Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides
's Forum Avatar

An Anarchist's Take on the Summoner's Tribunal...

Creator: ZeroHourGaming August 27, 2012 12:59pm
How do you feel about the Summoner's Tribunal?
ZeroHourGaming
<Member>
ZeroHourGaming's Forum Avatar
Posts:
4
Joined:
May 19th, 2012
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend August 27, 2012 12:59pm | Report
First of all, let me just say that League of Legends is my favorite video game. So, when I offer my criticism here, it should be clear that I'm not bashing the game overall. My issue is with the Summoner's Tribunal which, I believe, may do more harm to the community than good.

On a cursory level, despite the Tribunal, it seems that there are still many belligerent and petty players who actively work to ruin the game experience for other players. Arguably it could be worse without the Tribunal, but a lot of people would probably suggest that this is an impossibility (considering that the League of Legends community is often presented as one of the worst gaming communities). Again, don't get me wrong, I think the LoL community also offers some of the best aspects in regard to online gaming communities -- particularly when it comes to the forums and people involved with the competitive scene. Nevertheless... a lot of casual players will never be involved with those aspects and will notice more prominently the hostile and obnoxious players they encounter in normal games. And I don't feel that the Tribunal has adequately worked to quash that negative aspect of the game.

Part of the problem, I believe, is that almost every minor infraction of the Summoner's Code seems to be promoted as worthy of a report. This, in itself, will clog the system with frivolous and malicious reports that only waste people's time in the reviewing process. Beyond that, because of the "zero tolerance" attitude, violations which are egregious (such as racist/sexist language, intentionally feeding, and incredibly hostile language) are essentially put on the same general level as minor infractions ("gg noobs," failure to communicate [perhaps because of some language barrier], and going AFK when the score is 50 to 3). Yes, the punishments will vary, and judges may be somewhat fair in these cases, but all those violations are still deemed reportable and on the same level in that regard. So the problem becomes that the worst violations will, at best, get buried amidst a mountain of petty reports.

Next is the issue of punishment... there is no public standard for how much any particular violator gets punished for any particular offense. Obviously, some infractions are likely to earn a player the harshest punishment (a permanent ban). But what about all of the lesser infractions? I am unaware of any formal standard for players receiving a particular punishment for any particular offense. So, when we see unsportsmanlike conduct, and if you were to punish it, you can't be sure that "GG noobs" won't be punished as harshly as someone telling another player to "uninstall and kill yourself." And, of course, there are even harsher gradations than that.

Now, as an anarchist, I believe in the right to free association. You should not have to put up with belligerent individuals causing trouble in your community. And, along those lines, I believe that shunning and casting out such individuals is legitimate. If people want to cause trouble for the community, they can take their antics elsewhere, but personal domain and affinity groups (arguably like a gaming community), are not the same as public streets or the wilderness. So... when someone comes into a community space, in this case the realm of League of Legends and onto the Summoner's Rift, they must be mindful of the particular community in which they find themselves. If a community does not tolerate some particular behavior... they should probably just respect that or find another community. This is, of course, unless they want to agitate for change as I am doing now. And yes... people should sometimes be removed from the community -- at least temporarily. I'm not saying they shouldn't be free to go elsewhere and log into other games, but that's partially why casting troublemakers out is an acceptable response is not the same thing as locking them up.

The problem however, in the context of the LoL community, is not as simple as all that. As I've mentioned... petty infractions may accidentally get punished as harshly as greater infractions. But that's not the only problem. For one thing... we are discussing a virtual space. This means that people generally aren't going to be in any real or direct danger posed by the violators. So... I'd argue that more tolerance of minor offenses should be given with a grain of salt. But, more to the point, is the fact that people can simply create another account if they are banned -- even if they are banned permanently. And, when this happens, it simply drives these players to the lowest levels where they harass new players and have a skill advantage over them. This can be horribly bad for the game insomuch as it can drive new players away and/or provides a bad standard of conduct for them. And this process can be repeated indefinitely.

If someone is behaving very poorly, and consequently getting banned repeatedly, they may never become too heavily invested in the game (with unlocked champs/runes/masteries). So they may simply grow to appreciate the free champs and troll new players endlessly as each of their accounts gets banned. But the way LoL is set up... players can become invested in the game (with time and money). This is a potential advantage in regard to everything being discussed here! However... it's not an advantage if harsh punishments and bans are regularly handed out.

The way league of legends is set up... even a few days of play can allow you to unlock a few particular champs and other benefits. The availability of such perks makes players perform better in the game and allows them to play at a higher level of skill. I don't think anyone would or can deny this. So, as players invest more time/money, they probably have a better time playing the champs they like in the way they like to play them. However... if certain players have a propensity to get banned they will never come to truly appreciate this benefit (or they will cease to care about that aspect).

Therefore... I believe that players should learn to care more about their primary accounts where they have unlocked a stable of champions and other perks. But I don't believe harsh punishments or perma-bans do encourage such appreciation for a lot of players. On the contrary... I believe that softer punishments and shorter bans, even for some of the more egregious offenders, will keep people generally more active at their level (as opposed to constantly trolling the newest players) and more concerned about their primary accounts. People won't potentially be throwing it all away to a long ban if they step out of line a few times.

How I feel a new system would work is, ideally, like this... each time a collection of games comes up for review in the tribunal for a particular player, and if the verdict is for that player to be punished, they should only be punished very incrementally. The first punishment should be a warning -- accompanied by an explanation of why they are being warned and what they risk to lose if they are found guilty of violations again. The second punishment, if another series of games is found in violation, should be a 12 hour ban. Then 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, etc. for subsequent punishments. The idea is that the offenders would still have a reason to be committed to their main account (because they wouldn't be harshly driven away) -- and as that account continued to grow they'd be less willing to risk increased punishments associated with it. I believe such a form of punishment would be best even for the most egregious violators since, as stated, they would otherwise simply move on to new accounts and continue to troll the newest players. What I'm talking about is making even the more belligerent players come to appreciate their primary accounts and not want to risk days of play without access to their stable of champions and all their runes. Because the punishments would be incremental... they'd have a better chance of learning from their mistakes and would become increasingly concerned about not risking their account with all the benefits.

Another thing which I feel would help the community is if we learned to tolerate some of the less offensive infractions. Typing "GG noobs" at the end of a game is obnoxious, but I'm far more concerned about players making far more hostile comments -- racist/sexist remarks, hollow threats of personal violence, and wishing their opponent's dog would die. And, to be perfectly honest, threats of "I'm going to report you," every other game, also gets old. The way that the tribunal is ineffectually set up now... it breeds a culture of tattle-tales who then clog up the bureaucracy. A clearer delineation should be drawn between petty obnoxiousness and truly offensive speech or intentional feeding. This might have more to do with the culture of the game, but I think it's something which could be cultivated.

Finally, I think that latter idea can be implemented in the pro-gaming level. In the old Brood Wars era of competitive gaming, players could only wish their opponents good luck at the beginning of a match and only say GG at the end. Any other communication with your opponents could cost you the match. This largely eliminated unsportsmanlike conduct within the game and ensured that it was more about skill than psychological manipulation and putting your opponents on tilt. If this rule were implemented in all the competitive pro games of LoL... I think it would set a good example for the general community.

I have some other ideas about improving the game and the community, but this is the first thing that I wanted to put out their because I think good sportsmanship and a stronger community are the backbone of this game and will work to keep it thriving for years to come. I should also point out that this is merely one anarchist's perspective and others may have different positions on virtual space and the punishments which could reasonably be handed out by the community therein. My intention with writing this is merely to help make the LoL community become more hospitable so that more people will feel comfortable in continuing to play the game. Some may criticize me, as an anarchist, for addressing this subject at all. But I don't really intend this to be highly reflective of deeper anarchist theory. So, while there may be more serious issues to tackle, it's good to have some balance and a little bit of fun in your life. League of Legends is a free game which offers to connect people from around the world in a game of strategy -- and I don't have much problem supporting that.
Kazega
<Member>
Kazega's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
1057
Joined:
Jun 5th, 2011
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend August 27, 2012 4:47pm | Report
The thing about the Tribunal as it stands right now is the lack of participation. When it comes down to it those who regularly participate in the process of the Tribunal are a fraction of a percent of the total number of players. And while the overall design is a great design on paper, in practice it has several flaws and makes enforcement moer work rather than less like it was designed to do.
ZeroHourGaming
<Member>
ZeroHourGaming's Forum Avatar
Posts:
4
Joined:
May 19th, 2012
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend August 27, 2012 4:50pm | Report
Yes, I can see that as being part of the problem. But when so many frivalous complaints are filed (which I feel the current system generally encourages [even despite their recent banning wave]), it makes sense that people would get bored in participating in that system. If a culture was developed where only more serious offenses were reported, and if people had a better idea about punishment, they might be more likely to participate in the tribunal.
A Chubby Baby
<Veteran>
A Chubby Baby's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
3936
Joined:
Feb 14th, 2012
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend August 27, 2012 6:39pm | Report
i think it's quite balanced now.

You need to log in before commenting.