Clashing opinions: For and against Tyler1's unban
Screengrab via: Twitch

Clashing opinions: For and against Tyler1's unban

Tweet Share Submit

When a streamer breaks the world record for concurrent numbers on a personal stream it's usually a day for celebration. When this streamer has a notorious past of being toxic and distruptive for years it welcomes a controversy. 

On Monday, Tyler "Tyler1" Steinkamp was that streamer, leaving the LoL community — and part of our crew — split in their opinions. To argue it out,'s Tim "@TimPAshton" Ashton and Aleksei "@Aleksei_Lushni" Louchnikov sit on the opposite sides of the table for a clash in viewpoints.

* * *

Vox populi

Tyler1’s first “reformed” League of Legends stream took place on Jan. 8 and, at peak performance, had accrued nearly 400,000 concurrent viewers. The aforementioned number massively surpassed the previous record of 245,000 set by none other than SKT1’s midlaner, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok.

This reinforces the idea that the community has an overwhelmingly positive approach to Tyler Steinkamp and the character he portrays during his streams, so much so that his viewership surpassed that of possibly the most celebrated professional player not only in League of Legends, but the world.

 — Aleksei

— Tim

Yes, but is popularity our only relevant metric? Does it even make sense to set a series of rules and standards for acceptable behaviour, if they’re just going to cave under pressure?

The bans were set in place, because he ruined the game experience for literally countless players. You don’t get ID banned for throwing a game or having a bad day. You get ID banned for being an active force of disruption toward the very community Riot’s trying to protect. Isn’t unbanning a thing, hurting the community, just because parts of the community wants it, the same as letting a child eat sugar all the time, if it cries enough?

Won't this harm the community in the long run?

The only similarity between the community and a sugar-craving child is that both know exactly what they want. I argue that, on the contrary, it shows that they know exactly what they want from a viewer’s standpoint, and whether it’s LoL or any other game title, they will follow their favourite streamer wherever he goes. At the end of the day it’s the streamer, not the game, that make a stream entertaining.

Whilst LoL needs no exposure being an industry leader and all, we clearly see Riot interested in providing a platform for Tyler1 to further spread the game’s horizons. When you are associated with the second consecutive worldwide streaming record, people will naturally get talking and dedicate attention not only towards the streamer, but the game the person is streaming as well.

Twitch saw a massive influx of viewers and copious amounts of subscribers, each of which tipped a coin via subscription fees. There’s no arguing that financially this was perhaps one of the most lucrative individual streams for both the streaming platform and the person, not to mention Riot, who most likely saw a spike in users during and after the stream.

 — Aleksei

— Tim

But at what cost? One could argue that the message Riot is also sending everyone is that they don’t have to abide by their own rules. If a player gets ID banned, but builds a reputation around circumventing said ban with an endless stream of accounts, 20 of which are subsequently also banned, then should we really be celebrating this?

I’d argue that while this was a nice cash cow for everyone involved, I’m not sure what it’ll do for the community. Reformed or not, we’re celebrating someone closely tied to toxicity. Riot initially made the rules to protect the community from bad experiences, and yet here we are, showing everyone that not only will these sanctions not hold (despite continuously breaking the rules around the ban), but we’ll also end up enjoying the whole ordeal.

There will likely not be another Tyler1 in terms of success. But the toxic players are a dime a dozen, and this whole situation might very well legitimize and inspire the lot of them. One could argue that this is a loss for the community as a whole.


Riot's ruling inconsistency

Thus far we’ve only really seen positives following his unbanning - financial gain for Twitch, Riot and Tyler and community rejoice. What’s more, many individuals that are essentially faces of Riot Gaming on a global scale have expressed excitement and anticipation for Tyler1’s stream, despite his dubious past.

This kind of behaviour shows willingness to heed the community’s call and points towards unified front within Riot in regards to Tyler’s return. Furthermore, a denial of the community’s desires could be a step towards alienating a significant chunk of fans from the game, all for a singular case of a streamer getting banned. It’s completely counterproductive and won’t lead to anything but frustration and losses on both sides.

 — Aleksei

— Tim

Is it that simple though? I know Riot doesn’t dictate what it’s casters say, but in today’s world, anyone with Riot in their name might as well be speaking for the company — the Sanjuro incident was apt reminder of that.

It’s hard not to see this as anything but endorsement of his return, which is weird considering Riot has been fighting to uphold this ban for a long time. Now they’re celebrating the unbanning themselves? Then what was the purpose of the ban? At a time where Likkrit faces a ban for criticism and Tyler was banned and ostracized, only to be welcomed back with open arms at the turn of the tide, this gives the impression that bans aren’t based on principles or rules, but on whims.

It makes it all look petty, which again, hurts the community. How can you trust a system like that? What message does that send?


What message is this ultimately sending?

By allowing Tyler1 to get back into streaming their title, Riot Games have demonstrated that they are not a ruler with an iron fist. The publisher is happy to review players that have had a history of misdemeanours, and given they have changed their ways and truly regret their past wrongdoings, are welcome back into the widespread community.

This sets a strong example for existing and future title publishers regarding how they should deal with community-based issues.

 — Aleksei

— Tim

But they also come off as inconsistent. This whole ordeal can end up hurting Riot's credibility. Iron fist or no, it almost looks like the ban was handed out due to vague moral codes and guidelines, but when it became worth their while to ignore this and revoke the ban, they did. This loses them the claim that they’re truly doing it for the community, and instead, we’re left with the impression that the community merely serves as a convenient excuse, but apply enough pressure and at the end of the day, the ban itself becomes arbitrary.

For the next generation of griefers and anti-social players, the message here seems clear. Don’t abstain from toxic behaviour, just double down on it and soldier on. Eventually, you too can lead the glorious new uprising vs Riots regime. The victims aren’t Tyler1 or Riot, but the viewers that have to be sacrificed along the way.

Where do you stand on Tyler1's return? Were Riot in their right to pardon him or should have have stayed in ban jail forever? Is this good or damaging to the community overall?

Tell us in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Tweet Share Submit

Comments (0)

Thoughts? Comments? Share it now!