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How to cultivate trust and safety: A primer for online communities

November 9, 2023 in Games | 5 min. read
Key artwork from Hi-Rez Studios and Evil Mojo Games for Rogue Company
Key artwork from Hi-Rez Studios and Evil Mojo Games for Rogue Company

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If the 2023 Toxicity in Multiplayer Games Report is any indication, community and connection are key ingredients for a thriving game environment. In this guest post, Evil Mojo Games and Hi-Rez Studios’s Tony Jones shares tips for cultivating trust and safety within online communities.

In the digital age, having an effective trust and safety program is not just an option; it's a necessity. Whether you're managing a social media platform, an e-commerce website, or an online gaming community, trust and safety issues are inevitable. It's not a question of if you have a trust and safety problem, but rather, how significant it is and what you're willing to do about it.

Neglecting this critical aspect of online service to players can cost you and your team a game’s brand reputation, user engagement, and even revenue. Before you invest resources in a solution, here are some crucial steps to consider.

1. Understand the problem space

The first and most critical step is understanding the problem you're trying to address, which requires a thorough analysis of your platform’s data. To do this, I recommend gathering information from various sources, such as surveys, voice chat monitoring, and user reports.

Thorough data will help you identify your most significant opportunities for improvement. Some questions to consider might be: Are there specific behavior trends that stand out? And, where does your community interact the most?

The better you comprehend your unique problem space, the more effectively you can address it.

2. Collaborate with stakeholders

Trust and safety is a collective effort. As you work to build this externally, eEngage with relevant stakeholders within your organization, such as product managers, legal experts, and community managers. With this group, establish common ground and reach an agreement on the issues that need attention.

Transparent communication is crucial at this stage. Ensure everyone comprehends the potential impact of investing in this process and the consequences of neglecting it. Then, determine which disruptive behaviors are less acceptable than others and define the actions you're willing to take to address them.

In larger organizations, creating a charter or framework can serve as a helpful reference guide. At a minimum, establish clear guidelines to support your trust and safety initiatives.

3. Prioritization and execution

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the problem space and you’ve achieved alignment with stakeholders, it's time to prioritize the initiatives you want to tackle. Some may require product development and new features, while others may necessitate data analysis and months of iteration before a suitable solution is achieved.

Recognize that not all issues can be addressed simultaneously, so focus on those that are most pressing or have the potential to yield the most substantial positive impact. Develop a roadmap for these initiatives, outlining the specific actions and strategies you'll employ to address each problem. Then, implement your plan.

Easy as 1, 2, 3…

In conclusion, building an effective trust and safety program is essential for any online service. Start by comprehending your unique problem space, collaborate with stakeholders to establish clear guidelines and priorities, and then execute your plan.

It’s important to remember that trust and safety is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment as the online landscape evolves. By following these steps, you can safeguard your brand reputation, enhance user engagement, and protect your revenue while ensuring a safer and more welcoming online environment for your community.

Find out more about the work Tony and his team are doing to build trust and safety on Evil Mojo Games and Hi-Rez Studios projects in this case study. And, if you’re gearing up to join us at Unite 2023, make sure to catch his breakout session, “Elevating your game community with AI-driven tools to reduce toxicity.”

Still want more? Read these Made with Unity stories straight from our community.

November 9, 2023 in Games | 5 min. read

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