Alum Bo Ruberg at FDG 2019

11 Aug, 2019

Alum Bo Ruberg at FDG 2019

Bo Ruberg will present with co-author Amanda Cullen "Necklines and ‘Naughty Bits’: Constructing and Regulating Bodies in Live Streaming Community Guidelines" in the Games and Culture Track of Foundations of Digital Games 2019 on Thursday, August 29th.

Foundations of Digital Games is a major international "big tent" academic conference dedicated to exploring the latest research in all aspects of digital games. FDG 2019 is held in cooperation with ACM and ACM SIG AI, SIGGRAPH and SIGCHI. The 2019 theme is “building blocks”. The phrase can be parsed in multiple ways and lends itself to an interesting play on concepts, with tie-ins to game assets, game studies, game design, game AI and architecture.

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From the abstract:

This paper performs a qualitative analysis of the community guidelines of video game live streaming platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and Caffeine. Live streaming is becoming an increasingly prominent part of the contemporary landscape around video games, game cultures, and the games industry [34]. Recent research into video game live streaming has explored its financial structures [18], its potential as a platform for self-expression [10], and its novel affordances for communication [12]. However, community guidelines also play a significant, behind-the-scenes role in shaping live streaming practices. These guidelines, which shift over time in response to controversies and changing notions of acceptable behavior, set standards for what types of content can be streamed and how streamers present themselves on-camera. Here we assemble, compare, and interpret the community guidelines of a number of top live streaming sites. Our focus is on how these guidelines construct and regulate "legitimate" bodies - both the bodies of streamers and the bodies of in-game characters - especially the sexualized bodies of women. In varying ways, each set of community guidelines attempts to establish rules for how women's bodies may or may not be presented on screen. Often these guidelines measure and quantify the body, for example by dictating precisely how high the neckline of a streamer's shirt must be. Through our analysis, we articulate the unspoken yet active cultural work performed by these community guidelines, which try yet ultimately fail to render a definition of the sexualized body in precise, concrete terms. This research also offers new insights into larger issues of video games and gender. It points toward anxieties about the visibility of women's bodies in gaming spaces and demonstrates that, although live streaming platforms like Twitch present their community guidelines as tools for protecting their community members, these same guidelines often enact the further marginalization of women and other diverse streamers.

Plus, you can read the amazing article here!