been a constant struggle when it comes to discoverability on the platform especially for marginalized streamers.

Two days ago, a storm began to roll in online that revolved around a new feature we reported on here that was revealed during Twitch's livestream segment called "Patch Notes." The stream is one of the company's more recent attempts to communicate with the community and is also used for making announcements or revealing changes to the platform. The Boost feature announced is being called an "experiment" from Twitch in which users can boost an individual stream in exchange for Front Page recommendations and better discoverability. 

Some of us worry about harrassment of Black streamers like Khaykashi for being used on display for this rollout
Some of us worry about harrassment of Black streamers like Khaykashi for being put on display for this rollout

Obviously, making money is important to a business and some social media platforms have already shifted to providing ways to pay directly for better visibility. Paying for exposure is not a new concept, but how will something like this even be regulated in a way that won't end up abused by the top creators on the platform? It also doesn't solve the major problem Twitch and other platforms face which is non-inclusive visibility.

The reason this is more upsetting to me is, as a Black content creator who has worked directly with Twitch and other creators to put more spotlight on marginalized creators for years now, experiments like this show a clear divide and disconnect when it comes to what I've heard from staff directly about Twitch being community focused and what Twitch is actually focused on as a company.

There's also the fact that a Black creator is used in this rollout image. This situation makes me feel uncomfortable because if there's even the subtle implication that Black creators should pay to boost their streams to compete with the platform's terrible discoverability issues, that's quite frankly, unacceptable. Now this perception could have been unintentional, but considering how they have struggled with putting Black women in the forefront recently, I find it hard to ignore.

Twitch has not had the best track record when it comes to displaying Black and POC creators in their marketing lately, This became very apparent most recently with their Deathloop highlight video featuring several creators and absolutely no Black women, despite there being a big push by voices in the community like Stephanie Ijoma, the founder of UK's inclusive gaming platform NNESAGA, who fought to make sure Bethesda put the game into the hands of Black creators since it was both a major PS5 game and also a game starring two Black characters.

The Noir Network, a network of Black femmes in content creation led by Xmiramira shot their own Deathloop highlight video in response.

The lack of inclusion and visibillity is something that many of us streaming on Twitch are used to at this point. We spend a ton of time creating content and finding new ways to present ourselves despite being ignored or propped up for marketing purposes during specific month's of the year. We are also still dealing with the harrassment and racism coming from hate raid bots and other nonsense on the platform leading to #ADayOffTwitch and other events. It's frustrating to see members of these communities harrassed while Twitch is spending time and money figuring out a new monetization scheme. It comes off like an executive team saying, "Roll out enough safety updates to get some of them to shut up so we can get them back to running in the rat race and making us money". 

Black creators and members of the Twitch community are not the only one's dissappointed in this potential feature. Anna Prosser, who was a prominent face and voice for Twitch over the years before moving on from the company, had this to say: 

We will see what happens next but if Twitch decides to move forward with this awful idea I believe that they will be pushing more users to start spending time on other platforms. There's something that we say alot in the Black community that represents how I feel about the absurdity of the situation, and that's that we have to laugh to keep from crying, so I'll end this discussion with the image below.

What do you think of Twitch's next experiment? Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments.

In cased you missed it...

Because of the Internet

Here's the funny, dope, and weird from around the internet I found throughout the week.

Spooky Season is finally here! 

Kratos stay ready. 

If you caught AEW Dynamite this week, you know Arn Anderson keeps the glock on him! 

This is how I feel after a good shoot. 

I don't know how this got approved but I am not tryin' to play.

Squid Game has a hold on all of us right now 

Shadow the Hedgehog has the best drip confirmed 

Kid's have some wild imaginations man. I'm not gonna lie though, having an alien mom would be kind of cool. 

Accurate as hell.

Roblox is so creative with it! 

When you are infuriated after being stuck on hold for 20 mins but the hold music is bop 

Weekend Vibes

Unwind with Harpsona

This week, I'm going to show a lil' love to the awesome musician Harpsona. I found her on Twitter after listening to one of her covers played on a harp. She's got some amazing video game and anime covers and I'd highly recommend checking out some of her tunes. I like to play a few videos while unwinding at the end of the work day or at the end of an article like this. She's also got some awesome Halloween and spooky season covers on her channel as well so you'll probably see more of her later this month. Enjoy!

Loose Ones

The sun is going down sooner and my mood is starting to shift to more sinister sounds. Enjoy the synths!

I wanted to show a lil' love to Japanese Breakfast for the lovely work they did on the Sable soundtrack. The visually stunning game released last week and left a good impression. You can check out our full review of the game here .

I hope you enjoyed this week's Weekend Discussion. If you enjoyed the content or want to join the conversation, feel free to let me know in the comments below. And if you want to support what we do here at Shacknews, consider subscribing to Mercury. Have a great weekend!

Community Manager

Dennis is the current Community Manager and Social Media lead for Shacknews. He loves to be part of the conversation with readers and the gaming community. He’s been an avid gamer since his dad showed up with a Sega Genesis on Christmas day. Denny is very passionate about making the game industry and associated media spaces more inclusive, and was founder of an organization for POC content creators with over 800 of the best and brightest around the world. He’s also been a content creator on Twitch since 2015 and has spoken live at panels for Twitchcon, C2E2, Queer Esports, and several others along with providing D&I consulting for up and coming brands in gaming.

Dennis is a huge fan of fighting games, hosting live tournament events for games like Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 with some fun color commentary. He’s also regularly competing in several tourneys annually for games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter V. As a Chicago native, you can expect him to be slightly depressed about the Bears post-season hopes on a regular basis. He’s also a fan of FromSoftware created Soulsborne games and enjoys doing challenge runs in his spare time. He hopes to complete his first no-hit run of a Dark Souls game by the end of the year. When he’s not gaming, you can find him diving into the discount comics bin or enjoying a horror movie with the lights off.

You can contact him at dennis.white@shacknews.com and connect with him on Twitter at @DennyVonDoom.

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola