Microsoft recently updated its “Community Standards for Xbox,” and it is good to see a company as big as Microsoft take a hard line against nasty behaviour online. One section of the document pertains to “acceptable trash talk,” and Microsoft provides some funny-sounding examples.
But before we get to that, Microsoft wants to make clear that hate and harassment have no home on Xbox. “To make Xbox Live a place where everyone can hang out, and to prevent people from feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome, we all need to be stewards,” Microsoft says. “This means more than just not harassing other players–it means embracing them. It means saving those unsavory jokes for people you know will enjoy them. It means taking particular care for others while you play, keeping in mind how they might interpret your content.”
Microsoft said it understands that gaming competition is at the heart of many online experiences, and some multiplayer matches can “get heated.” Some “trash talk” is acceptable on Xbox Live, Microsoft says, but it becomes a problem when it transitions to harassment.
Microsoft officially describes trash talk as: “Any lighthearted banter or bragging that focuses on the game at hand and encourages healthy competition.”
Harassment, meanwhile, is defined by Microsoft as: “Any negative behavior that’s personalized, disruptive, or likely to make someone feel unwelcome or unsafe. To qualify as harassment, the behavior doesn’t have to be drawn-out or persistent. Even a single abusive message could harm someone’s experience. Know when to draw the line, when to back off. Know and respect the other player.”
To make its point clearer, Microsoft provided examples. Here they are, as written by Microsoft (via Kotaku AU):
Acceptable trash talk includes
- Get destroyed. Can’t believe you thought you were on my level.
- That was some serious potato aim. Get wrecked.
- Only reason you went positive was you spent all game camping. Try again, kid.
- Cheap win. Come at me when you can actually drive without running cars off the road.
- That sucked. Get good and then come back when your k/d’s over 1.
Going too far looks like
- Get <sexual threat>. Can’t believe you thought you were on my level.
- Hey <profanity>, that was some serious potato aim. Get wrecked, trash.
- Only reason you went positive was you spent all game camping. KYS, kid.
- Cheap win. Totally expected from a <racial slur>.
- You suck. Get out of my country–maybe they’ll let you back in when your k/d’s over 1.
In terms of enforcement and consequences, Microsoft says it will temporarily suspend people in many cases. “We know people make mistakes, and we believe lapses in judgment can be significant opportunities for growth,” the company said.
Players who are found to have violated the Xbox Community Stands may face temporary suspension of access to “features that are most closely associated with the problematic behavior.” For example, you may be temporarily restricted from playing games online, sending messages, communicating over voice, or broadcasting gameplay, among other things.
People who repeatedly behave badly may be permanently suspended, with access to all game licenses and other content revoked forever. It sounds like you’d have to be a huge jerk to get banned. “We may permanently suspend a profile or device if we can no longer trust it due to a severe violation, or if our attempts to correct repeated negative behaviors are unsuccessful,” Microsoft says.
You can read the full Community Standards For Xbox document here.