The recent growth of esports has happened in tandem with the rise of live-streaming. The ability to reach broader audiences online and in real-time is a powerful component of contemporary esports. Much is made not just around the size of audiences, but through the amazing communication platforms offered by sites like Twitch that allow synchronous chat between all participants, including broadcasters and fans. Yet serious challenges remain.

 

As we noted in our first white paper, “Many participants (particularly those who are public-facing) spoke of the ongoing gauntlet of abuse and harassment they face. This can range from online chat at sites broadcasting competitions to other social media platforms like Twitter or various websites. Many organizations do not moderate their channels (often hundreds of messages per minute), which conveys the message that all speech ought to be allowed in the space. Live-streamers (who are also often pro players) regularly spend multiple hours per day behind the camera broadcasting online to thousands of viewers. They often rely heavily on volunteer moderators for assistance, but the volume of comments makes this task difficult” (see AnyKey White Paper #1 – Women In Esports for the full report).

 

Our recent workshop brought together key stakeholders to discuss critical issues and interventions around this theme. Far too often chat is simply written off and hidden. It is seen as unsalvageable. We disagree. There is tremendous power in real time communication and many broadcasters and organizations are taking proactive measures to think seriously about the role of community management and moderation in creating healthy esports spaces.

 

In AnyKey’s third white paper, we explore the value of chat, the role of technology in moderation, preventative versus punitive approaches, the need for moderator training and support, and a fundamental orientation that attends to diverse levels of expertise.

 

Read the full white paper here.