Recently, we’ve noticed an uptick in toxicity on this site. Several members have expressed concern to us about this trend, and it’s something we find deeply worrying. Toxicity can be hurtful to our fellow players, and this isn’t something we want to be normalized on our forum because it creates an unpleasant environment.
We’re going to be stepping up enforcement of toxicity to try to make sure we can cut it off before it has a chance to go out of control. In practical terms, this may mean that “borderline” behavior that we’d previously have allowed to slide instead receives a warning, and that (especially in cases of repeated offenses) behavior we’d have just given a warning for instead receives a suspension.
We’re also going to be more proactive about players who are consistently creating a toxic environment in or out of games, even if none of their individual actions would be all that serious on their own.
Finally, we’re going to give greater consideration to actions that happen within the community, but outside of actual games. Harassing other players isn’t okay no matter where you do it, and postgame discussions, the Breadbox Discord, and other forum-affiliated chats (such as dead chats and game reviews) are all part of the site and subject to its rules.
We also wanted to remind everyone that if players are being toxic, you can always flag the post or DM a not-in-game mod. One issue we’ve had is noticing situations after they’ve already escalated significantly – even if we’re reading a thread, we may not happen to be reading it when a problem arises. Flagging posts or DMing us helps us become aware of problems right away and respond to them more quickly.
Attacking the play, not the player
One phrase we’ve often used to explain the difference between legitimate criticism is “attack the play, not the player.” However, we’ve seen some instances of people trying to use this rule to get away with personal attacks, so we wanted to clarify what it means.
Attacking the play rather than the player means criticizing a specific play that was made, rather than attacking someone as a person. This can sometimes be a fuzzy boundary, when someone’s play is known to be a common part of their playstyle, but usually it’s a pretty clear distinction. Also, even if a specific comment is technically targeted just towards someone’s play, if it’s just intended as an non-constructive insult, it may still violate the rules.
Good examples of attacking the play and not the player
I don’t think I should be blamed for pushing a misexecution on katze. When she faked a redcheck on Chloe and Chloe flipped town, I assumed she wouldn’t make a play like that as town, and I think that was a reasonable assumption since faking redchecks on villagers is a really bad play.
If you are town, you have defended literally every wolf this game. I don’t think you’re that bad as town, which is why I’m voting you.
DatBird’s just been tunnelling me for bad reasons the whole game and ignoring evidence in my favor, idk why anyone is listening to his push.
well, the vig’s shot was bad enough that I can’t tell which flip is from them and which is from the nightkill, but hopefully we can still recover
Arete often misreads Windward, so even though they say Windward is town this game, I don’t really trust them.
Note: Even though the above example refers to a general trend, it is still acceptable, as it expresses the sentiment respectfully and the information provided is game-relevant rather than purely a personal attack.
Examples that would likely violate our anti-toxicity rules
katze is one of the stupidest players I’ve ever seen. Literally every time I play with them they make some sort of dumb read that no one understands and get upset at people for not listening. I wish she would just quit the site.
This is a textbook example of attacking the player, not the play. Don’t do this.
We’re supposed to attack the play not the player, so I can’t call you the worst villager I’ve ever met. Instead, I want you to know that you pushing to misexe Datbird when he was a revealed innocent child is one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen.
Your play of counterclaiming the Town Doctor as Town was complete garbage, only an absolute braindead moron would ever make that play.
Although the above examples technically refer to someone’s play, they are obviously making personal attacks.
Frankly, Arete, if you’re town here after you vigged Marl, I don’t want to ever play with you again. Just /out me of any games Arete joins, please.
The above example is making a personal attack against the player, and bringing out-of-game topics into the game, which can lead to angleshooting.
I can’t believe you ITA’d Chloe. That’s one of the most awful, braindead plays I’ve ever seen in my life. Garbage plays like ITAing Chloe are why town never wins on FoL. I know you’re town, but you really need to think about wtf you were doing this game, because it was TERRIBLE. COMPLETELY UNFORGIVABLY TERRIBLE. LITERALLY HOW DID YOU MAKE A PLAY THAT BAD.
The above technically only refers to someone’s play, but is extremely excessive and harsh in its criticism, meaning that it still rises to the level of toxicity.
Respecting other players
Sometimes, users have preferences about how they’re treated. For example, they might prefer that you not use a specific nickname for them, that you refrain from using a specific word that can be construed as an insult to describe them, or that you avoid posting un-spoilered images of graphic violence. When it is reasonably possible to do so, try to follow these preferences. If you accidentally do something that upsets another user, even if you don’t understand why it upsets them, you should still try to respect their boundaries moving forward and apologize for upsetting them.
To be absolutely clear, this doesn’t apply to actions that are purely within the context of a mafia game and necessary for the game. For example, if a player prefers that you not scumread or vote them, that you not make metareads on them, or that you listen to all their reads even if you disagree, this doesn’t mean you have to go along with this.
Avoiding instigating toxicity
Users should try to avoid intentionally starting toxic fights or baiting other players into being toxic. To be clear, no one deserves to be targeted by personal attacks, even if they did something to provoke it – but nonetheless, please do not try on purpose to provoke another player into being toxic. This applies especially to deliberately behaving in a “borderline toxic” manner with the goal of causing other players to be toxic.
What to do if someone else is being toxic
If another player is being toxic, you should flag the posts or DM a not-in-game moderator. Try to refrain from engaging with the toxicity or trying to get in the “last word” – this often causes it to escalate, and frequently leads to both sides of an argument becoming toxic.
What to do if you’re worried you might start to be toxic
If you can tell you’re getting upset, and you’re having trouble staying respectful, take a break from the thread and try to calm down. It’s always acceptable to take a break from the thread.
Toxicity vs. normal FM play
Finally, we wanted to clarify the difference between toxicity and normal parts of FM play. Sometimes, other players in the game may have a read that’s very wrong and that they’re very confident in, and this may lead them to tunnel another player for reasons that aren’t very good. Other times, wolves may pretend to engage in this behavior. While it can be frustrating to be on the receiving end of this, pushing another player for bad reasons and not letting up is not considered to be a violation of our rules against toxicity. We believe that when players sign up for games, they implicitly accept the possibility that other players may push them, sometimes for bad reasons; that other players may ignore their reads, even if they’re correct; and that they may be misexecuted, even if they’re town.
If you have questions, please ask us! We don’t want players to get in trouble because they simply didn’t know where the rules were. We also don’t want people to worry that they could get in trouble for normal and acceptable behavior.
Please also reach out if you have feedback or criticism – you will never get in trouble simply for expressing concerns to us, but it’s hard for us to know there’s a problem unless someone tells us.