Looks like its a pretty popular and interesting topic =D
Looks like there is an official response now - http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/player-behavior-moderation/79aGu3wR-support-singed-isnt-banable-but-thats-not-the-point?comment=006b
Okay, so we got together with game designers, player behavior folks, and player support agents to take a hard look at this player, the penalties, and the support tickets associated with it. It's clear this wacky Smite, Support Singed plays to win. It’s also clear the player struggles to effectively communicate intentions and strategy to teammates. In this case, unwieldy communication and the wacky Smite, Support Singed pick are tightly linked. So let’s pick them apart some.
Innovative and unconventional approaches to League keep the game fresh, and finding new ways to win motivates a ton of players. We 100% support the opportunity to innovate with surprising picks and strategies in League. The only real condition we place on that right to experimentation is that you play to win. However, sometimes unconventional approaches to the game have costs that outweigh benefits. This player might have a respectable(-ish) winrate on Support Singed with Smite and no Sightstone, but the pick and build also nets them a frankly enormous number of reports and probably gives their ADC high blood pressure.
That leaves us with two tricky questions:
Q: If intentions are clearly aimed at victory, is there an outer boundary for too unconventional a pick/build/strategy?
This is where we break from the Support ticket linked in the original reddit discussion. Real talk, this player is far from the only support in Gold V to skip out on a Sightstone. No one should ever get banned for skipping Sightstone. On the other hand, asking an ADC to lane alone while their support farms the enemy jungle truly pushes that teammate out of their comfort zone and that should mean something. We can all sympathize with the lonely Miss Fortune facing down Lucian and Alistar at her own turret, and it makes sense to us when they report this Singed player.
Q: Do unconventional picks/strategies increase the burden of communications for the player and their teammates?
If you're gonna throw a curveball at teammates, you also need to communicate your intentions to teammates. You shouldn’t just expect everyone to "get it", so tell them what's up. To be clear, this player does attempt to communicate intent and strategy, but a good chunk of teammates across hundreds of games just don’t want to sign up for the plan. That lack of agreement on the new plan makes for a pretty chaotic game and leads to a huge share of this player’s reports. If a teammate in champ select says, “pls no, this is game 5 of promos”, maybe stick with something conventional and skip tilting your teammates off the face of the earth. In short, argue for your idea, but stay ready to be flexible.
In the same vein, teammates should be willing give unconventional picks/strategies a fair shot. They could surprise your opponents more than they surprise you. We need to leave plenty of space for experimentation in League (Hi Support MF), even if it sometimes leaves us in less than perfectly comfy games.
If you're about to play stunbot Twisted Fate tank support with Talisman, Righteous Glory, and Protobelt, let your team know the special kind of hell you're aiming to create for your enemies, and how they should adjust their expectations and approach to the game. If, instead of that, you wholly fail to communicate, or completely disrupt game after game, it makes sense that you’d rack up a ton of reports, net manual reviews and even potential penalties from Player Support.
The net result is that players, if playing to win, have a fundamental right to experiment in League. It’s good for the game. At the same time, common sense and good sportsmanship say that experimenting players need to clearly communicate intent and win conditions to their teammates.
In this Singed player’s case, the two-week ban’s already expired. For what it’s worth, we believe the penalty was warranted because in literally hundreds of games the player inflicted a huge amount of disruption on players who didn’t agree to their chemistry experiments. On the other hand, the player’s communication issues fall well short of permaban territory, and in retrospect the threat of a perma in the Player Support response was a bit much. We also see marked improvement in their efforts communicate with teammates in more recent games. It’s worth mentioning that cases like these are handled by humans and any player in a (pretty dang rare) situation like this can request further detail and a full review from Player Support.
Still, with intent to win confirmed, gameplay experimentation and innovation is something we stand behind even if it ruffles feathers. After all, conventional picks lose half their games too. We think this player could still do a much better job of communicating with teammates, but we also believe players should be more tolerant of different approaches to the game. The line here is the player repeatedly showing no flexibility in the face of resistance to their strategies, and consistently forcing teammates into a wildly different bot lane experience hundreds of times.