Best not be toxic on YouTube, Overwatch players, because Blizzard is watching you

Back in 2013, when Linda “Brasse” Carlson still fronted SOE’s community branch, she made headlines for making SOE’s anti-toxicity policies very clear. “If we know who you are and you’re abusing somebody on Twitter, we will ban your game account and we will not accept you as a customer ever again,” she told trolls. “It’s not always possible to identify people [in that way], but we take that seriously.” At the time, MMORPG players were divided on whether that was an overall plus for online game communities or a creepy invasion of privacy.

But it’s 2018 now. Times and sentiments have changed, and Blizzard is trying a similar approach now in Overwatch, where toxicity has taken root and blossomed in spite of Blizzard’s apparent efforts to prune it.

In Overwatch’s latest developer update, Jeff Kaplan says fighting toxicity is still a “major initiative” for the studio and that recent additions – like console reporting and suspension warnings – have cut chat toxicity by 17%. Another effective tactic? They’re watching toxic players on social media, particularly in video.

“We now proactively seek out social media sites like YouTube, for example, and look for incidents of very toxic behavior and track down the accounts that are participating in those and action them, often times before anybody’s even reported them or they’ve shown up in any other place. So that’s just one example of us being proactive that I think is going to make a big difference over time.”

In other, far sillier Overwatch news, last week OWL announced a partnership with both T-Mobile and Sour Patch Kids candy.

“As a part of its sponsorship with the Overwatch League, SOUR PATCH KIDS brand—the country’s #1-selling sour candy—will bring fans content that will air during the Overwatch League season-one livestream. Fans on-site at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles also will be able to enjoy a branded experience, digital-board messaging, branded thundersticks to cheer on their favorite teams, and of course free SOUR PATCH KIDS candy at select matches.”

So there you go.

Source: Press release, Polygon, YouTube
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NeoWolf

Makes perfect sense that Blizzard would be policing Youtube because we all know Youtube don’t lol

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Utakata

To be fair, I don’t think Blizz is policing YouTube. They appear to be more looking for samples of players behaving badly using their products that was captured for public record. It would be similar to police looking for vandals who trash property who happened to film themselves doing the deed for the YouTube kicks. :)

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NeoWolf

They are clearly policing their particular corner of it with regard to thier game players videos.
You have to love the world we live in where douche bags in a game make it SO easy to find and identify them that they upload videos of themselves being douche bags in the game. lol

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Utakata

Again, and to my understanding, I am not sure they’re even policing that corner. As offenders are still allowed post their videos under YouTube domain. Where the trouble starts is when the said offending parties goes back to game they filmed their shenanigans on, they find their accounts suspended. Blizz merely used their YouTube sampling as evidence against them regarding their toxicity. And then ban them accordingly.

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starbuck1771

I agree Blizz can only Ban or Suspend players for what happens in their product. They will browse the videos and use any showing toxicity or cheating to give the poster a suspension or ban for violation of the tos and coc.

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Ben Willows

I see this as a pretty gross overreach form Blizzard. If the players are being toxic in a Blizzard game then by all means punish them. How they act outside of a Blizzard product isn’t really the company’s domain of concern. While it might give some prior warning to what you might expect from the individual making the posts on youtube, it come off as the actions of a stalker.

Then there is the issue of the definition of the term toxic, and how the data is collected. What happens if there is context required in order to determine if the material is or is not toxic? What happens if the term toxic grows from blatantly abusive behavior to simply having the “wrong” opinion on a subject matter.

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Dystopiq

Except they are being toxic in game. They’re just stupid enough to record themselves and Blizzard is punishing them. They’re not looking for people misbehaving on youtube. They’re looking for people who are misbehaving in their games and then posting it on Youtube and glamorizing this kind of behavior. If you’re going to record yourself playing OW and post it on Youtube, don’t be surprised when Blizz finds it and bans you. I’m all for it. All those little shits going on social medial, posting videos of themselves trolling deserve it.

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Dušan Frolkovič

^ This

They do not use your social media to profile you, they use your recorded gameplay videos as evidence for a suspension/ban

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Dystopiq

Exactly. People think Blizzard is looking for players acting like asses outside of their games. That’s not what’s happening here. It’s not different than some idiot committing a crime, recording said crime, then getting arrested. If players see that even youtubers are getting reamed for acting like asses then maybe they’ll understand that there are consequence. It’s a lot better than doing nothing.

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Bryan Turner

How did that policy work out for Daybreak with their already dwindling population, you’d assume that they would be happy to have any dollar they could get.

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Dystopiq

Except that’s not what DB tried. They tried policing other platforms. For example, if I, Dystopiq, were here harassing people unrelated to DB games, DB wanted to ban people for that from their games. Blizzard isn’t doing that. They’re looking for people who explicitly misbehaved IN their games and then posted videos/evidence of it to other platforms and there’s no problem with that.

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Stormwaltz

Every Overwatch update discussion is already filled with sour patch kids.

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Necromonger

In FF14 one gets banned for being abusive.

In WoW…..do a random dungeon and the abuse is unreal….

I do encourage banning toxic players from their games tough, myself have always been a helpfull player.

I tank or i heal and when people mess stuff up and we wipe i explain what went wrong.
Along the way of playing mmo’s i have met great people, but also people who i would headbut without saying a word.

I mean there are some realy disgusting people trying to make other people feel realy bad.
If you are such a person you deserve to be banned period.

Some people have a thick skin, they can take whatever you say to them, but there are also people with feelings that cant take it, they escape real life to game and are under pressure of said douchebags who keep on spitting and spitting with zero patience or tought how that other guy or lady feels.

In future mmo’s they should transfers these players to likewise servers where all douchebags can play with similar douchebags.

And leave the normal servers for people with patience, with time to explain things, and just go back to a time where people would take a moment and help you with getting things done.

MMO Community’s were once a great place, today its a full scale troll invasion of how to make fun of other people and how hurt and miserable can you make the other guy feel.

I aint no saint, but when i see a dude struggling with dps or tanking or healing i at least try to educate them or give them tips to improve or a website that assists them to improve.

This madness of trolls and flaming has taken over every forum or social media and while i aint a social justice warrior i do feel for those who are not as strong as most of us are and would realy like to go back to a time of helpfull folks sharing a passion for gaming or mmo’s.

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Bryan Turner

If your game is making money like FF14 is then they can afford the moral high ground, in Daybreak though I wouldn’t be surprised if Brasse’s comments were toothless in those financial circumstances

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Robert Mann

Sadly, all too much of the culture around the world glorifies acting like a giant prick, so I doubt that is going away anytime soon. I do certainly enjoy seeing people get the appropriate responses to that, but I just don’t believe they learn anymore than the random person who wants to tailgate or cut people off and is either given a nice slow ride for several miles or is locked out on an off ramp until a sucker comes along. (Yes, I’ve been part of doing that to people who drive abusively for a fair while, at the least it eases any stress on me.)

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Malcolm Swoboda

Wait for when they implement ‘zero tolerance’ that both bans the abuser and the one vocally defending themselves from the abuse. Both encourage ‘toxicity’ (aka bad reputation for the game), after all.

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Cosmic Cleric

Both encourage ‘toxicity’ (aka bad reputation for the game), after all.

How?

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Malcolm Swoboda

I don’t think they do. I was being sarcastic, but cynical.

But authorities (whether it be in a school, or at least potentially in a video game) may. Whatever brings more and longer bad interactions is punished, like when the bullied at school can’t even vocally and physically defend themselves, as it may instigate more bullying in response, for all the authority knows.. or cares to think. Just as so many gamers say ‘/ignore and move on – or else you’re *feeding* the troll’, the company may go ‘/report and move on – or else be considered part of the infraction’.

I would not be surprised at all to see games include punishments for returning fire to abusers, even in the most fair way, instead of keeping silent. I think its where these ‘removing toxic behavior’ things tend to go. The definition of toxic gets wider and wider, at least without a very steady hand in charge. I’m not sure Blizzard has that hand. Why? Because they’re already deciding to take their punishing outside of the game activity itself. Their eyes are now wider and I don’t know if they can keep their focus on the game related worst infractions.

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Bryan Turner

That shit happens to me in GW2 Subreddit all the time, now if I suspect some ones being a dick I’ll just block them and make a comment about it knowing that one of their cronies will let their Momma Troll know they’ve been shredded yet they’ve been blocked so I’m untouchable now.

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Bryan Turner

Lord knows I always get shit when ever I get blasted for defending my self anywhere, by the time I’m done arguing with an instigator I’m always the one that’s labeled the bad guy: sucks being the smartest person in the room sometimes since you look at most situations as it’s so clear you’d have to be a moron not to see it (gets me in trouble all the time but when you’re right in a situation then you argue that dead horse until it’s a fossil.).

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Robert Mann

Yeah, sadly that does happen. I usually just add “Eh, not wasting time on you.” and block. Gives enough to shut most of the rest of the crowd up on it, and leaves me without the possible defender ban.

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Dystopiq

If someone acts toxic to you and then you respond with the same ignorance and toxicity, you both deserve it. It’s very simple, either ask them to stop in a normal way or mute them and report them. Responding to toxicity with more toxicity doesn’t make you right, it only makes you just as wrong as them.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“If someone acts toxic to you and then you respond with the same ignorance and toxicity, you both deserve it.” I’m not saying that. I don’t think you understand zero tolerance policies, which often arise from anti-social toxicity agendas. I’m talking about the cases where someone defends themselves *at all* and they are treated almost as badly to (strangely) even more badly by the authority, because they supposedly increased the toxicity by even socially engaging at all (moderating forces putting ‘don’t feed the trolls’ into ‘law’).

Now what Blizzard is doing, isn’t that. But it does show that they’re now willing to go further than normal to try to deal with this issue (normal being a general moderation and report functions).

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Knox Harrington

Blizz should go after itself for being toxic by promoting sugar, the number one cause of childhood obesity, among a great many other things. It doesn’t get much more toxic than that. Saying mean things is evil and should be rooted out by any means necessary but giving out free poison in the form of Sour Patch Kids is okay?

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Cosmic Cleric

Blizz should go after itself for being toxic by promoting sugar, the number one cause of childhood obesity, among a great many other things. It doesn’t get much more toxic than that. Saying mean things is evil and should be rooted out by any means necessary but giving out free poison in the form of Sour Patch Kids is okay?

Talk about too much sugar.

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Knox Harrington

.

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Cosmic Cleric

Nice hat.

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Armsbend

As time goes on it is glaringly apparent that people cannot control themselves for the betterment of society. So someone needs to. Every western government is an unmitigated disaster so who is it left to? The corporations that now control the majority of speech.

As time goes on I am increasingly comfortable with a few elites deciding exactly what can and cannot be said in the mass public eye.

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Knox Harrington

Da, comrade.

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Armsbend

Russians are a complete fail outside of philosophy. For the past two centuries their society has leaned towards wanton violence – the US without as many guns. Asia, and not just China mind you, should and probably will be the next course of human society. They certainly deserve a crack at it after the mess the West has created circa 500BCE – 2018AD.

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Knox Harrington

Your way of thinking is either the product of too many drugs or not enough. Whichever it is, good lord man.. you need help.

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Cosmic Cleric

Your way of thinking is either the product of too many drugs or not enough. Whichever it is, good lord man.. you need help.

Blizz should go after itself for being toxic by promoting sugar, the number one cause of childhood obesity, among a great many other things. It doesn’t get much more toxic than that. Saying mean things is evil and should be rooted out by any means necessary but giving out free poison in the form of Sour Patch Kids is okay?

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Knox Harrington

I need help because I spoke out against processed sugar? Is that what you’re getting at?

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Armsbend

I suppose some people might consider sugar a drug.

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Robert Mann

Hate to say this, but every government is an unmitigated disaster right now. Well, outside a few local spots, but nationally they all pretty screwed up. Corporations… are an issue in the western world, certainly, along with any other big monetary contributor (includes unions, retired wealthy, and other associations that influence politicians with money.)

I’m very uncomfortable with ‘elites’ doing that, as they tend to be extremely corrupt and toxic themselves. Well, once you get past the smile and sugary down-talk they pull out in public. Even dogs dislike that, though, so there may be home for humanity at some point…

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Armsbend

Possibly. But democracy, as it stands now, is proving to be a greater failure.

A democracy more in line with ancient Greece/early America could work but that goes back to your elite problem.

Elites, chosen by years of education and dedication and decided on by a dedicated body. Ou at the age of 67 – no ifs. It’s better than the complete shitshow we are in. The majority of people are stupid – and shouldn’t be allowed any say in the course of a nation.

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Robert Mann

What democracy? There isn’t one that isn’t just a disguise for an oligarchy (plutocracy) around to look at.

Sadly, it isn’t just stupidity, although I agree the lack of thought is a huge problem. It’s also laziness. Combining the two is how organizations have run the world to the detriment of the majority since recorded history.

The biggest problem with putting things in the hands of the ‘elite’ alone is that the timeline for the failure speeds up, historically speaking. Sure, you have the rare benevolent and wise person who does great things… but that’s a statistical anomaly. In all other cases the loss of freedoms, rights, and the eventual desire to revolt seem to be on a far shorter timeline if a few have all the power.

IF you could get truly good people, with that wisdom and benevolence, as that council, then it would work for a generation or two. But that goes downhill as soon as they fail to see through people just telling them what they want to hear. And that’s… well, been done before. At least, in regards to meritocracy. It had some very big flaws, which is why it isn’t used anywhere in the modern day…

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traja

Hopefully this is confined to social media topics related to Overwatch. It would be bad if they went through every post regardless if it has anything to do with the game or its players. Like if someone is “toxic” towards a politician Blizzard would ban them.

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Non Human

Does the United Stated not allow Freedom of Speech? Define toxic for their rule set? Is it racism? Jokes? Ty for the replies.

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Wolfyseyes

You’re conflating free speech with carte blanche to be as abusive, vile and aggressive as possible.

Don’t be that guy.

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Non Human

Ah ok, Ty Wolf. I was really wondering how far the path was for this.

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Armsbend

“Does the United Stated not allow Freedom of Speech?”

Not any more than any other western country. Increasingly less so as time marches on. The United States is going through the exact same throes than every society has experienced since ancient Rome.

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Robert Mann

Now that I will agree with. There’s… a lot of problems with government, and they are the same repetitive problems over and over again. :(

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Knox Harrington

Most corporations force you to agree to a Terms of Service contract that essentially negates your right to freedom of speech. People seem to think the internet, particularly social media, is some sort of free forum where anyone can express themselves but it really isn’t. It basically comes down to what the corporations who own these services determine what is allowed and what is not, and then decide if and how it gets enforced.

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Non Human

TY guys-

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dinwitt

But this isn’t a company enforcing its ToS for things said and done with its service. Its enforcing based on actions done while using another company’s service. Thats a gross extension of what the ToS normally covers.

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Knox Harrington

actions done while using another company’s service as it relates to their game, so yeah

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dinwitt

Reading some other replies, it sounds like they are just using in game footage posted to youtube as evidence of toxic behavior, which is fine. Similar to posting videos of exploits. However, either the video or synopsis could probably make that more clear, because it is easily read as them searching for toxic behavior, regardless of the medium, and banning any accounts they can associate with it.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Hmm. Freedom of Speech isn’t freedom to say any jackass thing that comes to mind because you can string two or three words together and expect that all the people you’ve offended by such utterances aren’t going to be offended and take measures against you. It grants you the right to say anything ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT without the government suppressing your speech by arresting you and throwing you in jail for saying bad things about them. Over time, courts have expanded the concept of freedom of speech to include a number of other things so that people generally confuse the idea with the ability to be an offensive jerk and be free of consequences, forgetting that whether you’re thrown in jail or not, every word spoken has consequences. Hence the old rubric, be careful what you say.

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Utakata

This is not really an issue of free speech though.

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Robert Mann

1. Freedom of Speech protects you against the government and nothing else. Even then, it only protects against criticism of the government, not against being an immense asshat in general while you criticize.

2. Even with that protection, you can still suffer the consequences of your words. For example, if you slander somebody in government, they can still sue you… regardless of whether you were criticizing their politics.

Toxic is generally just being an asshat. Jokes may be ‘funny’ to people and still be toxic, racism generally is toxic, and if you haven’t learned how to be a polite person and treat others with basic human respect you need to ask your parents what went wrong and why they never taught you that… *If they never learned it, find a mentor or figure it out. It isn’t difficult.*