VRChat Institutes a New Safety and Trust System to Combat Griefers

vrchat-logo.jpg

In response to high levels of trolling, griefing, and harassment, the VRChat platform is instituting an incredibly detailed Safety and Trust System:

The VRChat Trust and Safety system is a new extension of the currently-implemented VRChat Trust system. It is designed to keep users safe from nuisance users using things like screen-space shaders, loud sounds or microphones, visually noisy or malicious particle effects, and other methods that someone may use to detract from your experience in VRChat.

This system is designed to give control back to the user, allowing users to determine where, when, and how they see various avatar features that may be distracting or malicious if used improperly.

The Trust and Safety system is designed so that, even when left on default settings, the system will ensure that someone can’t attack you with malicious avatar features. Malicious users won’t have these features shown, so you can have a good experience in the metaverse.

Basically, every VRChat user is automatically assigned to one of six levels, based on their past behaviour (e.g. exploring, making friends, creating content):

  • Veteran User
  • Trusted User
  • Known User
  • User
  • New User
  • Visitor (the default rank for brand-new users)

Visitors will not be able to upload content to VRChat until they are promoted to the New User rank. In addition:

Additionally, there exists a special rank called “Nuisance”. These users have caused problems for others, and will have an indicator above their nameplate when your quick menu is open. Most of the time, these users’ avatars will be completely blocked. In a future release, users who are sliding toward the “Nuisance” rank will be notified.

Finally, there exists a “VRChat Team” rank, which is only usable by VRChat Team members. When a VRChat Team member has their “DEV” tag on, you’ll see this rank in the quick menu when you select them. If you have doubts that a user with a “DEV” tag is actually on the VRChat Team, just open your Quick Menu, select them, and check out their Trust Rank. If it doesn’t say “VRChat Team” under the avatar thumbnail, then that user is not a member of the VRChat Team, and is likely trying to confuse users. Feel free to take a screenshot and report them to the Moderation team!

For each level of user, you can set what aspects of their avatar will be visible/audible to you in an extremely detailed Safety System:

Safety” is a new menu tab that allows you to configure how users of each rank are treated in regards to how they display for you in VRChat. This affects many aspects of a user’s presence in VRChat:

  • Voice — Mutes or unmutes a user’s microphone (voice chat)
  • Avatar — Hides or shows a user’s avatar as well as all avatar features. When an avatar is hidden, it shows a “muted” avatar
  • Avatar Audio — Enables or disables sound effects from a user’s avatar (not their microphone)
  • Animations — Enables or disables custom animations on a user’s avatar
  • Shaders — When disabled, all shaders on a user’s avatar are reverted to Standard
  • Particles and Lights — Enables or disables particle systems on a user’s avatar, as well as any light sources. This will also block Line and Trail Renderer components.
VRChat Safety System.png
The New VRChat Safety System

There is much, much more information on the new Safety and Trust System in their blogpost. The team behind VRChat have obviously put a lot of time and energy into designing this system, and I can say that this is now the most comprehensive suite of tools to combat griefing, trolling, and harassment that I have seen in any social VR space or virtual world, and a model for other platforms to emulate.

After a huge surge in usage in the early part of this year (mainly due to the promotion of the platform by various well-known livestreamers), the number of simultaneous users in VRChat has stayed relatively steady at around 6,000:

VRChat Stats 27 Sept 2018.png

This makes VRChat the most popular of the newer social VR platforms. The new Safety and Trust system will go a long way towards improving users’ experiences in VRChat.

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