Unblogged Wisdom Checks: Should Bans on Forums Extend to Ingame Accounts?

Toxicity is one of the key MMO topics in 2018 so far (next to lootcrates). Many studios have taken, or are at least trying to take, a stance against hostile behavior in their games. Whether that’s toxicity from players towards devs or players towards each other, it has become increasingly important for games to deal with it. Especially with the emergence of e-sports the pressure is on the publishers to show the competitive “PG” sportsmanship that viewers know from other sports. Rants, death threats, and toxicity don’t exactly fit that.

Should Bans on Forums Extend to Ingame?

The ultimate punishment studios obviously have is suspending or even completely banning a user’s account. While this might prevent players from being toxic ingame (to avoid getting reported), many still feel save to freely rant on message boards and official social media channels. Last month a former Cryptic Studio developer and the current Neverwinter Community Manager took their frustration to Twitter and argued for bans to extend to ingame accounts if you’ve been removed from other official platforms.

Sounds Reasonable, but Is It?

This might sound like a reasonable suggestion, but is it? If you take Neverwinter for example, the game’s forum is run by volunteer players, which you don’t want to give the power to ban ingame accounts at all. Sure, the Community Manager is theoretically supervising all actions and is the only one that can actually ban forum accounts (mods can only hand out warnings or “shadow ban”). But given the lack of resources and time we wouldn’t be surprised if the CM usually just greenlights everything. Let’s say that this would come with certain concerns about accountability and conflict of interest.

Also where do draw the line in that case? Are you also monitoring Twitch, Youtube, social accounts? Are you also banning not aligning to ethical and political views? Controlling how people treat each other in a game is certainly a responsibility of studios. Controlling what people play your game isn’t. The gray area between the two aspects isn’t something you should take lightly.

Might Not Be in Line with Privacy Law

Furthermore Chris Meyer later stated that people shouldn’t even be able to move to another game, basically suggesting some sort of “toxicity” database that keeps records and can be accessed by devs. Not sure how the dude missed those privacy scandals lately, but at least in the EU this might not even be possible due to actual law. So this might be hyperbole, but shows how important of a topic it is for some people.

We want to get your opinion on the topic in this week’s poll! Should behavior shown outside the game should affect your account?

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Share your opinion by taking part in our poll! You can also detail your thoughts on our social channels, in the comments below, or the corresponding thread on our message board! Also, here are the results of last week’s poll, in which we wanted to know how you prefer to farm your Hunt trophies.

[poll id=”14″]

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7 thoughts on “Unblogged Wisdom Checks: Should Bans on Forums Extend to Ingame Accounts?

  • July 2, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Botters should be banned

  • July 2, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    I made two posts earlier but they didn’t get through.

    • July 3, 2018 at 12:36 am

      Sometimes comments have to be manually approved. Probably because some words trigger the spam protection. Usually you just have to wait, they’ll pop up at some point 🙂

      • July 3, 2018 at 1:47 am

        Oh Dear, me and my language!

        Well, if duplicates appear, please feel free to delete them!


  • July 2, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Alleged “offences” punished at the location where they were committed cannot be extended to other jurisdictions. It’s the under-educated, knee-jerk response of an idiot, which does not allow for reformation of character or for lessons to be learned.

    Imagine: some utter imbecile like Ambinistard, Maladyweird or Zebutard are too under-educated and pig-shit stupid to grasp the fact that PWE are not an American company, they are Chinese with a local HQ in California, just as Microsoft Gmbh are not a German company, they are an an American company with a local HQ in Germany.

    And these fuck-witts can ban you from the forum for 10 days with accusations of “racism”, due to their own pig-ignorance, arrogance and stupidity, so you should also be banned from the game and lose 10 days of VIP keys and campaign progress?

    I think we know the answer to that.

    Look at that forum Moronorator idiot who was here arguing in support of the original fashion wardrobe, pretending that none of the problems existed. And yet when it went live, the devs had changed it to EXACTLY what we suggested, due to the PRECISE problems we had highlighted. On the official forum, that mindless twat could have banned people for making him feel foolish with cold, hard logic.

    And yet, vile and obnoxious Zone chat referring to child sexual abuse and racism go unpunished?

    And I won’t even mention the Flat Earthers. I block them all, but there are still times when all I see in Zone is a few people arguing with The Invisible Man that the Earth is, indeed, a Globe.

    Flat Earthers. The Thickest of the Thick. They talk about their “Global Flat Earth Movement”, but the irony seems lost on them…

    😡 x:

  • July 3, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    the rules of engagement in game and on forums is totally different. You’d have to align on rules and you’d have to provide some guarantee that prevented bias treatment. Honestly the smart move is not to align them, because all you’d really be doing is encouraging people to not use official forums.

    As with any efforts to control speech by a company. they open themselves up to scrutiny. it’s much easier to stay out of it to the degree possible. Otherwise the first time you lack consistency you can be held liable for not defending the offended or unprotected individuals or for overreach. Not to mention the different rules by nationality and how to enforce for all. Just because Germans can’t talk about Nazis doesn’t mean Americans can’t talk about Nazis. Only in Thailand is it illegal to speak ill of their king. Canada has C16.

    America has arguably the freest speech laws in the world, should they be held to the fascist doctrines of other governments? Or could a company be brought to judgement for enforcing a code of speech that violates the first amendment. It’s a complex road that certainly shows benefit to saying “we are here to create games not police speech”. Let the governments police the speech if they so choose to do so.

  • July 3, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Within this its not even feasble to enforce because only in some cases are the accounts even the same. I don’t play with the same account that I comment in forums with. Beyond that we are largely being encouraged to create a multitude of accounts to take advantage of the new AD system among other mechanics. Which of those accounts are they going to connect back to my main?

    Ban the behaviour, and where it occurs. That accomplishes the goal which is to promote good behaviour.

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