- Your mods are an extension of you. Choose mods who are responsible, mature, and willing to uphold your ideals.
- Positivity is hollow without enforcement. There should be repercussions for repeated negative behavior. Positivity isn’t weakness. Just because you’re committed to a positive experience doesn’t mean you have to be a walkover. You can vigorously defend your chat from those who would disrupt it.
- Don’t make all your main chatters moderators. 1-2 active, trained moderators is enough to last you well into the hundreds of chatters. Too many mods is as bad as not enough.
- Starting positive is easier than fixing it later. Many starting streamers don’t want to ban anyone because they feel like they need each chatter/subscriber. This is a mistake. Those watching on will be attracted/repelled by how you handle yourself. If you manage to scale the channel up, trying to correct a year down the road will cause a major divide in your audience.
- Establish rules and stick to them. “Don’t be a jerk” may sound like a great rule, but it leaves all enforcement decisions up to personal taste and also relies on the chatters to have common sense. More descriptive rules, such as.. “No links without approval. PG-13 chat.” may get more across to potential chatters.
- A healthy, positive chat talks to each other. You want to foster a community that eventually will self-police (“bro, we’re not like that here”) and will show up in chat to talk to other community members as much as the streamer. Spark discussions that can let the chat have a friendly debate. Introduce chat members to each other. Act not just as the entertainer but also the welcoming host of your community.
- Brag on your community. Positive reinforcement of the good behavior works better than constantly blasting for bad behavior. Make memes about your community. Praise them on Twitter.
- Follow what you preach. If you make jokes on cast that you don’t allow in your chat, this undermines you. If you are strongly anti-harassment and you are seen harassing others on Twitter, this is going against your brand. You established your community but you are also, hopefully, a model citizen of the community you made.
- Communication. “But I talk to them every time I stream”. It’s more than that. Idle chatter isn’t communication. Directly communicate to your community your expectations, your vision, what positive and negative things you’re observing, and what they can expect from you.
- Shared Vision. If you and your community have successfully established trust and communication, open up for feedback after you share your vision for the channel. It’s possible some of the best ideas will come from trusted community members who may even pitch in to offer to help shoulder the burden of new ideas for the channel. This gives them equity in your community and now you are pulling together towards a common goal.
For better or worse, your chat becomes a reflection of you. If you don’t like the reflection shining back at you, you can change it. But you have to be committed to the new directions and sell the vision. Nothing happens overnight. But in the long run, it’ll be so worth it.
Till next time,