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Toxicity in forums. What is it and how we can prevent it?

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    dudes... to deep! You're being too insightful  and with the forum's nerf I can't even evaluate how insightful you are any more! 
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    lexmax said:
    What will help is if they change the forums to only those with active game accounts are able to post. We are months and months away from that, so it will be a wild West atmosphere till then. 
    I'm guessing they will change the forum permissions when they link with kickstarter.
    I don't think so.  At this point they probably don't want to limit the ability of potential players to become part of the community.
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    I apologize if this was said in another comment, but I have to get ready for work and don't have the time right now to read the comments by @Dygz.  Anyway, what I want to say is that one of the biggest things that will lead to a swell of toxicity is if we allow name calling to become a thing.  It's OK to disagree and debate, but when we devolve into childish name calling, it's time for the offender to be censured for their behavior.

    And "yelling" in all caps?  I'm sorry, @Umji is the only one allowed to use all caps all the time.  :)
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    ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    I tend to be too direct for people... so here goes.  :)

    It's important to have thick skin too.  If people are crass or sarcastic or pessimistic by nature, don't let it bother you.  "Let it roll off like water on a duck's back."

    Likewise, you don't have to correct every wrong opinion in the world.  In the same vein as @Dygz post about differing values, correcting people just because they have a different value is arrogant.  If the other person is just holding an opinion, then let it go. You can state your opinion without addressing why their opinion is wrong.  If you want to engage in dialogue, do it with meaningful questions exploring why they have that opinion, not attacking the validity of the opinion.  If you want to challenge their opinion, do it with leading questions Socratic style. 

    I do note that I am guilty of not being able to "let it go" pretty often.  :)  It sucks always being right.
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    We can feed people to the eternal void of darkness, otherwise known as the ignore list. 
    Trolls post for maximum disruption. If you don't buy into their shenanigans, it's boring.
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    We can feed people to the eternal void of darkness, otherwise known as the ignore list. 
    Trolls post for maximum disruption. If you don't buy into their shenanigans, it's boring.

    Speaking of which... I don't think we have the ignore function yet do we? That being said, I've glad to say that I've never had to use a forum feature to ignore anyone on a forum before. Hahaha.
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    There will always be unhappy people in this world who will try to disrupt a good thing and make it toxic.
    Trolls love to stir people up and disrupt the flow of a good conversation.
    Trolls love to single one person out.
    Trolls love the attention they get.
    Trolls are nothing but insignificant bullies.
    Trolls are never really happy people and they hate positive ones.
    It's one thing to have a differing opinion yet another to make disruptive statements and insult and call people names.  
    Trolls are hungry for other peoples anger and distress.

    The best thing is to totally NOT feed them and just ignore their meager existence.
    If there is not an ignore button then you have to make up your mind to ignore him yourself.
    Recognize the troll and never answer back.
    If ignore long enough, when they see that they can't upset people, they will disappear.
    Don't even acknowledge to others that "so and so" is a troll unless in a PM.
    They NEED your recognition to exist.

    I guarantee that if these forums were to go toxic many good people will leave.

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    Possum said:
    I apologize if this was said in another comment, but I have to get ready for work and don't have the time right now to read the comments by @Dygz.  Anyway, what I want to say is that one of the biggest things that will lead to a swell of toxicity is if we allow name calling to become a thing.  It's OK to disagree and debate, but when we devolve into childish name calling, it's time for the offender to be censured for their behavior.

    And "yelling" in all caps?  I'm sorry, @Umji is the only one allowed to use all caps all the time.  :)
    ORC KEYBOARD ONLY CAPS~

    BUY HUMAN KEYBOARD ONE DAY. 
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    To stop people from trolling, being rude, mean, etc, just ignore the posts. In time there won't be a point to write these negative posts since nobody reacts to them. People write those kind of posts for attention, take that away and they fade.
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    To stop people from trolling, being rude, mean, etc, just ignore the posts. In time there won't be a point to write these negative posts since nobody reacts to them. People write those kind of posts for attention, take that away and they fade.

    True, sometimes it's good to discuss since it could really be a concerned fan.

    But if you've determined or have strong suspicions it's a troll. Ignoring instead of feeding is always best. 
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    ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    Ive been a Forum Moderator for EA games for the last 7 years . I can say that the biggest thing people can do when a person becomes toxic or trolling is respond. Just report/flag the comment to the Moderator staff and ignore the comment is even made and move on and respond to someone else. dont make any response or reply to the persons comment or post at all.

    i've seen toxic/trolling forum members shut down completely when no one responds to them. They are not getting the reactions they seek and they are utterly closed off from the community at this point if no one responds. The second you react with an angry counter post or a reaction to their troll attempt they have the fuel to continue

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    Dolan said:
    Well, if a game becomes really popular, the amount of toxic people increases with it. Every popular game has toxic people. Look at League of Legends, Dota, Counter Strike, Overwatch and many more. I think it is something you can't prevent. You can only prevent it by not making the game free to play, but that only helps a little bit.
    I'll probably piss off some people with this comment... It's notable that every game you listed is PvP focused.

    I'm not saying all PvP players are toxic.  I'd never say that.  But based on my own personal experience in MMORPGs, the bulk of toxicity is borne of arguments about PvP.
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    ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    UnknownSystemError 
     said:
    What will help is if they change the forums to only those with active game accounts are able to post. 
    I agree, that there should be some moderation on who can post, hopefully only those with active accounts.  Since, alot of troll posts come from new accounts created just to post something they wouldn't under their main account.
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    As @CrazyCanukk has mentioned a report/flag and then don't "feed the trolls" is the way to go. A forum should have a set of rules/guidelines (not the 80% of people ever read them) which set out what a mod will or wont take action on.
    As for all the touchly feely soul searching life changing metamorphosis to enlighten us all into supreme beings with only the same toughts..... Our individuality is what creates interesting and diverse interactions in game so ultimately we want differences ethically, socially, etc. Sure it can sometimes lead to feeling furiously annoyed when reading what someone has posted, although their is no necessity in life (and by extension a forum) for us to be happy with, agree with, change the mind of etc. a poster, so the main takeaway in my opinion is to flag/report when you truly feel a person has breeched the acceptable behaviours as set out by forum guidelines. If you cry wolf too often due to thin skin, it only makes it harder for the moderators to get through the requests and action legitimate claims.
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    Possum said:
    Dolan said:
    Well, if a game becomes really popular, the amount of toxic people increases with it. Every popular game has toxic people. Look at League of Legends, Dota, Counter Strike, Overwatch and many more. I think it is something you can't prevent. You can only prevent it by not making the game free to play, but that only helps a little bit.
    I'll probably piss off some people with this comment... It's notable that every game you listed is PvP focused.

    I'm not saying all PvP players are toxic.  I'd never say that.  But based on my own personal experience in MMORPGs, the bulk of toxicity is borne of arguments about PvP.
    That's because in most mmos  that is where player interactions occur most
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    Dygz said:
    Wow! Great topic. Challenging to try to keep my response short:

    In 9th grade, my best friend and I entered a 3-legged race. I thought we were a shoe-in to win because we were both fast runners - award winning runners.
    But, it was a disaster.
    Afterwards, my friend explained that it was a disaster because he's a cross country runner and I'm a sprinter. We don't run the same way. And that the whole point of a 3-legged race is finding the balance between us.

    It can be really tough to have cordial discussions when we assume that everyone plays MMORPGs the same. Or that everyone should be playing the way we do.
    It's likely to be really contentious when we're all supposed to be playing together - especially on the same servers.

    Hardcores think that casuals have made MMORPGs too easy. Casuals think hardcores are elitist.

    On the EQNext forums, the quickest way to get people banned was to try to discuss how PvPers and PvErs could get along on the same server. Suggestions from either camp would cause the other to fly into a rage because the values of each playstyle were so different...especially regarding the concept of consent.

    I am casual and non-competitive. If I join a group, it's really mostly because I like to socialize, not because I want to kill stuff or efficiently achieve stuff. In MMORPGs, I generally prefer to socialize outside of an adventuring group. But, people who form adventuring groups in order to kill uber mobs and overcome hardcore challenges tend to say that people who solo don't socialize at all.

    It can be difficult to be understanding when it feels like an opposing view is threatening the way we like to play. If we accommodate that playstyle, we will be ruining the fun of playing an MMORPG. And sometimes it's just difficult to understand why people would even want to play differently than we do.
    Why is everyone running off to go kill the next mob when we haven't finished exploring every nook and cranny of the dungeon?
    Oh! Because they are hardcore Killer/Achievers while I'm a casual Explorer/Socializer.

    It's easy to think, "MMORPGs were more fun when they catered to my playstyle. It's those other playstyles that have caused the horrible state that MMORPGs are in today. If people would just understand what I'm saying, I will be able to convince them why they should be open to adopting my playstyle - because my playstyle is really what MMORPGs are supposed to be about."

    I think a lot of times the response to that is, "Why are you trying to convert me to your playstyle? That's not fun. I just want to be able to play the way I like to play!"

    To me, we have a bunch of different playstyles -with different values- and we're all supposed to play on the same servers and try to form adventuring groups with each other. I think the best groups have like-minded members - similar playstyles.
    Casuals are likely to get along in a group of casuals rather than mixed in with hardcores, so I like to examine the different playstyles.
    But, there are people who scoff at labels.

    At the end of the day, we're all just trying to have fun.
    We all hope that everyone enjoys playing the game.
    But, we won't all have the same values and perspectives of what enjoying the game should entail. Those differing views may feel threatening - especially when they are opposing views.

    We might have difficult discussions, but I think the faith that we have to have is that most of us just want everyone here to have fun and enjoy life...even when we disagree about the specifics of game design and game mechanics.



    Ok one " Challenging to try to keep my response short" ^^
    and second that is a great post which I agree with ^^
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    hahaha
    I think most player interactions occur in trade towns. Which typically have PvP combat disabled.
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    As @Dygz and @AutumnWillow (and you others) have put it quite well, theres just a tiny other thing that I would like to add:

    I've noticed that a lot of people have the mentality that people are mean/disagreeing on the internet, and as so acts accordingly. It probably comes from the "not everything is true on the internet", "watch out for people on the internet" and so on, all pretty good mantras, but you also have to be a bit naive to behave well on the internet/games (IMO). 
    I remember this one case back in January (I think) some guys came on the forums and said I would like to see this and that, naturally people started asking clarifying questions, adding to the discussion etc. The guy came back after about 5 posts, said he disagreed and that the community was toxic, and then he literally deleted his account :/
    From my perspective it would seem that he felt that everyone was against him, even though people generally liked the idea, they just wanted to discuss it constructively.

    You can't prevent other peoples actions and/or posts, unless they are too trolly ofc. Instead you can just try and be open minded and only think constructive thoughts (discussion vice).

    Just my two cents :) 

    P.S. Maybe the devs should try and recruit some "super users" that has a "stronger flag". Kinda GM like but just for minor things, that way at least you filter the big trolls from the herd.
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    But you also have to be a bit naive to behave well on the internet/games (IMO). 
    ... 

    You can't prevent other peoples actions and/or posts, unless they are too trolly ofc. Instead you can just try and be open minded and only think constructive thoughts (discussion vice).

    That's very true, you can't control how others respond and the only thing you can have some control (depending on your belief towards free will) over is your reaction. 

    I guess it could be considered a bit of naivety in behaving well online in forums. However, I don't think it puts anyone at a disadvantage, behaving well despite everyone else not. I'll definitely try not to let the action of other affect the way I want to behave.

    In some forums it can feel like you're Sturm Brightblade living by and upholding the strict Code of Solamnic Knights despite the disgrace and the disarray they're in. He upheld the code despite not even being considered a knight in the first place. But hey, I like Sturm. So I'll stick to my code. Heh heh. 

    (sorry if I lost you guys with my Dragonlance reference. :#, if you haven't read it, you should.) 
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    ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    @AutumnWillow
    Great topic. I think the "answer," if any one of us can properly come up with an answer as opposed to thoughts and suggestions, is three-pronged:
    • The Moderators
    • The Devs
    • The Community
    Now, to expand on that, somewhat. I won't promise to try to keep this short, as I'd like to explore my thoughts and experiences a bit more fully, so that we can all kind of see where I'm coming from (yep, me too, sometimes I have these thoughts in me head that I don't really fully understand til they're typed out).

    To begin:
    The Moderators
    One of the most successful forums I've been on, which didn't descend often into toxicity, was TESOElite. It was a player-based website/forum for players of ESO which was born when ESO launched; sadly, before that game was "revived," that community fell apart. Anyway, what struck me so strongly within that community was that they had very active, and very aware, moderators. We all read the TOS and Rules & Regs of the forums, but as is often the case, the amount of moderators willing and able to enforce these strictures are few, and oft overworked. 

    Due to that lack of active, willing and able moderators, the forums often will descend into toxic chaos, with people being reprimended/banned only coming long after the toxicity has spread, willy-nilly, throughout the community. It is my belief that as we, the community, grows, we will rely heavily on moderators who are able and willing to keep things in line, keep discussion on point, and ensure that any "unwanted" verbiage and/or behavior is quickly dealt with.

    Next:
    The Devs
    Drawing again on my experience, this time from the forums for SWTOR, both at launch and for about a year or so afterward. Basically, at that time, there were so many flaws in both the design and the execution of the game. Much of it stemmed from the rush to get the product out (thanks, publishers!) long before it perhaps should have been released. So, buggy, glitchy game that only really has the storyline to recommend it; then add in the graphics. Which were deplorable, given the time when that game launched. In so many ways it closely resembled a game that would have been pushed out about 10 years before it actually was.

    The community attempted, very strongly, to remain positive about the issues they asked the development community about. They wanted answers, and they wanted to know their concerns were heard. We would ask questions that never -- never -- received answers. Over time, the player community learned simply that our requests for changes, and/or for information, would go unheeded. 

    This creates a sense of loss in a community. In the case of the SWTOR community, there was, much like this game, great anticipation for a new game being released in a universe that so many of us loved. We hungered for the fulfillment of the promises, only to find issues that were never responded to. Oh, don't get me wrong; I understand that the devs finally began making some changes, and I've heard a great deal that the game is vastly better, now, than it was at launch. That's all fine and well. However, the problem was that, by that time, many such people with so much hope for this game left this game, disillusioned over the devs' seeming complete lack of care for their community; in short, for the people who were willing to throw their money to the game.

    Dev interaction has, thus far, been very strong with Ashes, and I commend the dev team for that care. It is important; in order for the players to know they are valued, and not just considered cash cows, answers must be given, responses must be offered. Even if those answers are "We won't or we can't do that," that is still a recognition that the concerns of the community are important to the dev team. And that engenders so much goodwill that it truly helps the player community remain content. Even if we're not getting the answers we want, we are getting responses, which shows that we're being heard. Oft times, that is enough to keep players happily -- and happily is key here within a community -- happily playing the game, and interacting with their fellows in the player community.

    Lastly:
    The Community
    This actually comes down to self-policing, on two fronts. The first front is how we present our questions/ideas/communications, and the second front is how we respond to others' questions/ideas/communications.

    For the first, it is incumbent upon us to attempt to ensure that we are not derogatory toward anyone when we post questions. Not to the dev team, not to another player, not toward anyone. We treat each thing we type/say as something offered in the spirit of construction, rather than destruction. And trust me, I've backspaced/deleted lots of things, before I've allowed myself to click "Post Comment," and further, I've gone back and removed/rewritten things I believed could be construed as derogatory or destructive. It requires a constant willingness to subjugate the "get even" or snarky part of ourselves, and rather willfully put forward things that can build, rather than destroy.

    For the second part ... well? It follows much of the first part. But it also goes beyond it. It's much the difference between "acting" and "reacting." For instance, @JoeBlow really decides I'm just a bloomin' idiot, and writes a scathing response to something I said. Now, @JoeBlow may be absolutely correct in what he wrote, but his tone may set me off. I may decide that "I'll show him," and I'll respond -- correctly, of course -- to whatever he said, but I'll be sure I drop in lots of taunts, innuendo about his stupidity, so on and so forth. 

    We can't do that. We have, thus far, shown that we strive to keep communication strong, rich, and flowing, and I commend us. We all, also know, that there will be those who come among us who don't have our lofty ideals of what builds a rich community. We must keep our thoughts singularly focused toward building, rather than destroying.

    And finally, more about we as a community. Again, experience here. @Possum and I were fortunate enough to be a part of the launch of Rift. This experience is in-game, but I think the same lessons apply here. At launch, as we were learning our way through battling dynamic rifts, we had people coming in loot stealing. You all know what I'm talking about; needing on everything. Now, this is only one example of less-than-stellar behavior, but it's the example I choose to use. Anyway. We gave warning to these players, "stop that, or we'll stop grouping with you. Furthermore, we'll announce to all and sundry that you're doing this, and people will begin ignoring you." However, not only did we offer these warnings; we enforced them. We were a strong community on our first server, and we began ignoring these players. What happened? They weren't grouped for dungeons. They weren't spoken to in general chat. Their questions weren't answered. And they self-selected themselves to move to other servers, thus away from ours.

    Similar things can be done by players here. I recommend not chiding someone more than once about their behavior in public; after that? Take it private. Attempt to explain what we're striving so diligently to create. If they still won't change their tone, if they still insist on spewing out toxicity?

    Simple. Ignore'em. We, as a community, can choose to not answer their posts, their questions. We can choose not to feed the trolls. And that does truly silence them; they get bored. Sadly, often-times their attention spans are brief; if they don't get the satisfaction they desire of stirring up troubles, they'll poof off somewhere else, where they can get that satisfaction.

    TL;DR -- It's going to take a lot of concerted effort on all of our parts to keep this community strong, rich, and viable. It's going to take dedication to the ideal that we can, actually, influence and keep the environment positive, rather than allowing it to descend into negativity.
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    Game forums are always friendly, upbeat, and communal.... until the game rolls out.   B)
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    Yes, yes and yes.
    Being cordial, being able to communicate. being able to agree to disagree is all fine.  But we all know there ARE real trolls who like to disrupt a good thing and cause trouble between people.  

    We need to be able to know  the difference, support the idea of a good conversation and hinder the real trolls and trouble makers from leaving their marks and disruptions.  
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    Kritas said:
    Game forums are always friendly, upbeat, and communal.... until the game rolls out.   B)

    Just because things have always been working out a certain way doesn't mean it'll always have to work out that certain way. 

    We must strive for change if we are to strive for improvement. 

     ;) 
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    Also having jokes always helps "looks at lols" yes they help indeed 
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    ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    Order would be the best solution, also hiring voluntary moderators to move the topics to the exact category and leading people is also a big plus.

    First of all Game Discussion, Meta Discussion and Members Introduction should be done in separate categories to prevent "Where are you from?" threads and "This should be in the game" threads mixing under the same category making the forum look like a uncontrolled mess. Including this forum-related thread itself.

    The most clicked and viewed category is General Discussions(as usual) but this lead new users to dump all the topics they want to open, thus leading sugar and spice being in the same dish.
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    Kritas said:
    Game forums are always friendly, upbeat, and communal.... until the game rolls out.   B)

    Just because things have always been working out a certain way doesn't mean it'll always have to work out that certain way. 

    We must strive for change if we are to strive for improvement. 

     ;) 

    When I read this journey's don't stop believing started playing in my head.  :D
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    Dolphin said:
    Order would be the best solution, also hiring voluntary moderators to move the topics to the exact category and leading people is also a big plus.

    First of all Game Discussion, Meta Discussion and Members Introduction should be done in separate categories to prevent "Where are you from?" threads and "This should be in the game" threads mixing under the same category making the forum look like a uncontrolled mess. Including this forum-related thread itself.

    The most clicked and viewed category is General Discussions(as usual) but this lead new users to dump all the topics they want to open, thus leading sugar and spice being in the same dish.
    Oh, how we'd love to have more separation of forums.  There's even been a post asking for an "Off Topic" forum.
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    ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017

    *Puts on flame retardant hazmat suit* *Puts megaphone to mouth*.....*Only to have it bounce off the visor of the hazmat suit.*  Shouts "CARE BEARS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL TOXICITY!" ...........  Only joking.  I myself would be tarred with the brush of care bear in most hardcore circles.

     However it is exactly this kind of generalisation that causes toxicity.  PVPers hate PVEers, RPers hate non RPers.  Of course this is all total poppycock.

     I see the most toxicity when a poster feels that the voice of the vocal minority is somehow going to very negatively affect their enjoyment of the game.  Employing the only weapon they have in being the voice of the even more vocal minority and shouting the former down.

     This never seems to work of course.

     Is there an answer?  I'm not sure.  However constructive comments and statement of opinion and not getting drawn into a back and forward argument often helps.  Not always easy when the devils advocate is polar opposing your point of view in the face of undeniable correctness.  lol.

     So ignore the trolls and only engage in intelligent recourse and hope for the best.

    B):)<3B):)<3B)
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    I think the only thing you can really do is stay active and be positive. Don't let negativity drag you down.
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    Possum said:
    lexmax said:
    What will help is if they change the forums to only those with active game accounts are able to post. We are months and months away from that, so it will be a wild West atmosphere till then. 
    I'm guessing they will change the forum permissions when they link with kickstarter.
    I don't think so.  At this point they probably don't want to limit the ability of potential players to become part of the community.
    I'm not meaning forum permissions to stop public posting. I'm thinking along the lines of enabling features such as upvotes and downvotes in the way of Reddit and the like.
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