Online Gaming: Where Are The Moderators? - GIReiner Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Online Gaming: Where Are The Moderators?

What would happen to a popular website forum if its moderators and user bans suddenly vanished? My guess? It would be an incomprehensible wasteland within a day’s time. Anonymity opens the doors for chaos. We’ve all seen it happen, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve gone onto websites under aliases to say stuff I never would under my real name. In this day and age, a forum cannot exist without moderators.

Online gaming allows players to hide behind disguises similar to those in forums, yet most games do not offer any moderation. The result is a form of social anarchy, where racial and sexual slurs are commonplace.

From my perspective, in-game chat is the realization of Mike Judge’s film, Idiocracy. I can hear our society becoming dumber by the day within Call of Duty's pre-game banter. If this dialogue crosses over to our every day lives, humanity is done for. Our children will be watching Ouch! My Balls! on Saturday mornings, we’ll feed our plants nothing but electrolytes, and our world news will come from Sarah Palin.

Online gaming needs moderation just as much as any online forum does, yet most game publishers have turned a blind eye to the social component in their games...unless the games are MMOs. If you're killing dragons in World of WarCraft, you'll have to watch what you say or write, but if you're battling insurgents in the same company's FPS, Call of Duty, your tongue can flap freely.

How do we fix this? Like MMOs, game publishers should assign trusted players with moderator abilities. This doesn't mean a moderator has to be in every Call of Duty match, either. A player could file a complaint, leading to a moderator following the tip (eavesdropping on the match, so to speak) to verify that specific complaint. From here, I would institute a ban structure similar to Major League Baseball’s steroid policy. The first offense brings a 10-day ban from the game. The second leads to 20. If they get caught again, they are banned from playing that game for life. Fear alone would clean up online chat to a certain degree.

I want to communicate with other players online, but given the climate right now, my first instinct is to mute every player. The potential for it to become a positive supplement to gaming is still possible. Whether it gets there is a decision left solely in the hands of the people making the games.

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