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Informatics Professor Bonnie Ruberg received a Council on Research, Computing and Libraries (CORCL) grant to support her study of the challenges that female and LGBTQ gamers face when livestreaming on sites such as Twitch.

“Top livestreamers accrue hundreds of thousands of viewers, making livestreamers some of the most public faces in games today,” explains Ruberg in her grant proposal. Diversifying the face of gaming thus requires encouraging more people to livestream, but female and LGBTQ streamers “commonly report being the targets of sexist and homophobic comments made in the viewer comment threads,” says Ruberg.

Working with informatics Ph.D. students Kat Brewster, Amanda Cullen and Kat Lo, Ruberg is currently surveying existing research on the experiences of women and LGBTQ people in livestreaming. In the spring, the team will design and collect data for survey- and interview-based research with diverse livestreamers. Funding from the CORCL grant will cover a $3,000 stipend for one of the Ph.D. student researchers to analyze the interview data over the summer and begin drafting an article to report on the findings. The team will then be better prepared to finalize the project in the fall of 2018 and share the results with the larger academic and gaming communities.

— Shani Murray