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Valve update Team Fortress 2 to deal with bots and chat abuse

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Like Valve did recently with CS:GO and Dota 2, they've introduced new options in Team Fortress 2 to help deal with community issues and bots. TF2 has sadly been left on life support for some time now, even though it's one of the longest running shooters available on PC.

In Team Fortress 2, this wasn't just the usual problems of having a big community and having some toxic behaviours. They've been under attack by bots spewing racism, sexist, homophobic and all sorts of varied hate-speech that made TF2 a pretty terrible place. It took Valve a while to do anything, as it had been a problem for multiple months.

Yesterday though, Valve released an update which limits "certain" new accounts from using the chat in official matchmaking and they said work is 'ongoing' to deal with new and free accounts being used for "abusive purposes". They also added in two new options, "Enable text chat" and "Enable voice chat" in Advanced Options to disable them so you can play in peace.

The Report Player menu was also expanded to include more details "so players can make informed decisions about who they're reporting" and they fixed a few other issues.

You can play TF2 free on Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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TheSHEEEP 17 Jun, 2020
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Someone made an effort to write a bot slinging insults in chat?
What's the point of that? You aren't even around to witness the meltdowns...

Anyway, lots of games could use a better player reporting feature. I have played quite a few games that didn't have any built-in method of reporting players.
You'd instead have to make videos or screenshots yourself, go to some obscure website, follow multiple support-ticket-steps, ...

Sure, if it is very easy to report someone, you'll get lots of false reports for various reasons, but that's just something you'll have to sift through. If the game is big/successful enough, there shouldn't be a problem in hiring people for that.

Most devs really don't want to deal with problems in their playerbase.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 17 June 2020 at 10:36 am UTC
minkiu 17 Jun, 2020
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I've zero affiliation with them, but found the experience in creators.tf servers to be really enjoyable, and to be the closest to the "old casual" mode (There is a server time limit for each map, for example), they are Community server so there won't be bots and/or chat abuse.

There's also Happy Trigger Gamers which is mostly Uk focused I believe and the activity on the server fluctuates a lot, but I had really nice games in their servers.

To this day, TF2 is my all time favourite game :)
Eike 17 Jun, 2020
Quoting: ThreeEightySixIf they censor these games, how am I supposed to learn about my new sexual orientation and who is currently having intercourse with my mother?

You could ask your mother - about both... :-D
gabber 17 Jun, 2020
Spambots are an issue, sure. But that's easy to fix: limit the number of messages one can send and give others a way to block.
Now let me get this straight: You shoot, burn and blow up others. But how dare you call them a nasty word, that's too much. That's "hate-speech" and "toxic".
I would not want this in my pony online, sure. But I _DO_ want it in a game about shooting each other. Bring on the banter, that's part of the game.
Eike 17 Jun, 2020
Quoting: gabberNow let me get this straight: You shoot, burn and blow up others. But how dare you call them a nasty word, that's too much. That's "hate-speech" and "toxic".

The one is virtual - a bunch of pixels is killed.
The other is real - an actual person is insulted.

Quoting: gabberI would not want this in my pony online, sure. But I _DO_ want it in a game about shooting each other. Bring on the banter, that's part of the game.

Opinions like this made me stop playing online shooters (this and that I couldn't choose a friendly server anymore but had to use a random one).
Purple Library Guy 17 Jun, 2020
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: gabberNow let me get this straight: You shoot, burn and blow up others. But how dare you call them a nasty word, that's too much. That's "hate-speech" and "toxic".

The one is virtual - a bunch of pixels is killed.
The other is real - an actual person is insulted.
It's not even that. I don't think they allow people to talk shit at martial arts tournaments, either, even full contact ones where they're going to beat the stuffing out of each other. You're competing, violently, because everyone involved wants to, but that's no reason not to treat each other with respect. Pro MMA has some trash-talking, which I find vulgar and annoying, but even there you don't see them going "You (sexual orientation) mother****er" yadda yadda yadda. They set limits. There's no reason sportsmanlike conduct shouldn't extend to computer games.

I do wonder about people who feel compelled to do that kind of crap.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 17 June 2020 at 8:04 pm UTC
Kimyrielle 17 Jun, 2020
Quoting: gabberI would not want this in my pony online, sure. But I _DO_ want it in a game about shooting each other. Bring on the banter, that's part of the game.

That's quite honestly the impression I have of a certain part of the MOBA/Shooter crowd. People who just don't mind insulting and belittling others for fun and to feel a little less pathetic than the person they are in real life. Not everyone playing these games shares your point of view, thankfully. But enough to make me not touch this type of game with the proverbial 10-foot pole.
furaxhornyx 18 Jun, 2020
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Quoting: Patola
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: gabberNow let me get this straight: You shoot, burn and blow up others. But how dare you call them a nasty word, that's too much. That's "hate-speech" and "toxic".

The one is virtual - a bunch of pixels is killed.
The other is real - an actual person is insulted.
Ok, your avatar, your representation in a virtual world is shred to pieces in a graphical manner and with sophisticated animations, 3D graphics and sounds, but still words which are as virtual as any graphics are worse? So the words unambiguously affect the person, they could not be "protected" by these nasty words like, you know, not giving a f* about them instead of asking for censorship?

If anything, it is still filling the chat with unneeded text. Even if all the insults were replaced by, say,

Quotedsqjghkdfjhgqjkdflqgn
jkqhdgjhjqdfksgdfg
eztrygfhghn
[...]

That would still make it voluntarily annoying for other players to read the chat, even if no one is actually insulted. That is (or should be) considered toxic behaviour.
x_wing 18 Jun, 2020
Quoting: PatolaOk, your avatar, your representation in a virtual world is shred to pieces in a graphical manner and with sophisticated animations, 3D graphics and sounds, but still words which are as virtual as any graphics are worse? So the words unambiguously affect the person, they could not be "protected" by these nasty words like, you know, not giving a f* about them instead of asking for censorship?

It's a game were you will finds teens playing. But even if it wasn't the case, most communities have norms against hate-speech so this is not censorship, these are just measures in order to make this rules work.
TheSHEEEP 18 Jun, 2020
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Quoting: x_wing
Quoting: PatolaOk, your avatar, your representation in a virtual world is shred to pieces in a graphical manner and with sophisticated animations, 3D graphics and sounds, but still words which are as virtual as any graphics are worse? So the words unambiguously affect the person, they could not be "protected" by these nasty words like, you know, not giving a f* about them instead of asking for censorship?

It's a game were you will finds teens playing. But even if it wasn't the case, most communities have norms against hate-speech so this is not censorship, these are just measures in order to make this rules work.
The problem is that nowadays everything can be called "hate-speech" and get the perpetually offended raging, calling for mommy (aka whoever runs the game) to restrict others so they can have their completely opposition-and-adversity-free safe space.
Even terribly uncreative insults. Like, really, whoever programmed these bots had a gold mine that could have been used for Monkey Island-style insult banter, but instead they went with lame stuff. Meh.

"Hate-speech" really has lost most of its meaning, it's just a "whatever I don't like"-term used by people who are unable to deal with words of opposition and some lame insults. Meanwhile, real hate-speech is still rampant on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and rarely penalized.
Some people should really learn to internalize the "sticks and stones" and grow some skin.
Or disable the chat, especially voice chat (not because of insults, but I just find babbling people annoying as hell when I play). Which they now can in TF2. Hooray!
Besides, what happened to the good old ******ing of words?

Being German, I used to get lots of "nazi!" comments in online games when I still played them (and had a more obvious accent than I do nowadays), but I was only amused by the lack of creativeness of my opponents. Also, it was generally a sign that I was playing well to get anyone feel the need to vent bollocks.
But - and that's the important part - I'd never, ever, have called for anyone to silence them (except if they just spammed and made chat unusable with it).
If they need to vent, let them vent. Also makes it easy to identify sore losers.
Then again, I'm just not one of the people who want to silence all opposition because I don't like their words, nor do I feel so insecure about myself that I'd need a "safe chat" free of people calling me names...
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