Riot Games has found that in the League of Legends community, bad behavior comes mostly from people who are generally good. The problem with the LoL community isn’t that there’s a few jerks who spoil things for everyone; it’s that a lot of people act like jerks occasionally.
This factoid comes from a talk by Riot showing statistics from their player community. “Toxic” means raging during an online game, insulting and threatening other players. They use the word “toxic” because they’ve found bad behavior is contagious. One person acting badly can make other people angry, who then act badly in subsequent games. Dangerous problem.
That finding has all sorts of implications for how to stop toxic behavior in an online community. It’s not enough to just ban the jerks; good people have bad days too. Instead you have to teach the whole community what the community standards are. And quickly identify people who are having a bad day, intervene before their toxicity infects too many other people. I think it's a hopeful finding; if you can just remind people of their better nature, you can prevent a lot of bad behavior.
Two really unfortunate stories of Internet bullying over the weekend. Indie game genius Phil Fish says he’s canceling Fez II after a bunch of focussed harassment. And the Call of Duty studio director has gotten a bunch of truly disgusting invective for a game balance change. All part of the Internet’s war on creatives.
Get lost you waste of talent. Shitbag telling others to kill themselves, you dont deserve your fame, money or attention. • Hahaha get fucked you pathetic fucking blowhard Fez was shit by the way • You may have made a decent game but you are still a terrible human being.
The gaming “community” are mostly a bunch of monsters. I agree with Anil Dash that the community itself is responsible for fixing the problem.
I’ve been playing a lot of League of Legends lately, a team PvP game notorious for its toxic community. The developer Riot Games took a strong step towards solving the problem, The Tribunal, a way for the community to judge whether players violate the game’s code of good behavior. In my experience it works pretty well as a deterrent. Riot has stats showing that warnings and punishment are discouraging bad behavior.
It’s basically a community moderation system. After every game anyone can flag a player for bad behavior. Enough flags and a tribunal case (example) is created. Players randomly review cases (chat logs mostly) and vote on whether to punish. Mild penalties are automatic, severe ones are reviewed first by Riot employees.
There’s a lot more to say about the Tribunal, I hope to have some follow up blog posts. One particularly interesting aspect is that the review cases are public. Most moderation systems are private to avoid disputes but I think the open discussion makes the system more effective.
I got excited about Google’s new product Chromecast and quickly placed an order on the Google Play store. They said “will ship by August 2”; plenty of time to cancel the order if I found it elsewhere for cheaper or sooner. And so I did on Amazon; same price, delivers today for free. Yay!
Only there’s no way to cancel a Google Play store order. I see my order, Status “Pending”. I click “Cancel” and I’m told “We could not cancel your order at this time. Please try again later” with a link to this support page which says “it has already been packed”. Only without any promised delivery date, so I’m assuming it’s still weeks away.
Google has a decent phone support option. The nice American lady told me that there was no way to cancel the order and my best option was to refuse delivery. Except the package is being delivered at an unknown future date with instructions to leave without a signature. She had no explanation for why it was impossible to cancel an order that had not yet been billed or shipped. To be fair to Google I vaguely remember seeing a warning when I purchased saying “you may not be able to cancel this order”. Frankly, I ignored that, it seemed so improbable. Next time I just won’t order from Google Play.
Order fulfillment is hard. Google’s not making enough money on $35 hardware sales to be worth doing a good job of it. So why are they even trying? I guess it’s to compete with Apple. But they should consider how good the experience is buying hardware online from Apple.