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“It taught me to hate them all.”: Toxicity through DOTA 2’s Players, Systems, and Media Dispositive


“It taught me to hate them all.”: Toxicity through DOTA 2’s Players, Systems, and Media Dispositive

Lajeunesse, Marc (2018) “It taught me to hate them all.”: Toxicity through DOTA 2’s Players, Systems, and Media Dispositive. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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‘Toxicity’ has become a pervasive term for describing and discussing online game communities,but exactly what constitutes toxicity remains loosely defined. This project seeks to uncover how toxicity is constructed and understood within a game community described from inside and out as toxic.
After situating toxicity within prior academic literature on toxicity’s constitutive elements such as griefing, trolling, flaming and racism online, this project focuses on the DOTA 2 community. It
examines how the game’s culture operates throughout what Mirko Tobias Schäfer referred to as the media dispositive, or the collection of sites and discourses that the community engages with that overlap with the in-game experience. Throughout the dispositive certain voices are sanctioned by the game’s company, Valve, while others are silenced by the affordances of the dispositive’s sites and game’s culture.
The final section of this work explores the in-game experience through ethnographic, interview, and participant observation data, to uncover how players perceive toxicity in-game. This work finds that toxicity is in part reflective of and formed by the broader culture of the game as discovered through an analysis of the dispositive, but that players possess highly subjective ideas about what constitutes toxicity that they tend to universalize, which strengthens toxicity as a rhetorical rather than descriptive term. The impact of toxicity on players and community members is uneven as some players are put into conflict with others while others, particularly women, are erased from the game space and community discussions. In conclusion, this project finds that toxicity in DOTA 2 is constructed by overlapping cultural and mechanical elements and is as much about what players perceive to be toxic as
it is about actual player behaviors.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Lajeunesse, Marc
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:31 July 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Consalvo, Mia
Keywords:Toxicity, DOTA, MOBA, Trolling, Dispositive
ID Code:984229
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:24
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 15:24
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