I am wondering if Riot Games policy on player behavior treatment is wrong, and is hurting the community, and the game, more than it is helping.
It is well documented that punishment is the wrong solution, and in fact, is not a solution at all. a quote from the American psychological association states as follows:
"[punishment] is a very short-term solution, and one that may do more long-term damage both to the system and to the individuals than it solves".
(Links to articles outlining and documenting the facts are at the end of the letter.)
I will put forth a few ideas of what to do, instead of creating enemies and belittling your player base, you should seek to help and aid them, to become better players, and in turn, better humans. because who are we if we abandon those who need us the most?
1). Chat Ban
The first solution that comes to mind for most people is to ban the player from chat instead of, from the whole game, but this approach is detrimental to the gameplay as communication is at the forefront of importance to a team-based game. without the ability to effectively communicate with one's teammates it lessens the experience for everyone involved. However, with the new and improved ping system, there is less and less need if the in-game chat, but still it remains an integral part of the game and should not be removed lightly. This approach is not recommended.
2). A more comprehensive approach is to be evaluated for its long-term effect on the game and the user base. One that would better the experience for players and make the community less toxic, more tolerant and more inviting to new players in the future. There should be a system where the player understands the consequences of their actions and learn and develops as a player and a human being.
As an example:
a). Prisoner Island
Players that are marked as "in need of behavioral treatment/rehabilitation (players that now would be banned)" are placed in their own cue and lobby with other players that are toxic, they are unable to play with "normal/good behaving" players. This would make a lot of players apparent of their own mistakes when they see the behavior of the ones they play with.
after a set number of matches in this system, with no new incidents or unfriendly/unsportsmanlike behavior, the player in question would be put in a promotion-like queue, where after a certain number of games in a row, where the players would be placed in games with previously rehabilitated players, they would be "promoted/deemed safe for reintegration" to play in the normal queue again. This period right after reintegration would serve as a "parole" like time, meaning that the threshold for going back into the system is lower than for ordinary players.
After a time if it is chosen, the parole time may be completed, and a final evaluation would be put out on the player to see if the treatment and reintegration were effective.
Players that have been inside the system would never lose their mark as an unsportsmanlike/rehabilitated player in the backend of the system and maybe would carry over restrictions like the inability to enter tournaments and play-off etc. And if a player that has been in the system re-offends, their rehabilitation time (the number of matches in rehabilitation queue) increases for each offense. After a set amount of time of repeated unsportsmanlike actions after a set amount of unsuccessful rehabilitation attempts, then a solution might be to look at a more permanent solution, i.e. a ban.
b). Such a system looks to take a lot of resources and time from a lot of workers, but, after thorough investigation and analysis, it looks like there is a more effective and smarter way to overcome this hurdle.
The development of a fully automatic system that uses machine-learning and A.I. to investigate the cases, looks to be feasible. Chatbots that automatically looks for bad words and negative attitude in chat, that via machine-learning adapts to new trends and clever players that try to trick the bot with wordplay and swapping out characters of a word with symbols or numbers. Systems that are already implemented in the current game, that looks at a player’s contribution to the team and their score of how well they did in game in terms of kills and deaths and other contributions, could be implemented alongside the chatbots and possibly other systems to paint a fuller profile picture of every player in game. making it easier to sift out players that need help and rehabilitation.
3). Seasonal ban
The last and least costly solution would be to just ban the player for the remainder of the season and to strip them of all the rewards, ranks and honors they obtained during said season. And when the new season starts, their account is unlocked again. A strike system could also be implemented. If you hit 3 strikes you are permanently banned from the game or another suitable punishment be put into action (maybe one of the former punishments).
So, the final verdict and the conclusion is that there are steps that can be taken to ensure a more healthy and longer lasting community for this game, by implementing systems that seek out and find "difficult" players and aims to rehabilitate them. Systems that may take some time to develop and implement and might be costly and high-maintenance in the starting phase, but after a while would be mostly self-serving. The gain from such a system far outweighs the cost of development and integration. A healthy image and a well-behaved community are a lot better than the current picture. banning players is not a sustainable solution to the problem. alienating and making enemies of players is not a solution. helping and rehabilitating players, and in turn, help players help themselves and even others are a more proper way to solve the issue.
With these closing words, I would like you to read thoroughly through this document and find inspiration, and hopefully act to make this great game an even better game with one of the best communities in the gaming industry so that the player base might one day hold the same high standard that your game does. Because this game is only as good as its community and we should not deport our most troublesome citizens, we should instead put out our hands and help them, it's by helping others we grow as a community and become stronger.