I've stumbled on this Kotaku article today and with the constant presence of toxic behavior in the LoL community, I decided that it should be adressed here in a proper fashion rather than sprinkled here and there because of any given event that attracted attention to the matter discussed here(hopefully in a respectful manner).
(Before anyone says I've post this in the wrong board, please do take into account that I'm only trying to help locate the source of toxic behavior and how it can be negated in effective ways that everyone, or almost, can resort to without falling into the same camp(if any reds think this isn't an appropriate place for this subject matter, they are free to take any actions deem necessary.))
To effectively and efficiently fight toxic behavior and have it gone from our community, we must first understand it's causes and effects. The article mentions stress as being both a good and a bad element in game and rightly so.
* Good stress is when you are cautious to not make too many mistakes.
* Bad stress arises when you focus on other people's mistakes and bad plays instead of your own.
Now that the cause is simpler to understand, let's look at the effects, both immediate and long-lasting: Immediate and long-lasting effects vary from a negative comment after a bad play to a behavior one disagree with, for a number of reasons or none at all.
The immediate effect can trigger a number of reactions ranging from losing confidence in one's own skill set and repeatedly make the same mistake during the course of the game that just escalates the negative behavioral comments to a point where death threats are expressed in a very realistic and scary manner, to replying in kind by pointing out the first's own mistakes at the first opportunity or bring it to everyone else's attention in an unflattering light so that the reports fly up after the game.
The long-term effects are much more subtle to notice by comparison I'm afraid. These are slowly warping the perspective of what is ok and what isn't by introducing over time and exposure the concept of "If everyone else is doing it, then it's ok for me to do it too." That mentality, once settled in, is incredibly hard to change and will inevitably taint how you perceive what is fun for you when you play the game. Any other game in fact. And until punishment is issued, one will feel like this is a right, and to some extreme, even a prerequisite to say that a game is fun to play.
I personnaly don't give a damn care what is said to me after a bad play. I had poor decision making, I'm responsible for what happened to me. Why should I let someone else take credit for my mistake?
Anyways, I don't think I can continue further without bringing up the case of Dunkey's ban and his "quitting League for good" sorry excuse of a video and make my point get across in a way I feel is meaningful and has even the smallest of impact on the community. Dunkey, in all regards to his attitude toward his ban, is legitimately angry and rightly so, but he is angry for all the wrong reasons and tried to make himself look like he's a victim when in reality, he was promoting toxic behavior as being fun and the only appeal possibly worthwhile for getting invested in LoL in the first place. That is textbook denial if I've ever saw it. Never the less, it should never get anywhere close to that level if you honestly consider yourself to not be a toxic element in game.
I know I've skipped over a lot of what is covered in the article(all the more reasons to read it, no?) but I think that defending trolls is a pointless endeavor and making excuses for yourself is just the same. By acknowledging that a comment got your blood boiling by answering to it, is playing directly into the author's hands and thus continuing the vicious cycle of negativity. ESPECIALLY if you don't report them in the post-game screen thinking that it doesn't matter or won't change anything in the overall environment of the game. The report function is not there just to occasionnaly report a behavior you feel is deserving because you are in a bad mood or lost several games in a row. This system is in place to ensure that there is a proper amount of proof to warrant an equally proper punishment to those that rightly deserve it.
Riot can give all the incentives possible to promote positive behavior on a regular basis with skins, icons and other rewards, those same incentives greatly lose their effectiveness shortly after the applicable period of time, arbirtrarily decided upon during a given staff meeting, expires because of the pre-existant mindset mentioned above that players take as being normal on a daily basis and that the whole concept here is trying to get rid of, if for a short period of time.
Holding your ass cheeks tightly together, or playing nice until you receive something coveted or of interest does not make the problem go away all by itself. I'm not a specialist, or have I conducted extensive research into a player's behavior for this statement to make itself apparent to me. I'm just observing the behavioral patterns of a large group of people that I play with when there's something to be gained by not being toxic for a set amount of time and when there isn't any sort of reward in sight. Like a carrot on a stick if you will.
Riot hasn't, in my humble opinion, adressed this problem in a solutioning manner. Not in a long lasting fashion anyways. I think that bans should escalate much more rapidly and that there should be a watchlist period of time upon having a ban lifted that will get punished more severely if the incriminating behavior happens again, like a parole when you get out of prison to make sure you don't take the same recurrent actions that got you inside in the first place. Some people are lost cause, others just need a wake up call. I'm well aware that Riot doesn't want to get involved in how their community is policed, but at the very least, there should be more of an impact being felt when a punishment is handed out, no matter how severe or common the offense is.
With this ranting out of the way, I'm not out to make this all negative and preech about how people can't talk smack in a humorous fashion with no intent to be condesending, insulting, belittling or otherwise. In fact, making sure that humour and light heartedness is abundant is actually a good thing. Defusing tensed and bad stress inducing situations is no small feat either. Optimistic and calming thoughts shared among your teammates might just be that small edge needed that differs between victory and defeat. If you are actively cultivating optimistic and personnal ways to not get carried away in what is considered an easy go to reaction after an unfavorable teamfight around dragon or baron because one member was not present for any given reason(caught split-pushing, refusing to communicate, missing from the teamfight, etc), then you are already a positive influence over your own self when compared to the other guy on your team that says "FUCKING %%%%S!!! YOU ARE FUCKING RETARDS IF YOU CAN'T STOP THE ENEMY TEAM FROM STEALING DRAGON/BARON!!!! THIS TEAM IS SUCH GARBAGE!!! REPORT *insert random player name here* FOR *insert generic situation here* BECAUSE *insert generic reason here*..." kind of comment. Despite the end result of the match, if you didn't get dragged down into that negative behavior, you've truely won the game over an ally or enemy, regardless of interactions you are involved in. A victory you probably won't remember because of a game ending play or you got you're first pentakill, but for avoiding the same punishment the one who was toxic rightly deserved for a long period of time, bad mouthing everyone like nobody's business.
Toxic behavior is at an all time high right now, and it'll only keep getting worse if the community isn't taking a more involved stance where such problems arise. But the community alone isn't enough to make an impacting change if the tools it has aren't designed to be as powerful as they need to be.
This thread is not only meant as a call to action from the part of the community that is against toxicity, but to everyone who is involved, even remotely, in League of Legends as a whole. I am but a simple player that is genuinely concerned about the current trend of talking shit back to shit talkers and trolls provoking toxic comments from everyone else because it's fun and that's the only way to get a kick out of the game­ for them.
Learn to manage your stress levels, don't focus on other people's mistakes, avoid negative comments, Riot needs a better list of santions and everyone is responsible for the problem of toxic players, not just one or two folks in a game. I'm honestly worried about how people are reacting to toxicity and their way of dealing with the problem.
P.S. You should REALLY read the article a second(or third) time after you've come to this line.