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Lately we’ve been thinking a lot about how to empower streamers to create a chat experience that best fits their community. We started with some small tweaks like custom chat rules and chat delay. And we ended the year with insanely powerful AutoMod which automatically holds risky messages for moderator review. Now we are excited to announce a defensive measure against a sudden influx of rabble-rousers who disrupt chat: Followers-Only Mode.
Followers-Only Mode restricts chat to only include viewers who have followed you for a specific amount of time. For example if you set Followers-Only to ten minutes, in order to chat a viewer must have been following for ten minutes. Simple no?
To enable Followers-Only you or your mod can use the chat command “/followers” or click the chat settings cogwheel. For more info check out our handy help article.
Here’s where things get interesting. We created an experiment to determine how chat is affected immediately after enabling Followers-Only Mode. While doing so we kinda, um, accidentally put it on by default for everyone…
What I mean by that we…launched a totally on purpose viral marketing campaign!!!
We took a look at channels that used Followers-Only (intentionally), and we observed that in the 10 minutes after turning it on:
1. Moderator actions sharply decreased. Less toxic chat!
2. Follows went way up.
3. No measurable change in viewership.
Now before you run and enable Followers-Only and leave it on for forever, remember this experiment was testing short term use. Using Followers-Only for a long stretch of time might be fine but we can’t say for certain how that will affect your chat.
Why would I want to restrict chat? Isn’t Twitch about FREEEEEEDOM?
We love freedom, but for some people freedom means the freedom to be jerks. And oftentimes those jerks aren’t members of your community, and they don’t want to be; they’re just showing up to bother you. So you’re free to stop them. You’re the streamer and this is your house, and no one is free to barge in and poop all over the floor.
So restricting chat is great and I should do it all the time!
Whoa there, quickdraw. Followers-Only is very new, and we’re not sure yet what the effect is on communities that use it all the time. Maybe it’s great! But we’re confident that there are nice people out there who aren’t your followers and would like to say hi. We recommend using it when you need it.
Can I use Followers-Only Mode to beg for follows?
Well, yes. But no one likes a beggar. Just be your entertaining self and the follows will, uh, follow.
I don’t have many followers, can I still use Followers-Only Mode?
Yes! If you have a need for it, try making the follow-time requirement low, like under 10 minutes, down to 1 minute. Even 0-minute Follower-Only (i.e., chat immediately after following) has been effective for removing bad behavior from chat. It’s a tool, and it’s there if you need it.
Won’t Followers-Only Mode kill raids?
Yes, whether they have good intentions or not. We’re working on a fix to allow welcome raiders to spam their little hearts out. If you see a host come in from a streamer you know and like, turn off Followers-Only for a bit. If the raiders aren’t behaving themselves, turn it back on.