Bacon_Donut Implements A Rating System. Yes This Means There Will Be Swearing.
Published: May 9th, 2016
Read time: 10 minutes
Tags: Charity, Twitch, Gaming
I have a lot to say in order to tell this story fully, so here’s the short version:
Starting May 9th at noon pacific time, my channel will implement a ratings system of three tiers: Kids, Teens, and Adults. Kids will be the default rating, and any time it is changed from that, there will be an on-screen icon indicating it, and it will also be in the title of the stream. Kids is the kind of content that I have always made, appropriate for the whole family. When it is rated Teens you can expect swearing, games that are more violent than Minecraft is, and conversation topics that wouldn’t normally be allowed (Think PG-13 movies). When it is rated Adults, there are no limits other than staying within Twitch Terms of Service. Very explicit language, games, and conversation topics should all be expected. At all times, the chat rules for what is allowed to be said should match the current rating. Yes, this means that if it’s rated Adults, then you can get lewd in the chat. The !ratings command in chat will be kept up to date to give you all of this information also.
Now for the long explanation: My channel has always been family friendly. We have banned countless numbers of people for swearing, and have worked hard to stay clean. From the very beginning of my channel I have been committed to that, and it has been a defining feature of our community. Quite frankly I have been willing to walk away from a lot of opportunities on Twitch in order to stay true to that. That’s all about to change, and ironically it was working with kids that changed my mind. Allow me to explain.
The beginning of the story that led me here begins late last year. I became good friends with a streamer named Tacticalpinup. In the interest of full disclosure, she and I are now dating and though that fact isn’t directly related to this story I didn’t want it to feel like I was dancing around it. Yes, she is my girlfriend now. Yes, she swears a lot on her stream. No, that isn’t why I’m making a rating system.
Just after we connected and started talking a lot she embarked on a 168 hour marathon on her channel (that’s seven days in a row!) to benefit Extra Life, a charity that uses video game play to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. I helped out as much as I could even though I was far away, and I watched in awe has she accomplished big, amazing, miraculous things. She wasn’t yet a partner with twitch and still shattered her original goal of $10k in the first day and a half. She had been averaging 20 or 30 viewers per stream. She had only a few thousand followers. And yet in one short week she and the team she put together, Gamers4Change, raised a whopping $27,000 for Extra Life. She raised more money than some other broadcasters that were ten times her size. In fact, that was more money than I had raised during my entire time as a broadcaster on Twitch, which is approaching 4 years now. In short, she’s a charity super hero.
Watching her passion, and more importantly watching her results, made me see very clearly that I could do a lot more. That I needed to do a lot more. I was quite honestly ashamed of the fact that today I find myself in a position to influence other people as a public figure and I don’t often enough use that to make the world a better place. What a lot of you might not know about me is that I have been actively involved in charitable causes for a big portion of my life. It’s not something I do for recognition, so I rarely talk about it publicly. I always fear that people will think that I’m just talking about it to try to make myself look good or something, but I have contributed both money and time to charities for all of my adult life, and much of my youth as well. I’ve served soup to the homeless, I’ve gone bowling with the blind, I’ve sung songs to invalids in nursing homes, I’ve walked, danced, ran, cooked, refereed, gift wrapped, played, collected and donated. All in an effort to support those in need, or to raise money for organizations that do. It’s important to me, and nearly always has been.
And yet, somehow I got away from it. From charity work in general. Maybe it was the amount of time and commitment that trying to transition from day job to full time streamer became, or perhaps it was the emotional decay caused by my marriage of 15 years that recently fell apart and left big ugly distracting emotional scars. Or both. Or neither. I don’t know. The point is, for whatever reason even though I have done a few charity events here and there, the amount of time that I have spent on charity work has drastically gone down since becoming a Twitch streamer, and I’m not okay with that anymore. Tacticalpinup single–handedly turned my perspective completely around and inspired me to do more and to be more.
After that, I started by doing my best to offer up connections and advice to help Gamers4Change gain momentum and to be able to do more good. What exactly is Gamers4Change? The following explains it very well and is taken from the press release that went out regarding the marathon we are about to do:
Gamers4Change is a group of likeminded streamers who strive to use video games to evoke and inspire positive change all over the world. Founded in 2015 by Twitch streamer Tactical Pinup, the group’s primary goals are to make a positive impact in the gaming industry, dispel some of the negative stigma surrounding the gaming community, and to inspire gamers to think outside of themselves and make the world a better place. In their first year, Gamers4Change was able to inspire individuals to raise over $50,000 for charity, offering support to organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Extra-Life with the Children’s Miracle Network, GameChanger Charity, and many more.
In case there is any confusion, the team is hers. She made it, has poured her soul into it, and has been an amazing leader to encourage a number of streamers to accomplish far more than they thought they would be able to. I encouraged her to create a Twitch team, I connected her to a developer who made a web site for the team. I’ve sent out numerous tweets and emails, talked about it on my broadcast, guested on her streams, and have done a lot of other things that have been useful but…as good as all that is I haven’t done anything big to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and actually make a difference.
This coming week the 168 hour format is making a comeback, but this time on my channel. Committing to this was an incredibly hard decision for me (for reasons which I’ll explain more about shortly) and honestly I probably wouldn’t have committed to do it if it hadn’t been for two specific events that were literally life changing for me. The first was traveling to Orlando for the Extra Life United event where we got to meet the people behind the charity, and meet children who were directly helped by the money that was raised, some of which were fans of our channels. The second was traveling to Memphis Tennessee to tour the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We met patients, staff, and families. We saw where they slept, where they were treated, and where they played. I was forever touched by how how amazing the organization is, and how much they need our help. I’m now driven to action in a way that I haven’t been in a long time.
One of the reasons that the 168 hour format is so successful is that amazing things happens when you sacrifice yourself to push past your limits for a good cause. Your community stretches with you and miracles happen. Often right in the moments where you are the most exhausted and afraid of not being able to go on is when those amazing moments happen. Here’s the hard part though: I’m a family friendly channel. I could probably do a seven day stretch of 12 hour streams, but obviously I can’t be awake for seven days strait. I need help for that. And although there are other family friendly streamers out there, not enough of them are here in Seattle where our event is happening. Just about anyone can be kid friendly for maybe an hour or two, but hardly anyone can do it for the length of a full broadcast. If I just did a set of 12 hour days, I know that I wouldn’t accomplish as much good for St. Jude and we wouldn’t raise nearly as much money. I considered having it on my alt channel, BaconAfterDark, but similarly I knew that it just wouldn’t accomplish as much good for the cause.
More and more it looked like I needed to have the event on my main channel but allow my guests to be able to have more freedom in their content. Anything else would just cripple the amount of good we can do. And if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I knew for a long time that a rating system was the right answer, but it was still very hard for me to. I know that there are parents who have trusted my content for their children, white listed my channel in their parental controls, and in spite of everything that I can do to try to communicate it, there will still be people that will be shocked and feel betrayed by this change. To those people, I’m sorry. I really truly am. I have been in tears more than once as I’ve wrestled with this issue and I’m hoping that in the end the idea of helping St. Jude reach their goal of bringing the overall childhood survival rate for cancer to 90% by the year 2020 will outweigh those negatives. I’ll keep doing my best to communicate to parents and families what kind of content to expect, and we are going to work our tails off next week to raise every dollar we can for St. Jude.
I’m not sure yet to what degree this rating system will be used in the future after this marathon is over. We can talk about that together as a community after we’ve experienced it together. But in the mean time, I hope that you can stop in to the marathon which runs from May 9th at noon Pacific to May 16th at noon Pacific, and that you can show some love to Tacticalpinup on twitch or twitter for being such an amazing example to me. She really does make me a better person.