I'll start off this essay by saying that I am sometimes verbally toxic while playing League of Legends and won't be writing this essay to try convince player support to unban me (permabanned for flaming in teamfight tactics). Now with that being said I'll begin.
I have consistently responded, in the past 5 years, to Riot Games' request to either respond to surveys, invited new players into the game and have even taken my own time to construct guides to make other players better. I.E. https://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/9-11-in-depth-karthus-mid-guide-63-winrate-551291 Are these behaviors typically aligned with being a genuinely toxic presence in the community?
When discussing permabans one should acknowledge the different "ways" you could get banned: verbal abuse, throwing games, and elo-boosting. These are all very different grievances with different impacts on the gameplay aspect of League. One could argue that inters and elo-boosters necessarily have a heavier impact on gameplay itself (one thrower could ruin an entire game so could a pair of elo-boosters to a lesser extent) than toxic players. Despite being drastically different offenses, there is only one singular ultimate punishment, a permanent ban.
Banning people for elo-boosting and inting relatively makes more sense because that account is gone, and the players would have to buy or level up a new account if they want to keep doing it in ranked and this may be, at the current time, be the best way to deal with those players. Punishing verbally abusive players, on the other hand, is a different story.
Take into consideration that a great percentage of "mean" players are act this way out of whatever love or passion (desire to win) they still have for the game (which in past years less players have retained and most players retain less of). A permanent ban will have no result other than said player creating or purchasing a new account to continue playing this game that they have invested time to either play with friends or to get good at.
For a diamond player like myself, creating a new account and playing ranked on it is intrinsically unfair to the dozens of players at lower elo that will have to play against me- who is of higher caliber in skill and consequently be mad that they didn't get a fair game. Having no choice but to smurf, I will necessarily be an even more toxic presence on the summoner's rift than I previously was because my actions, which weigh much heavier than my words, will inevitably be toxic to other players.
Take the famous elo-booster Apdo/Dopa for example (though I am in no way as good as him). A few years back Riot was chasing him all over the game and banning him on sight. And what happens? Whenever he made a new account he would rush through gold, plat, diamond, masters, challengers and be rank 1 again. In most of his games people that could never dream of beating him have to face off against him in a game in which the odds are in no way equal. And every time he gets banned, more people suffer because of it.
Take Tyler1 for a different example. There's no arguing that at one time he was toxic in more than one way. He would flame his supports if they didn't pick Janna on demand and would intentionally feed by running it down mid. He was ID banned the same way as Apdo and had to make many new accounts to climb back to around diamond/masters, unintentionally ruining many games he had to play vs silvers, golds, plats just by being that much better.
0.006% of the tens of millions of League of Legends players have been permabanned. How many of those hundreds of thousands of "permabanned" players stopped player altogether? Has the community gotten better since? Can the tribunal confidently say that yes, today's community is better than the community from five years ago?
These are all displays of why a one size fit all punishment simply circumvents one problem by introducing a new problem. But, for verbally toxic players, there can be a much more effective punishment- permanent chat restriction. Compare the damage unlimited chats can do in contrast to 10 sentences a game on an interval of 1 sentence every 4 minutes. If the problem with verbal abuse is the frequency of abuse in game, this would go about tackling that issue at its core. I wholeheartly agree with the notion that continuously toxic players should be harshly punished, but as a member of the community that genuinely wants to see the playerbase flourish I must promote a functional punishment.
Permanent chat restrictions over permanent bans may not necessarily be an immediate solution to years of verbal toxicity that has plagued the game, but it will both demonstrate to the playerbase that Riot Games is actively working towards a solution, and be a first step towards eliminating verbal abuse in League of Legends alltogether.
Michelængelo - https://na.op.gg/summoner/userName=Michel%C3%A6ngelo