Tera has been my game of choice lately, and it takes less than a few minutes of reading the in-game general chat to get the overwhelming urge to turn it off. Online communities are not known for their civility, gaming or otherwise, and there has been a severe lack of creativity in purging this toxin.
In a channel of hundreds of players, it only takes less than a handful of attention-starved loudmouths to ruin any chance of real conversation. Annoyed players such as me have the option of
- Turning off the channel completely, eliminating ALL possibility of public conversation
- Manually place the offenders on my personal ignore list
The first choice reeks of undesirability. No one should have to cut themselves off from hundreds of otherwise friendly players due to a select toxic few. A MMO is “massive” after all and the online chatter is a significant contributor to that atmosphere.
The second choice of ignore listing yields preferred results but is extremely inefficient in scaling. Let us imagine a channel of 1000 players, 1 toxic player joins, 1000 players add him to their personal ignore lists, 1000 actions performed for the sake of one. For every new toxic player that joins, 1000 more actions have to be performed, if 1% of 1000 players are toxic that’s close to 10,000 aggregate actions to ignore those 10.
I propose the following method
- “Silence Lists”, bound to the offender’s account, not the offended. In essence this is a list of people who wish the offender be silenced, a negative petition that exists on each and every player’s account.
- The offender’s chat messages in any public channel are randomly censored, every 1 person on the offender’s silence list causes 1 word to be replaced by a random animal name, or indeed, any other bag of vocabulary.
For example, with this toxic message:
“This game is a piece of crap; I don’t understand why you would pay for this garbage”
5 people on the offender’s list would cause his message to become completely comical and non-toxic:
“Mouse game is a cow of crap; I tiger bunny why you would pay for this snake”
10 people on his list, well… see for yourself:
“Mouse game horse chicken cow of crap; I tiger bunny why goat monkey pay dog this snake”
This method turns a toxic player that was previously ruining the community, into a public jester that amuses and unable to offend (unless you’re an avid animal-hater I suppose)