In any competitive PvP game, there are going to be players you’d rather not have to hear, whether in voice comms or text chat. Manually muting them can be such a chore, so wouldn’t it be nice if the jerks were automatically muted?
That’s what will happen soon in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. A recent dev blog explained that Valve is working on a system whereby players will receive a warning if they get reported for abusive behavior too many times. If they keep it up and receive more reports, they’ll receive an automatic mute until they’ve gained enough XP to offset the penalty.
The possibility for abuse is obvious — getting all your friends to report an innocent player so he gets muted without having done anything wrong — but Valve is at least aware of this possibility. Reports will be weighted higher for players who report less frequently, so your clan might get away with it once or twice, but at least they won’t be able to mass-mute the entire server every day.
(We’d bet Valve isn’t too cognizant of the possibility of a lawsuit stemming from a free speech violation, though. Better get the legal team on that.)
This is where I might make some remark about Valve — or tech companies in general — trying to automate another aspect of human behavior, but since the bulk of the labor-saving effort seems like it will benefit players and not Valve employees, I’m rather OK with it. At least until something goes wrong and the system mutes everyone. That’s really how Skynet got started.