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Riot turns to fight toxicity in the workplace -- starting with Riot

Riot turns to fight toxicity in the workplace -- starting with Riot

June 9, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

After years of studying player behavior in an effort to combat online toxicity, League of Legends developer Riot Games is branching out to apply its learnings to areas outside of games -- including game studios themselves.

In a new post over on Google's workplace-improvement blog Re:Work, Riot Games briefly details its findings from a year-long study of how Riot employees' bad behavior in League of Legends (which all employees play) correlated with their bad behavior at Riot itself. 

This is intriguing for a few reasons, not least of which that Riot is now experimenting with flagging job applicants based on their their League of Legends chat logs after the study's results showed a correlation between toxic in-game behavior and departures from the company.

"25% of employees who had been let go in the previous year were players with unusually high in-game toxicity," reads an excerpt of the post. "The most common bad behaviors they found were passive aggression (snarky comments) and the use of authoritative language, sometimes using their authority as a Riot employee to intimidate or threaten others."

On the bright side, the company reports that it was able to elicit promises from the lion's share of "the 30 most toxic employees" to curb their bad behavior -- in both League of Legends and, presumably, in life -- after sitting down with them to discuss the topic (with their in-game chat logs as evidence.)

"Pretty much everyone we spoke with was appalled at their own behaviour," reads a quote in the post from Riot Talent chief Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar. "We actually received some essays from employees vowing to change their ways and become not just more considerate gamers but better people."

You can (and should) read the full case study over on Google's Re:Work blog. It's a very interesting application of Riot's efforts to tweak League of Legends player behavior, which longtime (and now former) Rioter Jeffrey Lin detailed to Gamasutra last year.

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