Streams are the hub of where we interact, share experiences, and build friendships with our online communities. Stream chat is the heart of this, as well as one of the most popular parts of streaming sites. Chat can also be the key to building better communities. Moderators (known as mods from here on out) represent the caster, as well as the platform, to many users who may be new to the platform. It is important for mods to positively represent casters as well as the platform, and ensure that chat is up to written standards.
Chat & Viewer Engagement
Know what is expected of a moderator and memorize the rules of the platform and individual caster.
Know bot commands and use at appropriate times.
Welcome viewers with a virtual smile after they type in chat. Lurking viewers should be left alone.
Enforce chat rules indiscriminately. Fair play is key to a happy chat.
Remove offensive posts or spam to keep everything copacetic.
Engage chat and Listen to viewers. Engaging viewers ≠ constantly chatting.
Start conversations by asking simple ice breakers.
Change the subject if chat is going in the wrong direction.
Food - favorite food, what they ate earlier, weirdest thing they ever ate
Pets - Have they ever had one? What's its name?
Travel - favorite place they've been or want to go, strange places like restaurants, museums, etc.
Pop Culture - Watching or playing anything new? Would they recommend? Excited for new releases? Do they watch Anime? Favorite toy, game, movie or show as a child. First game they ever played.
Usernames - origin of their own, funniest they ever saw
The Viewers - What's the best thing to happen this week? Are you excited about an upcoming event?
Feelings/Problems- you aren't a liscened professional, nor does the average viewer want to hear about other peoples problems.
Negativity - Avoid talking crap about other platforms or streamers
You do not need to chat with every individual person, let chat flow naturally.
Do not argue with viewers. Let viewers express themselves, even if the opinion is unpopular. Mods do not censor people as long as they are following chat rules set by the caster.
The Finer Points
The most important part of being a Mod is to have communication with the caster you represent. Mods need to know what the caster considers offensive and spam. Generally, spam is considered large ACSII/block images in chat, copy/paste text, links, repeated messages, excessive emotes or symbols. However, not all casters have issue with this. Your first job as a mod is to figure this out so you can enforce these rules. The rules should be clearly stated in the info section to avoid conflict when they are enforced.
If the caster has hundreds of people in chat you may consider suggesting slow chat, follower only chat, or subscriber only chat, so that comments can be read and responded to easier by the mod team and the caster.
As a mod do not hesitate to ask for help if needed! It is a general rule of thumb that live casters should have 1 mod per 100 viewers or 1 mod for every ~5 lines of chat per second. If a bot is being used to also moderate chat this can be upped to 200 active viewers per mod when set up correctly.
Familiarize yourself with your casters rules, the platform TOS and with the mod commands available to you to make your job easier.
It may be tempting to be a part of every conversation in chat, or on Discord. However, it is perfectly fine to also let chat flow naturally. Sometimes it is best to take a step back and only interject when needed. A good moderator listens to the streamer and the chat discussion without centering it around themselves. Remember, you are there to support the streamer, this is about them! Listening to the community is very beneficial. To do this, moderators cannot respond to every little comment.
As a moderator, it is also important to note any bugs, constructive criticism and creative content suggestions. You may suggest that these types of comments be directed to Discord in a specific channel so the streamer can review them at a later time. Or you may keep a list of these comments for the streamer yourself. However, do not argue with the viewers about these comments if you do not agree with them! Let the viewer express their opinion. Find a constructive way to comment back, or let the streamer handle unhappy viewers. If the viewer is not breaking the rules of chat, then it is ultimately up to the streamer to respond.
While the moderator doesn’t need to be the central figure in a conversation it is also important to keep chat on track. Don’t let one person demoralize the entire stream. Sometimes moderators are enforcement, cheerleaders, or just there to witness. But keep the streamer motivated and chat talking about the topic the streamer is promoting. Ask the streamer or chat questions if needed.
Timeouts should be used in order to serve as a reminder of the chat rules after a friendly attempt has been made to stop the violation. You may do this through whispers or in chat messages. This option allows offenders to take a short break from chat and cool off. Hopefully they will return and respect the rules. If they continue to violate the rules, or it is an egregious violation, a ban is in order.
Bans should only be issued after a warning explaining the rule violation is given. A ban is considered to be permanent unless otherwise stated by the caster. If you need to ban a user, it is generally good practice to notify the caster with a clear, concise ban reason when doing so. If it is a TOS violation it is also your responsibility to report the violation.