Twitch has removed the “blind playthrough” tag on gaming streams due to criticism that the tag was “ableist.” Twitch’s director of community and creator marketing Erin “Aureylian” Wayne tweeted the news over the weekend.
Happy to see Twitch has listened to everyone who shared feedback and removed the “Blind Playthrough” tag to encourage more inclusive language for our community.
You can still use “First Playthrough” or opt to use it in combination with "No Spoilers" for the same sentiment. 💜
— Aureylian △⃒⃘ (@aureylian) December 4, 2020
Streamers often use the term “blind playthrough” to designate their first time ever playing a game. The “blind” would refer to the fact that the streamer wouldn’t have prior knowledge of the game, including the story, mechanics, controls, etc. Wayne suggested that streamers call these playthroughs “first playthroughs” instead of using the term “blind.”
As expected, this news has had a mixed reaction. Many were demanding to know who provided this kind of feedback, as the announcement floored them.
This world needs a big ass reset.
Wtf is it even coming to at this point.
Can we just ban everything then so no one can get offended ?
Ban speedruns tag for peeps who are movement impaired then aswell,that's how it sounds to me.
This is so cringe i physically feel it holy fuck
— Yano (@yano_ultima) December 5, 2020
Hi, to respond to this – I'm a blind streamer who uses twitch and was not asked for feedback, I am not offended by blind playthrough but I AM offended that this is giving false narrative to blind/VI people, once again we are being overlooked and words are being put in mouths
— Sugarplum Clarey 🎄🎀 (@ItsClareyVR) December 5, 2020
That last tweet above adds some doubt as to the reasons why Twitch has done this. When asked why the term could be problematic, Wayne pointed to a series of tweets from AbleGamers COO Steve Spohn.
“Ableist language is inserting a disability in place of a negative word,” Spohn explained. “Just as we used to say ‘gay’ when something was bad, using disability terms as an alternate word for a negative situation or feeling is common in today’s language.”
“‘Blind play through’ or ‘going in blind’ can easily be replaced by saying, ‘No spoilers play through’ or ‘Undiscovered’ or ‘first’ (if it is your first),” he continued. “A blind playthrough would be to turn your monitor off, and that’s not what most mean.”
Another visually impaired Twitter user offered yet another perspective on the matter. Michael O’Connor said that “The word doesn’t affect me. Actions are what harm people. Twitch’s action here are lip service. Trying to look good without having to do anything… like implementing actual accessibility tools for visual impaired people. By Twitch’s own logic, their own name is ableist.”
Of course, removing the tag doesn’t mean that Twitch streamers will remove the term “blind playthrough” from their own language or even the titles of their streams. Time will tell if Twitch decides to ban using “blind playthrough” for stream titles as well.