Over the past week or so the game’s space has been abuzz with talk of toxicity in games and extremely inappropriate behavior. Long story short, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg let loose a racial slur when playing Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds on stream. While folks now have to decide for themselves if they are willing to give PewDiePie another chance, he is not the focus of this post. Rather, this disgusting event leads to a plea to the League community: please report people like PewDiePie.
Racial slurs, homophobic language and generally disgusting chatter is, unfortunately, pretty common in League games. I know that I see folks in all chat using this kind of language once in every 20 games or so. It is revolting, and if you don’t want to see it, nobody would ever blame you for keeping your chat filter on.
It is important to understand that the violence and hatred expressed through this kind of language is not just historical, and is very much alive in the modern day. If you leave your chat unfiltered, remember the user names of people who speak like this and report those players at the end of the game.
Over the years, Riot has bolstered their reporting system quite a bit, and we are at a point where multiple reports hitting the same player will likely result in a ban of some kind. Reporting a player for verbal abuse or for being offensive causes the chat-scan system to look for inflammatory language like this.
The system examines the case and determines whether the behavior deserves rejection or punishment based on community-driven standards of behavior
Players in League love to talk about being “too sensitive” and yell about how people need to grow or stop being offended by what someone says. But here is the god’s honest truth: if you are offended or made uncomfortable by something another player says in the game you play on your time off, that is unacceptable behavior.
If someone makes fun of you for doing poorly in a game or not being very good, report them for being jerk and someone else might not have to deal with that shit in their own game. That is your call. If their attempt at hurting your feelings doesn’t phase you, laugh it off and move on. People being jerks sucks, but people actively using hate speech of any kind should not be tolerated.
Say what you will about how offended you personally get at this kind of language. Each and every person has their own level of tolerance for what goes into their ears and eyes. But hate speech is a different kind of infraction, one that deserves to be punished if you can. Turning away and trying to remove that memory is your prerogative, you have to take care of you first. But if you fill out a report, you could save others from seeing what you saw.
These are not “just words.” They mean far more than that. Do not let your fellow Summoners get away with this kind of behavior. Nobody may ever thank you for reporting these folks, but your actions will improve the community little by little.
I know that when I see my older sister next, I need to make sure she tells her teenage sons not to watch PewDiePie, or at least has a conversation with them about what happened and why it isn’t OK. I can’t change what he said, but I can choose not to support him and try and ask others to do the same. Similarly, I can’t change what my random solo queue teammate said in chat, but I can do my job and report them.
If you don’t think this language bothers people or you would like to read something that tackles this same issue, check out this great piece on why one of Polygon’s freelancers doesn’t play online games.