This is a piece of test content I produced as part of my application to be a writer for a gaming/streaming focused platform.
The list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to streaming – be it on Twitch, Facebook, TikTok, or elsewhere – are endless and confusing. Most importantly though, is the long list of things not to do.
Streaming should be an activity that you find fun as you form experiences alongside your chat. However, when you are first starting as a streamer on the gaming scene, we want to make things simple by solely telling you what not to do during your streams.
1. Do not scream and shout directly into your microphone.
Unless you want to give your viewers a headache, it is best advised to avoid screaming and shouting directly into your microphone. If you know you’re prone to shouting, be sure to use the ‘noise gate’ filter in your streaming software and be cautious of your viewers’ ears.
We know that when you get that crazy assist, it is hard to not scream with joy and celebrate with chat, but we advise that you save your viewers from the earache and avoid this. We suggest you equip the noise gate filter within your streaming software so that if you do go over a certain threshold of noise, your microphone will essentially mute you. This will take a little bit of messing around to get right, but don’t be afraid to test it on stream once or twice with some friends.
You may also notice your favourite streamers are always conscious of moving away from their microphone if they are shouting, and they’re doing this for your benefit. Don’t worry if you get carried away during your first few streams – but soon enough, you will remember to move away from your microphone before shouting too. We promise you, it becomes a habit sooner or later.
2. Do not – we repeat, DO NOT – give away your personal information.
As you’re probably aware, no streamer is advised to ever give out any of their personal information. This includes things as seemingly minor as your name or age. It is a hard rule of Twitch’s community guidelines to not share personal information such as addresses and phone numbers.
This is pretty straightforward, as we are not sure why you would want someone in chat to come and track you down. Regardless, be careful of what you share on stream – you’ll notice that some streamers often avoid personal topics altogether to avoid the risk of this.
3. Do not dress inappropriately.
When you stream, one of your priorities is that you should make yourself comfortable. This includes what you are wearing. Streaming platforms are not a place in which people go for fashion inspiration or inappropriate content, so take note that you’re dressed modestly, yet comfortably, during your streams to not violate any terms of service.
And yes, we know all about that one category on Twitch which some may argue is inappropriate, but this article isn’t here to debate that. We are here to help you get started and a part of that is ensuring you don’t violate any rules before your first stream even ends!
4. Do not respond to harassment or hate negatively.
When someone is being rude or inappropriate in your chat, the last thing you should do is respond to it. If you choose to respond to it, the next to last thing you should do is respond to it negatively. Streaming can act as a cesspit for trolling, and it is best not to rise to it and give those types of individuals a reaction.
Hate and harassment can be troubling but responding to it with anger does not help your stream or your chat. If you find that you experience this, you or a moderator should simply ban that individual, remove their message and move on. If anything, we recommend that you laugh it off. You’re streaming to have fun with those in your chat who enjoy your company, remember?
5. Do not start asking for bigger tips or more subs.
First and foremost, especially as a newbie streamer, you should be streaming for fun. All being well, streaming can be a fun source of income too. However, when it comes to this, do not begin to angle your viewers for bigger donations or more subscriptions, as tempting as it may be.
Ultimately, when a user logs in to the streaming platform you’re using, they are not logging in to donate money or tip someone who isn’t well known. Therefore, it isn’t very impressive – or effective – to ask them to do so. As we keep saying, prioritise that you and your chat are having fun, and ultimately if people wish to support you with a financial gift, then they will do that without you needing to ask!
6. Do not play copyrighted content – particularly music.
It is super easy as a streamer to want to put on your favourite playlist in the background as you wait for a lobby or head for an intermission, but the DMCA says no. This also can include Instagram posts, YouTube videos and everything in between – especially as you grow as a streamer.
Playing a video or a certain song is not worth the copyright battle you could find yourself in, but this doesn’t mean you can’t play music on stream if you want to. Check out our recommendations of DMCA approved and copyright free music in our article here.
7. Do not spend excessive amounts of time doing things on streams that aren’t gaming.
Unless you are specifically streaming something else (and this is reflected in your title i.e. editing or art stream), do not spend copious amounts of time not engaging in gameplay while you stream.
If you need a toilet break or snack break, that is okay. We are all humans and your viewers will understand this. However, it is highly frowned up to spend an hour doing something other than what you promised you would do. This can aggravate your viewers, leading to a decrease in viewership even if it happens just once. So make sure that the time you have put aside to stream a game is dedicated to that game and your experience with chat unless stated otherwise!
8. Do not have a potentially offensive background.
You may not even realise that something in the background of your stream could potentially be seen as offensive. This is why a lot of dedicated and professional streamers will have spaces or rooms specifically for streaming that often have very bare – or specifically stream related – backgrounds.
Some streamers even choose to have no background at all. Any posters or banners can come off offensive sometimes without you even realising it – or some can come across as promotion – which is something also not allowed on certain streaming platforms.
If you can and have the space, it is possible to green screen your entire background so that only you are seen on stream. This is favoured by a lot of streamers, as it is more immersive for viewers as more of the game can be seen. That being said, it is not necessary; and if you don’t use a camera when you stream, this is something you need not worry about at all!
9. Do not intentionally put down other streamers.
As a streamer, you are within your right to critique a game you are playing or have played. It is also an important part of engaging with your viewers, who will undoubtedly have their own opinions on the game too. However, it is not seen as okay to put down or critique other streamers on your platform.
Okay – if Ludwig got arrested tomorrow, you’re probably allowed to criticise him a little bit – but if you begin to slander fellow streamers on your platform without a legitimate reason, it is looked down upon by your viewers.
Your viewers want to have fun with you, so promoting negativity within your streams for no reason can be a dampener for them and result in low viewership. Additionally, if viewers decide they don’t like what you have to say – for example, they are quite the fan of the streamer you’re criticising – they may choose to report you, and this can incur penalties depending on the platform you are using to stream.
10. Do not use certain offensive language or condone it.
You will not often find a streamer who throws around curse words, but some of them do, and while that does not appeal to all viewers, it is okay as a smaller streamer. It is best to not get into the habit of repetitively swearing on stream, however, so that you can cater to a larger audience.
On the other hand, certain languages and terms are banned. I do not think we need to explicitly explain what these terms are, but any words that are seen to be racist, ableist, sexist or along those lines are not permitted on any streaming platform and this is an absolute rule.
A lot of streamers have bots in chat and use their chosen streaming platforms available tools to also ban anyone in their chat from using these words too. As a first-time streamer, you do not need to worry about this too much. Yet, as your channel continues to grow, this is something you may need to consider to combat bots and trolls that sometimes appear and to not run the risk of upsetting any of your viewers.
Ultimately, your stream is your own to do what you want with, but be cautious of violating any terms of services and/or upsetting your viewership. With all that being said and done, the most important aspect of streaming is that you create a safe environment in which you and your viewers can have fun together.
Streaming is a great and versatile opportunity to share your gaming experience with other like-minded individuals and even form lasting friendships, so respect the rules, respect your viewers and most importantly, have fun!