Rainbow Six Siege’s devs outline plans to curb toxicity

She spends 5 hours a day trolling Reddit

With great esports comes great bigotry. Not quite the snappiest of mottos, but relevant to Rainbow Six Siege, which has gone from strength to strength this past year at the cost of an increasingly ornery playerbase. In an attempt to help reduce the awfulness of public play, Ubisoft have outlined plans for the coming year to keep both verbal and mechanical abuse to a minimum.

Almost certainly prompted by the recent slew of news stories about high-profile esports stars and YouTubers dropping racial slurs in livestreamed events, Ubisoft Montreal have announced that they’re currently studying and tracking the frequency with which their players are acting like complete prats in public chat. In addition to probably being horrified by the numbers coming in, they’re using these figures to assign short term bans, along with warnings to stop saying awful things in public.

Be like Tachanka: Express your frustrations as productive violence!

On the player’s side of things, they plan on introducing a text chat mute function, for when you encounter someone so insistent on making a fool of themselves that they’ll type themselves into a hole once they realize that nobody is listening on the voice channel. Coming later still is an automated chat filter which (from the sounds of it) cannot be disabled. If you start randomly dropping slurs, you’ll find your chat edited, and also receive a warning. Repeatedly setting off the system will also attract the attention of human moderators, so… don’t do that. Please? Thank you.

Mechanically, the last resort of awful people in Rainbow Six Siege is teamkilling. While you could intentionally act as dead weight for your team if you’re feeling really passive aggressive, most would rather just put a bullet in the back of a teammate’s head at the start of the match. While frequent or obvious teamkilling can already get you automatically kicked from a match, Ubisoft say they’re going to be tracking frequent offenders via some new metrics in order to hopefully reduce this behavior, too.

All this is apparently just the tip of the iceberg, and their immediate, short-term solutions to a rather deep-seated problem. While they’re not giving out the details quite yet, they do promise that they’re looking at this as a long-term issue to be fixed gradually over time. It’s good to see them at least being proactive on the subject, unprompted by any specific scandal within the Rainbow Six competitive scene. More studios could do with following their lead.

48 Comments

  1. Avus says:

    I already stopped playing R6:Siege PvP for 9 months. Coop play only. Even coop games have a$$holes/tker but can’t piss me off that much.

  2. axiomatic says:

    What? The option to turn off VOIP is not enough? Because that’s what I do.

  3. soulis6 says:

    Sounds like standard stuff, they’ve already in past weeks been banning more and more people for toxic behavior, although i’m not sure if that’s a permanent thing or only temporary.

    Siege is still one of the best PVP games around IMO, and aside from PUBG, the most unique and interesting PVP game of the last decade. I recently started playing again a month or so again after a break, and it’s better than ever.

    Still wish they would update the main menu and inventory UI though, it’s pretty crusty at this point.

    • datboss202 says:

      this entire thing is fucking stupid so what if some kid gets offended so what if ppl talk shit if they pay for an M rated game ITS GONNA HAVE BAD LANGUAGE. the fact that they implemented this because of the media tells me ubisoft is full of ass kissers and media conformists

  4. aliksy says:

    I want to see a game start charging real life money when people are asshats online. Go ahead, explain to your parents or spouse why it was worth $2000 to say racial slurs in chat for hours. I’m sure they’ll be very understanding.

    • Quadruplesword says:

      I’d like to see that, but it’d be far too easy to abuse, not to mention probably somehow maybe I’m not really sure but possibly illegal.

      • ThePuzzler says:

        “Well, on the one hand, this game promises less toxic chat. But on the other hand, I have to enter my credit card details in advance and grant them the right to take unlimited money off me without my consent…”

    • Nolenthar says:

      Not even the government (at least in non autocratic countries) cam taken an undefined amount of money from you without giving you a chance of trial.
      But then banning accounts (so forcing the player to either give up or buy the game again) should be enough really.

    • Nackertash says:

      I can’t wait to get the new “Racial Slurs: Deluxe Edition” DLC

  5. simz04 says:

    Toxicity became the standard in online gaming over the years in many games. Its about time devs start to implement a code of conduct that warrants bans, and serious ones, otherwise the problem will stay.

    If you dont enforce some rules, people wont behave because of the lack of consequences. Same reason they would never act like that IRL.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Mikemcn says:

    I haven’t been tked in the last 40 hours of play, so i’d say it’s getting better?

    Before that… oh boy it was ugly.

  7. Aetylus says:

    What I don’t understand is, in the glut of clones that follows any successful game, why a big publisher doesn’t adopt a “-but-not-for-arseholes” brand as a viable differentiator?.

    So:
    MMORPG-but-not-for-arseholes
    FPS-but-not-for-arseholes
    MOBA-but-not-for-arseholes
    Zombie-Survival-Coop-but-not-for-arseholes
    PUBG-like-but-not-for-arseholes

    Just clone a popular online game, tweak it just enough to not get sued, and introduce proper serious bans for bad behaviour: Instant permanent bans for racism, abuse, deliberately losing etc… basically instant permanent ban for anything not acceptable in a real-life game of football.

    My bet is the “-but-not-for-arseholes” brand would instantly become on of the most popular online brands around. About half the people playing online games would rather avoid that crap behavouir, even if it meant not being able to indulge in awfulness themselves. And that doesn’t account for the millions of people who just avoid online games for their awfulness.

    • Ksempac says:

      There are so many problems with your suggestion.

      First of all is the detection of assholes. Automated slur detections are good, but they can be easily worked around, and can’t detect more subtle form of sarcasm/insult/etc. Reports systems are good, but they also can be abused, so need manual checking which cost money. Someone just beat you ? “must be hacking, I’m reporting him”. Someone said you’ve reported him “asshole, I’m reporting him”, etc. A teammate isn’t playing well (for whatever reason) “I’m reporting it”.

      Second of all, and the worst problem, is that the reality is that…95% of people are assholes. No I don’t mean that in “I’m an asshole therefore everybody must be”. I mean that toxicity isn’t an “all or nothing” thing.

      The behavioral team at Riot have done some great GDC talks about their work to reduce toxicity, and that’s their biggest hurdle. After carefully analyzing many League of Legends games, they found that, on the whole, there are 5% of people who are constantly toxic, 5% who are constantly positive, and the rest of people are normal people who sometimes have a bad day.

      Maybe something pissed you off at work/school. Maybe you’re in a losing streak. Maybe you just had an asshole piss you off in the previous game. Whatever happened, you’re currently in a bad mood, and likely to blow off. And that’s the major issue.

      Because if you have a bad day say, once every 10 days, but there are 10 people on the server (5v5) with similar “once in 10 days” pattern, there is actually a good chance that one of you is having their bad day, and will be an asshole in this game.

      And that will weight over people on the server down, which mean they are more likely to be negative in their next game, thus propagating the negativity and the toxicity.

      The third problem is recognizing your own toxicity. You may think you’re among the 5% most positive players. Chances are, you’re probably not.

      Here again, Riot’s talks are very informative. They have noted that people have a hard time to recognize their own toxicity. People who are constantly toxic think they are in the norm (rather than being among the worst offenders), and people who are usually ok but sometimes blow off often are shocked when presented evidence of their bad days. “This is not me” or “I’m appaled by this behavior” are common occurences.

      So the result of a “zero tolerance” approach would most likely be a game whose player base shrink in no time, resulting in very few active players, meaning no money for the developers and not enough players to match up for players.

      Toxicity is a complex problem, and requires complex tools and thoughful approach to efficiently fight.

      • Nolenthar says:

        Well put, though some behaviours could easily lead to auto ban. I may have the worst day of my life, yet I’d never use the n word, or any other racist non sense. It’s not part of my brain cabling, it won’t come up. If someone is upset and start throwing racist slur, chances are high than he is a racist simply behaving properly on a good day.

      • Aetylus says:

        I think your view is entirely valid… but only in the context of the current online norm, which is where Riot view things from.

        In LoL, some toxicity is now (unfortunately) normal, and I completely agree it would be bad for LoL’s number if Riot took a hard line stance (thanks for the GDC reference btw).

        My suggestion is not for a market dominator like Riot, but for the clone. There are heaps of LoL clones… most fail. Yet not a single one of them is differentiating themselves by appealing to the large group of people who would prefer zero toxicity (including moderating their own behaviour to not abuse others just because they are having a bad day)

        The important thing is that in real life, society already takes are zero tolerance approach. In RL we all have bad days at work, yet we all know that if we tell our workmate “You fucking suck, do your job properly dickhead” we will be fired… so we self moderate our behaviour.

        It’s actually pretty easy to set auto bans that pick up the worst abuse, and/or to set up player report mechanisms that trigger human moderation. The difficulty only comes in when someone like Riot then tries to implement a light-touch ban and has to judge where that is. Zero tolerance is easy.

        And yes, the 90% of players who are sometimes a bit bad would need to self moderate their behaviour… just like they have to do every day in RL. And if they can’t or don’t want to do that they can just keep playing LoL… any clone would only need 20% of LoL’s player base to be a roaring success.

    • riotgrrl_adria says:

      Few things to throw out here:

      1) Things like gamergate is pretty stark proof of the overall toxicity of gamers in general. If a company was to enforce a ban on sight approach for toxic players, there would be so many man babies calling the company SJWs and snowball the publisher by mass negatively reviewing their games, burying them in the charts and grossly affecting their sales.
      2) Banning people for Tk isn’t easy to do programmically. Really bad players who end up accidentally shooting their teammates a lot would also get caught up in a ban as well as legit TKers.
      3) Whie TKers and outright racism isn’t as much as a thing as it was 6 months ago, I can’t say the same for sexism or (especially) transphobia. I had to quit streaming R6: Siege because of the amount of transphobia whipped at me or thrown around casually in the event that the other players didn’t know (or figure out) that I’m trans.

      I would <3 it if all companies would do some sort of coalition to try and kill toxic behaviour. That's probably the only real option at this point.

  8. dumbassthatgotbannedforabit says:

    i wouldve liked to know the words u can not use and can use before i spammed the n word in chat and got a 15 day ban

  9. Pogs says:

    Do games deliberately not put these measures in place while building the game in the first place? I mean most if not all competitive online games seem to have this issue and the developers only introduce toxicity measures later but only after many people have been driven away and there remains a concentrated toxicity level of people who think its ok. Then it would seem to be like shooting toxic fish in a barrel…

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I think it’s more of an issue that many developers don’t think they need these features until it turns out that they do. Maybe a little of it is laziness, but I think the majority of it is blind optimism that ‘OUR community will be better and won’t need such heavy-handed moderation, unlike those jerks over there’.

      There’s also a fringe of developers who are jerks who think that toxicity is an integral part of the online gaming experience and don’t want to dull that particular edge of the experience.

    • riotgrrl_adria says:

      If companies rolled out these types of restrictions off the bat, many players would never have bought the game at all because the man-babies would en-mass negatively review the game and hype it up to being a game against ‘freedom of speech!’.

      Get the sales of shitty players first, then roll out the bans when sales level off – this is how game developers have operated since online games became a thing.

  10. Mac says:

    This is the problem with Offense – what offends me may not offend you, and vice versa. Always amazes me that we have laws in the UK about causing offense – how can you create a law against something so subjective?

    One of the best summaries: link to youtube.com

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Yeah… no. When half the related videos are ‘political correctness is ruining everything’ and ‘feminism and those dang transgenders are also bad’, it’s pretty safe to ignore anything that guy’s saying, for fear of catching stupid.

      • Mac says:

        You do understand that he is a comedian? The underlying observation is actually quite true.

        • Axolotl says:

          Yeah, he also makes a point in one of his videos that gays are manlier than straight men, which isn’t exactly something a typical homophobe would say. It’s safe to say he’s exaggerating points of view for comedy.
          Besides, and whether we like it or not, it’s true that different people find different things offensive/innocuous, and what one might consider 100% ban-worthy, someone else will be completely baffled to have been banned for. There is no objective way to judge those things.

      • Nackertash says:

        How afraid of opposing opinions do you have to be to dismiss someone based on the related videos?

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      There aren’t laws in the UK about causing offence. Criminal Justice Act 2008:

      “the relevant act (namely, words, behaviour, written material, or recordings, or programme) must be threatening and not just abusive or insulting.”

      • Mac says:

        Hate speech laws in England and Wales are found in several statutes. Expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person’s colour, race, disability, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation is forbidden. Any communication which is threatening or abusive, and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone is forbidden.

        Nobody will disagree with the premise of what this is trying to do, but it is the subjectivity which is an issue – what may cause distress to one person may not to another, etc. We now have a law which basically amounts to no name calling!

        We are also in a world of thought crime – you have to be judged to have been trying to harass, alarm or distress; however, if you didn’t mean to do any of these things then you are exempt? Really?

        • Imadoctornotadoctor says:

          Regarding the “world of thought crime” – you realise that it’s standard for legal systems to include diminished sentencing where there’s judged to be a lack of intent, right? And, indeed, that “manslaughter” is a thing for precisely that reason?

          There are still questions about how to judge intent, of course, and let’s just leave the legality-morality fallacy aside for a second, but the implication that hate speech laws are somehow problematically unique in having to cater for intent is just false.

          • Mac says:

            There is a big difference between taking a gun and shooting someone and losing control of a car and running someone over – both can end up killing someone, hence the difference between manslaughter and murder.

            However, trying to factor in intent to understand if calling someone a name they may or may not find offensive was also stated with malice is one heck of a minefield to navigate.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I’m not sure who wouldn’t find being TK’d offensive, or at least slightly annoying.

      • Mac says:

        I’m offended that nobody has responded to you in all the hours this post has been made. Hang on a minute, I’ve just realised that nothing actually happens if I am offended … Maybe Ubisoft need a voting button so we can have democratic offense censored?

    • Aetylus says:

      For something to be offensive it doesn’t need to offend everybody. It only need to offend some people to be offensive.

      It is almost impossible to agree where to develop a global consensus on what everyone finds offensive.
      It is very easy to draw a line under the worst behaviour and say that many (though not all) people will be offended.

      Death threats, hate speech, insults, direct verbal (textual?) abuse, team kills… these are things that many people find offense. That is not in any way subjective, it is a statement of fact.

      As you move to ‘minor offenses’ things become subjective… but that in no way should stop action against the worse actions that many people absolutely DO find offensive.

      • DeathMonkeys says:

        No word or action/gesture should be considered offensive, since for a word or action/gesture to be offensive a person must CHOOSE to be offended by it. 100% Subjective, nothing has the power to make itself to be offensive, the person “receiving” the word/action/gesture has the power to make it offensive to themselves or to not take offense.

        Legit someone could call me nearly ANYTHING and I wouldn’t be even remotely offended. I’ll admit that there are a few words that would offend me but I believe that people should still be able to say them. They’re just words guys!

        • Mac says:

          Well said!

          When did ‘sticks and stones’ stop being a thing?

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          That’s easy for you to say, and I hope you can recognise the privilege you have in being able to say that. I have the same privilege – there is nothing wrong with having it, but I believe it is important to own it, and to recognise that not everyone has the same choice.

          If you’re a woman trying to play a game (or just exist in life really) someone is shouting about how they’re going to rape or murder you, then you might not agree that “They’re just words guys!”.

          If you’re black or Jewish and you look at the world around you and see the strong resurgence of far-right groups in Europe and America and you see well attended marches organised by groups that literally want to kill you (and your whole family), then you might not find someone yelling racist slurs in a game chat quite so harmless.

          • riotgrrl_adria says:

            I’ve been threatened by rape in R: Siege voice chat, been called all sorts of nasty slurs, and have been threated that someone was going to find me and kill my family.
            I’ve had my info leaked already (name, address) by people who straight up wanted me dead because I hurt their feelings by having the tenacity of existing.

            When someone tells me I should just take it, how about they post their personal info online and let me hand it out and try getting people to come and physically assault them because hell, it’s just words online….

    • riotgrrl_adria says:

      Causing mental trauma by purposefully choosing to say or act in a particular way isn’t violence how?
      Things aren’t made illegal because they simply cause physical harm, but instead on how things negatively affect a person as a whole. Many crimes are not physical in nature, but no one is seriously demanding that we decriminalize things like slander.
      Calling a trans woman a tr-nny is far more damaging to her overall well being versus calling anyone a ‘sh-t head. It is because of her already heightened risk of suicide PRECISELY because of verbal harassment that makes harassment serious enough to justifiably prevent it.

  11. DeathMonkeys says:

    Team-killing is a problem, hopefully they fix it. I’d say that people glitching or using toxic strats is an even bigger problem that hopefully gets addressed too.
    I get the whole thing about the R6 community being pretty toxic in communication (honestly it’s not that bad compared to some other games), and I agree with some form of a filter being implemented,just not one like this. Why ban people for being indecent in text chat? Just add a filter that a user CAN turn off if they so choose, but have it turned on by default. Also the text chat Mute is a really good idea. Voice chat has ALWAYS been a cesspool, that’s why someone had the brilliant idea of a MUTE button. Also if you absolutely MUST filter vulgarity out, how-about instead of banning people just do what Halo: Reach (and other Halos) did and have a report system that just marks people as being vulgar and have matchmaking setting to have a player opt out of having people marked as being Vulgar placed in their match, just an Idea though.

    Just gonna add a little thing to think about: Since when has limiting what people can say online been considered “Good”? Just because you don’t want to hear it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to say it, there are Mute buttons for a reason.

    At the end of the day remember this, It’s the internet, people act differently here than in real life, they may act like animals here while remaining normal people irl.

    • mitrovarr says:

      Remember, it’s just limiting what people say in a particular venue, not entirely. And that’s been a necessity on the internet since they let in the public. If you don’t have rules and a way to ban people, there will *always* be a troll ready to show up with the most offensive content literally possible on the medium.

    • Aetylus says:

      As with most things, Limiting what people say has been “good” ever since the things people have said have harmed others. Its the basic principle behind most laws… let people do whatever they want, up to – and not beyond – the point they hurt others.

      And the fact that some people behave differently on the internet than in RL is not a defense of that behaviour… it is a reason to change that behaviour.

  12. ByrdWhyrm says:

    Glad to see them outlining the steps they are taking to combat bad behavior in the game. I’ve gotten back into siege after about a year of not playing, and it is pretty much improved in every way.
    However, the toxicity (while better than before) is still pretty bad. A lot of people using homophobic and racist slurs in text chat with just a letter or two changed. The report toxic behavior button is a nice catch all, and seeing the bans announced periodically as I’m playing feels good, but I’m glad they’re not stopping there.
    Also, I got tked in a ranked match yesterday because I did not reinforce a ceiling hatch, so I’m glad they’re re-evaluating how they deal with tking, too.

  13. snadder says:

    Good to see. I’m not usually very sensitive to toxicity in games, but the level of toxicity both verbally and teamkilling wise in this game made me stop playing. Easily the most toxic playerbase I’ve encountered in a game.

  14. Spinkick says:

    Its time to remove anonymity from online gaming. If you get banned, you are banned for good.

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