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Online chat can be a bit of a nightmare. It’s not too bad sometimes, though if you dip your toe into the more popular streams you’ll likely come across some form of hate speech. Fortunately, that’s something that might soon become lesson common thanks to the upcoming Twitch Chat Blizzard changes. The changes will come into effect during the Overwatch League Contenders stream and will require would-be chatters to sign-in using a Battle.net login.
It’s a move that looks to tackle the seemingly ever-present offensive speech that litters popular streams, with homophobic, racist, or sexist language running rampant at times. The thought behind the move is that if viewers have to sign-in using their personal Battle.net login, then there will be some degree of accountability for the language they use. We have no idea just how Blizzard or Twitch will be able to police this properly; there are no details on what action will be taken for those who do continue to use offensive language, though a ban or a similar action is most likely.
At the moment, the mandatory sign-in feature will be limited to the Overwatch League Contenders streams, which start today and run until January 12, 2019. There’s no word on whether we’ll see Twitch rollout a similar feature for the whole site, though Blizzard has said it’s a move it hopes leads to “a more positive viewing experience.”
The problems posed against the feature are best voiced by Dotesports reporter Nicole Carpenter, who says that while accountability is a great move, “there’s also increased surveillance without addressing twitch chat’s core issues + positive community building.” And this is the issue when it comes to moderating what people say. Bans are great but only offer a short-term solution and rarely do little to tackle the larger problem at hand.
Whether or not it’s the job of companies like Twitch and Blizzard to find long-term solutions to a long-standing social issue is a pretty difficult question to answer. And while the moderation feature may prove to be ineffectual in the long-term, it’s at least something that makes watching a game being played online a little easier.