GG EZ: Why Not A Shadow-Silence For Overwatch?

The more I think about it, the more I dislike the idea of translating “GG EZ” in Overwatch games into the phrases the game will trot out in its place to sort of mock the person typing the acronym.

GG EZ is one of the more common forms of bad manners in online multiplayer games, in case you haven’t really encountered the phrase. It literally means “Good game; easy” and it’s used to note that the winner had an easy victory – that they are miles better or that you didn’t represent much of a challenge. As online bad behaviour goes it doesn’t sound like much – it’s not homophobia or death threats or swatting – but it’s this constant drip drip drip of sourness – of people being really bad winners and wanting to not only have their victory but make someone else feel kinda shitty on top of that.

The thing Blizzard are doing (on the public test realm so there is a chance it won’t make it to the actual game) is using their chatbox as a kind of auto-translate tool so typing GG EZ to match chat will show up as one of a number of other phrases. Some twist the original into something that reads as more friendly (“For glory and honor! Huzzah comrades!”) and others outright mock the typist (“It’s past my bedtime. Please don’t tell my mommy.”)

Thing is, it still puts *something* in that chatbox. The phrases are distinctive enough that you know what they really typed, plus it then doesn’t guard against someone getting pissed off and spamming GG EZ to fill up said chatbox. It also only works on some variant spellings/punctuated versions and not others. So essentially I feel like it’s a gimmick that will get decent coverage but won’t actually solve the problem. Players who want to belittle other players will continue to do so, it just also becomes about how they “outwit” Blizzard.

If Blizzard actually wanted to combat the problem they could have used a shadow-ban variant. Instead of converting GG EZ into some phrase designed to put Blizzard into a belittling contest with someone keen to belittle others (I mean, it’s poking fun, but it does also boil down to who can be a bigger bell-end – the corporation or the player) they could perhaps have just converted it into… nothing at all. Have the phrase show up in the typist’s own chatbox and maybe the people they’re partied with so it takes longer for the system to be exposed, but NOT appear at all in anyone else’s feed.

There’s a phrase that gets bandied around a lot when dealing with unpleasant online behaviour – the you should ignore it – “don’t feed the trolls” is one version. But that puts the onus onto the recipient of the unpleasantness. They’re tasked with ignoring it or not rising to it after it’s been heard. GG EZ is a fairly tame example of what people are tasked with ignoring, but stopping it from getting out there in the first place using a shadow-ban/shadow-silence of some kind would take that onus off more polite players and stop the pervasive sourness of GG EZ being part of their general Overwatch experience.


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    Oakreef says:

    The weirdest thing about this issue for me is the myriad of people who keep jumping in and say to say thing like “I can’t believe you feel insulted by such a short phrase what’s wrong with you?” as if it’s unusually to feel insulted at something that is a deliberate insult. Off course people being rude to me bothers me, doing something that bothers people is basically the definition of rudeness!

  2. Cooper says:

    I dunno. Whether you shadow ban, censor or replace people will work out that it is happening. People will then work out how to get around it. (As they already do with the default profanity censor).

    I like to think that the aim of this update from Blizzard isn’t actually to try and stop people acting like dicks.

    It’s to send a message: That this kind of behaviour / atmosphere is not something they want in their game. But, more than that, it’s to remove the power of being a dick by not highlighting it as something so taboo as to be banned but as a behaviour to be mocked.

    If you ban or censor it, you’re telling poeple “that’s naughty, don’t do that”. The kind of people who enjoy being dicks in online games at best won’t care that Blizzard thinks they’re being rude, and may even be fuelled by it. Banning it even gives it a kind of cache.

    By replacing what they say, and given the choice of replacements, the message isn’t ‘this is naughty’ the message is ‘this is immature and you should be mocked for being immature’.

    I’m guessing here, but maybe the idea is that this option (hopefully) serves to neutralise the ‘power’ of being a dick; not naughty enough to be banned but childish enough to be mocked.

    • Vandelay says:

      A childish response is the only real answer to such childish remarks as “gg ez.”

      As you say, those that say such things deserve ridicule and Blizzard’s response is a perfect bit of playful mocking.

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    gritz says:

    I think you’re misreading the intended effect. Sure, you can easily tell when someone types the macro. But now EVERYONE types the macro for fun, all the time.

    The jerks are still there, always, but right now at least one of their tools for being shitty is drowning out in a sea of silly noise. It’s brilliant.

  4. magogjack says:

    I am kind of tired of this desire to censor things like this in the first place. Its a competition, hence trash talk and as trash talk goes this is so mild.

    I am cranky today however so take that as you will….