Riot claims to be winning the battle against toxic player behaviour.
The studio’s lead game designer of social systems Jeffrey ‘Lyte’ Lin has in a post on Re/Code argued the effectiveness of League of Legends’ Tribunal system.
“As a result of these governance systems changing online cultural norms, incidences of homophobia, sexism and racism in League of Legends have fallen to a combined two per cent of all games,” he said. “Verbal abuse has dropped by more than 40 per cent, and 91.6 per cent of negative players change their act and never commit another offense after just one reported penalty.”
Lin also suggests that even prior to these measures some of the perceptions about LoL and its players (it is widely regarded as one of the more toxic online communities) are simply unfounded.
“Our team found that if you classified online citizens from negative to positive, the vast majority of negative behaviour (which ranges from trash talk to non-extreme but still generally offensive language) did not originate from the persistently negative online citizens,” he added. “In fact, 87 per cent of online toxicity came from the neutral and positive citizens just having a bad day here or there.”
Riot has been working on this issue for three years, throughout which time it has had to struggle with one key point - how to introduce a structured governance into a community that has for long periods existed without one?
One crucial aspect in anonymity, which was the reason behind why Tribunal was set up as a public forum.
“The vast majority of online citizens were against hate speech of all kinds; in fact, in North America, homophobic slurs were the most rejected phrases in the English language,” Lin continued. “It turns out that people just need a voice, a way to enact change.
“Is it our responsibility to make online society a better place? Of course it is, for all of us. It is our society. As we collaborate with those outside of games, we are realizing that the concepts we’re using in games can apply in any online context. We are at a pivotal point in the timeline of online platforms and societies, and it is time to make a difference.”