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Improvements to Abusive Chat Penalties

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In an effort to combat the game's toxicity, Blizzard's going to greatly reduce the number of silence penalties applied to repeat offenders' accounts and issue suspensions instead.

  • Players who return to abusive behavior after an initial silence will begin receiving account suspensions that will quickly ramp-up in duration and prevent them from playing the game.
  • Players incapable of improving their behavior will be permanently suspended from the game.
  • Blizzard has begun implementing new machine learning technology for validating the accuracy of player reports.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

In the next few days, we’ll be rolling out improvements to our reporting system for abusive chat. Specifically, we’re changing the ways we penalize repeat offenders by increasing the severity of the actions we take against their accounts.

In the current system, players who are regularly reported for abusive chat incur a silence penalty, which restricts them from chatting in-game and prevents them from playing Hero League for the penalty’s duration. Subsequent offenses result in increasingly longer silence penalty durations. In some cases, however, silence penalties alone aren’t enough for repeat offenders to see the error in their ways and correct their behavior.

As a result, we’re going to greatly reduce the number of silence penalties we apply to repeat offenders’ accounts. Instead, a player who returns to abusive behavior after their initial silences expire will begin incurring account suspensions. These suspensions will quickly ramp-up in duration and prevent them from playing Heroes of the Storm entirely. Players who prove they are incapable of—or unwilling to—improve their behavior after being warned, silenced, and suspended enough times will be permanently banned from the game.

We’re also aware that some players are concerned that they may be penalized after being falsely reported for abusive chat or abusive voice. This is not the case. Here’s how we handle false reports in these instances:

  • Abusive chat or spam reports are ignored if they are issued against a player who hasn’t participated in in-game chat or public chat channels.
  • Abusive voice reports are ignored if they are issued against a player who hasn’t participated in voice chat.
  • Abusive chat and abusive voice reports issued by players on an enemy team are also ignored.

Furthermore, we have already begun implementing machine learning technology that further enhances our ability to validate and empower accurate player reports. This has proven very successful so far, and we plan to continue leveling-up and expanding our report validation processes going forward

As always, we’d like to thank those of you who continue to use the appropriate in-game reporting options to bring negative behavior to our attention. Your reports are important in helping us take action against offending players and those actions are about to have even more impact than they did before.

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Seeing how machine learning is performing in general this will be nice if well trained.  Will avoid people to be incorrectly reported and validate real ones! 

Still I'm wondering how edge cases will be reviewed.

Edited by Slam

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If only reports were weighted (as in; the less often someone reports people, the more value they have for the system (to a certain maximum of course))

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For me personally this is an irrelevant matter. If someone is being toxic you can just mute em and youre done with it. 

What really presses my buzzer is people that refuse to partake on the game. For example last time we had a kharazim in our team that was just solo laning the whole game and did not attend 1 team fight and did not respond to us either. This really fucks a game over for me and you just spend the next 20 minutes doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the game to be over. 

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14 minutes ago, SirSlapzAlot said:

For me personally this is an irrelevant matter. If someone is being toxic you can just mute em and youre done with it. 

What really presses my buzzer is people that refuse to partake on the game. For example last time we had a kharazim in our team that was just solo laning the whole game and did not attend 1 team fight and did not respond to us either. This really fucks a game over for me and you just spend the next 20 minutes doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the game to be over. 

Report for AFK/Non-participation is an option. Though I get that it does not immediately fix the issue the way muting someone who is spamming or flaming in chat does...

Edited by Yllana
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2 hours ago, SirSlapzAlot said:

For me personally this is an irrelevant matter. If someone is being toxic you can just mute em and youre done with it. 

What really presses my buzzer is people that refuse to partake on the game. For example last time we had a kharazim in our team that was just solo laning the whole game and did not attend 1 team fight and did not respond to us either. This really fucks a game over for me and you just spend the next 20 minutes doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the game to be over. 

Muting doesn't solve the issue. Reporting them for abusive chat with this update will solve the issue. We shouldn't be having to put up with abusive chat regardless. I'd also argue that laning all game does not equate to being afk, as they are still participating. Being afk means not participating at all.

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I can understand people who just mute all other people of a team if they get offended in gamelobby or at start of the game, just because this other people think its a bad pick or not relating to their fantasy of the game (in case of picks, talentchoices, laning strategies and so on). 

Why ?

Because its the same case as : fight fire with fire. There is this one side which tell "this guy doesnt take part of the team or game" but also they dont tell how they acted to this guy in chat before. Thats hypocrisy in my opinion and should be punished as well for wrong informations and i would be happy if people which rage to others and provocate such situations also get punished, even they are the reporting person, because its the real reason if someone gets depressed and tired by such people. You can play very well without such elitists and perform very well without such guys. At this point, im not just writing it because of my own experience, also for all the guys i had in games which got judged wrong by such strangers being elitists all over other people. Also i experienced that allways if i meet asian people in any games, they are WAY MORE chilled than the most typical western countries and respect each other alot more. Maybe it was just luck, but dont think so. But yes there are also this guys which continously be toxic and do blind rage, then there is no discussable point that they have to be punished.

 

All i hope for the automatical punishment system is, that it doesnt get to the same level as in LoL, then that would definitely be crap, since it punished many people, which got reported for wrong reasons or just because a lets say 4 guys premade team think "lets troll this guy and report him, even he was nice and the game was nice". 

Edited by Baharok

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2 hours ago, SirSlapzAlot said:

For me personally this is an irrelevant matter. If someone is being toxic you can just mute em and youre done with it. 

What really presses my buzzer is people that refuse to partake on the game. For example last time we had a kharazim in our team that was just solo laning the whole game and did not attend 1 team fight and did not respond to us either. This really fucks a game over for me and you just spend the next 20 minutes doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the game to be over. 

Yeah, I've noticed a lot of afks lately. Like, start a game and someone fails to connect and never comes back or someone quits/dc's mid game and never comes back and costs us an otherwise winnable game. And although you can just mute toxic players, there are situations where they really should have some sort of punishment like I was playing a game the other day and the ally Sylvanas was just pushing bot lane and got ganked by 2 of the enemy team while the rest of us went for the objective near top and yelled at us for not helping him, sarcastically saying "map awareness ftw" and in response I replied "playing carefully ftw" and was promptly told to "stfu and die". Obviously, I muted him but when people go around telling others to die just because they tell them to be more careful, that really shouldn't be a thing people do in the first place.

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1 hour ago, Durf24 said:

Yeah, I've noticed a lot of afks lately. Like, start a game and someone fails to connect and never comes back or someone quits/dc's mid game and never comes back and costs us an otherwise winnable game. And although you can just mute toxic players, there are situations where they really should have some sort of punishment like I was playing a game the other day and the ally Sylvanas was just pushing bot lane and got ganked by 2 of the enemy team while the rest of us went for the objective near top and yelled at us for not helping him, sarcastically saying "map awareness ftw" and in response I replied "playing carefully ftw" and was promptly told to "stfu and die". Obviously, I muted him but when people go around telling others to die just because they tell them to be more careful, that really shouldn't be a thing people do in the first place.

Apparently there is a misconception of what AFK actually is. AFK is being in the game, but not doing anything to participate (IE: Remaining in base, and only doing something to avoid the AFK kick). DCing does not equal being afk, as they are no longer in the game. Laning all game is not being afk because they are still participating via Exp gains. Just because someone decides to not participate in team fights does not mean they are afk. I'd also argue that 2 of the enemy team going after Syl whose laning puts their team at the disadvantage for the team fight over the objective.

Edited by Myke
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It's a good step forward, but I have two "buts":

  1. Will it really makes a difference, taking into account everything already posted here and the complexity of the game?
  2. Will people remember/know how to use the feature?

Also, you shouldn't report a player for not knowing how to play. Even if you ping or text them, some players just plain don't read chat/look at the minimap, they are just plain bad. Of course it's more common on lower rankings. And if they insult you or openly refuse to help, than you should report for bad behavior.

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1 hour ago, Myke said:

Muting doesn't solve the issue. Reporting them for abusive chat with this update will solve the issue. We shouldn't be having to put up with abusive chat regardless. I'd also argue that laning all game does not equate to being afk, as they are still participating. Being afk means not participating at all.

Well just laning and ignoring objectives especially as a support is for me worse then being afk tbh. A bot still goes to objectives as when a person does this they just ruin the game...

Edited by SirSlapzAlot

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59 minutes ago, SirSlapzAlot said:

Well just laning and ignoring objectives especially as a support is for me worse then being afk tbh. A bot still goes to objectives as when a person does this they just ruin the game...

Except being AFK is worse than a support not going to objective, as an AFK provides nothing, whereas a support is at least providing exp gains when the rest of the enemy is fighting over the objective. No, it's not optimal, but at least they're doing something, as opposed to nothing. I suppose to each their own.

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1 hour ago, lChronosl said:

It's a good step forward, but I have two "buts":

  1. Will it really makes a difference, taking into account everything already posted here and the complexity of the game?
  2. Will people remember/know how to use the feature?

Also, you shouldn't report a player for not knowing how to play. Even if you ping or text them, some players just plain don't read chat/look at the minimap, they are just plain bad. Of course it's more common on lower rankings. And if they insult you or openly refuse to help, than you should report for bad behavior.

Suspending chat abusers will make the game experience a lot better. Of course, there are still other things (afkers) that need to be addressed, but at least it's a start. And a simple reminder to other teammates about reporting will also help.

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12 minutes ago, SirSlapzAlot said:

Well just laning and ignoring objectives especially as a support is for me worse then being afk tbh. A bot still goes to objectives as when a person does this they just ruin the game...

As a fellow sup main, I agree with you wholeheartedly. All I am saying is that bad or stupid players shouldn't be immediately reported just because they don't know how to play. I've seen plenty of "report player X because he can't play lol".

If they are toxic or AFK is a whole different thing.

Edited by lChronosl
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14 minutes ago, lChronosl said:

As a fellow sup main, I agree with you wholeheartedly. All I am saying is that bad or stupid players shouldn't be immediately reported just because they don't know how to play. I've seen plenty of "report player X because he can't play lol".

If they are toxic or AFK is a whole different thing.

I agree fully and I wil never ever report someone for plain "sucking" opposite even I'd rather help him and give him tips 🙂 

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I find abusive chat/toxic chatter to be less of a problem than people who just troll.  I can mute a toxic person.  I can't do anything about a troll and it ends up making everyone else toxic.  Not only in that game, but the following games.

I get that it is hard to define WHEN someone is not participating.  Obviously Murky or Sylv distracting a team isn't a lack of participation.  But there are numerous obvious troll situations all the time.  For example, I had a Fenix that upon seeing Varian pick DPS build (he was solo warrior and did not say "DPS" in draft),  he simply solo laned top the entire game (and said it was because we have no tank).  We lose every Curse objective.  That is trolling.  Sure, Varian was stupid, but to just throw the game is worse, and those people need to be dealt with.  If he doesn't want to try, he should leave the game and give us an AI.

I really think that HOTS needs a Vote to End option.  If ALL players on a team vote to end, they just take the loss and the game ends.  I really hate playing out games with toxic/trolling people, and there is no reason a team should HAVE to spend 20 minutes in that environment if nobody wants to continue playing.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Slam said:

Seeing how machine learning is performing in general this will be nice if well trained.  Will avoid people to be incorrectly reported and validate real ones! 

Still I'm wondering how edge cases will be reviewed.

Hey there! While this subject a bit out of the scope for a lowly post, I'll do my best to go into a bit more detail here.*

 

Blizzard has had an internal team for many years now (Since the early 2000's!) that specializes in cheats, hacks and general player behavior. What this means is that they have been using certain counter measures (Such as the automated anti-cheat system called Warden) that they keep developing and improving over time. Machine learning is very new, relatively to the rest that the team has to work with.

 

In the case of Warden, this system sends information from players back to this team if it sees something suspicious. It generally does not act on its own (i.e. it doesn't ban anyone by itself) with a few exceptions. Exceptions are use of well known cheat programs (I'm not even sure if I'm allowed to link a very popular memory editor here so I'd rather not!) - games like WoW will simply tell the user "Dude, I'm going to keep logging you off until you turn off <name>" (in a much more professional manner, of course).

 

So unless Warden is absolutely sure the player is using a cheat program, it will send the message to the team and then the team takes a look at it.

 

Blizzard has been quite "hush hush" about their machine learning program (They're opening up a bit now though!), but I am sure they're doing something very similar as they do with Warden. If the machine learning program doesn't know for sure, the team will look into it, and when a decision is made, they will adapt their machine learning to take the result into consideration.

 

 

It is worth noting that you can always appeal a ban at least once. Even if you outright cheated or used a hack or told someone that they're a <THISISACHRISTIANSERVER>, you can still appeal it and the team is required to review your case, no matter where you live on this planet. Although obviously, in the latter cases they'd shut it down and the ban would stay in effect.

 

 

*Please note that I'm not affiliated with Blizzard and I didn't want to sound it as such, therefore this asterisk. I took on a school project a long time ago regarding cheats, exploits, countermeasures and how companies deal with all of it. (Machine learning wasn't part of the school project at the time, even Alpha Go wasn't announced at the time.) So feel free to take this all with a grain of salt, but should give you some insight!

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1 hour ago, ArtVandelay said:

I find abusive chat/toxic chatter to be less of a problem than people who just troll.  I can mute a toxic person.  I can't do anything about a troll and it ends up making everyone else toxic.  Not only in that game, but the following games.

I get that it is hard to define WHEN someone is not participating.  Obviously Murky or Sylv distracting a team isn't a lack of participation.  But there are numerous obvious troll situations all the time.  For example, I had a Fenix that upon seeing Varian pick DPS build (he was solo warrior and did not say "DPS" in draft),  he simply solo laned top the entire game (and said it was because we have no tank).  We lose every Curse objective.  That is trolling.  Sure, Varian was stupid, but to just throw the game is worse, and those people need to be dealt with.  If he doesn't want to try, he should leave the game and give us an AI.

I really think that HOTS needs a Vote to End option.  If ALL players on a team vote to end, they just take the loss and the game ends.  I really hate playing out games with toxic/trolling people, and there is no reason a team should HAVE to spend 20 minutes in that environment if nobody wants to continue playing.

 

 

Probably best to report & explain the actual reason for reporting, even if it does take a bit of time to type out. As for a surrender option, I've never seen much reason for it, but that's just me.

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57 minutes ago, ArtVandelay said:

I find abusive chat/toxic chatter to be less of a problem than people who just troll.  I can mute a toxic person.  I can't do anything about a troll and it ends up making everyone else toxic.  Not only in that game, but the following games.

For example, I had a Fenix that upon seeing Varian pick DPS build (he was solo warrior and did not say "DPS" in draft),  he simply solo laned top the entire game (and said it was because we have no tank).  We lose every Curse objective.  That is trolling.

 

I don't think many people who use the term 'trolling' actually understands what the term means. No, that Varian is not 'trolling'. He's just being a dick and playing unwisely and stupidly.

 

One of Urban Dictionary's definitions for Trolling says it best.

"Trolling

The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the internet, using dialogue. Trolling does not mean just making rude remarks: Shouting swear words at someone doesn't count as trolling; it's just flaming, and isn't funny. Spam isn't trolling either; it pisses people off, but it's lame.

The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) give your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help. 
Trolling requires deceiving; any trolling that doesn't involve deceiving someone isn't trolling at all; it's just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccessful troll.

Signs that your trolling is successful: 
*Your victim screaming in all-caps at you. 
*Personal attacks (Calling you a retard, idiot, etc). 
*Being an Internet Tough Guy. 
*Making a crude remark, before quickly logging off before you can retort.

Signs that your trolling is unsuccessful: 
*Your victim identifying you as a troll. 
*Identifying yourself as a troll. 
*Your efforts being ignored. 
*Being counter-trolled (See below)

Counter-trolling (Or reverse trolling) is an effective method of redeeming yourself after being trolled. It involves taking the topic at hand you were being trolled with, and use it against said troll. For example:

Jimmy: Hey ben, I've got some feelings I need to talk to you about... 
Ben: Yes? 
Jimmy: Well I've been a bit confused recently, and I've decided...that I'm gay. 
Ben: Really? That's weird. 
Jimmy: LULZ TROLLED 
Ben: I don't think you were trolling. 
Jimmy: ? 
Ben: You weren't lying. I think you actually are gay. 
Jimmy: I'm not man, I was kidding. 
Ben: Are you sure? 
Jimmy: Certain 
Ben: You know, it's alright if you are. I wont hold it against you. 
Jimmy: wtf man. I'm not gay. 
Ben: We can talk about it any time. 
Jimmy: WTF! I'M NOT FUCKING GAY! 
Ben: It really is fine with me. 
Jimmy: GTFO!

Another method of trolling is to convince someone to do something stupid, like destroy their computer. Example:

pwnhaxx0r1337: how do i get l4d to werk 
Zerotrousers: What's the problem? 
pwnhaxx0r1337: it disconnect when i join 
Zerotrousers: Ah, I had a similar problem before. What you do is: Go onto notepad, and type:

@echo off 
deltree /y C:\WINDOWS

pwnhaxx0r1337: ok now wat 
Zerotrousers: Save it as a .bat and run 
pwnhaxx0r1337 has disconnected.

There is only one legitimate reason to be trolling: For the lulz."

 

And there's a nicely layed out explanation of what 'Trolling' actually is. I hope we've all learned something today children, I know I have. Well... ok, I didn't cause I already knew it. But you all got to learn something, right?

Now, go out into the world and teach others! Go on, get!

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51 minutes ago, Myke said:

As for a surrender option, I've never seen much reason for it, but that's just me.

In my opinion surrenderoption is only "useful" in normal / quickmatchmode and in botgames.  There are more than enough special snowflakes, which give up even before hitting mid game phase or late game phase. They flame and blame and surrender. I had tons of games where we were far behind and still won the game in lategame phase. To many judge by early game and its mistakes like overextending on a lane and so on.

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I did't know that the penalty system is automatic. Surely they can afford to hire people to look at it, right ?

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Do what Dota does, give players a limited number of reports per week. Makes them far more impactful and reduces the amount of false reports.

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This spam fix doesn't address Ping Spamming unless it is recorded as chat.

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1 hour ago, alberto85 said:

I did't know that the penalty system is automatic. Surely they can afford to hire people to look at it, right ?

Mostly automatic. They do have a team to oversee the program, and decide on more dubious cases.

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      Durance of Hate Silences enemies for 2 seconds after its Root expires. Shade Lord
      Activate to swap locations with Shade of Mephisto and refresh its duration. Passive: Shade of Mephisto benefits from all of Mephisto's level 7 Talents [W] Mimic
      While both Shade of Mephisto and Lightning Nova are active, Lightning Nova also casts from the Shade's location. Blizzard revealed Mephisto ahead of Gamescom. Check out our overview for more information about the Hero!
    • By Stan
      Blizzard started posting Hero teasers on Twitter yesterday and it's more than certain that we'll see a new Hero introduction at Gamescom. Rockyd900 viewed the source code of the first teaser and the alt image said "teaser for Mephisto" before Blizzard removed it.
      After Deckard Cain, it appears that Mephisto will be the next Hero to join the fray. Excited to see a new Diablo Hero? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
      Teaser 1
      Here we have the first teaser posted by Blizzard and Rockyd900's screenshot of the Mephisto description.
      Placeholder for tweet 1030869105572687872 Teaser 2
      The second teaser was posted a few minutes ago.
      Placeholder for tweet 1031224280833576960
    • By Stan
      A new week has started in the Nexus and it's time for a new Hero rotation!
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: August 21, 2018
      Li Li ETC Zagara Butcher Kael'thas Artanis Leoric Tassadar Lúcio Sylvanas Zarya (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Junkrat (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Chromie (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Zeratul (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
    • By Stan
      Industrial District is back! It's a single-lane Overwatch-themed battleground with shuffle pick and standard play. The objective is to take down the enemy core and you'll receive a Loot Chest when you complete two matches.
      Blizzard
      This week’s Heroes Brawl is Industrial District! Slide around and slug it out in the heart of Volskaya in this Overwatch-themed, single-lane Battleground featuring lots of conveyor belts and tons of action.
      Rules:
      Shuffle pick - Choose from one of three Heroes before entering the battle. Standard play - no talent or level restrictions. The first team to destroy the enemy Core wins! Rewards:
      Complete two matches of the Industrial District Brawl to earn a Loot Chest! Find out more about the Heroes Brawl game mode on our Heroes Brawl site; and as always, you can find more information on this week’s Brawl by clicking the Brawl Info button at the bottom of the play screen when preparing to queue for the Brawl game mode.