is this a real thing or is this an urban legend

bc i definitely had this thought before but i didn't think anyone else had

actually! i know this isn't true because when you stream to zero viewers, your little preview on the dashboard counts as one viewer, and it's muted by default

though i wonder if more complicated viewer count heuristics kick in once you get out of the sub-10 viewer count zone. which i do not

well 20 minutes of investigation did not uncover a tracker flag that changes when a stream is muted (which honestly surprises me) so unless it's obfuscated somewhere in requests to video-edge-* or video-weaver-*, i dont think they care

twitch sleuthing 

i don't like that i cant definitely say "they are not doing this" because there are half a dozen ways they could obfuscate it, but the only things going out after initial load are
1) beacons to scorecardresearch
2) gql queries refreshing presence, stream id, stream tags, stream access token
3) pings (and chat) on the chat websocket
4) pings on the pubsub websocket
5) HLS requests

none of them have anything that changes when muting or unmuting

twitch sleuthing 

youd think the scorecardresearch beacons would be the most obvious culprit but if they were then twitch wouldn't count any viewers using some form of tracker blocker. also i doubt they'd get near real time numbers like they do

anyway the only thing in there that seems to change ever after the page is done loading, regardless of muting status, are a bunch of monotonically increasing timers, i assume counting time on page

twitch sleuthing 

in the end i think the worry is that they *can* do this. i am fairly confident that they're not doing this, to me and my browser at least, but nothing stops them from flipping a switch one day to make a muted player add a new flag in hls traffic (which i suspect is where they are doing their beancounting) so that it is ignored in counting

twitch sleuthing 

and they can do this quietly. they could keep the public numbers unchanged, including muted players, but take the muted status into account when deciding which streams bubble up to the front page


I swear I did not spend two and a half hours looking at captured traffic I just get distracted easily by things like "lunch" or "funny video"

@codl read this sentence twice before I realized you weren't distracted by a video of lunch

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