The Italian Streamers' Manifesto

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#nostreamday stems from the discontent of Twitch’s Italian partners in regards to the legislation and its implementation on the platform.

As the name suggests, during #nostreamday streamers and users will not use Twitch for a day.

This initiative was born after a colleague was permabanned. We are not contesting the ban itself, but rather the whole process from the suspension notification to the definitive confirmation of the ban. He was not sure about the duration of his ban for six months, a period in which he was given conflicting and inconclusive information, waiting patiently to know if and when he could come back.

For six months, he was unable to see his friends when they were streaming, and out of a job without the chance of streaming on other platforms.
It is unacceptable to wait for six months, following all the rules, to then discover that the ban is going to be permanent. This would not be allowed in any workplace.

The way Twitch and Amazon evaluate bans is extremely discretional, an approach that creates frequent judgment errors. Streamers are often banned due to "good-faith" mistakes and many of these bans could be avoided with more transparency.

A permanent ban is a drastic measure, and as such it has to be used carefully. We ask Twitch to work together with its creators to improve the working conditions for everyone.

The lack of transparency has led in the past to easily avoidable suspensions: streamers were banned for inciting violence when simply commenting the news, others were banned for "self-harm behaviour" because they were doing slapstick humor.

This is why we decided to write, together, this Manifesto. Hereafter are the points we want to discuss with Twitch.

We hope this can bring a better and safer environment where creativity and professionalism on Twitch can thrive.

1. Rules Transparency

Twitch rules are vague behavioural guidelines. This makes the judgment on each case extremely subjective.

One rule mentions the impossibility of “sponsoring a banned streamer”. What does this mean? Can I talk about the person? Can I mention a colleague’s ban in case I find it unfair? Or would I be sanctioned?

The right to criticize should be allowed towards Twitch as well. We need to be able to contest and discuss Twitch’s decisions on stream without the fear of being banned.

We need to clearly know what outfits are allowed and in general we need more clarity on these topics.

2. Difference in Treatment

Different streamers often received different sanctions for the same actions. We all need to be equal in front of Twitch’s rules. Banning a profile has serious consequences and it is becoming hard to work in these conditions.

3. Satire and Comedy

Jokes or satire sketches were often sanctioned. What’s the line? Can we have a list of topics that cannot be discussed, even if in the context of a satiric sketch? To this day, it is not clear what we can joke about. We need clear limits and rules.

4. The effects of a "permaban"

We ask to consider the impact that a “permaban” can have on a streamers’ life. Such a hard measure needs to be taken while taking into consideration that a streamer’s friends are often colleagues.

It is not acceptable how the platform is putting at risk personal relationships between streamers. A banned streamer cannot go out with friends if they are streaming IRL. We ask to reconsider this rule, considering the psychological impact this rule can have (and has had) on people.

Obviously, this does not apply when the permaban comes for incontestable reasons: pornography, violence and racism should not have space on the platform.

Moreover, we ask to discuss the expansion of the Italian moderation team. The number of streamers is increasing rapidly and they need support that, right now, cannot be supplied.

In conclusion, we hope this will not be seen as an attack towards Twitch, but rather as a call for help. It is becoming hard to work with this level of uncertainty and anxiety. “Democracy dies in darkness”, as Bob Woodward said: this is why we are ready to work together to address all the topics listed above.

Twitch's italian streamers

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