Popular and influential Twitch streamer Reckful passed away yesterday, with the platform’s community reeling following the news that his death was the result of suicide. Now, many viewers are addressing their own behavior and the behavior of the community at large, with popular Reddit forum r/LivestreamFail shining a light on its harassment and bullying of streamers.
Reckful passed away at the age of 31 years old, with the streamer having been open about his struggles with his mental health. One of the formative Twitch streamers who helped grow the platform to what it is today, Reckful’s death has made a significant impact on the community. This has caused many to address the toxicity that runs rampant throughout it.
r/LivestreamFail is ostensibly a subreddit dedicated to posting clips of popular Twitch streamers “failing.” These include embarrassing moments, funny incidents caught on stream, and general controversy. However, the subreddit’s slant towards negative coverage means that visitors often pile in on the latest target of their ire.
Hours prior to Reckful’s death, he posted a marriage proposal on Twitter to an ex-girlfriend. The tweet was shared on r/LivestreamFail, with the streamer being roundly mocked as a result. After his death, fellow Twitch streamer Alinity opened up about the negative impact the site’s community can have on its streamers.
“You guys need to know that the shit you guys do and the shit you guys say really affects people,” Alinity said. “You guys have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to kill myself. How many times I’ve spent my entire night trying to figure out how to end my life. And I just want you guys to know that it’s really serious, that you guys can’t just send hordes of hate.”
The clip can be watched below:
After Alinity’s comments gained traction, an r/LivestreamFail user created a post saying that Reckful’s deaths and Alinity subsequently opening up should be a “learning moment.” The post received has received over 35,000 upvotes at the time of this writing.
“The people on this sub, and the Mods themselves, need to take this moment to learn and be more proactive going forward,” user u/Diermo wrote. “Whether it was Reckful, Alinity, Mitch, Trainwrecks, Greek, Ninja and his wife Jessica Blevins, etc. This sub needs to stop turning into a platform to shit on and harass these people over a fuck up/mistake/stupid comment constantly.”
In response to this thread and others, r/LivestreamFail’s moderators posted a new thread describing “a new dawn” for the subreddit. The planned changes include enforcing stricter rules, a concise infraction system, and giving streamers the ability to opt-out of having their content posted on the subreddit.
Now, multiple streamers have discussed taking r/LivestreamFail up on this offer, and no longer allowing their streams and clips to be featured. Streamer Nmplol described how multiple high-profile Twitch personalities had discussed opting out of having their content featured on the subreddit: “We really don’t like them, so if they give us the option to opt out, [r/LivestreamFail] might not have anyone left.”
Currently, none of these rules have gone into effect, with moderators stating that they are still exploring ways to make changes. The community’s reaction to these proposed changes have been mixed, with some agreeing that users should be able to opt-out, while others don’t want control to be taken away from them and placed in the hands of streamers.
Outside of r/LivestreamFail, popular streamers have also addressed recent actions they feel have contributed to Twitch’s toxic community. Ninja, who left the platform following his deal with the now-defunct Mixer, tweeted an apology to Alinity following a recent online argument the pair had engaged in:
— NinjaInnit (@Ninja) July 3, 2020
It’s unclear what changes Reckful’s death will lead to for Twitch and its community. Livestreaming for an extended period of time per day can inevitably be taxing on streamers’ mental health, and with communities such as r/LivestreamFail routinely engaging in targeted harassment, it’s an uphill battle to fix the problem. However, it seems that its community is now looking to hold one another to account, so this could be the beginning of a more positive chapter for the platform.