4 Musts for Safe In-Game Chat in any Language

A good in-game chat makes for more play.

Users engage more deeply, return more often which results in improvements in important metrics such as lifetime value (LTV).

Two Hat proved all this about a year ago in our whitepaper for the gaming industry, An Opportunity to Chat, which is free for you to download.

In order for chat experiences to be considered “good” by the user in the first place though, you have to make sure that no users are excluded, bullied, or harassed away from your chat community and game before they ever get a chance to fall in love with it.

That said, it’s hard to deliver a consistently positive chat experience in one language fluently and with nuance, let alone in the world’s 20 most popular langauges. Add in leet aka 1337 and other ever-evolving unnatural language hacks and the task of scaling content moderation for global chat can be daunting.

With this shifting landscape in mind, Two Hat offers these 4 Musts for Safe In-Game Chat in any Language.

#1. Set expectations with clear guidelines
Humans change our language and behavior based on our environment. The very act of being online allows for a loosening of some behavioral norms and often anonymity, so it’s important users understand the guidelines for behavior in your community. As you ponder how to establish these guidelines, remember that cultural norms around the world are very different. What is a reasonable chat policy in one language or culture may be inappropriate in another.

#2. Develop unique policies for each culture
French is spoken fluently in Canada, Africa and the Caribbean, but the experiences of those places are entirely different. Why? Culture. Native speakers know these nuances, translation engines do not. Two Hat can provide accurate and customizable chat filters built and supported by our in-house team of native speakers of over 20 languages. They’re real people and they’re awesome. These filters must be on every gaming site and inside every mobile gaming app.

#3. Let user reputation be your guide
Users with a good reputation should be rewarded. Positive users are aligned with the purpose of your product, as well as your business interests, and they’re the ones who keep others coming back. For those few who harass others – in any language – set policies that automate appropriate measures. For example: set a policy requiring human review of any message sent by a user with 2 negative incidents in the last 7 days, etc. In this way, user reputation becomes the impetus behind in-game experience, democratizing user socialization.

#4. Tap your natural resources
In every language and in every culture the key to building opportunity is engaging your most committed players. The key to building safer and more inclusive in-game communities is the same. Engaged, positive users empowered to flag and report negative experiences are the glue that binds in every language and culture. Make sure each has a voice if they feel threatened or bullied or witness others being harassed, provide the community leaders that emerge with the tools and voice to be of positive influence, and build a chat experience that’s as cool and inclusive as your game works to be.



How Two Hat Builds a Global Chat Filter

Why does Two Hat build our 20 digital languages in-house instead of using a translation engine to power your chat filter?

Because language is human.

Watch and learn what’s unique about Two Hat’s approach then fill out the form below and request a Language & Culture audit.

One of our expert staff will help assess your online community’s health and readiness to keep users safe and happy in 20 different languages.

Language is human

Online community is global. That goes whether you’re a game or an app, a social network or a brand. With the opportunity of global scale, though, comes the cost of making your community a truly safe and welcoming place for all your users. This is awful tough to do absent a deep appreciation of each unique language and culture.

Language is a human construct: something we purposefully create to describe and order our experience. French is spoken fluently in France, Canada, the Caribbean and throughout Africa, though the experience of those places is quite different. Why? Culture.

Culture includes language but it’s more. It’s idioms and nuance and context and perception. It’s interpretation based on sense and feel. Culture taps a broader frame of reference than language alone.

That’s why it’s not enough to rely on plug-and-play translation for your online community’s content moderation. You need human beings to train the machine. Two Hat supports 20 languages, accurately and with nuance.

Each language data set is created and nurtured by native speakers from a range of nations and cultures. They’re real people who are passionate about making online communities safer and they’re awesome to know. Care to meet one? Complete the form below to get a free Language & Culture Audit for your online community.

From Brexit to Bulbasaur – On the Evolution of Language

There is something magical at the heart of language, isn’t there? At the intersection of noun, verb, and clause exists endless creativity and invention. Language encourages the artist in all of us.

We are more connected now than ever before, and we as individuals are shaping language to fit our needs, whether we’re busy texters, meme creators, or blog commenters. If we’re online, we are using language in unique ways. We reconstruct language every day.

The Great Vowel Shift

Language has always been in a state of transformation. Words come into and go out of style, and phrases expand and contract (what linguist Guy Deutscher calls “expressiveness” and “erosion”). Witness the Great Vowel Shift that happened in England between the 14th and 17th centuries, in which long stressed vowel sounds changed so completely that spoken Middle English is almost a different language.

You would have a very hard time understanding Chaucer if you talked to him today, although his great collection The Canterbury Tales is still famous – not to mention gloriously readable in written Middle English – today. The Great Vowel Shift led to the first attempts to standardize spelling and punctuation in the 1600s, a process that continues to this day.

The Two Hat Security Language & Culture team is responsible for building and maintaining the dictionary that classifies words and phrases based on their risk, subject, and context. Like the proto-linguists of the 17th century, they are inveterate listeners and watchers, students of pop culture with a passion for language in all its complexities and quirks.

Had the Language & Culture team existed in Elizabethan England, imagine the hours of overtime it would take to keep up with Shakespeare, inventor of roughly 1700 words, and the premier language builder of his time! 

Since the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1991 and the first user-friendly browser a year after that, language has undergone another Great Shift – not of pronunciation like the Great Vowel Shift, but of invention, like Shakespeare.

A new kind of language

We live in an age of memes that spread, evolve, and disappear within days, if not hours. New apps and social media platforms spring up overnight and with them, new terms and new ways of using familiar words. Friend is now a verb. Birds aren’t the only ones who tweet. It’s more imperative than ever that we – at Two Hat Security, in the Language & Culture and Client Success Teams, and anyone who manages an online community – recognize that language is a living, breathing, ever-shifting work of art.

Consider the last six months, and the words that have entered, and in many cases re-entered the cultural lexicon!

From Brexit to the Bataclan and Nice; from woke to #blacklivesmatter; from af to bae; not to mention the ten new terms that emerged in the time it took to write this blog – we have to stay on top of the trends. The ultimate goal in any community – and our mission statement here at Two Hat Security – is to maximize expressivity and minimize toxicity, and we can only do that if we speak the language of the now.

We haven’t even mentioned emoticons yet – the newest and most dynamic language trend. Also, so cute! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

From Brexit to Bulbasaur

In the last month alone Language & Culture has added an entire set of Pokémon Go words – gotta add ‘em all! – to the dictionary, including those delightfully whimsical names Bulbasaur, Charmander, Butterfree, and more. The Republican and Democratic conventions unearthed terms like bully pulpit, bellwether, and gerrymander, and added new words like Servergate. There is no doubt the Rio Olympics and the US election will prove just as linguistically rich in the coming months!

Language is alive, and change is a constant in life. Creative, unruly, and entirely human, it follows the ebb and flow of culture, politics, and technology. Two Hat Security and the Language & Culture team are both spectators and participants in the great language experiment.

Language & Culture does the hard work, but we encourage you as a community manager, a moderator, an app designer, or simply part of the community to do the rest. As humans, we are all part of this grand experiment called language – let’s build it together. Let’s make it magical.

About Two Hat Security

At Two Hat Security, we empower social and gaming platforms to build healthy, engaged online communities, all while protecting their brand and their users from high-risk content.

Want to increase user retentionreduce moderation, and protect your brandGet in touch today to see how our chat filter and moderation software Community Sift can help you build a community that stays on top of language trends.

 

Bulbasaur image: By Criszoe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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