Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering

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  • I completely agree with Amaterasu in what they stated. RGL is doing a much better job than other leagues in this respect (banning system, etc) however, taking into account the way the other leagues operate, that isn’t much of a baseline. There is so much room for improvement concerning this, and I very much echo b4nny’s point that “Competitive TF2 is a small community, and needs to be moderated more along the lines of a private club than as a public utility.” RGL can literally be run however the admins want, since it runs completely outside of the actual game. What this means is that RGL can easily take a harder stance against those who make the community an unbearable place (notice how I said community, and not specifically ingame). As much as I’d like to see cross-league mirrored bans (or even game bans), I somehow don’t see this as a possibility due to ETF2L, UGC, and TFTV’s cumulative track records. The way many other (and larger) esports leagues operate, players can get banned from things they do outside of the game and its environment, and I see this as perfectly okay. Why should it be okay for a player to be 100% toxic out of the game, and when ingame, they skate around the rules so they are not banned? Usually this goes hand-in-hand with those in the higher divisions, as I’m sure RGL is scared that they will decrease the overall size of the divisions if they actually banned every player that needed to be banned. This is a multifaceted issue, and I as every other competitive tf2 player is affected by consistent inaction and this sort of ‘grey zone’ that allows for toxicity to perpetuate within our community. I love this game and I love this community, and we shouldn’t hold ourselves back from making it the best place it can be ^_^

  • @tide said in Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering:

    The way many other (and larger) esports leagues operate, players can get banned from things they do outside of the game and its environment, and I see this as perfectly okay. Why should it be okay for a player to be 100% toxic out of the game, and when ingame, they skate around the rules so they are not banned? Usually, this goes hand-in-hand with those in the higher divisions, as I’m sure RGL is scared that they will decrease the overall size of the divisions if they actually banned every player that needed to be banned. This is a multifaceted issue, and I as every other competitive tf2 player is affected by consistent inaction and this sort of ‘grey zone’ that allows for toxicity to perpetuate within our community. I love this game and I love this community, and we shouldn’t hold ourselves back from making it the best place it can be ^_^

    RGL is not scared about the decrease in the size of the divisions at all. If players are violating the rules that are laid out in the rulebook, then they will receive a punishment. It does not matter if you are a top-level or a community member. The league receives over 15+ misconduct reports a week. Having the volunteer admins to have to go through every single report, come to a conclusion, and issue the appropriate action can take a toll on these staff members. This is an important detail to consider since it is not only the staff’s job to do so but the players as well. Players that see harassment occurring around them and allow it to occur are allowing this behavior to perpetuate and become normalized. Change can only occur if everyone helps.

    Furthermore, RGL does not believe it is fair to police the words and actions of players in a private setting and therefore will not apply much scrutiny to these reports unless we suspect a genuine intent to harm or threaten another player. We have made this clear in our rules and have continued to enforce these guidelines. Gossip in private Discords, being spammed in private Steam messages, or in-game “trash talk” are all examples that do not constitute harassment. In particular, in-game banter is a part of every competitive activity and has always existed. Players cross this line when they resort to personal attacks.

    If you do see harassment occurring, then you are always welcome to use our report system, Steam reports, or the Discord Trusty & Safety report system. Ultimately, issues like these can not be properly addressed if they are not reported. In my personal opinion, I believe RGL is doing the best that they can to address harassment in our community. As stands, the league has drawn a line in which they wish to deal with these issues. If anything, you tend to have a larger vocal minority of players that believe RGL is overstepping their boundaries by penalizing players for using slurs in scrims. The league and player base believes this is not acceptable, so it has continued to be enforced. It is essentially a tug between two sides because you will always have one side of the spectrum that believes the league should be laxer with enforcement and the other side believes that there should be more enforcement.

    In the end, the topic of harassment in the community can only be addressed if all leagues, organizations, and players work together to speak up against it and not allow it to occur. RGL can always do its part to improve on how it deals with moderation. The league, as well as any other leagues, will never be perfect with this. That being said, the goal of a more welcoming and respectful community is an integral part of the league and is something that we want to continue.

  • @exa said in Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering:

    from making it the best place it can be ^_^

    Alrighty, again what you said makes it seem like you need more volunteers, and I’d be more than happy to volunteer or do anything I can to help 🙂

  • Going to throw it out there that half the people bitching about racism and trans/homophobia are just wolves in sheep’s clothing. A ton of discords with top level players are full of the n word and slurs, and they’re also the same people who are “getting harassed.” racism.JPG racism2.JPG

    It’s pretty obvious racism, slurs, and harassment are bad, but you all fake as fuck for doing it in private then complaining in front of others because it happened in a match or scrim. No shots at anyone posting above; I’m making a generalization. It’s about a hundred different people with half belonging to “marginalized communities,” so I’d say it’s accurate. Those pics aren’t from “”“toxic”"" communities and are only highlander players.

    Also…
    “Furthermore, RGL does not believe it is fair to police the words and actions of players in a private setting”
    Lol

  • @norfnorf said in Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering:

    Also…
    “Furthermore, RGL does not believe it is fair to police the words and actions of players in a private setting”
    Lol

    If you’re going to quote my sentence, then you should quote the entire sentence – not part of it and leaving the rest of the context out.

    “Furthermore, RGL does not believe it is fair to police the words and actions of players in a private setting and therefore will not apply much scrutiny to these reports unless we suspect a genuine intent to harm or threaten another player.”

  • Even if I may have different wishes as far as condemning egregious off-platform behavior, I would certainly far rather RGL continue its current stance of eliminating that kind of behavior from official spaces than just throw up its hands and go “WELP whatever, people are assholes, who cares, toodleoo”.

  • @norfnorf I feel like this is missing the point of the thread’s topic. If there is stalking, threats, doxxing etc. – that is, actual harassment directed toward some individual – happening in those discords, then it absolutely should be banworthy. I believe, and I hope the league admins agree, that repeating The Funny Word in a private, non-league setting does not necessarily constitute harassment on its own.

    RGL has a different rule that bans Funny Words in public scrims and matches, but that rule should be debated on its own merits instead of being conflated with anti-harassment rules.

    The key ethical difference is that, if your teammates or discord buddies don’t think your Funny Word usage is very funny, then they can choose to stop associating with you. The other team in your match can’t really do that – RGL’s schedule has commanded them to play in the same server as you – so having a minimum standard for politeness is more justified in that space.

  • @Iso My comment was in response to some replies about general toxicity and less so towards someone getting death threats or whatever.

    Also, you know what I do when someone harasses me, is annoying, or says shit I don’t want to listen to? I block or mute them and then move on. I don’t cry about being bullied online. I can post a pretty detailed tutorial on how to mute or block someone who says mean things to you. Unless someone is straight up spamming you on 10 accounts, how can you ever get inconvenienced by something a person says to you online when you can control everything you see. 🤷🏻♂

  • @norfnorf I personally do not care at all about whether someone I’m playing with is “toxic” in the sense of making off-color jokes. I think “harassment” was meant in this thread in a more specific sense, closer to Ameratsu’s post (which did make light of “death threats or whatever”)

    I recently rang for an amateur HL team’s scrim, and one of their players very carefully asked in vc to check whether anyone was “streaming, easily offended, or an RGL admin” (lol) before he yelled a lot of things that would get him banned very quickly if he had said them publicly. I didn’t think he was very entertaining (I’ve seen funnier and more creative profanities before), but I had no desire to report him, and I think “the silent majority” wouldn’t give a shit either.

    It was a strange interaction, but I can see how some may find this a better state of affairs than certain other leagues’ laissez-faire chat shitposting, even if extremists on both sides find it unsatisfying (one side can’t sleep at night knowing that thoughtcriminals can still breathe the same air as them, and the other feels frustrated that their epic comedy is prematurely deemed unfit for public broadcast).

  • @norfnorf there’s certainly a lot to unpack here in regards to your comment. your reductionist way of thinking in saying that blocking/muting solves everything is rather ignorant, in that it does not solve the problem, it only provides a temporary fix. The root of the problem is that the toxicity/harassment is happening initially, and that shouldn’t happen period. Explaining away the problems with “racism, slurs, and harassment” and saying that it happens in other private discords, meaning that it is okay in those enviroments is an awful argument.

  • @tide If a gamer says a slur in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

    This might boggle your mind to hear, but some people legitimately do not mind playing with “”“toxic”"" players who banter using politically incorrect words. Who, exactly, is being harassed if these players keep it amongst themselves?

  • @tide I agree! The “mute” don’t report mentality is both selfish and lazy! If you report then other people don’t have to deal with the bullshit either 😜

  • @Iso said in Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering:

    @tide If a gamer says a slur in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

    This might boggle your mind to hear, but some people legitimately do not mind playing with “”“toxic”"" players who banter using politically incorrect words. Who, exactly, is being harassed if these players keep it amongst themselves?

    Which is why RGL does not ban people if they are not reported by someone who took part in the match/scrim. We have no auto-ban policy. So your statement of why ban someone if no one is offended, is how the policy works right now.

    Also here is the article that breaks down the survey we posted earlier this year asking if players wanted us to continue the way we moderate in RGL. The majority of players affirm the policies we use to moderate our league.

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  • @LiaRein said in Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering:

    @tide I agree! The “mute” don’t report mentality is both selfish and lazy! If you report then other people don’t have to deal with the bullshit either 😜

    Quick thought experiment: suppose that you were the ringer in this amateur scrim

    I recently rang for an amateur HL team’s scrim, and one of their players very carefully asked in vc to check whether anyone was “streaming, easily offended, or an RGL admin” (lol) before he yelled a lot of things that would get him banned very quickly if he had said them publicly.

    What would you do?

    • a) Ignore it and play anyway, because you don’t really pay much mind to such things
    • b) Respond to the question by asking him not to, because you don’t want to hear it
    • c) Leave their team discord, let them find a different ringer if they want to be like that
    • d) Say nothing in response to the question, but record the scrim for evidence and report him to the admins, bringing justice to remove this deplorable from Our Community once and for all

    Myself and the 7 other people in that scrim* all chose option (a). I still respect anyone who needs to choose (b) or even (c), but the people who would choose (d) frighten me, because they believe that the job of a moderator is to remove bad people, and not to encourage good actions.

    Swinging the banhammer too freely doesn’t just lower the number of players, it makes the entire remaining community more divisive and less trusting of each other – the remaining players will see their friends get banned over misunderstandings (per human nature, there inevitably will be misunderstandings) and act excessively guarded, which sucks away fun for everyone in a positive feedback loop.

    * for what it’s worth, some of them also had no loyalties to that team – they used 3 different ringers for the scrim, but such is life in amateur highlander (I don’t know whether the offensive gamer was also a ringer)

  • @norfnorf said in Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering:

    I honestly pity those who are unintelligent enough to not mute someone being rude to them and instead cry to the admins and make their lives more complicated.

    For RGL pugs and the RGL discord I genuinely want people to “make my life more complicated” with reports. I obviously can’t speak for other departments but part of combating this sort of thing is knowing what’s going on, and evidence of behaviour. Reports exist for a reason, and the ability to act on them is important for various reasons, including fighting the kind harassment listed in the OP.

  • @Iso I find it strange you’re scared of people who report bad behaviour but aren’t bothered by the people carrying out the bad behaviour.

    I would ask them not to carry out the behaviour, if they persisted I would report. I don’t have to do the thought experiment. I call out bad behaviour in pubs, pugs, lobbies etc. and if it’s consistent enough I report it on all of those platforms.

  • @Iso kinda odd to complain about people choosting to ignore/report bad behavior in private circles in a thread about public harassment of volunteers

  • @cyclowns I completely agree that harassment, especially toward volunteers, is uncalled for, but the thread’s topic had strayed away from that before I started posting. I’m sorry for continuing the derailment from that topic towards arguing about other rules.

    I had typed a longer post about how what defines “bad behavior” becomes more subjective in private groups, but that topic can be left for a different time and place.

  • @Iso said in Competitive TF2, Harassment, and Volunteering:

    * for what it’s worth, some of them also had no loyalties to that team – they used 3 different ringers for the scrim, but such is life in amateur highlander (I don’t know whether the offensive gamer was also a ringer)

    So a couple things, if you’re bringing in a ringer then maybe you should warn the ringer and confirm with them “Hey I say racist and bigoted things, are you going to be okay with that?”

    RGL does not punish that type of stuff in private spaces, so the only time that our rules (which the survey showed the clear majority agreed with) are in public scrims and matches, and you can still say all the racist/bigoted things in your own private discords/mumbles during the scrim/matches. Basically, 99.99% of the internet is available for you to say all of the racist/bigoted things you want, and RGL will take no action. If you genuinely struggle for that very small portion of time to not say racist/bigoted things in game chat during scrims and matches, then I think you might have a bigger issue outside this.

    Swinging the banhammer too freely doesn’t just lower the number of players, it makes the entire remaining community more divisive and less trusting of each other – the remaining players will see their friends get banned over misunderstandings (per human nature, there inevitably will be misunderstandings) and act excessively guarded, which sucks away fun for everyone in a positive feedback loop.

    The number of players banned is fairly small, but the number of players that racist/bigots/harass others affect is higher. Do you think people who harass others or are bad-faith actors in the community only negatively affect less than one person in the community on average? If so, then the bans would be pushing more people out. However, it tends to these people have negatively affected many people in the community and can be a reason why people leave the competitive scene.

    I would argue it’s the inverse, having lax policies and enabling bad behavior drives more people away than bans. This is one of the main reasons that RGL has grown in my opinion, is through our moderation. Every six months we’ve posted about 20-40% growth over the previous six months of the total registered player count in this “dead game” for the last three years.

    “But sigafoo you’re only growing because of money!!”

    This is another common misconception, look at HL for example. We’ve seen consistent growth from the sections outside of Invite. Invite has stayed the same size roughly 6-8 teams, but we’ve grown in our free divisions moreso. The same thing with sixes, look at our Amateur and Newcomer divisions in sixes, they’ve done very well.

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