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Advice about stream etiquette

Hello, this is my first post and I'm here to ask advice on situations about stream etiquette and some certain situations I've been dealing with in my streams.

I've been getting persons in my stream for a while now that have been upsetting me and off putting the mood of my streams and people are leaving due to this. They come in and basically the first words out of their mouth after hello are about their horrible days and horrible situations going on in their lives. Very off topic and very out of place. Normally if it happens here and there I don't mind too much on it. But these certain people have been coming in every day because I stream every day and it's always one problem after another after another. And it drags on until they get some sort of sympathy out of the people in the chat. They won't listen to reasonable solutions and normally shoot ideas down to help the situations they talk about,and instead they just want sympathy as far as I can tell. 

It's begun to make me very uncomfortable and from the people who leave my chat usually right afterwords or get quiet all of a sudden I feel it's upsetting them too. Reason I'm here is to ask how to deal with this issue without causing basically a flame war or unnecessary drama. I don't want to come off as the "mean artist who bullied someone out of their stream" I'm normally a very tolerant person and usually convey happy and delightful to my customers that come to my streams so everyone feels comfortable and wants to stay. But these certain people are driving them away with the negativity they bring in and I'm at a loss for what to do without sounding inconsiderate or rude.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this situation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

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( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
Approving this because this is a very GOOD topic with the popularity of live streaming and the like.

Edit: my tablet is annoying today.

Edited at 2012-10-22 03:52 pm (UTC)
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the quick approval!
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
I would note them privately out of stream and explain how uncomfortable they are making your other guests, and ask politely if they could try and help keep the atmosphere positive when joining in on the chat. If they continue, I would send them a warning, and if after that they don't get the hint, you should probably block them from the stream.

It's super awkward confronting them, I know from personal experience, but if you point out that it is detrimental to the atmosphere you would like to have in your streams, they'll probably be understanding and keep the whining down. c:
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
I don't stream often, but I've had issues when I have in the past as well, going as far as having someone promote their stream in the chat of mine. What it sounds like you need is a moderator. If it would really interrupt your flow to ask them to try to stay on topic, you need someone else to be the bad guy for you.

If not a moderator, then you need to make it clear yourself that streams are worktime, and that conversations like that are best saved for when you're done.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
I have three topics that are banned from when I used to stream:

personal problems

I usually shot off those off limit topics periodically and informed everyone that the reason they're off topic is to prevent others from feeling uncomfortable, and I wanted my streams to be a place where everyone would feel comfortable and like they weren't being judged. Sometimes, I had to warn people and for the most part, they'd stop. If someone was persistent, I banned them.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - kingcrowned - Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kayla_la - Oct. 22nd, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - china_kitty - Oct. 22nd, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:58 pm (UTC)
Fffff, I HATE it when people do this.
I don't think you're going to get any "peace" from folks looking for attention in that manner.

Don't know if anyone else has a better idea on how to deal with this in a more delicate manner, but to me, as an artist, if these people are driving your customers away, it's time to put your foot down.

You don't have to be an asshole about it, but saying something like

"Listen (Name of Person), I can understand and sympathize that everyone has their bad days throughout their lives. However, my stream is not your personal pity party; My main focus here is to conduct business. I ask that you keep your personal problems out of my stream, please."

It may sound a little blunt, but if these people are driving away your customers...then..yeah.
I feel your pain though; I stream a lot, and I get these folks a lot in my stream, but they're usually snuffed out quickly by my moderators, and it keeps the flow of the chat going.

Edited at 2012-10-22 04:00 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
This is a beautiful solution.
(no subject) - conigliomannaro - Oct. 24th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
I have started simply telling people that I am not a counseling service and if they need help, see a counselor. I know it makes you feel like a horrible person to tell these people to leave, but they're obviously coming to your channel to fish for sympathy and detract from your work environment.

If you'd like, I posted a list of channel rules here for my viewers to peruse: http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/2564547/

Several people have adapted them to suit their own needs and you are welcome to as well.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
I should probably explain my 'bacon' rule though. We noticed that you can derail a conversation by saying 'bacon' five or six times, so when people are getting upset about a conversational topic and tempers are flaring, we call 'bacon' to stop it. It's a way of saying, "Please talk about something else now.".
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cyiakanami - Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
I have a bit of a question, is this a commission stream or just artist goofing around stream? It just seems like it would make a difference to me.

If it's a commission stream, I think you can control the topic more. A mod might be good, just someone to say "We understand you had a rough day, but the focus of this is on the art. Does anyone else have a dragon character (like the one being drawn)?"

If it's more causal, I think you have to put up with it occasionally. If the same person does it time after time it's an issue, but otherwise it's a chat for people to talk in while watching you draw. Let the conversation guide itself (unless going into very uncomfortable territory, like politics and religion). If they do it again, I like the quietly messaging them outside of chat saying "Hey, I understand you're having some problems in your life right now, but we can't do this all the time."

Another thing you can do is try to keep your audience engaged in your art by letting them influence it. For example: Should they wearing a scarf or a hat? It links the chat with the art then rather than just having it exist on the side/to amuse the people watching you. Now of course, you have to either be doing personal art, minor details that the commissioner doesn't care about, or give the commissioner trump card abilities (e.g. Sorry, but Jeff would only wear a scarf, besides, I want his hair to be showing). Another possibility would be offering a buck off or something like that for some stream determined details.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
I agree with this, normally 95% of my streams are business only. And when I do personal art the other times, I do tend to be more laid back, joking ect and goofing off. But they have been coming in to my business streams and acting this way and it's very off putting.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
Before you stream, advertise a set of rules such as no personal problems, no politics, no self promotion etc. That way when you ask them to stop they cant say they didnt know.

If you feel uncomfortable enforcing this or confronting the problematic person, set up a friend you trust to handle it well as a moderator.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
i'm having similar issues with streams. i think that when people hit a chatroom (even a temporary one) they feel the need to sound off about their woes. part of me wonders if it's an attempt to weedle free art out of the artist, because i've also seen people show up and WITHOUT EVEN saying hello immediately request free (and complex) art.

Oct. 23rd, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
I agree here.

I don't get too much in terms of people complaining about their life (Has happened once or twice) but I constantly have one person who comes to streams JUST to say something along the lines of: "You should draw So and So my character" or "You should make a fursuit of My character" and literally asking this for FREE.

I think the problem is that some people think streams just work as a chat, and the artist is more willing to give something away while streaming.
(no subject) - funkicarus - Oct. 23rd, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Oct. 22nd, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
What this comes down to is you're hoping someone will have an answer that will make everyone happy. I don't think there is one, unfortunately.

Either you let one or two people do whatever they want or you don't, and make everyone else happy. I understand being uncomfortable with having to be 'the bad guy' (even though you're not being bad) but if it comes down to 1 person against 20, you're going to want to keep that 20 around.

First, tell the offender(s), "Hey, you're making other people uncomfortable with your personal problems. Do you think you could tone it down? We want people to have fun here. Otherwise I'm going to have to ban you.". Through PM/note or right in the chat, it doesn't matter, but make it very clear. Don't apologize or act like you're doing anything wrong. If they whine or complain, tell them you're sorry they feel that way and you hope they can find another stream that meets their needs, and ban them.

The best outcome is that they get the hint and interact the way they should be with a bunch of strangers, by not rudely piling their personal lives on them without their consent. The worst is that they throw a hissy fit and get banned, and that's not really that bad of an outcome, so.. but it will require you sticking to your guns. Don't give infinite warnings, don't turn a blind eye, etc. There's honestly not much to this problem, it's just working out that fear of making people angry/upset.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 06:54 pm (UTC)
I think ultimately that's my issue is not wanting to make people angry and end up being posted about saying I was a big meany because I didn't care about their issues :/ Seen so many of those happen as of late it's kind of scary sticking up for your self.
But I did set out some rules none the less and will def be posting them before I post my stream link, this way at least I can say they were there, sorry you didn't read.
(no subject) - copper_curls - Oct. 23rd, 2012 02:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 22nd, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
Contact the person via note on FA. Explain to them that while you understand bad days and things that your stream isn't the proper place to bring it up. Give them a warning that if this keeps going that your going to have to ban them for x amount of days and then if it keeps up you'll have no choice but to ban them permently.

It may also help to make a journal containing your stream rules and keep it permantly on your FA account. So that you can link to that every time you stream. If someone is acting against your set rules you can link the rules in chat again and consider that a warning about their behavior. After x amount of warnings have a set of listed punishment that leads into a permanant ban.

Doing things this way keeps you from having to repeat yourself and gives you a guideline that you can use so everyone gets the same treatment so to speak. Remember sometimes people don't realize their behavior is off putting and it is your business that is being effected by their bad behavior. Every person who leaves your stream is kind of like $$$ walking out the door.

Streams aren't therapy offices. Though lately it seems more and more furs are treating them as such. Just be firm and stick to your rules. It sucks to be a hard ass but sometimes you have to do what you have to do if it effects your bottom line and if art is your only pay check it can effect it greatly.

If you have a hard time watching the streams sometimes get a few really good mods that can do it for you. Just give them a guideline set of rules to work with. So that they aren't just acting on their own accord and have something to back up removing a trouble maker.

Good luck.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
Do you have a close friend or s/o that regularly attends your streams?

I would suggest appointing them as mods and set the ground rules to them and your viewers about the stream rules. From what I've gathered, it's a good idea to keep religion, politics, self-promotion, role-play or any controversial/inappropriate topics out of the chat. From there your mod can monitor it and remind people to stop it, and I think some providers let mods clear messages.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
I am echoing others about setting up the rules and having other people help you moderate the chat room. Some topics do make a lot of people uncomfortable about it, so it's a good idea to keep them out of the chat.

As someone who will be going back to live streaming, I also have a problem with a certain someone who constantly was still holding an obsessive grudge against me. I'll keep in mind to tell my mods to keep an eye out for him.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
Because it's been an obvious problem, kindly note them privately telling them in the shortest, sweetest way possible that her behavior is a problem in the stream. Don't make it long. Don't go into detail. Just leave it at that.

If she does it again, give her a warning note and put her on notice. Don't explain yourself again.

If she continues a third time, simply ban her from the stream for the day. Don't make it permanent as she's not doing anything heinous. If she then asks via note why, do another short and simple explanation. You asked her to refrain and she didn't, so that was the punishment.

If they do it again. Permanent ban. Though I doubt following an easy system they'd do it again. I'd think they'd shape up by step 2.

Somebody made a great suggestion by saying a random word to diffuse the situation. Another good idea is to simply have them ignore the person causing the problem so it doesn't escalate and cause people to leave. Set your followers up to diffuse uncomfortable situations, too. That way it makes the stress on your end less.
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