Microsoft’s Mixer might look like a better alternative to Twitch on the surface, but the reality is a lot less glamorous than what you might think. Back at the end of July they rolled out their community pledge, and updated it again on August 26th, 2019. The update includes Microsoft’s pledge to stamp out “toxicity”, utilize a new streamer review program to ensure that not just anyone can register an account and begin streaming, and new moderation tools to reduce “toxic” communities.
The announcement about the update came courtesy of a tweet on August 26th, 2019.
Starting 9/4, streamers on Mixer will go through our new Streamer Review System to help ensure a safe and awesome time on Mixer! We’ve also got new updates to mod tools like Chat Restrictions & setting custom Catbot levels for Progression Ranks!
— Mixer (@WatchMixer) August 26, 2019
You can view the full community commitment pledge over on the Mixer blog. The relevant part is just a few paragraphs down, where general manager Chad Gibson explains…
“Streamers on Mixer should be free to focus on creating great gameplay and fun content. You should feel in control when broadcasting – free from trolls, hate speech, bigotry and harassment. Mixer is a community that welcomes viewers and streamers of all races, all creeds, all gender identities, all sexual orientations and all abilities. We want all members of the Mixer community to be their true and authentic selves on Mixer and to feel confident that we will hold rule violators accountable for their actions.”
Gibson stops just short of saying that Mixer is “inclusive” and “diverse”, but he drops all the other telltale signs in the post, regardless.
Gibson also references the mad lads who took control over Artifact’s game page on Twitch and spammed it with the Christchurch shooting and pornography. He claims that this “rocked” them, and they decided to implement measures to ensure that such an event does not play out at Mixer.
Gibson goes on to write…
“We’ve also talked with many of you directly to understand your personal experiences around online toxicity and cyberbullying. We love that the Mixer community has always prided itself on being a welcoming place, and how Mixer streamers, their moderators and viewers work together to keep toxicity down. We know that existing features like CatBot, streamer health notifications and our Rules of User Conduct have helped maintain that welcoming vibe. Despite the efforts of many in our community, we still hear your frustrations in dealing with the toxic behavior of a small set of people on the service – the trolls and bullies who take away from the fun experience of livestreaming.
“Today, we want to reaffirm our commitment to digital safety and maintaining a strong Mixer community.”
The User Conduct page has been updated, prohibiting “terrorist” and “violent extremist content”.
As you’ll note on the User Conduct page, Mixer prohibits unsuitable names and avatars, as well as impersonating other staff, users, or streamers, and the typical rules that include no threats or harassment, which includes users being banned from saying “KYS” or making crude sexual comments to or about streamers.
In fact, you can’t even call a streamer a “cam-girl”, as that’s considered “harassment”.
They also have a rule against “Hate Speech”, which states…
“Hate Speech – Hate speech is not tolerated on Mixer, under any circumstances. Any derogatory or insulting comment that is directed at a specific group of people may be considered hate speech. Any comment perceived by staff to be derogatory or insulting to people based on discrimination including but not limited to race, age, sexuality, physical characteristics (such as weight or glasses), gender identity, disability, military service, religion and/or nationality will be considered hate speech. Breaking this rule is an automatic global ban.”
Microsoft is also implementing a streamer review system starting today, August 29th, where users who want to join the streaming service will need a Microsoft account. There’s also a 24-hour waiting period before you can begin streaming, so there’s no way you can troll-stream with a throwaway account. And if your account gets banned, it’s attached to your Microsoft account, which is also attached to your Xbox Live account. So this means that it would take several extra steps just to troll by creating a completely separate Microsoft account that you would be willing to see perma-banned if you wanted to risk trolling the service.
There are also four tiers of punishment, starting with written warnings, then escalating to global timeouts, then suspensions, and then finally a global ban.
As mentioned, if you thought Mixer was going to be a freedom-laced landscape and a prime alternative to Twitch, you thought wrong. Many of the rules are the same or even more restrictive than Twitch, so the only kind of streaming you’ll get out of Mixer is the clean and wholesome kind.
Given that Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer said that the Xbox platform was not accommodating to freedom of speech, and they’ve been on a “diversity” and “inclusivity” spree lately, these kind of rules and regulations on Mixer are unsurprising.
Based on the current setup, don’t be shocked if various users end up getting banned for nebulous reasons classified as “hate speech”.
(Thanks for the news tip Tim B.)