Toxicity v. toxicity: How Ethnography Can Inform Scalable Technical Solutions

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While a number of scholars have studied online communities, research on games has been mostly focused on the business, experience, and content of gameplay. Interactions between players within games has received less attention, and toxic behavior is a newer area of investigation in academia. Inquiry into toxicity in gaming is part of a larger body of literature and public interest emerging around disruptive and malicious social interactions online, cyberbullying, child-grooming, and extremist recruiting. Through our research we reaffirmed that toxicity in gaming is a problem at a global scale, but we also discovered that on a micro scale, what behavior gamers perceive as toxic, or how toxicity is enacted in gaming is different depending on cultural context amongst other things. The generalized problem at scale, and its particular manifestations on the micro level raise philosophical and technology design questions, which we address through examples from our own research and its applications in the industrial settings.

Keywords: Ethnographic research, Culture, Gender, Technology, Toxicity, Scale, Community, Global, Te

Article citation: 2020 EPIC Proceedings pp 279–297, ISSN 1559-8918,

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