If you’ve ever streamed a game on Twitch or been a part of the Twitch moderating community, you know that keeping chat clean is no easy task during a broadcast. Trolls will often come by for the sole purpose of posting spoilers, using profane language, or consistently spamming emotes in chat to completely ruin the experience for everyone else. Broadcasters often try to keep chat clean themselves by using automated bots, certain restrictions on viewer accounts, or recruiting moderators to handle things. Now Twitch has their own answer to toxicity, and it’s a good one.

AutoMod is essentially a built-in tool aimed at broadcasters who are looking to maintain a steady level of control over chat to promote a great community and friendly environment for viewers. Instead of requiring a whole list of words or specific values to filter like other popular automated bots such as Moobot or Nightbot, AutoMod is a simply a preprogrammed shield with four levels of protection to choose from.

Rule 1: A Little Moderation (light filtering of identity language relating to race, religion, etc.).

Rule 2: Some Moderation (light filtering of identity language, sexually explicit language, and aggressive language).

Rule 3: More Moderation (heavy filtering of identity language, sexually explicit language, and aggressive language).

Rule 4: A Lot of Moderation (extreme filtering of identity language, sexually explicit language, aggressive language, and curse words you probably would say in front of grandma).

When activated from the settings page of your Twitch account, AutoMod will prompt you to select one of the four rulesets you want it to abide by while monitoring your chat. If it flags a message from a viewer based on the restrictions put into play, the original sender will be notified and all the moderators present in chat will have a chance to review the message. They can then allow or deny permission for the flagged message to appear in chat on a case-by-case basis, which effectively prevents unwanted discussion from flooding the chat.

During my time with AutoMod as a broadcaster, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how effective it is at flagging messages using the lighter filter (Rule 1) I set as active. Many of my regulars weren’t fans at first, but as we started to get used to the feature, it began to save us from many of the regular trolls who abuse chat for a laugh or two. The best part? My viewers didn’t even see them before my moderators and I reviewed and dealt with them.

It’s worth noting that AutoMod does require a certain level of commitment from your channel moderators to operate efficiently, namely because of the message approval process it uses to filter chat. Without monitoring it yourself or having moderators present to manage incoming messages, you’ll find that it doesn’t really serve its purpose at all.

If combined with a personal chat bot and your moderators, AutoMod can be one hell of a tool. It’s worth checking out if youre looking to promote an active, healthy community on Twitch free of harassment, but only as part of a balanced diet of moderation complete with humans behind the wheel.

Photos via Twitch, Flickr / Dboybaker