It's no secret that playing League of Legends (and many other online games) is not always the best choice of activity if you're looking for a relaxing, positive environment. The frequency and intensity of insults casually hurled from random players can, at times, be just a bit unsettling. Riot Games is well aware of that fact, and have been working on ways to attempt to curb this tendencies, if not eliminate them outright. This is what brought about the Tribunal, a system where players could vote on individual cases that had been reported, helping to punish players who went too far. However, the Tribunal has been down for quite some time now, while Riot has been working on something new. Today, that new system is live in North America.
While the old way of doing things meant that anywhere from a few days to a month or so could pass before players were punished for over-the-line behavior in game, the new system will punish them much quicker; reportedly, within 15 minutes of the end of the game in which they were reported by another player. It is largely automated, as the system will scan the chat logs for the type of verbal harassment for which there is a zero-tolerance policy: homophobia, racism, sexism, death threats, and other forms of excessive abuse. This has been in development for some time now, as the software has been "taught" to recognize a variety of ways in which these types of harassment are displayed.
Those punished by the system will typically receive either two week or permanent bans, depending on the severity of the offense. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this isn't necessarily the punishment, but the email offending players receive. In it, they will find a message telling them that their recent behavior is unacceptable, as well as a transcript of their chat logs so they can see exactly where they crossed the line. This should greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the people taking to the forums or Reddit after receiving a ban and demanding to know what they did wrong.
Since this is largely automated, there is a chance for error. With that in mind, Riot Games' own player reform team will be hand reviewing the first few thousand cases to ensure accuracy before this system is implemented in other regions across the world. While it's possible the system may punish a bit unfairly, the argument could be made that it might not really be a bad thing. Fear of getting banned can be a pretty powerful thing, and might stop some players from saying things that could potentially be considered harassment, even if it's borderline. With the negative reputation that the community as a whole has (largely perpetuated by the player base themselves,) this system could prove to be extremely effective. Time will tell, but this could be a step in the right direction. You can read about this new system, and future plans for it, right here.
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