Commands used in this guide
Most people playing BAR just want to have a good time. However, sometimes your nice afternoon gaming session can be hindered by misbehavior. We want our game to have the healthiest possible community.
Everyting about moderation
How does moderation work?
Moderation starts with the players, and the soft “social” tools available to them.
Players have the ability to ignore other players via in-game controls and can even vote to remove other players from games using the !kickban <player name> command. If nobody wants to play with a toxic person, they may well realize they’re in the wrong and move on.
In-game: Ctrl-click on a name in the playerlist.
In-lobby: Right-click on a name and pick ignore from the drop-down menu .
The relationship system enables you to specify people you’d like to not just mute/ignore, but also avoid playing with or block altogether.
So you can set your level of avoidance, per player, which will help you to play more with the people you like.
Unfortunately these softer options aren’t always enough. If needed, you can Report other players to the moderation team. To do this, right-click their name in the lobby, click Report and follow instructions.
Another way to report a player is to go to the server page, find the relevant match, then click the "players" tab and report the user from there. The BAR team will see any info submitted with the report and the system can cross reference reports to spot patterns.
Reports for in-game actions (griefing, trolling, non-participation…) are also sent to the Overwatch team. This is a group of community members who graciously give up their time and energy to review these reports. Once the reports are reviewed and the match is summarized, that summary can then be acted on by a moderator. There is a second tier called Reviewers who represent established, proven and trusted members of the Overwatch team. These also help process and filter out reports about chat-based infractions.
Moderation is usually based on a “correspondence” principle - if someone chooses to abuse other players via in-game chat, their ability to chat can be removed. If they abuse boss mode, or make spurious reports, their corresponding permissions can be taken away. Finally, login suspensions are used in cases where people abuse others via their in-game actions, such as griefing - and in place of longer mutes, for technical reasons.
We start small, often with simple warnings, and work our way up. In extreme cases we will even make use of a permanent ban.
It is worth noting we also have an appeals process. If you feel you’ve been moderated incorrectly, wish to apologize, or want to supply further information, you can appeal by opening a ticket on the official BAR Discord. Note that we don’t accept proxy appeals - you cannot appeal an action on behalf of someone else. The appeals team is separate from the moderation team.
What do we moderate
Primarily we moderate on the contents of the code of conduct. If a rule is listed there, we try to act on it where possible. The two things we most frequently moderate on are hateful content (e.g. abuse, racism, homophobia etc.) and griefing (e.g. team killing). These are almost always very clear cut and universally unacceptable within Beyond all Reason.
In general, we try to consider the spirit of the action by asking two simple questions:
- “Is this sabotaging the team?”
- “Would a malicious player...”
Example: Self-destructing your units before resigning in a team game.
This is considered griefing as it removes the ability of your team to /take your units once you leave.
Abusing new players
We also take a strong stance on making BAR welcoming to new players. This means abusing people for not knowing “the meta” or “the correct way to play” is unacceptable. In general, even if you see an extremely silly play, try to laugh with the player, rather than at them, and help point it out in a constructive way so they can learn.
Vigilantism is also never okay.
Please don’t take matters into your own hands.
Just report the person after the game. Use de-escalation, !stop and !kickban, over griefing back “to stop the griefer”. The latter will often result in yourself getting suspended as well.
Smurf and Alt accounts
We also act on "smurf" or "alt" accounts. Typically these are used to stack games (a skilled player fighting newbies will make for a very one sided game) and evading moderation action. Given other games often don't penalize smurfing, we typically start with a warning while banning the smurf account. However, if you’re, for example, getting your family into BAR, all power to you! Feel free to give us a heads up through a ticket on the BAR Discord to prevent us from flagging your little bro’s account as a smurf.
Unsurprisingly we will also act on attacks against our team. Nobody should be attacked for contributing to the game.
What isn't moderated
There is plenty of "bad" behavior we can't moderate, because it's not actually bad behavior or is within the limits of what we think should be expected in a public place.
Generic rudeness is something encountered in everyday life and doesn't always indicate a toxic person. In these cases, while we aren’t happy to see it, we leave it up to anybody offended to avoid or ignore the person being rude via the in-game controls. The system tracks this and people ignored by large numbers of people will be known to the system.
It's also always possible someone is having a bad day, making poor plays, getting agitated and the like. We've all had it happen to us. Losing streaks, “tilt” and annoyed tone are not something we moderate on either - as long as the player is not crossing the line into abuse of other players.
Controversial plays (e.g. commander dropping) can go badly. They can also go well and they're not against the rules. This is not to be confused with throwing games on purpose. If an ally does a tactic and it doesn't pay off that itself isn't a cause for reporting. However, if you are reasonably sure someone is trolling, please do notify us.
General mistakes that are not obviously done with malice in mind are perfectly fine. If you accidentally D-Gun your cluster of fusion reactors while trying to stop a raid, don’t sweat, you’re in the clear - just aim better next time!
A good number of issues that escalate to reports result from misaligned expectations of players in team games. Let’s imagine a new player who lands on a spot commonly considered as an air spot, yet doesn’t know that to be the case. It’s not against the rules for that player not to put up a “satisfactory” fighter screen, though it may cost that team the match - “roles” are an emergent player-mandated phenomenon and it’s up to players to reach a consensus on who’s doing what.
At the same time, forcing teammates into roles against their will - and especially attempting to enforce those roles - can and will be moderated.
Why do punishments vary for the same offence?
We have an escalation ladder for offences in place. As described before, repeated offences compound - we view moderation actions as “nudges” to how we’d like a player to behave with respect to other players, but if the player is unresponsive to a nudge, a stronger nudge may be warranted. If they keep doing the same and not changing their ways, we often escalate to a longer suspension even if another player may have gotten nothing but a warning for the same.
We understand that this may seem “unfair” to repeat offenders, but at the end of the day, all BAR contributors and members of the moderation team are volunteers, and we have limited time available. We would like to give everyone a fair chance to change their behavior, but if they insist on not doing so, we run out of options and fall back to at least making BAR a better space for other players.
We would thus like to remind everyone that if you get a warning, it’s not the end of the world and you should not treat it as a “permanent strike on your record”, more so a:
“hey, heads up, this isn’t okay, don’t do it again”.
If you adapt and show improvement, all is well.
Note that while we currently do not have a “statute of limitations” system within the procedures - previous offences do not “expire” with the passage of time, and a player with many repeat offences will be on the hook for longer suspensions - that may change in the future, as we work out how that system might look like without also multiplying the volunteers’ workload, and so that it cannot be abused. As always, we are open to well thought-out constructive feedback and suggestions.
Keep in mind that if you wish to appeal a moderation action, opening a ticket on the Discord is always an option - but it is not a replacement for improving your behavior.
Does it work?
In a word: yes.
We are very aware of how the game is talked about both on our discord and on other platforms such as reddit. While toxicity, malicious behavior and generally bad people will always be present, we see evidence of it not spreading, and in general the BAR community ends up being surprisingly nice, peaceful and helpful! And that is precisely our goal.
We don’t want to be spending our time handing out punishments, we want to develop and play the game we love with other, like-minded people.
How can you help?
When you see toxicity, abuse, griefing, racism, don’t just accept it as “the normal in gaming”:
We cannot act on what we cannot see. We may not act on every single report - sometimes people genuinely make mistakes that get misidentified as griefing, for one. However, reports add up and over time help us have a better picture of any particular player’s tendencies.
If you’d like to make our job easier, reports which point to a particular game, with a description of the behavior in question and a particular in-game time stamp.
F.e. “My ally detonated a commander on top of my fusion cluster at 21:37”
These are the easiest to work with, but less detail is of course also okay. Remember to report the right player and the right match (through the website interface), and if you have doubts on what happened, watch the replay first before sending it over.
Please also make it simple for yourself, your team and ourselves. If you get abused, try to de-escalate the situation, or mute the player.
If you get grieved on, do not grief back.
Instead, pause the game and ask the players in game to either run the !stop command to end the match without a result, or the !kickban <playername> command to remove the offending player from the game. You can then use /take to take control of their units. Many such games are actually perfectly possible to win, until the other player decides to escalate and grief back.
It is important to remember that moderators are just regular people like you.
We make use of computers and automation where possible but at the end of the day the moderators have feelings and emotions of their own. This implies three main points:
- If two different moderators review the same item they may have slightly different opinions of it, we try to solve this with internal guidelines and the code of conduct but humans will always have opinions
- We are all volunteers with lives on top of the game, not always awake and without infinite available time, this means not all reports will be responded to in the same time frame. The same goes for appeals.
- Just like all people, moderators have biases, if you make personal attacks on a moderator they’re entitled to not like it and you will be breaking the code of conduct. It’s completely okay to disagree with moderation actions but the moment you cross over into targeting a specific moderator or making personal attacks you are breaching the code of conduct. To mitigate personal biases in this instance, when a moderator is directly involved in an issue like this a different moderator is requested to step in.
Did we already say to ''report it"?