Fighting Toxicity

Online communities tend to attract all sorts of people, and every game has a share of distasteful people to deal with. One game that seems to be suffering an insane amount of it is League of Legends, amplified by being free to play and the global popularity it is known to have one of the most toxic communities around. Developer Riot Games is hoping to change that reputation by currently testing a new way to deal with players who simply take things too far. Jeffrey Lin shed some light on the plan of action being tested stating the following in a tweet;

Today, players that show extreme toxicity (intentional feeding or racism, etc) will be instantly 14-day or permabanned in #LeagueOfLegends

He would later go on to clarify some specifics via Reddit;

Hey everyone,
A quick clarification on some common questions I'm seeing:
Today is the start of tests where we'll be using a new machine learning approach + Player Support manual reviews to target extreme cases of toxicity (such as intentional feeding, racism, death threats, homophobia, etc) and handing out pretty severe penalties such as 14-day or permanent bans. Players that get permanent bans will see a ban code of 2500 during these tests.

We'll be testing 1 server at a time in small doses to monitor the effectiveness of the system carefully and minimize false positives. All Riot regions will get the same test at some point in the future. Depending on the results of the tests, we'll be rolling this system out more permanently on all servers.

In the past, we've avoided publicly naming and shaming players; however, we've learned in recent months that being transparent is extremely critical to the playerbase's trust in our systems, so we've decided to do a compromise. If players complain about unfair bans for this particular system (so, have a ban year code of 2500), we're going to be fully transparent and posting the chat logs that resulted in the ban.

Some players have also asked why we've taken such an aggressive stance when we've been focused on reform; well, the key here is that for most players, reform approaches are quite effective. But, for a number of players, reform attempts have been very unsuccessful which forces us to remove some of these players from League entirely.

In addition, we'll be talking about this effort in more detail and about another system that will be addressing Leavers/AFKs very severely in the future. We'll do these in the usual channels like the League forums. I just wanted to mention this briefly on Twitter today in case some players were confused why they see some players getting banned until 2500 year codes.

While many seem in favor of this new attempt to slow the tide of bad behavior, time will tell if this will be an effective way to stop toxicity or if toxic players will work to find a loophole around the suspensions and bans.