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How Riot's Social Scientists Fight League of Legends Trolling

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the have-you-tried-passing-out-mod-points dept.

Games 116

An anonymous reader writes "There's an interesting interview up today with Jeffrey Lin, lead designer of social systems for Riot, the game studio behind League of Legends. Lin has a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. His recognition that most trolls are only trolls because they're having an off day has changed the way that Riot punishes players. 'In other words, you need a carrot and not a stick. Where a punishment would come across as harsh and out-of context, pointing out to players that they're letting their usually-high standards of conduct slide usually results in a change of attitude. Incentivising the good behaviour with an Honour stat which could be affected by conduct in any match also serves to reinforce that good behaviour.' As a result, Lin's seen a noticeable spike in the number of people saying 'GG' (good game) at the end of a match. It leaves you wondering: what if Activision approached Call of Duty griefers on Xbox Live the same way?"

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Misery loves company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46707843)

Still true even on the internet.

Re:Misery loves company (1, Informative)

Cryacin (657549) | about 6 months ago | (#46707969)

If they're having an off day, just give them a "participation" trophy. That'll cheer the poor little sods up! It worked for the edumacation system, didn't it?

Re:Misery loves company (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46708171)

As someone who grew up in the cohort that received that complaint plenty, do you know how many participation trophies I ever got in school?

Zero. Plus two from playing out-side-the-school-system baseball little leagues I didn't care about. And those went to the team, not me.

Re:Misery loves company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708515)

One of the things Skinner showed is that mildly inconsistent punishment doesn't work, but very inconsistent reinforcement does. Sorry you can't face the facts.

Re:Misery loves company (1)

Carnivore24 (467239) | about 6 months ago | (#46708703)

Give their champions a graduation cap and gown every time they level up!

Re:Misery loves company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46707975)

And let the teens have their fun bashing everyone in every imaginable way. It's what they do. Most will eventually get bored and move on in a few years.

Re:Misery loves company (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 6 months ago | (#46708033)

Harsh words on the internet beat shooting up schools.

Kicking the dog. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708749)

Trolling on the internet has become a substitute for "kicking the dog" when one is feeling shitty. Just go online and harmlessly flame people for whatever reason.

It seems as though there is less and less control in our lives. You can do everything right and still get in the ass. And of course, there are always people out there to blame you for making the "wrong" decisions - "What?! You followed your passion?! How stupid! Go where the money is!" (Of course back when times were good 90's, folks where condemning people for "just doing it for the money".)

Yeah, I woke up one day and said, "Gee! This is a great day to make the wrong decisions because I really want to fuck up my life!"

We have become a cruel, shallow, snobbish society. If you are not in a well paying profession, "then who needs you" seems to be the attitude these days.

I was watching the "making of" [cosmosontv.com] videos on Fox for "Cosmos" with Tyson. There were a lot of "arty" people who made it happen. (Sagan's widow - Anne Druyan - is a writer. She's the one that made "Contact" so awesome.) People who helped make it entertaining and informative. That is something scientists or engineers hardly ever do - but the arty people (animators, writers, designers, etc ...) makes that show brilliant and accessible.

And considering how counter arguments for creationism is peppered throughout, I really think it will get folks who are predisposed to those beliefs to maybe question them.

And it helps that they point out that many of these scientists were quite devout in their religions.

It also helps that Neil is this congenial big Teddy Bear of a man. I wish there was a Neil deGrasse Tyson stuffed toy that I could go to bed with.

Re:Misery loves company (1)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 6 months ago | (#46708957)

Exactly, in a way. There are much smarter ways to create happy gamers instead of "We know the only right way to play LOL." The problem with Riot is they are so arrogant. Some people like to play aggressively, others don't. In most gaming communities that's okay. Not on LOL supposedly.

Use chat logs and scores/ratios to create gamer profiles. Match similar types of players together. Everyone will be happy without feeling forced to say gg after a game. What a insincere and frivolous way to measure gamer happiness.

Don't passive-aggresively ban players for a week like you're the player's parent. And at least give a reason.

All it takes is a little data analytics and leaving your neckbeard at home Riot.

Re:Misery loves company (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 6 months ago | (#46709083)

Some people like to play aggressively, others don't. In most gaming communities that's okay. Not on LOL supposedly.

Uhm... have you ever played LoL? I mean, agressive play is one thing. But having every 5 out of 6 words being an insult or a slur doesn't really help me game. It's not aggressive play, it has NOTHING at all to do with play. And a lot with an inability to express themselves and their frustration at being so bad at the game.

It just makes me look for another game where I don't have to put up with pre-teens who just escaped from mama's supervision. And that's why LoL is right: they need to protect the normal players from the minority of asshats that can't deal with losing a game.

Sportmanship (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 6 months ago | (#46709719)

As an old fart "gamer" I find temper tantrums and trolls in the chat window of most games are relatively easy to ignore but the constant flow of bullshit does get in the way of useful communication between teammates. I like the common gaming feature where you can quickly filter a particular troll/spammer out of the chat window by clicking "ignore" on their name. It's a simple and very effective way to clean up the chat window on the spot. I don't use audio chat but it wouldn't surprise me if it had a similar feature.

Win, lose, or draw, I call 'gg' when I die, a lot of kids don't understand old fashioned "sportsmanship" so it sometimes confuses them and they respond with something like - "How is it gg? We lost!". Problem is, if they are old/sober enough to type coherent comments into a chat window and still don't get the "play nice" thing, they probably never will.

Re:Sportmanship (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 6 months ago | (#46710083)

Meanwhile, in some MOBAs (I don't like LoL, but I've played a bit and used to play DotA, still play HoN, and occasionally play DotA2 or Smite), "GG" has become a term of mockery. Not universally, of course, but I've seen it after one team gets massively more powerful than the other and rather than pushing to end the game, they ignore structures entirely and focus on just killing the opponents over and over again (thus drawing out the game), especially if some people on the other team refuse to forfeit (it happens). There's nothing remotely good about that game - it's trolling, pure and simple - but that won't stop the trolls from saying so.

Incentivising the good behaviour (4)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 months ago | (#46707883)

... has done jack and squat.

Whenever my friends are playing LoL while I'm on teamspeak, 95% of what they say has to do with either teammates or the opposition being complete tools intentionally.

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46708383)

I look forward to your award winning paper on the subject.
I"m sure a right up will appear in Neurologica any day now.

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708607)

Nice ad hominem attack, feces-swallowing douchebag!

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 6 months ago | (#46708763)

right up

Nice won.

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46712281)

So a "comeback" worthy of a ten year old is what gets up modded on /. now? RIP /.

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708437)

I would let my child go to 4chan before I let them play LoL, it is THE cesspool of the internet.

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 6 months ago | (#46708621)

That's not the behavior they want to disincentivize anyway. They don't care if you talk shit about your teammates constantly when you're with friends. They care about you and your friends flaming those randoms ingame. If anything, talking to friends about it on TS itself is a way to prevent users from flaming/trolling, since it's an outlet for frustration that would otherwise be directed at the randoms.

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 months ago | (#46709223)

I'm not talking about banter between friends, the friends I was speaking of were observing "randoms" exhibiting the behavior.

Is LoL still distributing a virus? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708955)

Earlier this year I downloaded LoL from their main page, and it installed Pando Media Player as part of the install.

Pando then updated itself, and the update installed a nasty virus payload, including a browser hijacker. This is because Pando closed its doors at the end of last year, and its self-update has sense been hacked and now delivers malware.

All they say on the forums is "just don't install Pando, it isn't actually required, and we plan to remove it someday."

This is totally unacceptable, since they are distributing the virus now as part of their default install package.

I am not at all impressed with their diligence.

Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (1)

JMZero (449047) | about 6 months ago | (#46709881)

Try playing 20 games of Heroes of Newerth, then 20 games of League. You'll feel the difference.

I much prefer Heroes as a game - but in HoN it's routine that over the in game voice chat people will threaten to kill you because (for example) you missed denying a creep - and if you mute people, you lose any kind of coordination. In League, strangers have to type out their abuse - and if you get tired of it, you just mute them (because most "real" communication is done via pings anyway). But for the most part, you don't have to mute people - because the whole happy sticker tribunal thing actually seems to work. Heck, people are often legitimately friendly, even when you're losing.

Overall, in League, 1 in 10 games will be ruined by someone going nutbars griefing or hurling abuse, or leaving because they feel abused. In HoN, 5 out of 10 games are ruined that way.

So even though I love the game (Newerth), I'll probably never play again. The League stuff works.

Your mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46707907)

Your mom fights league of legends trolling.

lololol goback2beta Slashdotters

Correlation MIGHT be causation (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#46707915)

He noticed a spike in people saying GG and takes that as a general sign that the atmosphere is improving. Is it that, or are trolls tone basically unchanged, but they're just saying "GG" to get their honor stat back a little?

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46707979)

Could be the same as doing a preemptive GG in StarCraft. Typically, the losing player says GG to signify he's about to concede and leave, instead of just quitting. However, occasionally the attacking player will GG when they're confident they'll win, which is generally seen in an insulting light.

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 6 months ago | (#46709957)

For me, getting a pre-emptive gg meant the game has now changed to "find the pylon." The pre-emptive gg-er desperately wants me to quit, so after finding the pylon, rather than killing it, they will usually do something silly like draw pictures with buildings in the middle of the map. Of course, I'd have alt+tabbed to watch a movie or TV show at that point. When I come back to find he eventually killed the pylon, I feel smug in knowing that the last 45 minutes of my life were slightly more enjoyable than his. And sometimes I would get a surprise and find that he d/c-ed :).

I miss starcraft bw *sniff*.

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 months ago | (#46708005)

Could also be sarcastic. Eg:

tool: gg
tool: stupid shitheads can't play for shit!
too: (leaves game)

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708087)

Well, are we certain that 'GG' stands for 'Good Game'?
Other possible meanings:
Getting Grapes
Galloping Grasshoppers (with the implied continuation '...you guys sucked!')
Grasping Genitals
Greedy Gopher (wasn't that a Linux build?)
Gargantuan Grapefruit
Greased Gnome
etc.

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 6 months ago | (#46708473)

Well, are we certain that 'GG' stands for 'Good Game'?
Other possible meanings:
Getting Grapes ...
etc.

For that matter... I used "GG" long before "good game" became a meme. You know what it used to mean?

"Gotta Go"

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (1)

davewoods (2450314) | about 6 months ago | (#46708627)

"Gotta Go" has always been "g2g" or "gtg". I have never once heard someone use "GG" meaning they have to go, and I have been through so many chat phases, like yeah, man.

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709209)

> Greased Gnome.

Nope, I'm pretty sure that's a Ubuntu release candidate.

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46708399)

It's A factor.
Incentive awards works really well. see..every facebook game.

Re:Correlation MIGHT be causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709347)

But that's what we really wanted anyway.

Largely positive community (1)

danaris (525051) | about 6 months ago | (#46707923)

I've been playing LoL for about a year now, on and off, and while I can hardly claim to be playing at a high level (I think I was Bronze II last time I qualified in ranked play), my experience has largely been a positive one. Sure, there are occasional assholes, and I've even had to mute one or two people, but most games I play don't have any serious negative attitudes, blue-streak profanity, or other jerkiness.

Personally, I always try to have a good attitude myself, since I know from experience that negativity can far too easily breed, especially when more than one person in a given group is acting that way, and cheerfulness can also be contagious.

I have high hopes for the introduction of the Team Builder matchmaking system, which should reduce or remove the contention for roles and positions that has far too often marred the pre-game lobby in League...once they can make sure its wait times are reasonable.

Dan Aris

an off game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708011)

I used to play LoL a lot but realized it made me angry the rest of the day in all my other interactions with other people. When I realized that, I simply closed the game and uninstalled it. It has been several months and I feel much, much better overall. My mood has improved, my aggression level is reduced to insignificance, and I have more free time!

The sad part is that most of my LoL-induced rage came from poor gameplay mechanisms, like being stuck for half an hour in a game with people AFK from the very beginning (why would you put a timer before allowing the 3 people in a 3v5 to surrender? R-tard Riot, that's why).

I strongly believe that the world would be a better place without the existence of League of Legends, but in the meantime I would accept them spending more money on better gameplay instead of wasting money on designing "social systems" that are simply flawed.

These are griefers, not trolls. Trolling is fun (4, Insightful)

deathcloset (626704) | about 6 months ago | (#46708029)

I understand that some trolling is bullying: that's when it becomes griefing - but most trolling is just sarcastic fun. I have, on many occasions, made joking jest and played the role (with dripping socratic irony) of the troll to the great delight of myself and others.

If somebody is truly upset, however, I would not, could not, continue to deride them. So that's where the fine line may be drawn.

Those that would are to be called griefers, not trolls.

Griefers are trolls intending harm. Trolls in my opinion and in my definition are merely out for Natalie Portman's hot grits - whatever those may be.

Re:These are griefers, not trolls. Trolling is fun (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 6 months ago | (#46708185)

I'd call them griefers too and is why I quit. LOL is a unique beast. Your team needs to help or you lose. So some people put pressure on each other and don't let up. I quit that game because I'd be cursed at as the first thing people said to me and all I did was pick my character in pubs. Its a shame too because the game is pretty easy and fun. There's no such thing as LOL ladder anxiety compared to SC2 for me because SC2 makes you click maybe 20x as often to get the same amount of things done.

My suggestion to Riot was to allow,"Avoid playing with this character again" and "Prefer playing with this character again" buttons. Forming a custom team is often times more work than what you get from it if people aren't responding. If there was a loose method to form a preferred team, that'd be cool. I think someone told me if there was a button "Don't play with this player again", many people would use it for skill reasons and then it'd be hard to find matches. This is why it should be avoid/prefer instead of musts.

Re:These are griefers, not trolls. Trolling is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709283)

They have a "Team Builder" game type now, where you select your character and role and then get matched with teammates. The wait can be kinda long, but it offers far more flexibility than the standard team builder (every player has to select ready for their team to enter the queue, so everyone has time to review the composition).

The "don't play with this player again" button is also called "ignore". It means you don't see what they say, they can't friend you, and you don't queue with them again. I have probably put over 100 players on my ignore list over the years. Not because they were unskilled, but because they were toxic and made the game really upsetting.

One thing that you have to remember is that your attitude can affect the other players. I have had many games where there were two people going at each other, and just being cheerful and positive while reminding everyone that it is a game and trying to help anyone that was doing poorly turned it around for us. Most people that are trolling because they are having a bad day will change their attitude if their is a single upbeat player that is trying to discourage infighting.

Re:These are griefers, not trolls. Trolling is fun (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 6 months ago | (#46709739)

"I'd call them griefers too and is why I quit. DOTA is a unique beast."

FTFY

I have another idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46711453)

Match people with high honor rankings with each others more. I'm a casual player, I'm ok with getting matched against better or worse players, but please don't match me against whiny kids that do nothing but cry about one thing or the other. Yeah, I can mute them, but the experience is so much better when you happen to get a team that works together instead of blaiming others. Even when you lose. You did so as a team that tried everything they could.

Re:These are griefers, not trolls. Trolling is fun (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708601)

You don't know what a troll is.

Re:These are griefers, not trolls. Trolling is fun (1)

advid.net (595837) | about 6 months ago | (#46711967)

If somebody is truly upset, however, I would not, could not, continue to deride them. So that's where the fine line may be drawn.

Oh dear... then you missed the utter ecstatic joy of viciously trolling a moderator until he quit his job, while pissing off the whole community who praise him as one of the best ever.

Err... wait... did I misssed the anonymous toggle ?

LoL doesn't have partisan trolls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708053)

I haven't played LoL, Online games I have played have all contained partisan or cause trolls, who everyday are trolling anyone who feeds them. I guess they are having a lifetime of bad days.

"Lin equates the use of GG with a handshake at the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708057)

Lin equates the use of GG with a handshake at the end of a match in traditional sports like football or basketball

This is most certainly not the case in Valve games, the majority of the type "gg" means "we won", at least in pickup group games. It's very rare to have an evenly matched game with the ELO system for pickup team games in LoL, Dota2, as individuals on their own won't make a big difference to a 5v5 game (unlike first person shooters).

Call of Duty is berated, but if you want to see a model of how not to do it, study Valve's two most popular online games Dota2 and CSGO. The former is always filled with "report please", which I've seen if someone has had the audacity to just die. In CSGO, you can vote people out of the competitive game, and keep doing it with no limit which just encourages anti-social behaviour.

Re:"Lin equates the use of GG with a handshake at (1)

davewoods (2450314) | about 6 months ago | (#46708697)

Not sure where you are getting your data for DOTA 2, a player only has so many reports they can submit in a certain time frame. There have been plenty of times someone said they "Reported" me because I accidentally messed up on something, but no official action was taken. And only maybe two or three times has an action been taken against the dozen or so people I have reported.

So while the players do have "Power", that I guess could be "Abused", it is in no way ultimate or far-reaching. I rarely see trolls on DOTA anyway, like I said, I have reported maybe 12 people, out of what like... 800 games or so? I do not recall my numbers, sorry.

And as for CSGO, I have no idea what that is, so I cannot speak to it.

Re:"Lin equates the use of GG with a handshake at (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 6 months ago | (#46709103)

CSGO = CS:GO (Counter Strike Global Offensive)

How to stop Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708151)

Beta is a form of trolling handed down by Dice and Slashdot. It must be stopped.

This guy is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708177)

Don't trust anything this pseudo-scientist has to say. He's an ego maniac that bounces from one extreme to the other and refuses to admit he's wrong until it's too late to help. They did a blanket ban of thousands of accounts based on his "research" a few years ago just banning people for two weeks when they meet two criteria:

A) Have used the word "report" in in-game chat
B) Have a large number of reports that went unpunished by the Tribunal (their player-moderator community)

It took him a year or two to apologize for his oversight, but they refused to even review the bans for the two week period that the bans were active. You were told to submit a ticket to support where it just basically sat unmonitored and unassigned until the suspension wore off organically.

Kids (4, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46708209)

It leaves you wondering: what if Activision approached Call of Duty griefers on Xbox Live the same way?

No it doesn't, because in my experience, most console trolls/griefers aren't "people having an off day," they're foul-mouthed 14-year-olds with shitty excuses for parents.

Re:Kids (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46708415)

So you experience includes tracking every person, looking for repeat behavior trending with time and gaining intimate knowledge of their home life?

Or, you are just wrong. I think I"m going to go with you are just wrong.

Re:Kids (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46708505)

So you experience includes tracking every person, looking for repeat behavior trending with time and gaining intimate knowledge of their home life?

No, me* experience only covers me experience. Only an idiot or an asshole would try and imply that I mean to extrapolate that to the population as a whole, especially considering that I used the qualifier, "in my experience."

Or, you are just wrong. I think I"m going to go with you are just wrong.

So, I think I'm gonna go with "idiotic asshole," then.

* Yes, I am mocking you. Wanted to make sure that's abundantly clear, since you had so much trouble with the whole 'in my experience' thing.

Re:Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708583)

Geekoid has some kind of mental disorder, don't take it personally. You'll find a lot of peculiar posts that are a distasteful mix of arrogance and derp from that person.

Geekoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709947)

He's a teacher, so he's usually inebriated by 2:30 PM Pacific time (you can tell by the marked increase in typos, English syntax errors, and incoherent tangents that just peter off). Since it was only about 1:15 PM when he posted this, I'm guessing he's jonesing hard for his intoxicants and this explains his retention of coherency as well as his viciousness.

Look for his post quality to degrade later.

Re:Kids (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46708835)

So you experience includes tracking every person, looking for repeat behavior trending with time and gaining intimate knowledge of their home life?

Or, you are just wrong. I think I"m going to go with you are just wrong.

If his experience includes playing games, it's more experience than Jeffrey Lin has. He never actually analyzed player conduct, let alone player conduct in context of the game.

All Lin did was filter chat logs to people who said "report" and cross referenced that list with the list of report submitters where no action was taken. 2 week auto ban for anyone who said "report" in in-game chat and had a failed report. in game behavior of the reporter was not analyzed, nor was that of the reported, nor was the report or the people who evaluated them, nor were the actual chat logs, nor were any audio logs. (No MOBA I'm aware of stores or reviews voice chat, so if you want to troll your team you do it over voice chat because it's an unactionable haven while you attack move down mid lane to feed.)

Re:Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708961)

If his experience were "his individual experience as a woman," would you still question it? How about a transwoman? Do their individual experiences count or do you force them to do a study to prove that their experiences were truly their experiences before you believe them?

This is a load of bunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708293)

I play LoL daily. There has not been a noticeable drop in the amount of griefing I've experienced in ranked play since I started playing it in season two (we're on season four, to put that into context). In those two years I have kept up with the tribunal and almost every single case I've reviewed has resulted in a conviction. Not a single one has ever been a permanent ban. One in five is something other than a warning. I've seen reports that have 3-5 games where the person uses language that would make a skinhead blush that only resulted in warnings. I try to log into the tribe at least once a week and often times I can only review a half dozen cases before it runs out of reports to review. Based on my own games I know if you play 5 games a day you need to file 2-3 reports on average. If its not your own teammate going AFK halfway threw the game its someone on the other team feeding and cursing a blue streak in all chat. That kind of thing.

In my own games I regularly run into people that get mad, feed and then afk. I've seen entire teams report people for doing stuff like this only to run into them a week or a month later and they do the exact same thing. There is one guy I have played with at least 5 times in the two years I've played (he uses a name variation of Skeletor and hes on my mute list) and I have had to report him every single game for griefing. I just played him again about 2 weeks ago, still trolling and cursing a blue streak.

So while its all well and to talk about statistics and treads for the people who *aren't* trolling, when the player base isn't seen an actual decrease in the number of trolls, it doesn't really mean anything. Show me a list of the number of accounts banned per month or a number of reports filed and show me how its gone down. Don;t talk to me about little token profile pic banners and boarders. Heck, they've disabled the ability to see the enemy teams stuff anyway.

Misinterpretations are rampant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708579)

In daily social interactions we interpret really sparse language with a number of non-verbal cues that are informed by our knowledge of the speaker.
Online we have much less non-verbal cues, and also much less knowledge of the speaker. This is really important to remember.

For instance, when two 14 year olds interact with each other they may call each other names like 'bitch' with basically no ill-intent. Now if it turns out that one of them isn't 14, but instead is 33 (my age) and isn't used to being called 'bitch' (not true in my case, but you get the point), suddenly you have a major perceived slight that IMMEDIATELY blows into an all-out war.

In my experience online gaming (LOL for 2 seasons, SC2 for the same) the biggest difference in my happiness has been been constantly reminding myself that I have very little context for interpreting people's chats. And it really has turned out that way more often than I initially thought the 'troll' is just some kid blabbing his mouth in a way that he literally thinks is funny and isn't meant to make me mad.
Now I totally admit there are really angry players out there. They are very different. I try not to antagonize them because when you think about how freaking upset they are it is actually really really sad and it makes me so glad I'm in better control of my emotions than that.
Ok, one note about LOL's honor system. It's pretty stupid. That being said, even as I think to myself 'man this if freaking stupid', there is still a little bit of me that cares, and that probably means it has some effect, so by all means, implement that shit.

Re:This is a load of bunk (1)

davewoods (2450314) | about 6 months ago | (#46708745)

Based on my own games I know if you play 5 games a day you need to file 2-3 reports on average

That ratio is entirely too high, and indicates something is fundamentally wrong with the system implemented to take care of trolls.

"Social scientist" (-1, Troll)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 6 months ago | (#46708337)

Laugh with me friends as we laugh at the laughable laughableness of laughablenessness!

Science!

You keep using that word.

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Hahahaha!

Re:"Social scientist" (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46708447)

Do people have behaviors? yes.
Do people interact socially? yes
Can it be monitored? yes.
Can data be collected form it? Yes
can it be manipulated successfully? Yes
Can predictions be made? yes.

I'm sorry, you don't think it's a science ...why, exactly?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
and:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

Re:"Social scientist" (0)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 6 months ago | (#46708743)

"I'm sorry, you don't think it's a science ...why, exactly?"

Mostly because of the increasingly shitty state of society since "social scientists" first introduced the "nuclear family" in the 1950s which led to stressed out men working themselves to death and frustrated housewives doping themselves up on valium to deal with it. The "social science" response to which was demonising men and invalidating women (oh gosh male suicides outnumber female by five to one you don't say, why might that be). If the intention of a science is to analyse problems and produce better outcomes, as it generally is, or even just analyse problems, the soft squishy spongelike social sciences are abject failures on a scale unimagined in previous eras.

Science involves falsifiable theories, objective evidence, empirical research, NOT starting out with a hypothesis and discarding all of the alternatives that don't fit your agenda.

But hey, you keep on linkin' to wikipedia, home of the objective.

Re:"Social scientist" (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 6 months ago | (#46708933)

Science and the idiots who make policies are two completely different things. I'm not sure why you think that social science isn't falsifiable either. Just because you can't make something happen every single time doesn't mean it's completely worthless.

Re:"Social scientist" (0)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 6 months ago | (#46709051)

Just because you can't make something happen every single time doesn't mean it's completely worthless.

It does make it not science, however.

Re:"Social scientist" (1)

CharlesDonHall (214468) | about 6 months ago | (#46709323)

There's a lot to unpack here but I think I understand what you're saying.

The toxically rigid gender roles you're describing didn't get invented in the 1950's. They've existed with minor variations for centuries. The reason the 1950's look especially bad is because they were at the end of a long static period, just before the 1960's-70's when things started to get dramatically better. (Which isn't to say that there isn't still room for improvement, even today.)

Now, there were some phony social scientists claiming that these rigid gender roles were the natural order of things, just like there were phony medical researchers claiming that smoking was good for you. And they got a lot of publicity from monied interests who wanted to preserve the status quo. People who were actually doing real social science were able to figure out the problems that rigid gender roles were causing. They didn't get as much publicity as they deserved, but that's not because they were using bad methodology.

Stephen J. Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man" is a good book on the subject. He talks more about racism than sexism, but it'll still give you a good picture of the kind of dynamic that was in play.

Re:"Social scientist" (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 6 months ago | (#46711121)

There's a lot to unpack here but I think I understand what you're saying.The toxically rigid gender roles you're describing didn't get invented in the 1950's. They've existed with minor variations for centuries.

Not really no. The historical reality is that families, generations of families lived under the same roof or in close knit communities for most of history.

The reason the 1950's look especially bad is because they were at the end of a long static period, just before the 1960's-70's when things started to get dramatically better.

Better except for the lot of men you mean. Those gosh darned suicide rates again, not to mention graduation rates, criminal sentences, lifespans, and on and on...

Stephen J. Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man" is a good book on the subject. He talks more about racism than sexism, but it'll still give you a good picture of the kind of dynamic that was in play.

Oh for pity's sake. Sexism is not racism, women are not a minority and are not now nor ever were oppressed.

Re:"Social scientist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709197)

+1, also, I must say I enjoyed the article in your sig. Thanks for the read.

There aren't that many trolls (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708549)

I didn't RTFA but as someone who's played his fair share of League of Legends, there aren't nearly as many *trolls* in the game as people think. When I say troll, I mean someone who intentionally plays badly so that their team loses, OR is constantly harassing others for no apparent reason, with the sole intention of getting them riled up. Every so often, you will encounter one of these trolls, but it is a very rare occurrence (at least in the leagues/divisions I play in, it might be different in bronze).

However, what I do see a lot of is players who are arrogant and competitive, and therefore start raging at their teammates when they make the slightest mistake, even if the raging player isn't doing well at all himself. They live in a delusional bubble where they think everything they do is perfect, and everyone else should listen to them. These players are what give the League community its bad name. And these are not people having an off day, these are narcissists who have no idea how the game really works.

A lot of the people who are legitimate trolls will not come into the game with the intention of trolling, but will be provoked by the aforementioned narcissist. Also, there are some players that are simply bad at the game, and they get mistakenly labelled as trolls, or they feel too ashamed to admit they are bad and therefore try to cover it up by going "lol im just trolling". Players who have an off-day might be playing badly, and then be labelled as a troll on those days.

So, the result of the relatively toxic community is because of the competitive environment that the game is in, which is unavoidable for an online multiplayer videogame, unless you want everybody winning. The honor system does nothing (and you'll see as you get into more competitive higher leveled ranked games, that receiving honor becomes much rarer).

At least the PhD in neuroscience gets paid well...

Presentations about Riot's System (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 6 months ago | (#46708591)

Here's a pair of links to talks Lyte has given on their systems. It's really interesting stuff. At GDC [gdcvault.com] and a classroom presentation [youtube.com] .

There is one, and only one, way to fight trolling (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46708599)

Ensure that people need each other. If people can treat others like an expendable commodity, they will treat each other as such.

You'll notice that there was virtually no griefing or trolling in old MMOs. Why? Because you didn't survive a day without the aid of anyone else. Ever tried to get anything accomplished alone in old school DAoC? Or, hell, EQ? You were dependent on the rest of the server to get your gear back in case you died in some godforsaken corner. So if Mr. Troll died somewhere and was crying for aid to get his oh so valuable loot back before it despawned for good, at best he was played a very sad song on the smallest violin on earth.

Of course that's not a very troll friendly territory. If antisocial behaviour has consequences, being the asshole is only half as much fun. So if you want people to behave, there's no need for a honor badge system or putting little golden stickers into their textbooks. You simply need to let people sort it out. But of course, that's not what is wanted. Because trolls are not the game makers' problem, it's the players' problem.

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 6 months ago | (#46708777)

Players should be able to hire Matt Dillon to protect them from Griefers.

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#46709061)

You'll notice that there was virtually no griefing or trolling in old MMOs. Why? Because you didn't survive a day without the aid of anyone else.

Quite the opposite. EQ1 fostered such things as deliberately dropping trains on people you were pissed off at. Camping their corpses (in PVP) or training things to a corpse and Feign death / memwipe to leave them there in PVE. They'd also steal your kills, ninja your loot, pull the named after you cleared to him...

People were absolute douchebags on a regular basis.

Ever tried to get anything accomplished alone in old school DAoC? Or, hell, EQ? You were dependent on the rest of the server to get your gear back in case you died in some godforsaken corner.

This part is true, but that just forced the trolls to form into teams of like minded trolls... and that enabled new kinds of team trolling... e.g. having a high level shaman troll heal and buff your low level noobie harrassing troll to make him invincible as he ran around ganking people (in PVP) or make him that much more effective at training etc.

Then they'd log off their troll alts, login their main, and go off and raid with a large group of 'friends' who thought they were just another fine upstanding player.

Because trolls are not the game makers' problem, it's the players' problem.

The players need tools to deal with the trolls though.

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709259)

And then we got EvE where this type of behaviour is expected and designed in to the game.

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709077)

You'll notice that there was virtually no griefing or trolling in old MMOs.

Lord British and the Ultima Online community would beg to differ.

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709257)

Ensure that people need each other. If people can treat others like an expendable commodity, they will treat each other as such.

You've clearly never played MOBA's like LoL/Dota.

Trolling works so well in these games because everybody depends on everybody else. Its a 5v5 game, and if a single person trolls on your team, you are completely screwed. You aren't going to win. That makes trolling very powerful, and the trolls know it, which encourages them to troll all the harder.

In many games where you don't need teammates so much, you can just stick the troll on mute and move on with their life. So the troll is just wasting his own time. Its not much fun to troll if everybody can ignore you and move on with their lives.

But LoL/Dota are notorious for their trolls precisely because the games are set up to ensure that you need teammates. The troll is essentially guaranteed that feedback where he knows that he ruined somebody's time even if they stuck him on mute. Its almost guaranteed success for the trolling due to the game structure.

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46712405)

Yes, but a troll can afford to piss off 4 people. It would be very different if HE, and in turn his experience, dependent on those 4 people. To give you an example, in a game I played it was virtually impossible to be a troll, simply because the "top floor" of players was rather limited in numbers and the people who organized the more interesting events were even fewer in numbers. If it became known that you're a nuisance, you were done for.

It took care of troll pretty fucking quickly.

anonymous coward (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46710963)

Ensure that people need each other. If people can treat others like an expendable commodity, they will treat each other as such.

Hmm. By ensuring people need each other, you are making them all expendable commodities, beating them to the punch.

I'm not sure I agree with that. You make it sound as if we just got all the Republicans and Democrats and Terrorists (but I digress) and threw them in the same room together with some 6-year olds (again, digressing) they would just get along.

I would almost say the better solution is threaten people that if they don't get along, they will have to hang out together. That would seemingly be more effective.

Of course that's not a very troll friendly territory. If antisocial behaviour has consequences, being the asshole is only half as much fun.

Interesting post, but it seems entirely contingent on the theory that trolling and "antisocial" behavior are simply a matter of popularity and who is targeted.

If 10 people are being assholes and 3 are not, it seems like it just depends on who you ask who is "trolling."

What makes the 10 more trustworthy? They have every reason to lie.

And what are the consequences for the 10?

Your system seems like nothing more than let the biggest mob troll away freely.

Re:anonymous coward (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46712421)

If your game has really been taken over by trolls, you got far bigger problems.

anonymous coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46710969)

You simply need to let people sort it out

It sounds too much like we don't need environmental regulations, because if we pollute ourselves to death, we'll just stop what we're doing and all the problems we made will disappear.

Re:anonymous coward (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46712433)

The difference is probably that the majority of players of a game (rather than people in an environment) actually has an interest in a "clean" game environment simply because that's what they come into the game for and it's not just a secondary concern. They come to play a game rather than troll.

If the majority of people that come to your game come to troll, I guess it's time to reevaluate the amount of fun people gain out of playing your game "sensibly"...

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (2)

Robotron23 (832528) | about 6 months ago | (#46711559)

You'll notice that there was virtually no griefing or trolling in old MMOs.

I call bullshit.

From 2001 till 2004 I played the oldest of the popular online MMOs; Ultima Online. Trolling occurred through excessive player killing, disruption of guild activities and dungeoneering plus people doing some honest mining. It was characteristic celebrated amongst perpetrators and adrenaline junkies but reviled amongst those wanting a less combative, PvE experience.

It was already on the decrease when I joined up thanks to the introduction of a non-combat realm. Nowadays a few thousand people yearning for the lawlessness of the old UO have founded their own free servers replicating the 'Wild West' culture.

Trolling isn't exclusive to new MMOs or modern forums, social media and so on. It was present in the early days of Usenet, the earliest chat rooms and IRC channels, and from the very first online games venturing beyond LAN and Intranet play.

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 6 months ago | (#46712715)

Ensure that people need each other. If people can treat others like an expendable commodity, they will treat each other as such.

Works both ways. In games like LoL players really need each other. It's 5v5 PvP, frequently with random people. That can mean a lot of more and less justified grief between the teammates. However, if it wasn't as easy for a player to screw it up for the team, maybe it wouldn't be as fun...

Re:There is one, and only one, way to fight trolli (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 6 months ago | (#46712741)

By the way, I assumed they were using trolling in the new, incorrect sense of being a mean asshole (in the chat, etc). Not really clear from the article what they actually mean by trolling

LOL's community behavior has no comparison (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about 6 months ago | (#46708761)

In theory one might seem like trolls are all the same. Whoever thinks like this has never been in a LOL champion select. There's nothing like the community behavior in this game - every single action (or inaction) is an excuse to offend you, your family, your religion, your skin and your country. People will start grieving at minute minus 2 for the right to a strategic position, which is based on first calling in written chat (think 2+ guys with 100ms latency chatting the same position at once), they will continue to do so because of items bought. Never mind you actually dying out of being your first time on a champ - most times you will be offended just because you don't think the same way as others. Even pro teams have these issues. The game is too darn complex (not hard per say, it just branches way too much, has too many variables). People will flame for you picking a champion they don't like - stats wise, gameplay wise, or just for its looks. It's ridiculous. Everybody is in a constant state of dick size comparison, even female players. I have been in more than one TeamSpeak room listening to chicks spamming "pussy" to their entire team, for absolutely disputable reasons. People will go from "newb" to IRL death threats in a matter of minutes, and every day that passes Riot hires thousands of honorary wannabe admins, since 80% of people seem to have the ability to ban. Most of these things might have been seen in FPSs, MMORPGs, or even 4chan, IRC or WWW-wide comment threads. Nothing compares. I would go as far as to say it's part of its glamour - Riot just introduced a matchmaking system which eliminates the primary issue of trolling (position picking). From the time it takes to get inside a queue compared to blind picks, you can figure it's not getting a lot of prime-time ratings. And most games in that mode are actually a breeze, with people actually sending helping words to each other in adversity, something rare.

Re:LOL's community behavior has no comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709265)

In theory one might seem like trolls are all the same. Whoever thinks like this has never been in a LOL champion select. There's nothing like the community behavior in this game - every single action (or inaction) is an excuse to offend you, your family, your religion, your skin and your country. People will start grieving at minute minus 2 for the right to a strategic position, which is based on first calling in written chat (think 2+ guys with 100ms latency chatting the same position at once), they will continue to do so because of items bought. Never mind you actually dying out of being your first time on a champ - most times you will be offended just because you don't think the same way as others. Even pro teams have these issues. The game is too darn complex (not hard per say, it just branches way too much, has too many variables). People will flame for you picking a champion they don't like - stats wise, gameplay wise, or just for its looks. It's ridiculous. Everybody is in a constant state of dick size comparison, even female players. I have been in more than one TeamSpeak room listening to chicks spamming "pussy" to their entire team, for absolutely disputable reasons. People will go from "newb" to IRL death threats in a matter of minutes, and every day that passes Riot hires thousands of honorary wannabe admins, since 80% of people seem to have the ability to ban. Most of these things might have been seen in FPSs, MMORPGs, or even 4chan, IRC or WWW-wide comment threads. Nothing compares. I would go as far as to say it's part of its glamour - Riot just introduced a matchmaking system which eliminates the primary issue of trolling (position picking). From the time it takes to get inside a queue compared to blind picks, you can figure it's not getting a lot of prime-time ratings. And most games in that mode are actually a breeze, with people actually sending helping words to each other in adversity, something rare.

Please oh please mod this to infinity+

The banning you are referring to must be the vote kick, a tool most often used to kick a player in the first minute of the game for any of the above mentioned reasons, like buying the wrong item. It's abused exactly like any other vote kick in any other online game, except with all the extreme concentration of loving personalities this game has.

It's the game design fellas. This all came from a Warcraft III mod. Everybody who played original DotA knew this was coming. Everything about this game is designed for angry teenagers, That's the problem.

Re:LOL's community behavior has no comparison (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about 6 months ago | (#46709865)

I didn't mean tribunal, I meant outright lies about having ban powers or knwoing anyone who has. Tribunal is a great system, it's just not made for this community. 90% tribunal voters are gona be (sorry to put it like this) butthurt players who will lose 5 minutes of their life on it after a flamewar, so that they can vent it there instead of popping up a forehead vein. It's still an effective system on the short-run because, well, whoever gets warned/banned has a 99.9% chance of actually improving behaviour, as that's the probability of them being a truly offending player (i.e. pretty much every registered user deserved it at one point or another, me included). But on the long run, it's a system destined to fail. This is the type of game that could actually benefit from enforced, centralized communication (which exists to a degree) and a disabled general chat, be it team chat or all chat. Unfortunately nobody is in a hurry to remove a standard feature, and as I said, this society obnoxiousness is part of the charm.

Re:LOL's community behavior has no comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709301)

Interestingly, if you play ranked, this style of behavior goes onto steep decline once you hit gold. It doesn't disappear or anything, you just see it a far less.

Re:LOL's community behavior has no comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46710973)

Well, they still complain about some unusual picks (like my soraka solo mid (which does work quite well in many cases)), but I must agree that the behaviour improves quite much. Everyone there knows cooperation is needed to win, so most of the time they strive to do it. But on occasion you still get the flamers. Possibly the aforementioned people having a crappy day.

why would i bother with an honour stat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708769)

when i can have much for fun trolling your ass?

I still long for the original Deus Ex multiplayer days. Starting all together in one room... And I'm armed with a flamethrower hahahahaha

earlier article about game mechanics and agression (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46708927)

looking a couple of articles back I saw that article about game mechanics and aggression.

could it be that MOBA's (hon dota and lol) are badly designed.

Micro transactions usually screw over good game play so I am leaning towards that

Just take a hardline stance on trolling, etc (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 6 months ago | (#46709293)

Ban any account that does it on the first action. It's not like they don't have server and chat logs to look into this kind of thing, so verification would be pretty trivial. And for those who falsely accuse people of trolling and griefing, well that would get tracked as well. Banned.

It wouldn't take long for people to either change their behavior or move to another game. But that second option is exactly the reason why companies don't really want to fix the problem.

Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46709381)

Most of the people saying GG in a couple online games i play right now... ONLY say GG when they totally stomped the shit out of someone.

They're saying it to troll and be a dick.

Context is important.

Xbox will become (1)

nobuddy (952985) | about 6 months ago | (#46709503)

GG, faggot.

Everyone is having an "off day?" (1)

Uloi (1996356) | about 6 months ago | (#46709563)

I tired playing LOL for a while. I liked the game, but I couldn't stand the community. Every game I played featured someone who was crying that someone else took thier character or someone didn't know how to play. Anyone who thinks this is just players having an "off day" is delusional.

Johnny G. Reever will not be stopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46710285)

Making fun of all the G. Reevers is what makes most online games worth playing.

The game within the game.

GG=Good Greevin!

honor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46710309)

is spinning in its grave right now. LoL isn't even worth getting angry about. After so many matches it's boring. Trolling happens probably because players got bored of the game in the first place.

Effing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46710331)

Moron. I do it because it's fun. I have purchase identities from Indians and other poor nations disadvantaged so I can troll. My favorite target is Stormfront but they've taken to hiring credible talent recently. I've picked a few social systems to troll recently just because I'm bored. The cost for a clean identity on LOL's system are a tad higher than FB drones or LJ zombies among others but it may be worth it.

"Good game" (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#46711023)

Gee, I haven't said that since Pong...

Kinda like karma? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46711943)

Seems to me a bit like slashdot's karma system. If we cared about karma

No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46712121)

It makes me wonder "Who Cares?" It's a game. If people want to cheat, let them.

In Brazil GG means something different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46712437)

In Brazil, GG means now: I win, you lose. It is used to blame the most responsible for the match result, winning or loosing,. Eg: An player that feeds another team it is often said like that "GG Rammus". Or when it is winning after some kills, exactly the same way. So I hope the theye not using the brazilian servers as examples. As a brazilian I have to recognize the brazilian game community is the most acid and trolling community ever. This behavior made me play LOL only when I have 5 friends available, else I preffer play against bots than play with a random troll on the net.

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