Transparency, Fairness, and Coping: How Players Experience Moderation in Multiplayer Online Games

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Multiplayer online games seek to address toxic behaviors such as trolling and griefing through behavior moderation, where penalties such as chat restriction or account suspension are issued against toxic players in the hope that punishments create a teachable moment for punished players to reflect and improve future behavior. While punishments impact player experience (PX) in profound ways, little is known regarding how players experience behavior moderation. In this study, we conducted a survey of 291 players to understand their experiences with punishments in online multiplayer games. Through several statistical analyses, we found that moderation explanation plays a critical role in improving players’ perceived transparency and fairness of moderation; and these perceptions significantly affect what players do after punishments. We discuss moderation experience as an important facet of PX, bridge the game and moderation literature, and provide design implications for behavior moderation in multiplayer online games.

Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI ’23
Renkai Ma
Renkai Ma
Mixed-methods HCI Researcher

I use human‑centered desgin approaches and mixed methods to study platform moderation with users, moderators, and policy experts to direct better design and policy‑making changes for online communities.