Sunday, December 14, 2014

Should Team Games Prevent Trash Talk?

These days, most competitive team games don't allow you to talk to the opposing team. Instead, you can really only communicate with your own team. The idea here is to prevent trash talk and make the game more civil.

But has this strategy really worked?

Sure, it has cut down on cross-team incivility, but sometimes it feels like that was replaced by incivility from fellow team members.

I think it feels a lot worse when people on your own team are berating you. There's a sense of betrayal when that happens. If the trash talk was coming from the other team, well, they're the enemy.

In fact, it might even be more helpful for team cohesiveness to be verbally attacked by the opposing team. It would strengthen the sense of "us versus them", instead of the enemy being faceless, robot-like opponents.

Obviously, the best case scenario would be for there to be no uncivil behavior at all. But from our common experience of random groups in online competitive play, that seems like an unrealistic fantasy. Given a choice between being taunted by the opposing team or being berated by a fellow teammate, I'd rather take the taunting.


  1. Allowing communication at the moment is a net negative in my opinion. While trash talk from the opposing team can pull people together, it is just as likely to fracture a team. It depends on whether you are winning or losing.

    Even though there's somewhat of a disincentive to trash talking your own team–someone just goes afk or sabotages your efforts–it happens.

    Conversely, there's a fairly strong incentive to berate your opponents. They leave or afk you win faster. And many people get off on harassing others online.

  2. Well, given that enemy trashtalk and being berated by team members isn't really the same thing and can be completely unrelated, how would that solve your issue?

    The two are not mutually exclusive are they - if you run with a team that has bad team culture, no taunting the enemy will change that (even if there is definitely a bonding experience to be had from dissing). You would still Need to address this issue.