Twitch makes blocking and banning more powerful, adds new mod tools

(Image credit: Twitch)

One of the few constants in life is that Twitch chat is a mess. Circumstances and intensity will vary, but sooner or later somebody's going to stroll in, say something wildly offensive, and then refuse to go away quietly. One way to avoid it, as I do, is to simply close the chat window the moment you enter a stream. But that's not really an option for viewers looking for a community, nor does it do any good for streamers who want to build one.

Late last week, Twitch quietly announced a few changes to its systems that will hopefully cut back on the nonsense. Instead of simply being silenced, users who are blocked will also be removed from your followers, while a channel ban will remove them from the channel list completely. Twitch clarified in a separate tweet that banned users will not be visible to anyone in the channel, nor will they be able to see any of the ongoing chat—they'll be completely cut off. 

Blocked users will get a similar treatment: They won't be able refollow or whisper to people who have blocked them, or send friend requests, host their streams, or purchase gift subs.

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As noticed by N3rdfusion CMO Devin Nash (via Kotaku), Twitch has also taken steps to crack down on ban evasions by shadowbanning IPs of banned users. That means messages posted by alt accounts created by banned users won't actually be seen by anyone else—and evading IP bans is a lot more work.

Twitch also unveiled a new "Mod View" for channel moderators yesterday, which promises to simply the lives of people responsible for keeping chat channels reasonably clean and functional. Command-based mod functionality has been replaced by standalone widgets that can be moved and resized to best fit each user's needs. Infrequently-used widgets can also be docked, and there's a dedicated space for moderators to find and examine user details and history.

It's not easy being a community moderator: There will always be people determined to cause trouble, and they will always figure out ways to do it, so anything that can simplify the task of keeping a lid on things is a welcome change. Twitch said that more widgets and improvements to the new AutoMod function are in the works.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.