If you spend any time on streaming sites like Twitch or YouTube, or on game chats on PlayStation or Xbox Live, you know that the communities can be incredibly toxic. Between children screaming racial slurs and adults making sexist remarks, it can be dangerous to the mental health of content creators and gamers. This week, in an op-ed written by Natasha "Zombaekillz" Zinda, she discussed the problems that she faces as a black woman in the gaming community.
Even if everything were happy and cheery, being a streamer is a taxing experience. Not only do you have to be in show mode for the camera, working hard to make the stream entertaining for your viewers, but you also have to play a game. For most streamers, being at least decent at playing the game is a must for the success of the channel. Combining that with the entertainment aspect of the stream makes it a challenge. Then, most great streamers interact directly with their audience, adding another layer of complexity.
But, for many streamers, there is an added and highly unwanted aspect: abuse. This can come in many forms, but the most common are negative comments about race and gender. For Zombaekillz, she can come under fire from both. And the stress of dealing with that can be too much.
The problem is that the streaming services and gaming platforms continue to promise to clean up the problem. Yet, there appears to be little to no action to do so. While Microsoft and Sony have done some work in responding to the issue, going so far as to permanently ban gaming hardware, Twitch and YouTube have a different experience. Twitch promises to protect its content creators, yet complaints to the service have yielded no results for most streamers. But, together, there are ways we can fight this issue.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.