MMO Mechanics: The Fair Play Alliance and mechanising fairness

News of over 30 gaming companies taking a united stand against unfairness and toxicity in online game communities sprung out of GDC 2018 a few days ago, with some rather surprising company names making the list of those involved. The issue of toxic behaviour is a tough nut to crack, and these companies believe that the best way to tackle the issue is by pooling research and resources to share knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. It’s an interesting and complex idea that has got me thinking, so I just had to take up an issue of MMO Mechanics to discuss the potential implications for MMOs and near-MMOs.

In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll look at the mission of the Fair Play Alliance, discuss the ground they’ve covered so far, explore a case study of how toxicity affects one involved MMO developer, and then will give my thoughts on mechanical rollouts that could be employed to help smash toxicity.

All about the Fair Play Alliance

The Fair Play Alliance has a simple mission statement: It is a coalition of companies that are both committed to developing quality games that are free of harassment, abuse, and discrimination and also are healthy communities that encourage fair play and self-expression. At GDC, the first Fair Play Summit happened on Wednesday 21 March, and I was thoroughly impressed with the breadth of the topics covered in this first rotation of their work. Dr Kimberly Voll of Riot Games led the keynote and also gave an interview to Kotaku to discuss the rationale behind the movement in more detail, which is a great read if you’re curious as to the roots of combating toxicity in online games. Voll is both humbled by the failures Riot has faced when dealing with toxicity and optimistic about the changes a collaborative effort could make to the industry.

When I initially saw Riot, CCP Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and Epic Games on a list of companies interested in encouraging toxicity-free gaming, I have to be entirely honest and admit that my eyebrows hit the roof: Some of these companies have obviously produced games that are the worst offenders when it comes to toxicity and the methods employed to deal with them haven’t been particularly effective historically. After my initial thoughts, however, I got to grips with the fact that these are the very companies that have the potential to make the most difference: Each of them has endured a large amount of public scrutiny because of their products’ reputations as toxic games and each has produced various statistics that show the knock-on effect toxic exchanges have on their community.

One of the most impressive goals of the Fair Play Alliance is to create a consistently applied set of community management and anti-toxicity rules that can be rolled out to all involved companies, and this is where I have taken an MMO Mechanics interest in the alliance’s plans. Aside from the more broad-spectrum keynote I’ve already mentioned, one particular talk stood out to me: Speakers from Two Hat Security, Kabam, Blizzard, Supercell, and Epic Games came together to deliver a thought-provoking presentation on Player Behaviour by Game Design that focused on the mechanics that influence and structure player behaviour in-game.

Romantic?A case study in toxicity: EVE Online

Brendan Drain will forever tell the tale of EVE‘s historic entrenchment in toxic behaviour better than I can so I urge you to read his article on the matter, but I’ll take some time to get to the bare bones and will highlight how mechanical intervention could help CCP tackle the issue. In broad strokes, CCP has drastically changed how it deals with toxicity in its community and is far more willing to intervene than it was at its inception in 2003. As the internet has begun to become less about anonymity and griefing mechanics have become outmoded, the excuse of in-game exchanges not being real and griefing being just another part of the gameplay has been dashed in modernity, and companies have had to adapt to player thought on the matter in their policies.

Ganking, scamming, stealing, and killing were all commonplace in EVE and trolling was seen as totally acceptable, but the internet culture has changed dramatically and dangerously since then: Mental health has suffered and access to people’s real-world space, including their personal address, has become so much easier, so threats and trolling have an absolutely tangible effect on the real-world space that goes beyond in-game shenanigans and making fun. When you insult that avatar, blow up their ships, and tell them to go die if they don’t like it, we now understand fairly universally that you’re having an effect on an actual person behind a screen who internalises those words and actions. As our in-game worlds get more realistic and our mechanics become so sophisticated that an in-game society with rules and expectations forms, it stands to reason that how we play and how we expect to be treated will also change.

People are infinitely more traceable outside the game space now since connectivity of game and social accounts is so prevalent: In-game wars are not limited to the boundaries of the game space, but now spill out onto social media platforms, so our stance on toxicity must become stronger. Brendan’s article lists case upon case of players being deeply affected by abuse that began in the game and was sustained on social media, so CCP’s stance on when to intervene has been forced to change from a hands-off, only in-game abuse will result in punishment mentality to something more robust. Becoming part of this alliance is a massive step forward for CCP and is an admission of sorts that the company has both learned from its history and is willing to make further changes to make its community a safer place to be.

Can mechanical overhauls really help?

While I will always maintain that there is not one 100%-effective cure for assholitis and general toxicity, I do believe that mechanical intervention can save players from overexposure to the worst offenders. If I could wave a magic wand and give an overhaul to every-online-game-ever while totally ignoring budget limitations, I’d obfuscate the block button behind a more heavily featured report and feedback system. The apparent problem with online communities in my mind is that one person’s banter is another person’s abusive slander: I see this in Guild Chat submissions regularly and in my own online experiences daily. Collecting data on what a certain player thumbs up and thumbs down can help match them with those they’ll likely synergise best with.

I feel that only examining poor behaviour and focusing on punitive measures makes toxic players feel victimised by the system and vindicated for displaying poor behaviour in the first place. If matchmaking used the data collected to pair like personalities together as well as those with similar skills and experience, perhaps we’d see a net reduction in toxicity because the matchmaking prevents initial clashes of personality and the resultant escalation into hate-filled verbal diarrhoea. Riot has experienced the adverse effects of hardline bans on the worst offenders: They seem to simply grow in popularity because of the “edgy” and scandalous behaviours that caused them to be banned in the first place, and this just sets up a positive feedback loop that is worrisome for game communities.

I’d also like to see a more robust supportive studio response to those who receive bans rather than the severe lack of dialogue most studios engage in with offenders (Blizzard springs to mind here). Without some kind initial discourse, clear next steps to demonstrate change, and open communication channels, banned players’ anger levels — and thus future toxicity levels — are not dealt with in the slightest, meaning that when the ban is up, a player that feels vindicated in being nasty because the game community leaders issued a punishment without any discourse for an action that the player in all likelihood didn’t view as toxic in the first place.

AI to the rescue?

I would love to see a new first step being implemented in online gaming: If I had a large budget to burn and the abundant research to support my assertion (cough cough Riot!), I would employ a team of community managers that intervene with early offenders and work with individuals on their communication skills. Some fault absolutely falls on the development teams behind games for making cortisol-raising experiences that can trigger explosive responses in those who are overly shielded from the reality of another living person sitting on the other side of the screen, so I would love to use those specially trained community managers to live-read the chat logs of flagged individuals and intervene before things escalate, privately addressing questionable remarks to the individual concerned while also flagging the victimised party for a follow-up if the abusive language was sustained or severe.

I really love how Overwatch edits questionable remarks and injects humour, so maybe my idea could be made more realistic by these companies pooling resources to make an impressive intervention AI that can be rolled out to support those who are facing bans. An automated progress plan can be issued to offenders, who then have a clear idea of why their behaviours triggered action and what they can do to rectify the situation and avoid a ban or further action in future. Games such as League of Legends go some way towards this by letting people know why they are being punished via report cards after automated flagging for toxicity: We know that most people who got a report card do not re-offend, so it works. Immediate intervention on the scale needed can only be handled by humans in my dreams, so an AI response that immediately deals with the problem and doesn’t rely on heavy punishment would likely be effective.

Rapid response paired with resources that help dysregulated people relearn how to human effectively is my dream solution: We have an HR department in corporations that are smaller than some game communities, for crying out loud, so it stands to reason that game communities need access to such resources too. Research into how shockingly common ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and potential developmental trauma are and how deeply they affect our development and future outcomes is underway, so there is huge scope for professionals in these fields to examine the correlation between poor behaviour in online communities and occurrences that limit people’s capacity to regulate themselves. The rapid response I mention helps build those cause-and-effect synapses and less focus on punitive measures helps remove feelings of shame that raise cortisol and trigger further outbursts, so I’d love to test if this response could be helpful long-term. Maybe, just maybe, game developers uniting like under the alliance can facilitate this, and if the inclusion of talks on the causes of poor behaviour is anything to go by, the companies believe this too.

Over to you!

Toxicity is a massive issue that spirals far outside the MMO space and there will never be a quick and easy solution to the problem that works for all cases. I’d love to hear your ideas on how best to tackle toxicity and what you think the alliance can do to best help. I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the Fair Play Alliance website for more details on its work.

MMOs are composed of many moving parts, but Massively’s Tina Lauro is willing to risk industrial injury so that you can enjoy her mechanical musings. MMO Mechanics explores the various workings behind our beloved MMOs. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

104 Comments on "MMO Mechanics: The Fair Play Alliance and mechanising fairness"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Daedalus Machina

Those who link their IRL social media to gaming will always do so at their own peril. Idiots.
What part of ‘make a fake social presence exclusively for gaming purposes’ is so difficult?
People called me paranoid but who the fuck is laughing now that all this IRL stalking trash is going on? :P

I feel the infantilization of adults is not the way to go forward as a society. People need to also realize that there are IRL consequences for doing things outside of the game and gaming-specific areas themselves. It is the job of the game developer to regulate and promote a healthy community within the game and official gaming channels (Discord/Forums/etc) that they control. Unfortunately most of the time this means censorship of any dissenting/critical opinions as well. So there’s that to contend with.

That said, IRL consequences for actions done in public on YT/Twitter/etc would probably be a good thing to get started and get some govt involvement. Similar to a ‘social score’ but for gaming that tracked all activity of a person across games. So far, every game is their own ‘country’ with their own individual rules and zero sharing of any criminal history between them (barring a few exceptional crimes). We should make it more like the United States instead where criminal history isn’t wiped just by going from one state to another.

Developers ultimately have the onus on them to provide good reporting tools, to ACT upon those reports as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to actually have a decent way to permit appeals of false reports AND to have all this be done in a public setting subject to public scrutiny by players and non-players alike. The secrecy is part of what leads to corruption and favortism within online games and thus breeds toxicity.

Reader
Alex Malone

I really think you need a good, in-depth study into why people are toxic online when they aren’t toxic in real life. Or maybe they are in real life. I don’t know!

Once we have some fundamental understanding, then we can progress onto the solutions.

For example, I expect a large part of the reason to be a lack of consequence for toxicity. This is on the assumption that these toxic people are actually always toxic in their thought processes, but they manage to rein it in in real life because being an asshole in real life results in bad consequences, ranging from simply no having friends/girlfriends through to getting beaten up or perhaps even being arrested. If this is the case, then introduce more meaningful consequences into games, perhaps a shared database of toxic players that devs can use to restrict/ban people.

Perhaps the issue is one of exposure. In real life, most of us only interact with quite a small amount of people on a daily basis and we’re quite quick to cut toxic people out. So, maybe these toxic people exist in real life, we simply aren’t exposed to them in the same way we are online. So, perhaps toxicity can be combined with matchmaking so toxic people only play with one another.

Maybe gaming attracts toxic people? Maybe these people have been shunned in real life and so have retreated to the online space.

What if toxic players are genuinely not toxic in real life? That would seem to mean that the games themselves make people toxic, at least for the duration of the session. I would say this is similar to competitive team sports like football (soccer….), where the competitive nature of the activity combined with the desire to win takes root with our baser selves and allows our primitive side to express itself. This would seem to indicate a change in game design, but I suspect is unavoidable in pvp games since the competition and desire to win will always be there.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

That would seem to mean that the games themselves make people toxic

No, being toxic is simply and literally, a choice.

Reader
Alex Malone

I’m saying I don’t know. I’m saying we need a comprehensive study into why people are toxic before we can figure out how to fix it.

Saying that being toxic is simply a choice is completely unhelpful and probably wrong.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

As is blaming something besides the person.

Reader
Ssiard

What if toxic players are genuinely not toxic in real life? That would seem to mean that the games themselves make people toxic, at least for the duration of the session.

This has been stated over and over in the Heroes of the Storm forums. The rating system doesn’t work and any given match is like a flip of the coin on whether you get equally skilled players on both sides.

The other issue is the expectations of competitive players who have fun winning and the “I just want to have fun crowd”.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

You keep implying that competition = toxicity. In any competitive environment I’ve ever been in, there are toxic people for sure, but it’s by no means the majority. MOST of the time a match happens without any negativity.

Competition doesn’t automatically make people toxic. They’re toxic because they want to be. Competition is also not an excuse to be toxic. And honestly I’m not sure why competitive play even keeps coming up in this discussion because there’s just as much toxicity in environments that aren’t even competitive.

Reader
Alex Malone

I get the impression that you’ve never been particularly competitive in anything.

Competition raises your emotions. When people are emotional they tend to lose control. Your emotional wellbeing becomes tied to the outcome of the competition, so when someone else screws up or ruins the competition it can upset us or make us angry, which can lead to toxicity. The more you care about the competition, the higher your emotions and the higher the likelyhood of toxic outbursts.

This is why SSiard actually makes a good point.

In a competitive environment in computer games, there is usually a split between those who want to win, and those who want to have fun. Those who want to have fun will often ignore objectives and just run off to have a fight. This directly impacts the players who want to win, pissing them off and ruining their fun. But, who is in the right here? The competitive players are adhering to the spirit of the game, so are the players running off to have fun in the wrong and are they in fact being toxic through their actions? Are the players just having fun actually right, because it’s just a game? There is a conflict of interest with no way to resolve it so it’s not surprising that people get angry.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

I’ve played plenty of competitive games. But because I’m a respectful adult who is considerate of how I treat people as well as other people’s feelings, you won’t see me being a toxic a-hole. And neither are MOST of the other competitors. As we’ve already discussed in this thread, when you take into account every competitor in the world, the ones who are disrespectful and unsportsmanlike are many, but NOT a majority. So what about the MAJORITY of players who AREN’T toxic? This idea that you can’t control your emotions is an EXCUSE.

Reader
Ssiard

No I am implying that what you call toxicity is normal everywhere and that the real toxicity is just people complaining about irrelevant things. I stated numerous minor thinks from my play in hots that shows that everything that anyone says can be toxic.

Reader
Bruno Brito

You not having fun is no excuse to treat others poorly. Period.

Reader
Ssiard

It isn’t treating others poorly.

Reader
Utakata

But you used that as an example. One can assume in that context that you are considering competitive players exempt from the consequences of behaving badly. As it also should be pointed out, a player can be highly competitive and have fun doing it without being toxic. So your argument doesn’t swing either way.

Reader
Ssiard

Everything is behaving badly. That is my point.

Reader
Utakata

That’s a pointless point though. Not everything is behaving badly.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

That’s like, the entire point of discussion here.

Reader
Ssiard

And actually it isn’t a flip of the coin, more like a crit on a 20 sided die.

Reader
Ssiard

Root problem: those who hate R rated movies that go to R rated movies. I like R rated moves and LOVED Logan and Deadpool. There is enough space for both R rated movies and G rated movies.

As I said way below, the answer to toxcity is allowing G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 game play in the same game.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

I’d rather have a separate matchmaking queue or server for people who agree to a stricter set of rules regarding behaviour than one where you’re allowed to swear at people and be abusive, but either way it wouldn’t be practical.

Most online games with matchmaking have difficulty consistently making fair teams due to the huge difference in skill levels between players, further fracturing the available player pool into five different queues would seriously exacerbate the problem. Less popular games would barely be able to put a match together.

Reader
Ssiard

You don’t have to have them separate. You simply provide a check box allowing the user to pick all options that are ok to you and then the game states at the start of the match which type was being enforced. This lets the population decide. Those who were reported get stuck waiting for R or NC-17.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

That doesn’t alleviate the problem, you’re still significantly reducing the available pool of players for matchmaking and making the selection process more complicated. Now instead of finding 12 players who have similar skill levels, it has to find 12 players of similar skill levels who all combined share at least one game mode selection out of the 5 available. That’s yet another complex variable in the matchmaking algorithm, and there are already tons of hidden variables in every game’s algorithm.

It also won’t work, a naive implementation would end up disproportionately deferring to the most popular game queue you’ve picked because it’ll always find a full team match with that option the quickest. So now if you pick the R and PG queues and there are twice as many players with R picked than PG, you’ll almost never get a PG game. There would need to be some kind of background fudge to prevent it from giving you the same mode over and over again, and that will necessitate segregating the userbase to an extent and cost matchmaking time.

It’s really not a good idea to separate the community or add another complex variable to matchmaking algorithms. The algorithm’s priority is to match players of roughly equivalent skill levels and minimise queue times, every new variable necessitates a compromise on one of those factors. And for the record, there are already tons of hidden variables in every competitive game’s algorithm that slows down matchmaking speed. Overwatch tries to match the sizes of groups queueing together, for example, and matches player pings to the server so nobody is at a major disadvantage.

Reader
Ssiard

The current method in games is to ban so called toxic players, which eliminates people from the pool. My method lives with everyone of differing opinions and, thus, increases or maintains the pool of people. Those who hate toxicity would get a higher queue time ONLY if fewer people wanted strict rules. Same with the NC-17 crowd.

I’m willing to bet that most people would favor one side or the other but would select all options and then deal with whatever type that they get. But they key here is that they would know the rating of the match and plan accordingly and mute if needed. Right now you have the NC-17 crowd paired with the G crowd and both sides not having fun.

More imporantly, your solution is to favor the G rating crowd while vilifying the R and NC-17 crowd. That already separates the community, which you should know this by the comments you see here.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

The current method in games is to ban so called toxic players, which eliminates people from the pool. My method lives with everyone of differing opinions and, thus, increases or maintains the pool of people.

Yes, but the current method only removes a tiny fraction of people from the game and only when they’re violating the TOS. Your method introduces a series of new variables that will make matchmaking considerably more complex and slower for most players, and it’s just not feasible for smaller games.

Putting that aside though, it also won’t accomplish the stated goal as the rating categories you’re using aren’t representative of the problem. You’ve suggested that allowing players to pick a maturity rating category would solve the problem of toxicity in online games. But toxicity isn’t just using swear words or suggestive themes or any of the other stuff contained in a maturity rating system.

We’re talking about people harassing and abusing other players, screaming at people for playing badly, spewing racist slurs, making homophobic insults, the kind of behaviour that doesn’t have a place in ANY age rating. There should never be a matchmaking queue in which you’re allowed to rage at someone else in chat and insult them, and if you don’t agree with that then you may be part of the problem.

Reader
Ssiard

We are not talking about harassment, abuse, or anything. I am telling you flat out that anything is considered toxic and I proved it when I got banned for saying “that was a stupid hero pick because the outer team counters him.” Can you honestly tell me that is toxic?

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

I am telling you flat out that anything is considered toxic and I proved it when I got banned for saying “that was a stupid hero pick because the outer team counters him.”

And I’m telling you that you have to prove your story is true if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion. Your whole argument is resting on the validity of that story and we have no reason to take you at your word. The burden of proof is on you.

Multiple anecdotes from the forums isn’t compelling evidence either, by the way. In my experience, banned players will protest innocence and claim they only said something inoffensive right up until a GM pops up and posts what they actually got banned for saying.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

Blizzard has rules against giving people crap for picking the heroes they do. You broke a rule, you were punished. If you are playing their game, then you either accept their rules, or accept their punishment. And it makes perfect sense that this is a rule, because no one should be made to deal with negativity just because of the character they’ve chosen. And yes, you were being toxic. You shouldn’t get to call people stupid, or their decisions stupid, without repercussions. It is abuse. It is harassment. It is rude. It is against the rules. And it should be.

If you see choosing a countered hero as “stupid…” perhaps try seeing it as a fun challenge instead? Perhaps try putting more emphasis on defending said hero that match. I offer these suggestions because clearly calling people stupid instead did not work out.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

No one’s going to leap forward to argue with you about your anecdote on only your word that it happened as you say for the reasons you say.

Most of the people I moderate claim to their last post that they did nothing wrong, and maybe even believe it’s true, when I have reams of posts proving otherwise, so I’m myself conditioned to skepticism. You might do better to use more public examples.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

You can have very malicious G films and rather thoughtful R films.

Toxicity isn’t limited by age.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

I’m not sure what movie ratings have to do with toxicity in online gaming, or how they are related at all. Do you know the difference between negativity in a movie, and negativity coming from a real person directed towards another real person?

Reader
Ssiard

I do know the difference. Can you not except that two real people want the ability to be verbally negative to each other in a competitive environment? Again, it is about expectations.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

I don’t think that this about two consenting people who, for whatever reason, want to be verbally abusive to one another. This is about one consenting person being verbally abusive to another person who doesn’t want them to be.

Reader
Ssiard

I said verbally negative. Why did you change it to verbally abusive?
There is a huge difference between the two.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

Could you go into detail about the difference?

Reader
Ssiard

Yes.

“go kill yourself” is abuse.

“that was a stupid hero pick” is negative.

Big difference and both results in bans.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

They’re both pretty hostile, personally I think only the first one should result in a ban but each individual game studio decides where they draw the line. What would be cool is if the Fair Play Alliance helped to standardise rules of conduct across all the games signed up to it, and perhaps even function as a centralised impartial authority that can be appealed to if you think you were wrongfully banned.

However, I should point out that I have yet to see credible evidence that anyone has been banned from a competitive game just for typing “that was a stupid hero pick.”

Reader
Bryan Gregory

I dunno, they both look like negative abuse to me. One is more severe than the other of course, but what I’d really like to know is… Do you have a problem NOT saying either of those things to people?

Reader
Ssiard

The failure pick is toxic.

Reader
Utakata

.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Here’s the difference: By changing the words, he thinks he can change the meaning:

So, verbal negativism is telling someone to go kill themselves.

Verbal abuse is telling someone to go kill themselves and being banned because you can’t socialize.

There’s no difference, really, only someone trying to isent themselves of responsability.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Damn, that was quite the clean-up.

To whoever is keeping this place clear ( and i know i’m part of the problem, but i’m having fun, and won’t be mad to lose a couple minutes ), i’m sorry for having you people put up with this, =P

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

You definitely aren’t part of our/any problem, Bruno. I just didn’t want all the stuff I’d just deleted to remain as quotes in an orphaned convo.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Wish you luck. It has the potential to get waaaaay worse. Specially now that you cleaned the thread, given that the people who you cleaned were “agains’t totalitarian behavior”.

Pepperzine
Reader
Pepperzine

I’m surprised how political the comments are below. We’re talking about the chat and behavior allowed in a product owned by private companies, not governmental structures or their interplay. I hate how so many conversations are taken off the rail these days with people trying to make it all about left/right politics and interjecting their own political beliefs where it is not really relevant (nor wanted). Can we not all agree toxicity in MMOs is a growing problem that needs new solutions to reduce? Maybe this approach won’t be the most effective, but at the end of the day it is better than doing nothing. Instead of just trashing the concept why not instead offer more viable alternatives?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

I agree with you.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

Yeah I found it pretty strange that some comments went straight to politics. I don’t care much for words like left/right/liberal/conservative, as I don’t believe politics (or most things in life) are so easily divided into black and white. People that use those words really only use them because they heard or read them somewhere else, and because they want to be offensive. It’s practically hipster lingo, honestly. And those words are meant to be nothing other than negative. I believe left/right mentality is purposeless and detrimental to society.

Ravven
Reader
Ravven

Haha, you had to know that the trolls were going to be out in force for this conversation. :D And they’re a perfect illustration of why this is needed. We need free and open discussion but all of these conversations (both here and in MMOs) are always derailed by politics and toxicity. A quick glance down the comments here will find people railing about SJWs, feminists, progressives, and snowflakes. I miss the days when people could actually have an opinion of their own and argue for it without all of the dog whistle politics and nastiness.

Reader
Utakata

It’s all about the prevention of post modern cultural Marxism (or whatever FOTM combinations of nonsense terms the dregs of the internet comes up with these day) on posted topics that have really nothing to do with it, ya know. O.o

Reader
Utakata

So they would claim…or something like that. /shrug

Reader
Bryan Gregory

It’s interesting how most of the people in the comments who were in disagreement about this had something insulting to say, AKA toxic. Also I don’t believe that this is only the result of companies wanting money from esports and such, as there are over 30 companies involved (I’m sure many more will join) and only a few of them are really large enough to have esports as a backing. It may be a major purpose for those few companies, but what about the rest? Could it possibly be that game company employees are also real live people with emotions and feelings and are just as sick of internet culture as many of us are? People who grew up playing video games, grew up wanting to create them for a living, only to finally begin their life long dream and be smacked in the face with the large chunk of gamers who are thankless, insulting, rude, demanding, disrespectful, and unapologetic?

I believe it’s also possible that this was derived following many of the accusations that video games are a cause of real world violence. Many of us may disagree that they are, as we don’t feel personally affected, but when you log in to games and forums and public channels and see all the negativity and the awful way people speak to each other constantly, it may be difficult to convince someone on the outside that online gaming isn’t a breeding ground for toxic behavior.

I’ll be grateful when the anonymity of the internet is gone for good; it should have never existed in the first place. When the internet isn’t treated as this dreamland that you wake up and forget about everything that happened before, and treated as a PART OF REAL LIFE and not “it’s just the internet.” And when internet infractions have real life consequences. I’d be perfectly OK with my internet behavior going on my permanent record and affecting things like applying for a job or school or being court ordered to go to mental therapy or some sort of social training. Would you?

Reader
Ssiard

The fatal flaw in your argument is that you assume whatever you think is toxic is not real life. Competition breeds emotion and emotion leads to competitive behavior. See any pro sport. Negativity is not bad. It is a human trait that you are trying to disavow.

((Edited by mod. Please review the community commenting code.))

Reader
Bryan Gregory

There’s WAY less toxicity in real life, at least in mine, as opposed to the internet. I can get on Facebook and see people I know in real life saying stuff on posts that they’d NEVER say in real life. And I’m betting that many of the gamers who involve themselves in the same type of behavior aren’t as crappy of people in real life. It’s the anonymity, the lack of punishment, the lack of consequences, the fact that just being online and typing/texting makes the human brain operate differently than in real life.

Competition doesn’t have to be emotional. You say to look at pro sports… but how many players are involved in pro sports, and how many of them are involved in negative behavior? A tiny fraction. Many of them are never involved, and they’re probably the ones who are more respectful and had good family, friends and role models growing up. And negativity is absolutely bad. You have the choice whether to treat someone poorly or not, and if you choose to, there is nothing “not bad” about it.

Reader
Ssiard

Pro sports is simply a public view of competition. Just because I am not good enough to be in a pro sport doesn’t mean I am not competitive. There are a LOT of competitive people like me.

I am not on facebook but I assume your life is segregated to hide the negativity on there. And facebook is not a competition. Go find a real life competition to see how anonymity is just an excuse explaining negativity.

Competition doesn’t have to be emotional.

Only for those who are not competitive.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

I honestly don’t have any idea what you are trying to say, I don’t understand where lines like “Just because I am not good enough to be in a pro sport doesn’t mean I am not competitive.” are coming from, or what they have to do with anything anyone is saying on the entire comment section. I don’t think anyone has communicated anything about your athletic skill level nor whether or not you are competitive but it feels as though you are defending it in that way. So I really just don’t know what you are trying to relay to us, or what you are trying to add to the discussion, sorry.

Reader
Ssiard

I am saying it is normal in real life to be whatever is considered toxic. I have proven this through countless examples.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting code and stop flamebaiting. I am tired of warning you.))

Reader
Bryan Gregory

Can you provide links to this proof?

Reader
Bruno Brito

Do you curse your peers when playing anything?

Reader
Ssiard

Yes I am human. No I do not strive to be a perfect robot.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Do you tell them to kill themselves? Do you call them “niggers” or “faggots”? Do you tell them they’re shit and should never play the game again?

Or do you mute them and move on?

Reader
Ssiard

No, no, no, yes, yes, yes

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

No, no, no, yes, yes, yes

Right, #4 and #5 there are a problem. It’s definitely not acceptable to tell another player that they’re shit and to uninstall the game. That’s abusive behaviour.

If you walked into work and told a co-worker he was shit at his job and should quit, you’d be clearing out your desk that day. If you were playing a game of football with some mates in the park and kept telling them they were shit and should stop playing football, you’d probably lose your mates.

Why should it be different online? And why should I be forced to play with you when you’re spewing stuff like that?

Reader
Utakata

If you are doing that behind your monitor and not over chat, then that is perfectly fine.

Reader
Bruno Brito

And as always: Pro sports have rules, and i showed you once that they have a rule for sportsmanship.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/photo-heres-a-list-of-what-nfl-players-can-be-fined-for-in-2014/

Here’s for you in case you missed.

Reader
Ssiard

And as I told you before, that doesn’t represent what is in sports or what people are being banned for in video games. Blizzard defines toxic as anything that anyone finds negative. And that is wrong.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

“Blizzard defines toxic as anything that anyone finds negative.”

This continues to be untrue.

Reader
Ssiard

Why do you say that it continues to be untrue?

Blizzard’s code of conduct: https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/42673

You may not use language that could be offensive or vulgar to others.

The GM’s supervisor in hots said I got banned for 32 days for saying “that is a stupid hero pick because their team already counters him”. This is not abusive, vulgar, or offensive. It is negative but correct when you pick Illidan into Varian, Uther, and Dehaka and cause the team to lose.

Just google toxicity in hots to see all of the complaints against the reporting system that has killed the playerbase.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

I got banned for 32 days for saying “that is a stupid hero pick because their team already counters him”

Not sure I believe this, that’s harshly worded but hardly abusive. Are you sure you didn’t call the player stupid?

Seeing lots of people complaining about bans doesn’t mean the system is broken. I remember on the League of Legends forums when people would start threads saying they were banned for saying something innocent and a Riot employee would always come along and explain what they were actually banned for.

Reader
Ssiard

I didn’t save the log. I should have.
Here is the example I posted in the other topic. This proves that this person was unfairly banned by people who report for anything. Blizzard upheld the ban. Finally he got out of them what he was banned for and luckly he has the replays to prove he didn’t say anything to get banned.

Except that he was banned by an automated process.

Replays don’t save draft chat so I had no defense again this.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

I didn’t save the log. I should have.

That seems unlikely, they send you an email transcript when you get banned and support requests are recorded. The guy you linked to showed a screenshot of his discussion about the ban taking place on the Blizzard Support site at battle.net. I just logged into my support account there and it has archived records of petitions I made back to 7 years ago.

Here is the example I posted in the other topic. This proves that this person was unfairly banned by people who report for anything. Blizzard upheld the ban.

Read the post you just linked, Blizzard overturned his ban and this isn’t even a case of someone being “unfairly banned by people who report for anything.” This player was banned for a chat offence even though the offence was actually committed by a different player in the game, and the other player’s chat logs were somehow attached to his case file.

It appears to be a simple GM screwup or possibly a technical glitch caused by the fact he disconnected mid game in a power outage. When he appealed the ban, the GMs reviewing the case saw the offending chat logs and concluded that it did merit a chat ban, so they upheld the decision.

They didn’t spot that the chat was from a different player, which is totally Blizzard’s fault, and then closed the case with no recourse for the banned player. Studios definitely need to have a better appeal process for rare screwups like this when they do happen, possibly even an external agency. But you have to accept that this is not a typical case and is nothing like yours.

Except that he was banned by an automated process.

Automated processes are better for things like chat bans, they give the player immediate feedback after a match that what they said was unacceptable.

In this case, the guy who was calling another player a “faggot” did deserve to be instantly chat-banned, there’s no argument or ambiguity there. If this was automated then the only problem was a technical glitch made it accidentally give that ban to the wrong guy.

This doesn’t support your argument, he wasn’t banned for some benign minor breach of the rules like you claim to have been. He wasn’t even banned because people repeatedly reported him and triggered an automated system. It was just a mistake.

Reader
Bruno Brito

I still want proof of that. You keep using anedoctal evidence that doesn’t support you.

You TELL me, i SHOW you. There’s a big difference. I showed you the NFL guidelines. You TOLD me you were banned.

Take a picture of your ban and present it to me here. Show the reason for it.

Reader
Ssiard

You show me something irrelevant. I showed you something relevant. I also provided links above to disprove you but it is waiting for mod. google nfl uncensored.

I didn’t save the conversation with the GM’s supervisor. Maybe it is in an email. Regardless, it isn’t anecdotal if you’d just google “hots abusive chat system”

Pepperzine
Reader
Pepperzine

To add to that, even if it was a result of companies trying to foster a better environment for e-sports and their products, why does that taint the positive outcomes? I could care less someone’s intentions as long as the outcomes weigh into the positives for all of the people being affected by the actions.

possum440 .
Reader
possum440 .

A couple folks over at PC Gamer touched on the more likely cause of these companies coming together. Money from E-sports and similar venues.

These companies want to curb the players badmouthing each other and swatting each other so that actual companies with big cash will not be afraid to have their brands tarnished or destroyed by some foul mouthed gamer. That or someone killed by a swatting incident etc.

These companies know the huge money waiting in the wings and this is just one move toward that cash.

Reader
Bruno Brito

It’s sad that it is what it takes, but i’ll take it if helps.

Reader
draugris

I don´t believe that this will change much. The root problem is anonymity and lack of consequences. Banning an account does not help if you can just create a new one. Imo account creation has to be tied to real world information like passport identification and game studios should share lists of banned people so if you are banned in wow for cheating Zenimax should be able to decide if they want to give you a chance on eso for example. Of course that will never happen (for the good or the bad, i am not sure) over privacy concerns.

exilio
Reader
exilio

((Deleted by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

Reader
Bruno Brito

You know…just to put in perspective:

Progress = good. It moves you forward. So, when i hear anyone saying that being “Progressive” is bad, i think that this person is probably living in caves.

Pepperzine
Reader
Pepperzine

lol

giphy.gif
Reader
Utakata

Don’t choke on that dog whistle now. o.O

Reader
Fluffy Magical Unicorn

I know, right?

Reader
Fluffy Magical Unicorn

And the award for ‘worst take in a reply’ goes to…

Alyn
Reader
Alyn

I went to their site and viewed the series of offerings, each seemed quite interesting. I noticed a couple of panels there dealt with player behavior. I clicked and looked the speakers that were there for that particular panel. I noticed that neither panel dealing with player behavior had invited a psychologist to come and give a talk or at least be available for questions.

The summit panels I was referring to were, “Microtalks in Player Behavior” and “Root Causes of Player Behavior”. I can obviously understand how designers or developers or even community managers would be interested in these areas, but not professional psychologist there to explain how the brain works under various conditions? I found that strange.