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  • 3 years ago
RB 217: Don't Hate the Player, Change the Game

RB 217: Don't Hate the Player, Change the Game

Few sectors of the networked environment get a worse reputation for hate speech than online gaming. Competitive games with chat functions have always involved some level of trash talking. Slurs, shaming, and casual threats are part of the players' toolkit for riling up their opponent.

But the toxicity levels of video game forums have reached a dangerous point. Unregulated and unchecked, many gaming networks have become zones where cyberbullying, misogyny, racism, and homophobic language are the norm.

At least one gaming company has decided that this behavior should NOT be the norm. In 2012, Riot Games - makers of the insanely popular League of Legends (over 60 million players around the world) - hired a cognitive neuroscientist named Jeffrey "Lyte" Lin to "game" the game. Jeffrey is in charge of building social systems that de-incentivize bad behavior and bring about a more sportsman-like culture.

On today's episode, we talk to Jeffrey about what the web can learn from how games are