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Don’t be an A$$: Examining Rude Language Behaviors in Games


Robinson, J. & Lawrence, H. (2018). Don’t be an A$$: Examining Rude Language Behaviors in Games, Communication Design Quarterly. Pending revise and resumbit.


In this study, we examine, quantify, and contextualize rude speech used in games during
gameplay. We identify taboo utterances and use rating categories in an attempt to identify
“toxic” behavior in online games. Our study applied a quantitative content analysis to an existing corpus of gaming communications texts (forums, emails, chat, and voice) collected during a 6- week study. We define face-threatening texts as “toxic” and found that over half of the identified utterances with curse words were toxic. We conclude that face-threatening utterances contribute to the perceived negativity of gaming environments. We propose that further study investigate texts for implicit toxic language and examine the “tabooness” of certain words at use in-game conversations.

Supplementary Materials