Xbox’s Phil Spencer elaborates on community controls in the works to make Xbox Live less toxic

    
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Jean-Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit” provided us with the phrase “Hell is other people,” and if you’ve dared to leave your mic or chat settings open while arriving to an online game, you’ve probably been able to apply this quote to some vile experience you’ve had. Xbox head Phil Spencer seems to have online toxicity high on his mind recently, as he offered some time to Kotaku to elaborate on controls arriving to Xbox Live in order to make online gaming safer and more inclusive.

The interview was spurred by a May 20th blog post by Spencer, in which he outlined tenets that gaming should be for everyone and that “gaming must promote and protect the safety of all.” The post went on to further announce new community guidelines, and new moderation features offered to Club community managers this summer and more widely available to all by the end of the year.

When pressed on what prompted the post, Spencer did not mince words:

“I’ve been public before: Xbox Live is not a free speech platform. It is not a place where anybody can come and say anything. And as we’re working to ensure it’s a safe and inclusive environment for everybody, I don’t want to be opaque about it. I want to be out there front and center so that you understand our motivation.”

Spencer believes the incoming moderation tools will help Xbox Live users better curate their experience when finding others to play a game with. He also believes that most of the Xbox Live account settings take away some of the power of anonymity, particularly with the ease one can rebuild an account on other platforms like Twitter. Whether these controls will help or simply be a bump in the road to someone being a digital Gibbering Mouther, however, remains to be seen.

source: Kotaku
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Fervor Bliss

If you can ban moderator accounts for creating a club and not performing their duties, maybe it might help. The amount of power vs responsibility moderators get boggles the mind.

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Danny Smith

Good luck. I never thought i would hear as many tweens calling each other ‘faggot’ or ‘nigger’ or something as i did when i first started using xbox live. Nowadays i don’t because its userbase is poison. Worse than any singular ‘toxic userbase’ including modern cesspools like League of Legends or World of Warcraft.

This is like a guy who runs a bar for nazi skinheads promising to make it more family friendly. That ship sailed when you set up your audience. Go look up the xbone die hard fans on social media and its all dudebros who act like its 2004 “playan with the BIG DAWGZ”, “pounding energy drank and ‘ritos with the boys” while living firmly in the past.

Doesn’t matter how many adverts they show of families gathered around “the one”, doesn’t matter how many people with disabilities or minorities they parade around as “b-but see, we are inclusssiiiveee!” marketing either. Anyone who has had significant time with the service knows this is a promise to try and keep a sewer free of shit.

Forgive me if i have my doubts.

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Mewmew

Once and a while I will make a post that gets a bit too real. This is one of those times.

X-Box Live chat affected my gaming life in a big way. I’m actually jealous when I see girls online that aren’t being harassed, even though we in no way should be. The nasty perverted stuff the disgusting wads of trash said to me when I was a young girl on X-Box Live really affected how I feel about people in general and how I play online games still to this day.

I hate live chat. I not only don’t want to use it, I can’t stand to hear other people talking at all, I turn them off. If a game forces us to hear others talking, I don’t play it.

95% of the time I play today I use gender neutral names and let people assume I’m a guy playing and am much happier for it. I wish I knew to do that when I was younger. I went online naive and excited to be around all these other people from all over the country and world. I was crushed with perversions and dick pics and sick stuff no young girl should ever have to hear or deal with. I was hit on constantly by older men when a young girl.

They know where the younger people play and how to go and try and find them. The naivety I mentioned kept me from reporting them. I just didn’t want to get in trouble, I didn’t want to lose the Internet or the games I liked, I just would try to hide from them.

Still to this day, the number of guys looking for relationships online with gamers they find out are female is disturbing and just brings unwanted attention and usually nasty type flirting which is no longer supposed to be allowed in the West anymore in real life. The majority of people are obviously nice and just want to play with you as well, but the ones that want more always find you and it just brings up all these horrible memories.

It is like the griefers and cheaters in games – it only takes a few to ruin the experience, despite the fact that the majority of people are just there to play and have fun as well.

I end up in guilds where I want to keep the peace and not tell them off and / or ignore them and have it become an issue. Maybe the problem is that I’m still trying to be too polite about it when it happens.

I don’t feel content and happy playing male avatars and don’t feel like I should have to just to avoid certain people. When I’m directly asked I also don’t like to lie, I just tell them that I don’t want to share certain information. I have a serious guilt issue about lying that I need to get over.

I’m fairly uncomfortable these days playing around groups of random male players who know I’m female, a lot of it has to do with the past but there always seems to be some pervert who you think is your friend that starts to do disgusting messages or get too personal eventually as well. I don’t want to pretend to be a dude either because I shouldn’t have to. So I just use these gender-neutral names and try not to say either way most of the time when on games now.

I don’t tell them why it is that I don’t want to get on voice chat when asked to join. Though depending on the game, it *does* ruin my immersion and gaming experience to hear others talking while playing. I just don’t get into the details of why. Hearing people chatting during games brings me back to a horrible time and memories and it shares something I don’t like to share much of the time when gaming these days.

I still have the urge to be able to be myself and be open online but have had too many bad experiences and every new one that happens just brings back so many of the old ones. It’s quite the internal fight within me. I should just do what many do and go fully into pretending I’m male and saying so, though I still can obviously never get on voice chat while doing that. Maybe there is some kind of modulation program for PC voice chat that would make me sound like a dude but again I hate hearing others chat while playing due to past experiences so that probably isn’t an option.

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G0dl355

I wonder what it will take to get your account banned. Theres a difference between yelling out the C word and saying something like “build the wall”

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Jack Pipsam

I suppose it would depend on the moderator who reviews the report.

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Jack Pipsam

But where else are we supposed to get such classic messages?

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Arktouros

Not really sure how club and group membership controls are really going to do anything about someone screaming the N word over voice chat in the middle of a game but sure. I guess the clubs people already would form to get away from toxicity will be…less…toxic…?

Cool.

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Jack Pipsam

Clubs from my experience on Xbox tend just to be a place to share memes, art and find matches together. But that requires a closed-loop system, which is fine for say if you’re looking for a crew in Sea of Thieves or running a raid in whatever game.

But it does nothing when you play via matchmaking against the world… which is how most play games on Xbox LIVE.

I actually miss the Halo Reach matchmaking preference system. It wasn’t perfect, but the idea was nice. The gist was you could select in matchmaking options if you’re more quiet or chatty. If you’re polite, team-player or a trash-talking edge-lord. The system would attempt to match those players together.

I’m not sure if the Xbox One does this, but if I recall, the Xbox 360 had a kind of system where others could vote on what kind of player you were, so you had a social ranking in different areas, like rudeness, leaving games early etc. Then LIVE would try and match you if they could with other players akin.
I think you could also change to say what kind of player you were, casual, family, hardcore etc.

I don’t think I’ve seen these kind of settings in the Xbox One, but that’s not to say the behind-the-scenes matchmaking doesn’t attempt to do this of course.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

x

toxbox live.gif
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Greaterdivinity

Xbox Live is not a free speech platform.

ALL ABOARD THE U.S.S. CENSOR SHIP!

I’m ready for all the usual “FREEZE PEACH” suspects on social media to pitch a fit about this, but I’m happy that he/Microsoft is being explicit with this. People have no First Amendment right on a private platform like that, especially given that the First Amendment is uniquely American in how broad it is.

I’m happy if they’ll take a more active role in silencing/removing assholes that decide to harass others on the platform, they have no place and the internet and gaming world is better off without them.

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IronSalamander8 .

Excellent post. People keep claiming their right to free speech is under attack without understanding that it only applies to the government and not companies and other avenues. And we need to keep the nastiness down; just because some of us are old farts and can handle things, doesn’t mean everyone can or should and things would be better without them anyway. I don’t want some 8 year old girl being called all kinds of horrible things by some jerk online.

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Jack Pipsam

I think it helps in this case that Phil Spencer has just come out and said it outright. Instead of dancing around the issue. I’m sure he’ll get a backlash, but I know many appreciate it.

Like their Mixer service, a Twitch competitor owned by Microsoft built straight into Xbox. Mixer has gained a community somewhat due to Mixer outright from the start saying they don’t tolerate sexism, racism, trash etc.

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Mewmew

The stuff that perverts said to me when I was a pre-teen girl on X-Box live killed live chat for me, possibly forever maybe, certainly up to this day. And yeah, if you try to stop them they say it’s free speech. Free speech to say nasty stuff to young kids. I hate them so much. They certainly had a big part in shaping how I feel about people in general and how I do my online gaming today.