Inclusive Spaces in Online Gaming
Studying how marginalized folks and allies create safe communities while streaming.
An Ethnography of the Exceptional
Gaming is a historically toxic environment for women, people of color, disabled and LGBTQ+ folks. But on Twitch, minority streamers and their allies are creating safe spaces for their communities and keeping the trolls at bay. Inspired by their achievements, we launched an in-depth study to learn more about the inclusive streamers behind this growing movement.
Ready, Set, Watch!
In December 2017 we began surveying Twitch for examples of diversity and inclusivity. We noted that beyond playing the first person shooter games popular in esports, many of the inclusive streamers were speedrunning Nintendo and retro games, often in an effort to raise money for charity.

Intrigued, we spent hundreds of hours observing individual streamers, group events and community competitions, all in an effort to truly understand these folks before taking the next step.
Nescathalon on Twitch
Interviews on (Virtual) Location
After 9 months of observation, we started inviting streamers to join our study. And since we like to approach people on their home turf, that meant using Discord—a text and voice chat with millions of users that most non-gamers have never tried.

Speaking to participants using their video chat app of choice, and capturing our conversations with the same Open Broadcaster Software they use to stream, helps us immerse ourselves in the perspectives of the folks we're trying to learn from.
Chatting in Discord
Research in Progress
We began interviews in September 2018 and will continue throughout 2019. Though we're reaching out directly to marginalized folks and their allies who stream on Twitch, we also invite those who are interested in joining to let us know.

Once the study concludes we will publish a final report. Until then, we'll be reflecting on our preliminary findings in a series of articles and public talks. Just drop an email if you'd like us to give a lecture on inclusive streamers & gaming at your org!