MMO studios form Justice League-style alliance to combat toxicity

    
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We're a team, let's fight like one.

After years of trying to crack the serious issue of negative behavior and toxicity among their individual communities, 30 game studios and industry leaders are teaming up to see if their combined strength can win the day.

League of Legends’ Riot Games, World of Warcraft’s Blizzard Entertainment, EVE Online’s CCP, Fortnite’s Epic Games, and Twitch’s Twitch are among those companies that have formed a “Fair Play Alliance” in an effort to combat bad player behavior. The coalition’s goal is to create a set of behavioral standards that will be shared among the whole community and help up-and-coming developers as they try to break into the e-sports markets.

“As an industry and as a society online, we’re trying to find our way. Having to be a company that steps out and says ‘We’re gonna be the ones to do this’ is kinda scary. This is an opportunity for all of us to say ‘What if we walked together as an industry?’” said Riot Senior Technical Designer Kimberly Voll.

The first step for this alliance is a meeting at GDC this Wednesday with the hopes of formulating a strategy going forward. The alliance’s mission statement is as follows:

The Fair Play Alliance is a coalition of gaming professionals and companies committed to developing quality games. We provide an open forum for the games industry to collaborate on research and best practices that encourage fair play and healthy communities in online gaming. We envision a world where games are free of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, and where players can express themselves through play.
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Tyler Collins

Shout out to the majority ( yes I say majority ) of players who are just looking to have fun and have no idea what any of this nonsense is about.

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Tyler Collins

How do you end toxicity (a.k.a bad communication)? You do what Riot does and make it hard to communicate, LUL.

This is kind of like the war on drugs, aimless and stupid.

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Robert Mann

Ah, it’s for e-sports. Meh.

They just want to be PG enough to get more market share.

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Sally Bowls

There are some indications to be hopeful.

E.g., Riot’s talk from GDC ’13 The Science Behind Shaping Player Behavior in Online Games BY
Jeffrey Lin Riot Games
Overview The player behavior team at Riot uses science to understand toxic player behavior. During this session, Jeffrey “Dr. Lyte” Lin discusses what Riot’s statisticians, scientists, and developers are doing with the latest research in behavioral, social, and cognitive psychology to solve one of the biggest problems in online gaming today. From the player-driven Tribunal to the Honor Initiative, Jeff Lin talks about how science can reform toxic players, and reinforce positive player behavior.

One of the talks had some metric about how players who never log back in were (IDK) 74% more likely to have had a reported player in their last game. Which is helpful in showing management the millions of dollars that toxic players are costing them and thus it is worth spending some money on combatting them One of the surprises to me is that a lot of players were surprised that their behavior was considered toxic by others. (which is kinda more troubling than toxic gameplay.) The above talk mentioned that in modern fashion, Riot tested 217 ways to give tips including the location, timing, font, and color.

So perhaps things can go quicker if there is some cross-pollination as to what works.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Stop people from being toxic?

Ha, good luck with that.

Also, when did ‘toxic’ become so trendy?
Why say “toxic” when ‘asshole’ or ‘dick’ will suffice?

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Bruno Brito

Shorter. I’m lazy.

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Armsbend

Calling someone an asshole would only add to the cycle.

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Utakata

In the end, it will likely be about persuading players to behave on their time. As for stopping it in its entirety instead, I would suspect they would reasonably know and conclude that’s unlikely.

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

Being an asshole is a singular problem. A group of assholes spewing at each other and transforming generally normal people into another asshole is toxic.

arimer
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arimer

Most games already have the tools. Mute and blacklist. Why do companies need to take further steps besides giving you the tools? If you aren’t willing to do it yourself why should anyone else care?

dixa
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dixa

because the abusers go way out of their way far too often to circumvent mutes, ignores, blacklists to further antagonize others.

what is in place is proving to not be enough of a deterrent and all of your parents are failing in teaching you right from wrong. it’s time for big brother.

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Sally Bowls

Q: Why do companies need to take further steps besides giving you the tools?
A: Money

This isn’t about protected free speech. It’s about whether one customer’s actions cost you more revenue than they bring in. Similar reasons movie theaters don’t let you cell phone, so as to not drive away a larger number of customers.

And mutes and blacklists only happen after all the other customers have read it. Companies want their online game to be fun, not for, as they are logging in, customers to be wondering and dreading what they will be reading today.

At the end of the day, it does not matter what the offended could do or should do. If the company will have more profits from protecting the offendable, then the company can, should, and eventually will protect them.

Besides a lot of games only have a 500-entry ignore lists which is woefully inadequate.

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Armsbend

To that point I always make the assumption that angry, toxic players are always poor. People with money are hardly ever angry.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

From the press releases it sounds like at this stage it’s just a bunch of happy talk about “best practices” and so forth.

If they want to actually get the attention of the collective jerks of the internet, then they need to talk about something that will cause them some serious pain, like GLOBAL BANS across ALL games by ALL publishers that sign on to this Justice League.

THAT might make an actual impact.

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Ssiard

here is blizzard’s easily abused abusive chat policy. And the key definition that is being actively abused for griefing:

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

In other words, the individual defines what is “toxic” and reports othe players based on that. This was confirmed to me by a GMs supervisor.

dixa
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dixa

while true, do remember that you are not afforded any free speech protections while participating in online communities. such communities are considered private domain, and you are required to behave in a way the owners of the space deem acceptable.

example: games that use one server for worldwide service requiring non english speakers participate in channels of their language and to leave the non english channels (see: eve online rookie help)

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Ssiard

Free speech isn’t the point. It is that you have no real defintion for toxicity and the word is being abused to the point of griefing people.

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Bruno Brito

As always: Your solution is?

dixa
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dixa

reading most of your replies and proclamations of innocence that smell just like all those posts of people who were banned from games, cried foul only to have a dev come on and post logs proving they were banned for good reason i believe you may just be a troll, and a part of the problem.

if you can’t play a game of overwatch or heroes of the storm or any highly competitive game without maintaining your cool then you really need to stop playing them.

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Bruno Brito

Being honest with you, he sounds delusional.

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Bruno Brito

This was confirmed to me by a GMs supervisor.

Anedoctal.

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rafael12104

Well, I’m for every attempt at dealing with toxicity in video games and most especially MMOs. And I’m glad they are forming and alliance.

BUT in my jaded experience, these type of Superhero teams rarely ever work outside of cartoons. They all have vested interests and are willing to participate unless it costs them something.

I hope they can lock a few things down with regard to policy as a starting point. But… dollars to donuts, they will agree that something needs to be done and that is about it.

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rafael12104

Excellent. Oh, and there will be some non-believers. Lol.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

DECENCY WOW!

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Bryan Correll

Are the drunken carousing and sexual impurity parts all right?

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Bryan Correll

Well that’s gonna be a tough sell ’round here.