Mob Mentality in League of Legends -- A Comprehensive Guide
I've always liked to compare this game to the mass media (CNN, NBC, Fox News) with regard to reporting and how certain players are viewed by their teammates and the enemy team. And how players sometimes use the court of public opinion to hang players who may not necessarily be "toxic." Here are just some of the archetypes; if anyone has any more that they've found while playing in games feel free to post them and I'll edit:
The Spin Doctor: This player uses a subtle revisionist method to distort how another player is perceived by everyone in the game. His tactics are very nuanced in that they take elements of what one player says and twists them in a way to make it appear negative to their peers. For example:
Player A: Kindred isn't op. She just got nerfed. Kindred performs poorly Player B: /all Report kindred been making excuses all game and complaining about kindred getting nerfed.
Bringing it all together: The logical progression here is self-evident: noting that kindred isn't op because she was nerfed=/=complaining and using kindred's nerfs as an excuse to justify your poor performance. However, since Kindred's nerfs were the overarching theme at work here the Spin Doctor can take one component of the story and paint an entirely different narrative. More often than not, one's peers will get involved and corroborate the story because they may be oblivious to the Spin Doctor's dishonest scheme.
Tools used: Straw man fallacy, red herring, stacking the deck.
The Reframer: The Reframer is a player who will project his toxicity onto another player in an attempt to absolve his own behavior. This player is not glaringly toxic, in fact, his toxicity (invariably used in the form of passive-aggressive sarcasm) may go by undetected for long periods of time. However, when he is confronted about his behavior he will brand his assailant as toxic by reframing the situation. This is commonly achieved by perpetuating an indifferent attitude while making his assailant appear to be salty/butthurt. In this way, he will successfully free himself of any perceived toxicity while simultaneously forcing another player to bear the negative image. For example:
Blue side is down 15 kills, 4 towers and three dragons Player A: Fun game :) Red side steals baron from Blue side Player A: Sick smite :) Blue side bot lane gets double killed Player A: Awesome plays bot :) Player B: Why do you talk so much trash? Player A: Reframes to make Player B appear butthurt/salty Player C: /all report Player B for flaming Player A
Bringing it all together: The Reframer avoids a negative image by maintaining a cool, calm and collected attitude. His toxicity is not akin to the player who incessantly curses, flames, blames and slanders his teammates. He is careful not to appear salty/butthurt and by doing so it's very easy for him to project a negative public perception onto another player. In this instance, Player B is mad but he is only mad about Player A's (The Reframer) passive-aggressive/sarcastic/snarky comments. Since Player B is blatantly upset it's easy for the Reframer to paint Player B as a negative and, even worse, a toxic player. Thus, he effortlessly uses Player B as a scapegoat when he was the toxic one all along.
Tools used: Sarcasm/Passive-aggressiveness, scapegoating fallacy, reframing, :) emoji, Moral High Ground fallacy
At face value this kind of behavior doesn't appear to be too pernicious. When comparing it to someone who flames and verbally assaults their teammates some may even say they'd prefer these kinds of players. But if we were to unpack this further and closely examine our options we would see this is the furthest from the truth. Toxic players do not hide behind a mask. Their behavior albeit terribly derisive and hurtful to the playerbase is transparent, self-explanatory and undisguised. They know they're toxic, they're unapologetic. The player archetypes I have outlined above play a very different game. They lie, they cheat the reporting system, they skate by unbothered, undetected, and victimize players who are innocent. They capitalize off of emotion, they thrive off of a community predicated upon players who do not critically think. Their schemes flourish from the Mob Mentality.
Once a player has been branded toxic by their peers the Mob Mentality manifests and they are crucified by public perception. To understand how this works take for instance the allegations made against Bill Cosby. Various organizations have severed ties with the eminent comedian, rescinding previous honors and awards. Numerous Universities have revoked his honorary degrees and the Cosby Show has been pulled from syndication by various Networks. All of this has transpired prior to Cosby having a chance to prove his innocence. Not one trial has happened and his legacy is forever tarnished. In this country, and in most countries around the world, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. It wasn't always that way; in old English Law a defendant was guilty until proven innocent. In this game if:
Riot was the judge. Your team was the media. and The Enemy Team was the jury.
We could see how this could play out in a devastating fashion. Juries are told not to read or view any material pertaining to the case over which they are presiding. However, in a society dominated by social media and a plethora of news outlets such a feat is nearly unfeasible effectively spoiling a juror's perception of the defendant.
In this way a player may be painted as toxic even if they've done nothing wrong, nothing punishable under the Summoner's code. Their reputation and their character is remolded and within a system that is automated it only takes a handful of reports for material consequences to manifest against that player in the form of a chat restriction or a 2-week ban. Once everyone agrees to report said player the damage is already done.
Debating/Discussion vs. Flaming:
Another way in which a player's character is reframed in a negative fashion is to label them as a flamer when all they're doing is arguing/debating/discussing. Oftentimes, a player will point out a mistake or debate an issue (build path, mistake, a decision that is open to interpretation) and they will be labeled as toxic by their peers who conflate debating with flaming. Should you argue or debate ANYTHING in League of Legends? No. Most of the time if a player makes a mistake they're already aware that they've made an error and they don't have to be chastised or reminded of that error. Even if they're not aware of their mistake you should still just play the game and let it go. Typing for 5 minutes to talk about what just happened won't help you win the game. But these things persist regardless so I'll point out the differences between the two:
Flaming: Flaming is a malicious, denigrating, abusive or ridiculing interaction between two or more players, sometimes involving the use of profanity.
Example: omg this shit lee sin built no armor pen against malphite so fkin bad
Debating: A formal discussion in which logic, reason and evidentiary guidelines are used to honestly examine and solve an issue.
Example: Lee Sin, I would recommend you build armor pen against that Malphite. Considering he's standing on 300 armor I don't think a bloodthirster would've been your optimal pick.
One involves ad hominems, the other does not. One attempts to solve the problem at hand, the other makes no attempt to rectify the mistake. However, I'll often see players agree to report another player for doing nothing more than having an honest discussion about something. And because that player persists and merely responds/refutes what their peers are saying they are branded toxic and allegations of flaming are made against them.
That concludes everything. As I've previously mentioned if anyone has encountered other kinds of players they they feel would qualify for players who abuse the reporting system and falsely brand other players toxic feel free to comment below.
Otherwise, I'd like to have an honest discussion about these kinds of players, the current state of the community, the mentality of players while engaging in online interactions with their teammates and the current state of the reporting system.
TL;DR: Mob Mentality, using public perception to hang players when no evidence has been presented that they are toxic and players being falsely branded as toxic is a growing epidemic within the community.
submitted by inan1s