Herein lies the problem for Valve running Dota 2: The company doesn’t want to actually provide any rules or guidelines or moderation for the game’s community, but it also doesn’t want its professional players being publicly racist to Chinese players. So when a professional player does exactly that, what does Valve do?
Well, it sends a sternly worded letter to the pro’s team saying that the team should punish him. The team, having absolutely no obligation to do anything and being, well, a professional gaming team, takes no action except to dock his pay and make a donation in the team’s name. That didn’t make the problem go away, as Chinese tournament organizers reportedly warned that the player might be barred from attending anyway and couldn’t guarantee his safety. So Valve banned the player itself after weeks of hedging.
“TNC contacted Valve last Tuesday, asking if they would get a DPC point penalty for replacing Kuku; we told them that they wouldn’t,” Valve posted. “We assumed that they were then working on a plan to replace Kuku with another player. However it seems like TNC is currently not taking proper responsibility for their actions, coupled with the attempted cover up by the team, so we are now stepping in directly and banning Kuku from attending this event. To be clear, TNC is not the victim in this case. It is not okay to cover up the situation, avoid any real sense of responsibility and then deflect it onto the community. We expect them to disagree with this.”
If this sounds like a happy ending, it really isn’t; the bigger issue here is that the company still has no clear rules in place about how to handle these situations and took action against the player only after it was clear the hands-off approach was not calming the situation. In other words, for all Valve’s talk about wanting a welcoming community, it’s almost like that requires active work to cultivate the community and block folks fond of racist commentary before they become one of the faces of the game rather than after. But that’s moderation and that’s too hard, apparently.