Player moderation rework?

I believe a considerable portion of our community is aware of the situation regarding the person Whorable and the moderation team and I don’t believe it’s necessarily any one persons fault for the situation. The reason I say this is because obviously Whorable received his bans for agreeably justifiable reasons though in his defense I believe Whorable has also managed to catch; record and upload an underlying issue about how we are policing our community

The video features various clips of multiple groups of players using various derogatory terms and clearly violating the rules in our game plaza; the plaza is supposed to be a safely moderated section of our game for everybody (including children) to roam and play. The way our players are acting towards each other is simply careless and inappropriate, and there should be actions put in place for us to hopefully prevent this sort of drama from reoccurring.

Personally, I believe our report tool is quite ineffective. When a user proceeds with their report process, they are sent to steam overlay on an HTML webpage that prompts the user to write their reason for the report, using their best judgment. This is bad because: #1 it’s slow and takes time; people will not want to use the report feature, #2, we are asked to hit the record button and are expected to upload and share our video, and #3 there is only account information being shared between the game and the report. The third reason might not seem like a valid issue at first but I will elaborate why this is a problem later on

Some suggestions for preventing this behavior from reoccurring could include taking inspiration from other social platform games. An example here I really love is “Facebook horizon safety” (link here:Facebook Horizon Safety Overview Video - YouTube).
What it is basically doing is using in-game pre-recorded footage to confirm report legitimacy which I believe could really help. It’s also why I think point number 3 becomes an important reason. This is good because players will not have to worry about documenting their own negative experiences and it will make hitting the report button both more efficient, effective and could even mean fewer reports to sort through. Making the game a safer place for everybody. Some people may think this is a bad idea for game optimization. That is an easy fix as it only needs to be effective in the plaza and as for slow computers - it should just be turned off as a setting.

I truly believe this issue should be resolved but at the end of the day, it’s up to the man leading the charge - for how we are going to resolve our issue. I hope to see anything being done to help the community mainly through research and judgment, there are many good ideas out there I read.

Link to reference/s: Breaking the Virtual Ice: Toxic Behaviors in Social VRs and How Develo

While it would be nice, the amount of infrastructure required to have a system where the game recorded the last 5 minutes or so of gameplay/audio and uploading it for every report is unrealistic from both a cost and management scenario.

I have thought about doing something where it would automatically upload to an external service like YouTube, but that would require the user was also logged in with YouTube, potentially having to give Tower Unite API access to the YouTube account, and the major buzzkill, a good chunk of reports with YouTube videos end up being useless because YouTube takes the video down due to the language in said report video.

We do log every text message sent through the Global Chat system, and in the Plazas, along with every media player request done in the Plaza. This way, for everything other than Voice, the system only really needs to obtain a text description of the event, and the player being reported. We can use that information to go back in our text logs.

As for the report UI, while it is a bit jaring that it isn’t part of the game’s actual UI, using the Steam Web Browser provides benefits which has come in handy in the past, such as being able to rapidly update the backend system and reporting UI without having to push a new game update.

But for those who won’t use the report system because of that, we do still have ways to locally mute and block players from the end user’s point of view.


While a moderation rework would be nice on that forefront, Caboose is right when he describes it as unrealistic because of the logistics of it.

I’m not going to touch too much on that, but I did want to touch on a few points you mentioned here that are rightfully so worth discussing about:

The video features various clips of multiple groups of players using various derogatory terms and clearly violating the rules in our game plaza; the plaza is supposed to be a safely moderated section of our game for everybody (including children) to roam and play. The way our players are acting towards each other is simply careless and inappropriate, and there should be actions put in place for us to hopefully prevent this sort of drama from reoccurring.

My biggest concern with all of these clips is that we have no way of verifying that these people were communication banned in-game since we weren’t given any Steam IDs. If we had Steam IDs, we would be able to verify if these people have been banned and the information is just inaccurate, but there’s not much we can do on that forefront without doing independent research in hopes to match up the results. Fortunately, I believe I was able correctly identify 5 out of 6 of those rulebreakers discussed in that video with one Steam ID being a confirmed hit my prior knowledge of the mutuals I share with them. The only way I can verify if the others are the rulebreakers mentioned in the video is to see how much EXP do they have all across Tower to see if they were once active in-game, and even that is not the best way to confirm these are the people that were mentioned.

On top of that, there’s a massive gap between most of the clips taken. In order from eariest to latest, we have a few clips from (Early March), (Early May), (Early October / Corrosion Update). If these issues were reported, I would truly be impressed if they weren’t dealt with after the immediate report.

I’ve provided a link to all of their report pages labeled with the timestamp it can first be seen in said video since the evidence of rule-breaking behavior from those players are undeniable but are only likely tied to the accounts linked:
1:37 [Confirmed user via mutual friends]

If these users are the ones that were allegedly reported, then yes nothing was done to them as there would be an indicator on their report page saying that they were muted either in text, voice, or both.

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I’m out of the loop. What happened? That name does sound familiar, though.

Because the thread didn’t get hidden, just locked, I think it’s fine to drop this here?

They were also causing a bit of a ruckus on the Reddit, but long story short is someone got banned (who’d been banned several times in the past) and was doing basically a callout type post against the devs (which is also something they’ve got scattered around their Steam profile towards the Steam Community moderators as well), just calling people transphobic and homophobic with next to no grounds for those claims.

They’re known to attract shit-starters in plaza who should be banned for what they say, but instead of just filing a report on those individuals, muting, and blocking them, they egg on the people for extended periods of time so that other people just going about their days in the plaza have a greater chance of having to hear/being exposed to the deplorable shit people say sometimes.

I’ve experienced this firsthand trying to report some people being transphobic in the plaza–while I was trying to record them saying their stuff, Whorable was also just spitting insults back non-stop. It got to the point where I had to cut out certain parts of the report because the shit Whorable was saying would also be bannable if it was isolated, and since they were the “victim” in this case, I felt like having the possibility of them also get shit on for what was in the report wasn’t the most fair thing, but that meant I only had about 30 seconds of footage because I was trying to skirt around the shit Whorable was saying. I will say though, I personally believe the two people in said video were deserving of a permanent chat ban, however if a ban was given, they were only temporary–with one of the two people apparently still doing ban-worthy stuff, currently having a few-day-long voice chat ban.

Also they were harassing people on the forums via the messaging feature, and either they themselves or other people affiliated with them were spamming the ban email.

Also also part of why I think they were making those accusations against the devs is because they feel targeted (unless they’re just talking out of their ass to start shit which y’know, is possible) because they don’t believe they could have possibly been reported on 50+ different occasions, and were demanding that the devs send them the reports. As one might be able to assume, sending the person who is known to harass people evidence used against them would be pretty good fuel for them to then harass the person who reported them further. If they did have a little goon squad to spam the ban email, they could also stick those people on the person that had reported them. Group-based harassment like that wouldn’t be a first, as it’s the same thing one of the people who Whorable specifically calls out in a video that they posted on the Reddit did.

And the reason they called that person out is because allegedly nothing was done about them and they can “roam the game freely”, which is simply untrue. They’re banned from voice/text chat, hosting public lobbies, and joining servers–but it seems that there’s no point in telling them that because we “clearly don’t understand the situation or dont care” despite being the ones that caused the little shitstorm that led to that persons ban. So they do just generally seem to have a gross misunderstanding of how this game is moderated.

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Oh, that thread. Saw it the other day. Wasn’t sure what was going on until I just looked at their profile. Didn’t realize they’d changed their name. No wonder I recognized that name. Yeah, they’re crazy.

Quick question, do the logs also have the person actually joining the server? Something I’ve thought about in the past is if:

  • Person A changes username/profile picture to match Person B, who they don’t like
  • Person A, pretending to be Person B, goes racist mode in voice chat
  • Person C records Person A being racist and makes a report with the “sid” section of the moderation backend URL changed to match Person B’s

Is there any way to actually verify that Person C, the one doing the report on Person B, was actually in the same server at the same time as Person B? Like I know the log for the dedicated server will have something like LogNet: Join succeeded: Melonplex for when someone joins and then the UChannel “Closing connection” thing followed by a bunch of Try remove player[Melonplex] from queue on [insert activity here] when they disconnect, and those will have timestamps and whatnot, but is that information easily accessible on the moderation backend to verify that the people were on at the same time for the actions shown in the video to have actually happened?

A similar thing I guess could happen with the Text Hat, since I don’t think that’s actively going through global chat to be networked, is there any way to verify that either? Because while you technically do have access already to the join/disonnect things even if they’re not going through global chat, I don’t think Text Hats appear in the server logs.

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Would it be possible to add a record button directly in the game? It’d probably still be a bit annoying to attach the file to your reports, and there’s still a chance you might miss people breaking chat rules before you hit record, but I think it’d help a lot being able to direct people to a recording method easily accessible to everyone rather than needing to recommend external software that people might not already have.

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Yeah, I mean what’s the possibility of this report feature just having the video saved to your own computer? That doesn’t seem at all “unrealistic” and software like shadowplay do this for you but for the people who play tower unite - chances are, they don’t have this software enabled. Even so if the suggestion I have described is without a doubt impossible. The problem still persists. There are still plenty of other things that other video games do to police their player base. Perhaps another idea could be to take Vrchat and CS:GO for example, VRChat has a “trust” system that ranks players and CS:GO uses higher ranked players to watch clips on their “overwatch” system, a game is watched from the community perspective to determine hackers. Perhaps we could figure out our own system as the game is starting to get too big for our small development team to monitor entirely themselves.