Xbox team creates community deputies to fight trolls

Meet Xbox Enforcement United, a community posse of users who Microsoft has asked to help clean up its user base.

Angry, mocking murmurs rattled off the walls of the player lobby. The caped avenger barely paused. Then the epithets began: stinging, hateful words that juxtaposed one toon's manhood with his mother. That did it. The hero spun, hurling his all-powerful mallet at the offender's head, and sounded the cry feared by evildoers everywhere:


Silence. The remaining toon sniffled and smiled, picking up his assault rifle and slinging it over one shoulder. "Thanks," he mumbled quietly.

"It's all right, son," the avenger growled, but kindly. "You can't use those words here."

"Thanks," the toon said again. Then, looking at the Banhammer that the avenger wielded: "You know, I'd like to do that some day."

Teeth showed briefly in the avenger's face, a white slash that just might have been humor, or approval. "You will. And here's the first step: Xbox Community United."

"Xbox Community United?" the toon asked. "Is that like the Justice League?"

"Not quite. You know what a deputy is?" The toon nodded that he did. "Good."

Then, the avenger laid it all out: how to sign up. How it all worked. Initially, the cowled crusader explained, the XCU's powers would be limited. It was the first time the powers on high had handed down even a fraction of their power, and they wanted it slow and easy. XCU members would function as judges of sorts, determining whether a player's username violated the Code of Conduct.

"And if it does--BAM?" the toon said, eyeing the mallet hopefully.

"Not so fast," the dark knight of the hammer responded. "The XCU is designed to assist an algorithm which takes several factors into account like how many participants believe there had been a violation and how reliably those individual members' historical decisions aligned with the general consensus. The system can then determine whether or not to apply an enforcement action like requiring a Gamertag change, or if the complaint should be escalated for one of our enforcers to review more closely. Maybe in the future we'll let you do more. But for now, that's it."

The toon's eyes widened. This was all happening a little too fast. Then his eyes narrowed. He licked his lips nervously. "So, what's in it for me?"

"You'll be compensated," the avenger snarled. "And don't get any ideas about creating your own little gang. You get too much power, we'll just take it away."

"Who watches the Watchmen?" the toon said, nodding, as the avenger fired a grappling hook at a rooftop above.

"Not really," the dark crusader called back as he swung off into the night. "Those guys are sissies."

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