A Video-Game Algorithm to Solve Online Abuse

Like many online spaces, League of Legends, the most widely played online video game in the world today, is a breeding ground for abusive language and behavior. Fostered by anonymity and amplified within the heated crucible of a competitive team sport, this conduct has been such a problem for its maker, Riot Games, that the company now employs a dedicated team of scientists and designers to find ways to improve interactions between the game’s players. During the past few years the team has experimented with a raft of systems and techniques, backed by machine learning, that are designed to monitor communication between players, punish negative behavior, and reward positive behavior. The results have been startling, says Jeffrey Lin, lead designer of social systems at Riot Games. The software has monitored…


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