“Toxicity” in gaming – a rant.

“The League community is soooooo toxic!”

“I don’t play DotA any more. Too much toxicity.”

“OMG, that player said “gay”, he’s so toxic!”

You want to know what’s toxic? Your pathetic inability to harden the fuck up and /ignore someone. THAT is what’s toxic.


Nothing grinds my gears more than hearing the term “toxic”. The word has become as overused towards gaming communities as “racist” and “bigot” are casually tossed around when talking about Trump supporters; and just like the terms racist and bigot have been diluted to the point where they’ve lost all meaning; “toxic” is yet another term that is overused and watered down and means absolutely nothing.

While I’d prefer to keep politics out of gaming, unfortunately more and more it becomes clear that a certain agenda is being pushed by the gaming press and a majority of the gaming industry.

What inspires this article is a recent announcement from Ubisoft regarding Rainbow Six Siege and their quest to tackle “toxic behaviour”. Note that Ubisoft isn’t the only developer guilty of this and plenty of other gaming communities have this same ridiculous idea that their community is “toxic”.

Here’s a copy of the text from Reddit:

Starting next week, we will be implementing an improvement on the system we have been using to ban players that use racial and homophobic slurs, or hate speech, in game. The bans for this will fall within the following durations, depending on severity:

  • 2 Days
  • 7 Days
  • 15 Days
  • Permanent

We will be tracking the frequency at which language that violates the Code of Conduct is used by individual players, and will apply the appropriate ban on a case-by-case basis.

The type of language we will be taking action against is outlined in the following section of the Code of Conduct:

“Any language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment is forbidden.”

Players that receive a ban for toxicity will receive a pop-up that states their ban was the result of toxic behavior. A global message will also be displayed, similar to the current global broadcasts for cheating. It will read:

“Username has been banned for toxicity.”

This is our first step towards managing toxicity in Rainbow Six Siege, and we will have more information to share about our other plans at a later date.

– Source

Of course, the overly sensitive soy boys of Reddit were all too pleased about this because apparently ignoring some “offensive” text on your screen is just far too difficult.

Now, many people that weren’t aware of this are probably thinking “wow, that’s awesome! I’m glad Ubisoft is banning players for being wankers online!” But before you celebrate, perhaps read to the end…

Intentionally vague rules

First of all, lets break this down:

“Any language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment is forbidden.”

What the flying fuck does this even mean? It’s like Ubisoft went out of their way to be as vague as possible.

Pro tip: It’s intentional.

It gives them a free pass to ban whoever the hell they like and then they can just point to this and say “see, look, here’s our ToS”, despite the fact that it literally doesn’t say anything.

“Any language or content deemed illegal…”

past tense: deemed; past participle: deemed
1. regard or consider in a specified way.

So in other words, literally ANYTHING could be deemed any of those things.

If someone says “Jesus Fucking Christ that was a close round!” is that considered hate speech? I mean, for many Christians using Christ’s name in vain is not only considered offensive, but it’s also against the 10 Commandments. Surely that’s a bannable offence?

What if I type: “Sorry boys, I’m off after this round, my wife cooked me up a nice pork roast and it’s nearly ready”. That might offend vegans AND Muslims at the same time! Fuck me, that should be a DOUBLE perma-ban!

What about “illegal”. What jurisdiction is this? What’s illegal in one country may be perfectly legal in another country.

To many people “fuck” is considered abusive, obscene, vulgar and even ethically offensive.

Someone asked about this in the Reddit thread:

Just curious are all instances of swearing banned ? I mean if it’s just a simple “fuc%” and not directed at anyone is that bannable?

And here was the reply from a Ubisoft representative ‘Its_Epi’:

No, fuck is not a banned word. We are really targeting slurs and hate speech.

Great job. Again explaining nothing. What is considered hate speech? What is considered a slur?

If I say “Fuck Ash is a gay character” does that count as hate speech? Does Ubisoft check the context? I mean, I used the term “gay”, however in the context used it’s clearly not hate speech and gay doesn’t have to refer to homosexuals.

If I say to my team mate “If you clutch this 1v4 I’m going to turn gay for you”, does that count as hate speech despite being pretty much the EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE of hate speech?

Its_Epi seemed to have no real answers, just referring back to the ToS over and over with no real clarification of what sort of language was considered acceptable.

Of course, you can argue that you should just be extra careful not to say anything that could even remotely be considered bad, but then it’s probably just easier to not say anything at all. A great way to encourage interaction amongst your player base!


Don’t worry, I get it. People can be douchebags online.


Which is awesome because when someone is an asshole over the internet you block them and you never have to hear from them again. It’s not like /ignore is a new concept, it’s been a part of online multiplayer gaming probably 2 decades now.

Why the fuck are so many sensitive snow flakes having such a teary over harmless words on a screen? Fucking mute them and STFU already. When I get a marketing call, do you think I sit on the phone for 20 minutes while they try to sell me garbage? No, I answer the phone, quickly realise it’s a tele-marketer and then instantly hang up the phone.

It’s not difficult. But for some reason, today’s generation of gamers are too fucking stupid to realise they have the power to mute players almost instantly and game developers have made it easier and easier to do, in many games now you can do it with a single button press from the scoreboard or stats screen.

Gamers shouldn’t be relying on game developers and publishers to prevent abuse online. That’s no better than people asking the government to ban speech they don’t like just in case they’re “offended” by it.

Take some responsibility and remove yourself from the situation. These are people likely hundreds of kilometres away that pose zero threat to you. Just freakin’ ignore them instead of asking game developers to waste time, money and resources building you a ‘safe space’.

Trying to tame a monster

And here’s what all this boils down to:

Trying to control language.

Fucking WHY!?!

Game developers seem to think they’re on some righteous holy crusade to “end toxic behaviour in online games”. It’s fucking laughable.

These are games dealing with communities made up almost exclusively of young males playing games that involve shooting each other in the face with shotguns. No fucking shit there’s going to be banter and the occasional abuse. It’s called being a man.

You can’t police peoples thoughts. If you try to control language it’s not going to work and people will just find a way around it.

A great example of this is Rocket League. The quick chat buttons like “Nice Shot!” is primarily used to taunt people, for example, if you fuck up an easy goal someone will spam “Nice shot!” a dozen times just to rub it in. Psyonix attempted to limit “toxicity” in Rocket League and instead they just created a new way for players to taunt each other. Personally I find it hilarious, but it just goes to show that if someone wants to inform you that they’ve slept with your mother they’ll find a way to do it without triggering an automatic bot.

If you jump onto a rugby field you have no right to complain about how rough the game is. In the same way, if you jump into a traditionally masculine hobby then maybe you’ll have to put up with the word “faggot” being thrown around from time to time.

“But, but, but, what about the women?” Well, for the 1% of female players out there I guess they can suck it up and get used to it. I wouldn’t attend a ballet recital and then bitch that they’re not dancing to death metal. If you’re going to enter a male space expect to play by male rules. That’s life.

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