Being timely when dealing with nasty players can make a massive difference to cutting out unsavoury behaviour.
That’s one of the takeaways from a detailed look into the steps taken by Riot Games to stem toxicity in League of Legends, as recounted by Nature.
Riot introduced the Tribunal in early 2011 as a way of establishing an agreed set of community rules and disciplining those who misbehave, for example by using homophobic or racist language. The system has since been replaced by other platforms designed to expand its coverage.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Justin Reich observed that the Tribunal’s initial problem was informing players as to their misdeeds – they simply didn’t know what they had done wrong.
In response, Lin and his team created ‘reform cards’ to offer feedback to banned players about the reason for their punishment.
They found that providing a simple explanation as to the banning halved repeat transgressions within three months, while offering more detailed criticism – such as Tribunal judgements and evidence of offending chat communication – saw reoccurrences plummet by 70 per cent.
Yet, a problem remained: the cards were slow in arriving in players’ inboxes, anywhere from two weeks to a month after their original misstep.
So the team automated the process, delivering reports within 10 minutes of a virtual felony.
This grew the reform rate to more than 90 per cent, while overall abuse in ranked League of Legends matches fell by 40 per cent.
By taking such efforts, Lin believes that abusive behaviour has been reduced to just two per cent of games.