Breakup with DLive

DLive Icon

So, here’s the thing. I’ve been digging again.

It started when there was an announcement about DLive changing its cryptocurrency payouts to direct money toward development. My first response, like many I’ve seen in the official Discord server, was, great! More bugs will get addressed, and we’ll see the platform move toward feature parity with the likes of Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming. (Rest in peace, Mixer.) On its surface, this seems like a good move.

My brain, being the way it is, wasn’t satisfied. I wondered if this was related to the other changes that had made the move to DLive possible for me. I did what I usually do first – I went to Wikipedia to find out who owns the company now.

DLive Wikipedia article

So, according to that, because I stream on DLive, I am likely to be a white supremacist or some other form of extremist. My heart sank, and my face went numb. This is what people see when they start looking up info, this is what they’ll see when they look up the platform that I stream on. How am I supposed to build a community on that?

Also, I discovered that DLive had been acquired by Bittorent. Well, that’s cool, I guess. I use that protocol to share Linux distros and other open source software. PeerTube uses the protocol to distribute the load of playing videos. Wait, what was this TRON.network stuff? The hell is that?

Bittorrent acquired by TRON

Okay, one more corporate level up. DLive has gone from an apparently independent platform to several levels of corporation. But what was TRON.network about anyway? An operating system on BLOCKCHAIN! CRYPTOCURRENCY! The company was linked to a Ponzi scheme! Accusations of plagiarism! The top ownership chain seems to be the TRON foundation, a non-profit in Singapore.

While looking all of this up, it was impossible to avoid all of the business hype around Justin Sun, the founder of TRON.network. Hell, he’d been mentioned repeatedly in DLive’s Discord as if they expected him to be personally driving the improvements to the platform. I haven’t done due diligence on him, so I’m not going to form an opinion.

Let’s get back to streaming on DLive

  • As far as Wikipedia is concerned, it’s still a haven for white supremacists and extremists.
  • Not only is the shady cryptocurrency and blockchain nonsense not gone, it’s back in full force.
  • It’s no longer an independent platform, and now has multiple layers of American and international corporation.

SIGH.

A good friend said that I should finally realize that all tech platforms are evil, or report up the chain to evil. I considered, just for a moment, giving up. Just, no longer streaming, and putting that focus back to writing.

Then, I thought, maybe I should build my own platform. Until that happens, you can find me back on Twitch, on the same schedule as always.

Platform Divisiveness

DLive Icon

The platform that I’ve moved my stream to is known for its viewership listing to the alt-right. A lot of history, from it being layered on top of a cryptocurrency, to it courting PewDiePie as its “face”, has built that reputation up over time.

When I chose to move to DLive from Twitch, I focused on the strides that the platform had made in recent years. Abandoning the shady cryptocurrency as its foundation, no longer hosting the Pewds, implementing banning, clearing up its Terms of Service, etc. I could move there with a fairly clear conscience.

But, as was pointed out to me this week, being straight, white, and cis, I was never going to be made specifically unwelcome. BIPOC streamers, LGBTQ+ streamers… I get the distinct impression that there is still a large part of the viewership that would try to run them off.

No, I don’t have proof. But, when I’m in a laid-back streamer’s channel, and chat starts throwing out “SJW”, “snowflakes”, “owning the libtards”, and the streamer just chuckles along, the impression is made.

So, I’m on the hunt for DLive streamers that call out awful behavior when they see it, for streamers that care about people being treated with respect, for streamers that give a shit. If you know of any, or have any suggestions on how to find them, please leave me a comment.

As I say on stream, you’re awesome, and you’ve got this.

Breakup with Twitch

Twitch is back to doing Twitch things. What now, you ask? So, so much. Instead of the usual one at a time, they’ve gone all in on poor decision making. Let’s look at the three that irritate me the most.

Mid-Stream Commercials

They’ve been testing “mid-roll” ads. These are video advertisements that interrupt the streamer’s content, sending it into a muted picture-in-picture window in the upper corner of the stream. Now, the “pre-roll” (as you enter stream) ads are bad enough. You can’t skip them, you can’t provide feedback on them, and they certainly don’t earn you any Bits. If you were a paid member of Twitch Prime, their paid premium membership, you didn’t see any ads. NO MORE! Now, you get free games (that I don’t want) or in-game cosmetics (that I rarely want), and you see “pre-roll” ads like anybody else. Unless you’ve subscribed to that streamer. Confused yet? Welcome to Twitch.

Oh, and be sure that it’ll change again soon, with little to no notice. So, let me try to break this down a little bit, as I understand it.

For the pre-roll ads, Twitch’s logic was that it supported the streamer, because the desire to avoid ads would encourage people to purchase paid subscriptions to their favorite streamers.

  • Did they provide streamers the option to enable and disable pre-roll ads, so they could decide whether their viewers should have their eyeballs held hostage? Nope.
  • Did they provide the Twitch Prime members the choice between ad-free viewing and games/cosmetics? Nope.

So, big changes in the way paid memberships and ads work, no community input from Affiliates, streamers, or viewers. Very little notice. No response to consistent feedback of “We don’t want this!”

Now, it appears they’ve learned the smallest lesson from their last change. Let’s break down the recent mid-roll testing, as I understand it.

The bad:

  • No communication to Affiliates, streamers, or viewers until the day of.
  • Interrupting streamers’ content (what brings the eyeballs to the ads in the first place), shrinking it, and muting it.

The good:

  • The massive negative response on Twitter was recorded – responses were tallied.
  • An after-the-fact opinion poll was taken – responses were tallied.
  • There wasn’t any attempt to spin this as good for the streamer or their community.

Music Player

Twitch is rolling out their own music player for streamers. It’s guaranteed to be safe from copyright claims, much like Pretzel.rocks. However, instead of paying the labels and the artists their due, they are using legal loopholes to completely avoid paying for using and broadcasting the musicians’ work. Completely unlike Pretzel. This would be a normal corporate move, except that Twitch is part of Amazon, which has already built an entire infrastructure and application suite for legally playing music, keeping track of which artist, which album, and which song were played, and for what purpose.

Presenting a Twitch-branded player for in-stream music that purposefully works around paying the artists what they’re due is despicable.

Small Raids

Small streams are the norm. From my understanding, they are over 85% of the streams that run on Twitch. And when I say small, I mean 10 viewers or less. If one of these streamers, like myself, wants to send their viewers to another streamer at the end of their stream, they use a Twitch command called “raid”. This sends your viewers to the other stream, and sends a notification to that streamer. Many of us like to celebrate being raided, thanking the streamer for sending us their viewers, and welcoming them all to the community. Often, people will raid others playing the same game, or others that they know will treat their viewers well.

Twitch has stopped sending raid notifications for five or less viewers. This means that for the vast majority of raids, streamers are blind to the gesture, and to the people that have suddenly joined their viewership. That welcome, and that fostering of community, is no longer part of the Twitch experience.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Twitch is going the way YouTube did, and there’s no reason to stick around for it. I’ll be moving my stream to DLive starting Monday, so you’ll be able to catch it here on my usual schedule – Monday and Wednesday at 9PM Eastern, and one day on the weekend.

So long, Twitch.

Goodbye, digestive system.

I think, in retrospect, this might be one of the things I look back on fondly, but wonder what, really, WHAT, was I thinking? This Saturday, at 3PM Eastern time, I will be participating in a Hot Ones-inspired wing challenge, with good friends and streamers.

If you’d like to see me suffer, tune in either at my Twitch channel or Zeb’s. It’ll be good times! (Face melting not guaranteed!)