GDQ staff make tough decision in restricting chat
It is an unfortunate fact that the Awesome Games Done Quick livestream; a charity event; has seen its days of controversy. Not because the event itself isn’t good; not even because the work it’s doing isn’t good. Rather, the main problem seems to be the viewers themselves.
Twitch chat is notoriously ill-behaved. No matter the context, there will always be plenty of individuals spamming emotes, pushing discrimination and looking to troll the streamer. AGDQ is proof of that.
Last year, Games Done Quick staff chose to ban an emote, spammed in chat. The emote depicts a male Twitch streamer in a red wig—it has an innocent origin story, but its use by chat wasn’t so blameless. The emote, ‘danSexy’, was spammed whenever a transgender individual was on-screen.
It is hardly the only instance of discriminatory behavior. It has gotten so bad that, this year, GDQ has elected to restrict its chat to subscribers only. It encourages viewers to donate to the charity, but most importantly, it adds another obstacle for those who might tune in simply to discriminate.
Anonymity is a strong enabler of deviant behavior; the lack of consequences means some feel encouraged to say whatever they want. In fact, some seem to feel entitled to it—as if the First Amendment should cover sexist and transphobic speech in a chat service provided by a business.
Though a vocal minority is almost constantly touting the cry “Free the Plebs”, AGDQ is a better place this year without them. It’s sad, but until people learn to be civilized and respectful, this is probably the way it should be.
Twitch stream ‘GDQ_Poverty’ was created shortly after this year’s AGDQ began. It was a stream of the GDQ stream, specifically created by a fan looking to get around the subscriber restriction of chat. Though creator Tatortotts may have been driven by good intentions, the stream’s chat didn’t operate that way. Within 24 hours of its creation, the stream was banned for hate speech.
GDQ_Poverty and previous years of AGDQ are proof that, sometimes, restrictions are necessary. It seems to be a sad fact of society that people can’t always be trusted to be good to one another. Even more so when the setting sees no consequences outside a chat ban.
The GDQ stream is much better this year. With the subscriber restriction, trolls are discouraged by the need to pay (or have Amazon Prime) to be able to say what they will. And with a smaller chat, GDQ moderators are able to more easily police the hate speech that does get through. It isn’t perfect, but it is much better.
It is astonishing that it feels like this needs to be said again, but Games Done Quick is a charity stream. It represents gamers and speedrunners coming together to fight cancer. Though hate speech is always tasteless, it is especially disgusting to find it here.