Blizzard, Twitch plan to make changes after Hearthstone pro endures racist abuse during tournament

By midian182 ยท 48 replies
May 19, 2016
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  1. Toxic behavior from certain sections of online gaming communities isn’t a new phenomenon, but after a black Hearthstone player became the target of racist abuse during a Twitch livestream last week, gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment has vowed to work with the streaming site to block abusive comments.

    It was during the DreamHack Austin Hearthstone tournament when pro player Terrence “TerrenceM” Miller – who ultimately finished second behind Keaton “Chakki” Gill – suffered an overwhelming number of racial slurs from Twitch viewers.

    There were ten chat moderators were working during the match, and more were called in to help with the volume of hateful comments, but they were unable to stem the abuse aimed at Miller.

    Responding to the incident, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime issued the following statement to Polygon: "We're extremely disappointed by the hateful, offensive language used by some of the online viewers during the DreamHack Austin event the weekend before last. One of our company values is 'Play Nice; Play Fair;' we feel there's no place for racism, sexism, harassment, or other discriminatory behavior, in or outside of the gaming community."

    Morhaime added that Blizzard will now be working with Twitch, event organizers and other organizations involved in these events to combat the problem of abusive commentators.

    “We're investigating a pilot program that Twitch has in the works to streamline moderation and combat ban evasion. We're also updating our esports tournament partner policies with a stronger system of checks, balances, and repercussions to provide a better chat experience around our content,” explained the Blizzard co-founder.

    For its part, Twitch accepts that it has “a responsibility to broadcasters and players to provide a welcoming environment,” and confirmed that it was “ exploring new tools and processes to increase awareness and mitigation of these issues, and will continue to take action against chatters who committed reported violations.”

    There’s a big difference between jokingly poking fun at a player and hurling hate-filled abuse at them. Blizzard and Twitch won’t want to censor the former, as it’s part of what makes the platform enjoyable for so many people; it’s the latter they’re trying to eradicate. But as Morhaime points out, it will take more than stricter rules and regulations to change things.

    “We believe these are important steps to take to help address the related issues, but we acknowledge that they only address part of the problem. This is ultimately an industry-wide issue, and it will take all of us to make a real impact."

    Permalink to story.

  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Half the stuff that goes on in COD matchmaking lobbies is more brutal than "racist" chat messages. How is this news?
    wastedkill likes this.
  3. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Maniac Posts: 194   +170

    Well, the news is more that 2 very large gaming companies have vowed to address the issue, which I think is cool. Anonymity with no repercussions in online anything brings out a very dark side in some people. If I play an hour of Rocket League I can almost count on having my sexual orientation questioned.
  4. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    People need to grow up and stop listening to the people mouthing off at them, the racist element is by far the worst part for some gamers but it's unlikely to ever be fully stemmed. By putting yourself out there as a live stream your just putting a target on your back, one you should be prepared to accept and be mature enough to not listen to those who are not. In a live event it reflects badly on the organizers and I think that's more of the problem here, I'm sure Terrance Miller is smart enough to not let these simple minded individuals get to him in the first place, especially at this point in his gaming career. Personally I only chat with my friends and on occasion the people I'm teamed up with in multiplayer games, but even then you end up listening to so much horse crap from people who either don't shut up, are listening to bad music or the worst case scenario some child with a high pitch voice who just discovered online gaming and feels it's his right to scream at the top of his lungs for no particular reason. Text based chat I mostly just ignore too, it's really not that difficult...
  5. Jack Meoffski

    Jack Meoffski TS Booster Posts: 49   +35

    Anonymity is the best part of the net!

    Can only run from the PC and "thought police" for so long.
    DJMIKE25 and SirChocula like this.
  6. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,654   +1,092

    Put the channel in sub mode and be done with it.
  7. Recipe7

    Recipe7 TS Booster Posts: 143

    I didn't think racism existed in the nerd community, I'm surprised.
    toxicfiend and wastedkill like this.
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    So what?

    Everyone who has ever played an online game has dealt with this stuff. People need to grow some skin thicker than shaved tracing paper.
    DJMIKE25, wastedkill and SirChocula like this.
  9. Conroy

    Conroy TS Rookie

    Anyone who says "grow up" or "get thicker skin" is obviously the same ones that participate in this vile behavior. I remember old school when you said something to people's faces instead of cowardly hiding behind keyboards and spewing filth without repercussions.

    I say post the identities of these people and let their employers, co-workers (I'm assuming they have jobs), colleagues, etc judge them accordingly. That would end the online hate pretty quick....although, you can't change the ugly part of people on the inside.

    Too my fellow gamers...battle on and keep things postive!
  10. The moment people can't enjoy a game and completely let loose, is when blizzard and the likes will start losing subscribers; and really, money.
  11. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Maniac Posts: 194   +170

    Well, these non-violent games are designed for all ages. But as soon as you set foot online you're in a dark world of hate. It's as easy as muting people, and personally my skin is plenty thick that I won't be bothered by it. But the global solution isn't, "Grow thicker skin".

    We've all heard news stories about kids being bullied online then committing suicide as a result. While not as extreme, the online gaming community sure isn't helping. It's the internet - An ungoverned world of anonymity where you can be someone you're not.
  12. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 440   +223

    It doesn't it's little kids and teens thinking they are anonymous and talking ****. I would probably punch my kid in the face if I were a father and I heard my kid spouting racist nonsense.
    SteveOH and cliffordcooley like this.
  13. gingerbill

    gingerbill TS Addict Posts: 233   +59

    It is a difficult thing to stop , without real life consequences for there actions people wont stop . No matter how long you use the internet you can always be amazed by how sad and pathetic people can be , there seems to be people who spend there entire days trying to offend and annoy people , they have nothing better to do , I'm sure some of those these people are genuinely depressed miserable hate filled people who just have no life.

    There is something to be said for "grow a thicker skin" but some people do cross a line and should be prosecuted and made an example of , if I was a billion dollar company I would make that happen just on principle.
  14. Acid Burn

    Acid Burn TS Rookie

    Hearthstone Lives Matter
    davislane1 likes this.
  15. Acid Burn

    Acid Burn TS Rookie

    You are living a sheltered life.
  16. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,887   +1,223

    There are many reasons. One of the biggest is self defense. Its easier to be a jerk to people you dont' know, than to be nice and make yourself vulnerable. You can easily prove this out... next time you're playing online with a group - talk first and be overly nice. Take a team game like LoL for example - if you start the game off with a positive attitude and focus on making your opponent the enemy (not each other) others will follow your example.
    If you start off by ripping on someone's first small mistake - the attitudes will fall like dominoes. And when someone does do something dumb - and they get ripped on, come back fast with something encouraging.
    You'll find that there really are very few true a$$ hats out there - many people just are mean because they're in a bad mood or don't want to make themselves open to attack. If nothing else - it'll make the game more fun.

    As far as this story goes - we're missing the other half of the story. Why was this guy so hated? Did he do something, start something, win too much? what ?

    All Blizz has to do to fix this is implement a personal rating system. let others downgrade you for your hateful stuff -and upgrade you for your positives. The effect of poor public ratings will keep people honest. It works on ebay and reddit - it can work on games.
  17. Crashlv08

    Crashlv08 TS Rookie

    First off, I do not condone in any way, shape or form what was said in the chat during his match. But please stop exaggerating your article title's to get hits. He did not "endure" a single comment during his match. He was completely unaware of anything that happened in twitch chat until the event was over with. Your job is supposed to be to report the news, not make up **** to get more hits for your site.
    GuyJackson likes this.
  18. Jay Gally

    Jay Gally TS Rookie

    People who say "grow thicker skin" or
    Because it happens doesn't mean it should or should be permitted to happen in our society. If we kept following the status quo women still wouldn't be able to vote and our current president would be considered 3/5 of a person. If we remove the cloak of anonymity, these sheep, you probably included, wouldn't dare speak your mind as openly.
    ddg4005, SteveOH and GuyJackson like this.
  19. Stalwart

    Stalwart TS Rookie

    I watched this entire thing unfold, there were minimal actual racist comments made about Terrence. What there was a lot of though were the "trihard" and "cmonbruh" emotes which were faces of black men. If you want to call that racist thats fine, but the blame firmly lies on Twitch's end for allowing these emotes to exist in the first place. Knowing their community should be their number one priority, and putting emotes that could be used in a racist way is just enabling the chat.
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,714   +3,695

    That suggest the emotes are not universally defined, which allows for misinterpretation. Misuse on the other hand is not the fault of site admin.
  21. GuyJackson

    GuyJackson TS Rookie

    It does get overly excessive though. No matter how thick skinned you are, if the chat is literally spammed with hate just for the sake of spamming it ruins the stream and is bound to offend somebody.
  22. R7esz

    R7esz TS Rookie

    What the hell are you talking about? This is completely different. A worldwide available stream vs a bunch of boneheads in matchmaking that 10 people get to see. One of these has a little more weight than the other. *******.
    Sancticide likes this.
  23. wirius

    wirius TS Rookie

    How about people need to grow up and stop spouting racist language at people? Good on Blizzard and Twitch. Good people and ADULTS need to stop immature and offenseive behavior from being supported on their platforms.
  24. SteveOH

    SteveOH TS Rookie

    I hope you're married or have kids, and watch (in person) as someone comes up to them and starts calling them names. And if you get in that person's face (or just knock them out), think back to your comment above, and think "OK, yeah, maybe people do need to watch what they're saying".

    And don't say "But this happened online" as if that's some sort of excuse. It's part of the problem, and sorry, but if you disagree, you're wrong.
    Sancticide likes this.
  25. SteveOH

    SteveOH TS Rookie

    I saw something re-posted from PCGamer or somewhere that had a bunch of racist comments (not emojis, actual comments) that had been posted on Twitter or Twitch or something during the match. I can't remember where exactly, but they were definitely racist.

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