How many tribunal cases do you judge per day?

When the Tribunal first launched, I was pretty impressed with the whole system. The reports were and still remain easy to read, easy to understand, and it was novel enough to keep me coming back, for a time anyway. Well, that time has passed, but I’ve lost interest in the Tribunal for another reason – I’m not sure I have the same standards as many of the people both reporting and judging cases.

I logged into the Tribunal last week to find a case of reported Verbal Abuse. The chat log was three lines long, with only one word from the player in question. Yes, the reported player said one word that match – “shitbags” – seemingly unrelated to the other chat in game. Without any context, it was impossible for me to punish the guy.

That’s exactly the situation that likely prompted Riot to include multiple matches in each Tribunal case, but what about the players with just a couple matches. I had an Alistar the other day with 3 matches in his case. Now granted, sometimes three cases is plenty to merit a punishment, but those players also typically rack up far more than three cases. I pardoned the guy, but it made me wonder why he was in the Tribunal in the first place. I also had a few cases that were less than clear for punishment. I pardoned, and later found out that I wrongly judged a couple cases. Most of my punish cases are so clear that I can only imagine it was the pardons.

The Tribunal is definitely a cool idea – giving the community a chance to weigh in on behavior management is pretty fascinating – but without a focused, clear definition of what is acceptable and what isn’t, Tribunal cases can take a decent amount of time to judge. Intentional feeding and blatant racism are obviously punishable, but someone saying “shitbags?” There’s a language filter and an ignore function, and I don’t think doling out a ban for something a player can easily avoid makes much sense.


Riot pre-releases the Tribunal amidst forum unrest

If you spent some time on the forums today you might have noticed a higher than average amount of unrest about Riot’s development cycle. Among the many lessons the internet has taught is the fact that the internet and its denizens do not forget a date, a time frame, or anything that sounds vaguely like a promise. It’s the reason developers are unwilling to lay down release dates that aren’t absolutely set in stone.

One of the more prominent threads today asked for a timeline on achievements, a feature that has had a tab in the client for quite a while but hasn’t received a whole lot of airtime. Phreak stepped in today to quell any hopes that we might see achievements soon, pointing out that balance changes and features like the Tribunal are higher on the totem pole. The thread quickly filled with complaints that even those features high up on Riot’s to-do list haven’t been done, that is until Riot did something I never saw coming: Riot released the Tribunal.

Technically, the company is calling it a pre-release as it will only be accessible to summoners that have achieved level 30. I use the future tense because shortly after the official pre-release it seems interest in the feature rocked the Riot servers and brought the website crashing down. So now we sit, patiently waiting out a 4-hour maintenance window to see what this new feature, which was first announced in January, is all about.

It seems like a strange confluence of events that Tribunal would release on one of the most active forum complaining days I’ve seen in months. I’m not saying Riot made the release based on the griping, but rather that Riot’s timing is either perfect or perfectly awful.

If Tribunal works, if summoners really get behind the idea of doling out justice to the grouchy bastards that ruin so many games, the system could be a real boon for the community. I think it could definitely lift spirits enough to carry people into Season Two at the least, about which we’ll hopefully get some news over the next couple weeks. There’s also a solid chance that it will generally improve behavior in game, which I think everyone would welcome.

Tribunal could be a flop, though. I know a lot of people who have been waiting a long time for the League’s gameplay to evolve, something that hasn’t happened in quite some time, at least not for veterans of the game and genre. While Battle Training and Co-op vs. AI are certainly gameplay features, the first has no value to seasoned summoners and I would consider the second situational at best. If Tribunal doesn’t capture our collective attention, I can already hear the gnashing of teeth about the informal priority list Phreak served up today. As I mentioned earlier, the internet doesn’t forget, and they certainly won’t forget this one, even if Phreak was just giving an example.


Riot to allow players to participate in the ban process


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Renekton, it’s been a busy few days. I finally got to catch up on the forums a couple days back and found a strange post in the Announcements forums. The post gave us the first look at Riot’s newest disciplinary strategy: crowdsourcing.

Here’s the gist from ByronicHero:

Permit me to introduce the Tribunal, a revolutionary system by which you, the players, are empowered to evaluate cases of bad behavior. Soon, when you log into your account on the League of Legends website, you will be presented with the option to review random player reports. Bundled with each report will be supporting information relevant to the case, such as chat logs and game stats. With these materials at your disposal, you will be asked to vote to either punish or pardon the reported player. Once a case receives enough votes in either direction, the case will be resolved. In accordance with the verdict, the reported player will receive either a pardon or be subject to disciplinary action.

So why should you take part in Tribunal? Well, for starters, you will have the opportunity to help clean up the League of Legends community by ensuring that reports of player harassment are handled in a quick and timely manner. But if civic virtue isn’t incentive enough, we’re going to throw in an IP reward for each case in which you’re part of the majority vote.

This is a strange system, though I’m not quite ready to pass judgement. This is definitely the most direct way I’ve seen a company deal with the complaints about disciplinary panels. Has anyone played another game with this type of system?

There are a couple potential problems. First, by rewarding IP for the majority vote, it doesn’t necessarily encourage people to act fairly, just to act in groups. Granted, the easiest way to do that would be to vote on the evidence, but it wouldn’t exactly be difficult to organize large groups of voters to farm up IP. If the reward is large enough, I could easily see people doing just that.

Then there’s the simple fact that you can grief players you don’t like. I’m hoping there’s some sort of pseudonym system, whereby reported players are given an alias for the review. Without that, it seems like your’e really asking for people to abuse the system.

Those problems aside, though, it might be a decent way to get things done. The ban process is notoriously long and seems a bit useless when the bans don’t happen for several weeks or even months. This could make a things much quicker, which means players feel the penalty for poor behavior close enough to the behavior that, hopefully, they’ll wise up.


Related Posts