Looking for some new sick burns to throw out at other players on Xbox Live? Microsoft’s got you covered. In its new community standards, published this week, the company’s got some examples of acceptable trash talk, including gems like:
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.
The standards were first noticed by Redditors on the r/xboxone subreddit this week after Microsoft added them to the website on Tuesday. As funny as it is for Microsoft to lay out acceptable trash talk like “potato aim,” the new community guidelines take positive steps by explicitly banning sexual threats, profanity aimed at others, and racism. Even a single harassing message could lead to a suspension, the standards state.
Clear, concise guidelines regarding player behavior are arguably much-needed for Xbox Live, a place where players using pseudonymous gamertags often feel they can get away with racist, sexist, and transphobic language. With the new community standards, Microsoft is trying to set a clear line for when trash talk turns into harassment.
“We get it—gaming can be competitive and interactions with other players can get heated,” the community standards state. “A little trash talk is an expected part of competitive multiplayer action, and that’s not a bad thing. But hate has no place here, and what’s not okay is when that trash talk turns into harassment.”
Microsoft defines acceptable trash talk as “light-hearted banter or bragging” that’s focused directly on the game and “encourages healthy competition.” Harassment is “negative behavior that’s personalized, disruptive, or likely to make someone feel unwelcome or unsafe.”
The trash talk guidelines are listed under the Xbox community standards’ “Keep your content clean” section, which also forbids players from uploading graphic images as their avatar, making “proactive religious comments,” using hate group imagery, sexually harassing players, and “promoting controversial politics.”
“Community Standards for Xbox, which launched yesterday, makes it easier to understand what kind of behavior is acceptable on Xbox Live and what is not, and how to positively contribute to the global Xbox community to ensure it is safe, welcoming and inclusive of everyone,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Motherboard in an emailed statement. “The standards are not a new set of rules, but are a call to action that empowers every player to evaluate their behavior and adjust accordingly in order to be a force for good.”
For breaking the rules, players can expect consequences, but Microsoft is hesitant to call it a punishment “We’re not out to punish, but rather to protect everyone’s experience,” the standards note.
For every “corrective action”—which the standards state could be a suspension, or a restriction on the ability to send messages or stream live—Microsoft wants its players to learn from their mistakes; players will be welcomed back to the community to prove they’ve changed their ways, the company says.
But that doesn’t mean every abusive gamer will be welcomed back into the fold. Repeat offenders or particularly severe abuse will garner a permanent suspension, the standards state, which requires the profile owner to “forfeit all licenses for games and other content, Gold membership time, and Microsoft account balances.”
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