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How Riot's Social Scientists Fight League of Legends Trolling 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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How Riot's Social Scientists Fight League of Legends Trolling

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  • by deathcloset ( 626704 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @04:31PM (#46708029) Journal
    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.
  • I look forward to your award winning paper on the subject.
    I"m sure a right up will appear in Neurologica any day now.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @05:12PM (#46708447) Homepage Journal

    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? []
    also: []
    and: []

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @05:33PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:08PM (#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.

"If you are afraid of loneliness, don't marry." -- Chekhov