Fighting gold spammers and other offensive behavior is an ongoing task every MMO faces. To help out the devs, and the players, Neverwinter offers a chat report system that allows players to flag behavior directly from the context menu of the chat. Reports are not manually verified however and can lead to an automated ban. And that’s exactly where the trouble begins.
Chat Report System is getting abused
Two cases of obvious abuse of the system have surfaced in recent weeks on the PC version. Meet weaver936, a player that founded a private channel for Storm Kings Thunder content and suddenly was chat-banned for consecutive days. Some users of the channel apparently decided to troll and report weaver until the auto-ban was applied. Another case happened during the first days of the currently running Winter Festival. Well-known zone chat resident ph33rm3 circled through toons to exchange gifts using a very specific announcement in the chat. She or he also got banned and the announcement got taken over by a scammer. Other players confirmed they fell victim to the chat report abuse as well.
As the latest thread about the topic shows, it’s not only an issue of intended misuse, but also misconception about what is a reportable offense. Many players seem to think that it’s perfectly ok to report what they feel is an inappropriate posting frequency. And that’s wrong.
Posting lfg requests in the chat is neither irrelevant nor unsolicited, it’s the intended way to use the channels. More than that, the system already automatically punishes posting the same stuff over and over again. It allows three repetitions every 20 seconds or so. If players feel this is insufficient, the appropriate way to deal with it would be to contact PWE and not punishing users that operate within the boundaries. You cannot report players just because they do not meet your personal standards. That applies to both post frequency and content as long as it does not violate the game’s ToS.
Do we even need it?
With some users abusing it and other not applying it correctly, the question arises whether the system in its current form is even needed. It is kind of irritating anyway that the bans are automatic, but users have to be released manually. Shouldn’t it be the other way round? In the end the situations where the system does really help are rare. Players can use the ignore function to get rid of annoying users and in most cases manually reviewing reports and handing out bans should do it.
More than that, abuse should be banned as well. This applies to intentional and ill-advised cases. It might actually educate players how to apply the function correctly.
Have you had issues with the chat report function? Is this an issue on consoles as well? Share your experience in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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