It’s summer in the hot tub and everyone has an opinion. This week, for example, the biggest streamer on Twitch, Félix “xQc” Lengyel, Whirlpool streams called “garbage” say they are “the most pathetic thing we’ve seen on Twitch in ages” and request that they be removed from the front page. It was the latest in a long line of similar opinions by names big and small to trace back to them when the hot tub currents popped off for the first time March. However, according to hot tub streamers, like any other, this trend is already back from its peak.
Hot tub streams, in which streamers sit in hot tubs and chat with their audience in bathing suits, don’t break Twitch’s rules. Nevertheless, much of the surrounding discourse has focused on what women are allowed to wear in the stream and what not. Viral tweets, some of which weren’t even meant to be criticism, have attracted hordes of angry followers who feel that streamers are somehow undermining Twitch’s rules in the name of promoting sexual content. Others have raised concerns that these shows are stealing viewers from more deserving streamers. Arguments against whirlpool streams span the entire bandwidth Classics that have been armed against women in the past.
“This Whirlpool meta is like a Twitch Rorschach test” Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa, who participated in the Whirlpool meta and is one of the most popular female streamers on Twitch, said Kotaku in an email. “People extrapolate their own agenda onto the meta. There are two recurring topics that people come back to: 1) Twitch is for Gaming or 2) Twitch is unfair to male streamers – alternatively, Twitch is more lenient towards female streamers. “
Particularly noteworthy is Lengyel’s focus on Twitch’s front page. Many other Twitch streamers and viewers have made similar claims –that Twitch is in terrible shapeand the evidence of this is as clear as a sunny day once you open the site. However, if you check the Twitch front page or the Chat Just directory (which is where most Whirlpool streams occur) at any point, you’ll often only find a small handful of the 100 most watched streams – sometimes just one or two. Despite discussions to the c ontrary, the trend does not seem to have taken over Twitch.
There are many reasons for that. One is that the most popular hot tub streamers don’t just sit in bubbling vats all day and slowly turn into shriveled plum people.
“Personally, I only do hot tub streams about once a week on Saturdays, with the exception of the occasional weekday.” XoAeriel, who says she functionally invented the current meta of the hot tub by being the first streamer to use an inflatable hot tub, said Kotaku
“I’ve been on this platform for over 3.5 years and made games, but my main thing is hula hoop dancing and cosplay.” Spoopy puttysaid another streamer who grew in popularity thanks to whirlpool streams Kotaku in a DM. “I’ve gotten hateful comments from all of this. Some people will find a reason to tear you down. Just do it, can’t make everyone happy. “
The other reason Twitch doesn’t drown in hot tub torrents, according to some who have benefited from doing some themselves, is that the gold rush is already over.
“I actually think that whirlpool streams are a little oversaturated,” said XoAeriel. “I saw a dramatic drop in viewership recently with so many girls in the hot tub. In a way, I think it’s just less unique now. “
“Whirlpool currents are slowly but surely dying off.” Firedancersaid one streamer who has grown more modestly because of the meta Kotaku in a DM. “The numbers are not as high as with smaller streamers like me, but I still like to do them.”
That is not to be underestimated the extent to which some streamers have benefited from spending a few hours in the tub here and there. Since the end of March, Siragusa has gained almost 500,000 followers. Indiefoxx, the second largest streamer that regularly pours out of a hot tub, has won nearly 300,000 – though she said during a stream recently that she is tired of spending so much time in a hot tub. Others like Spoopy Kitt and XoAeriel haven’t made such big leaps, but they have still drawn tens of thousands of new viewers in just a few months.
Streamers are also finding ways to keep tub time interesting. Siragusa for example now hosts a podcast in which she and other participants – like comedic streamers CodeMiko and PaymoneyWubby – all slap out of their own whirlpools, inflatable, virtual or otherwise.
So Siragusa, who pride themselves on being data-driven and adaptable, believes there is still wind left in the sales of the Whirlpool meta, and she believes that contrary to popular belief, Twitch is doing more good than bad.
“The data shows that some of the viewers stay for games and other activities,” she said. “I can play games or just talk to 10,000 at the same time with my chat at my desk [viewers] these days. I imagine internally that Twitch is seeing a huge surge / influx of people coming from outside the platform, people who are likely to become returning users. Marketing like this is hard to buy. The meta creates a lot of mindshare and arouses people’s curiosity. I think the narrative that it “takes the viewers away from other creators” is wrong, and the girls who get into hot tubbing are doing the yeoman’s job of enlarging the overall viewer pie. “
Despite complaints that women have an easier time on Twitch than men, the negative sentiment surrounding hot tub streams certainly creates one thing that makes their lives harder: harassment.
“Because so much attention was paid to the hot tub streams, the nuisance has increased dramatically,” said Firedancer. “People jump on culture trends, and while these types of streams are fun and don’t violate any rules, some viewers and other streamers can’t just roll by without giving their opinion. Some viewers have become very toxic in the past few weeks. “
XoAeriel said she was trying to ignore the harassment she now gets “a lot” of, while Spoopy Kitt thanked her moderators, “the true unsung heroes of Twitch,” who protect her from some of them.
“I learned to just roll with it in terms of the toxic side of Twitch popularity,” Siragusa said. “I have seen much more conservative (in terms of clothing or behavior) female broadcasters who experience inappropriate hatred or sexual harassment regardless.”
So Siragusa can’t help but view the entire premise of people’s visceral response to hot tub currents – that women receive preferential treatment on Twitch – as flawed.
“I don’t think girls are overall better treated than streamers in terms of enforcing moderation,” she said. “That is a very unpopular opinion, but I think a lot of the perceived asymmetry is caused by Twitch not disclosing the reason they take enforcement action against a streamer. Social media loves to talk about topics when there is incomplete information. ”
Twitch’s lack of visibility is what caused Streamer and the company countless headaches over the years– Again (again) contrary to popular belief in the case of whirlpool streams. While a streamer, Imjasmine, recently was suspended Indiefoxx was banned earlier this month for a fairly definite cloakroom malfunction when streaming from a hot tub, not for streaming from a hot tub but for “selling Twitch services or features,” a breach of which they could not determine the origin. She ended consider the exposure “excessive”.
While many streamers and viewers would like Twitch to handle the symptoms of its transparency problem with even stricter rules, Siragusa believes the real solution is to have authentic, consistent transparency from Twitch.
“While we hypothetically admitted that female streamers are more lenient, I always find it amusing that people argue so hard for it to be Twitch More strict about his [terms of service] rather than less, ”she said. “When two people are perceived as violating the same rule and one person receives a ‘lesser sentence’, there is so much more talk of the person with the shorter suspension being banned for ‘longer’. Twitch is already much stricter than YouTube, for example, when it comes to content moderation. I think that in cases where there seems to be ambiguity or inequalities in the enforcement of ToS, it would be far more constructive if the community would band together behind the more lenient enforcement / ToS interpretation. But I don’t think that’s how the internet works. ”