Minecraft needs to invest in more hate moderation, ADL study finds – Input

Posted By on August 1, 2022

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is recommending that Minecraft invest in its content moderation efforts and in creating more robust community guidelines after the organization studied three months of anonymized chat data from the game. The study, which was conducted in collaboration with Take This, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and GamerSafer, focused specifically on how Minecraft deals with hate speech.

The researchers chose Minecraft not just because its popular (though it certainly is, with 141 million active players) but also because, as the ADL puts it, the decentralized, player-run nature of Minecraft Java edition provides a novel opportunity to assess hate and harassment in gaming spaces. And though the ADLs findings are specific to Minecraft, the recommendations do resonate across most online spaces.

Just a sample Minecraft is massive, with many, many servers in which players congregate, so its impossible to really study the entirety of that universe. As such, researchers focused on three servers of varying sizes and audiences:

Using GamerSafers plugins, researchers were able to track 458 disciplinary actions against 374 different users. The researchers analyzed both these formal reports and a textual analysis of chat logs to locate patterns and unreported instances of hate speech.

Bans work The researchers found that, for the most part, temporary bans one of the moderators main tools to keep players in check are effective in reprimanding bad behavior. Temporary bans were used as a moderation technique in 46 percent of all studied instances.

In the three months of logs studied here, a whopping 40 percent of all formal reports were filed for hacking (using banned advantages); 16 percent were filed for harassment, another 10 percent were filed for hate, and 9 percent were filed for sexual misconduct. Of the 1,463,891 messages studied, 2 percent were categorized as severely toxic; 1.6 percent were categorized as sexually explicit; and 0.5 percent were categorized as hateful (many of which targeted sexuality and gender).

Time to invest The ADLs conclusions are succinct: human moderation works, and Minecraft should invest more resources in said moderation. Gaming servers with more moderators and stricter guidelines turned up the fewest incidents of hate and harassment. The ADL also recommends that Minecraft improve researcher access to data so moderation efficacy can be studied with even more insight.

On a broader level, the ADL is recommending that the gaming industry as a whole standardize its moderation reporting practices. Doing so would allow for more significant research into how hate speech and harassment can be minimized in gaming spaces.

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Minecraft needs to invest in more hate moderation, ADL study finds - Input

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