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ADL studies hate, harassment on Minecraft servers

Anti-Defamation League finds strong community guidelines and mod-to-player ratio tied to more positive social spaces

Clear community guidelines and human moderation are key to reducing hate and harassment in online gaming communities.

That's one of the key findings the Anti-Defamation League reported this week out of a study it conducted into hate and harassment in Minecraft.

The group partnered with Take This, Gamersafer and the Middlebury Institute's Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism to assess three months' worth of anonymized moderation actions and chat logs provided by three private Minecraft servers.

The ADL noted a handful of trends it identified in the information. First, repeat offenders were common, as one-fifth of players who had moderation actions against them on those servers had multiple such incidents within the three-month reporting window.

It also found that temporary bans for players were more effective than muting them when it came to correcting individual behavior, but for fostering a healthy community in general, the amount of moderation was not impactful.

Things that did help create more positive social spaces included extensive community guidelines and having more human moderators per player.

A server with 1 mod for every 41 players fared the best here, while the other servers looked at had ratios closer to 1 mod for every 500 players.

The ADL reiterated calls for publishers to give researchers and watchdogs greater access to data around player behavior and moderation on their platforms, to invest more in moderation, and to create robust and detailed community guidelines to clearly draw boundaries around acceptable behavior.

Finally, it also called for more research into some of the report's takeaways were limited to these three servers with around 21,000 players between them.

An ADL survey published last year found that 46% of Minecraft players experienced harassment in the game.

This was the lowest rate of harassment reported among the 17 games the ADL looked at in the survey.

The rest of the games saw harassment reported by between 59% of players (Rocket League) and 79% of players (Valorant).

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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