The Last Thing We Need is Developers Policing Mods

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The Last Thing We Need is Developers Policing Mods

It's ridiculous to suggest that developers need to police mods for their games. It's also harmful to the modding scene as a whole.

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Agreed. If something is unpopular, then it should disappear on it's own. Fuck censorship in it's entirety.

Why does that developer have control of the people's mods anyway?. I thought that mods were not policed, hence all the variety. Is this an exception with the mentioned developer?

I feel mod moderation is one of those things that haven't become mainstream enough for the details of moderation and culpability to be established. These days, players have a hard enough time to just get modding rights for a game, as devs/publishers seem to see mods as lost dlc opportunities.

Realistically, when someone gets upset about something, they look for people to blame. The biggest/easiest to target are the Devs. So while Devs shouldn't be culpable for what mod makers make, they end up being so. A lynch mob is irrational, even more so when the mob is digital.

Xsjadoblayde:
Is this an exception with the mentioned developer?

I think the exception was made because "feelings were hurt".

ffronw:
It's ridiculous to suggest that developers need to police mods for their games. It's also harmful to the modding scene as a whole.

How quickly people seem to forget - this is a repeat of the NWN mod days back in 2002. BioWare had a hands off policy for content and people did whatever they wanted. Heck, one of the most common jokes about mods have been that the first mods will always be nude models for the characters. Heck, one guy tried to make a mod about having a romance with your spider familiar/companion. The community might have laughed and cringed about the subject matter, but no one told him not to do it or actively prevented him from doing so.

Also, they didn't care if you were writing tools to hack into the game's memory, resulting in the ability for server hosts to link their persistent world to a database, further extending the life of the game into mini-MMOs with a higher focus on role-playing over just leveling up. If the devs were curating this, guaranteed the publishers would have an interest and prevent tools being made and ultimately, shut the mod support down rather than risk the 0.01% that ruins it for everyone (think: multiplayer cheats, piracy DRM circumvention).

And like you stated, a lot of people got their game dev career started thanks to tinkering with mods (including yours truly!).

Should authors start curating who gets to write fanfics/fanart and which characters get shipped with whom?

ThriKreen:

ffronw:
It's ridiculous to suggest that developers need to police mods for their games. It's also harmful to the modding scene as a whole.

How quickly people seem to forget - this is a repeat of the NWN mod days back in 2002. BioWare had a hands off policy for content and people did whatever they wanted. Heck, one of the most common jokes about mods have been that the first mods will always be nude models for the characters. Heck, one guy tried to make a mod about having a romance with your spider familiar/companion. The community might have laughed and cringed about the subject matter, but no one told him not to do it or actively prevented him from doing so.

Also, they didn't care if you were writing tools to hack into the game's memory, resulting in the ability for server hosts to link their persistent world to a database, further extending the life of the game into mini-MMOs with a higher focus on role-playing over just leveling up. If the devs were curating this, guaranteed the publishers would have an interest and prevent tools being made and ultimately, shut the mod support down rather than risk the 0.01% that ruins it for everyone (think: multiplayer cheats, piracy DRM circumvention).

The two concepts in NVW actually merged to become a black-hole of MMO smut.

Anyway, if you're going to have standards and attempt to curate at all, they need to be evenly applied.

You can't keep tabs on all those modifications, not even with a seriously dedicated community doing most of the work for you in finding and reporting them.

. . .Paradox later clarified that the mod was removed largely for the comments surrounding it, rather than for the mod's content . . .

...Yet they didn't remove the comments, they removed the mod. A generic warning on the Steam Workshop like the ESRB one for online play should be sufficient warning for the players. I hope they give this idea up right quick, for their own sake as well as the players. They're going to be making a lot of unnecessary work for themselves otherwise, not least of all in justifying their decision to take some mods down and not others.

On one hand, I get that people do whatever they want on the internet, or what they make...but on the other hand, whoever's hosting it still has the final say on whether or not they want to host it. Nexus always removes the child killing mods from their sites, after all. Mod hosting sites still have to do some degree of moderation...at the very least, because otherwise people will just upload trojans all day.

The internet, while very friendly to free speech, does not always abide by it because of the same reasons why these things are allowed in the first place: there aren't any real laws on the internet, and we can all have our opinions, but it's ultimately up to who has control of the space as to how it's used, even if they don't articulate their reasons clearly so that you get to attempt a weak claim of reverse racism (nice try, by the way). Calls to freedom are pointless when what you propose would also mean the end of freedom for content creators and hosters. Regardless of how shitty you think these individuals are, you can't tell them what to do, just as they can't tell that mod maker to stop doing whatever they're doing, because their extent of control is limited to their domain. The person who made that mod isn't being stopped from hosting it on their own on any number of free file sharing sites.

While we're slipping in attacks on each other's characters on racism, if you wanted to play a game where everybody's white, I invite you to go to any number of game stores and just sweep your arms across the aisle. You can have your pick of any title that has fallen on the floor.

This is kind of the hell of Steam Workshop. Now, you've got something hosted on Steam and with a connection from the original product to the mod (instead of just vice versa). It's one thing to say this mod is none of your business, it's another thing entirely to say that we're making your product associated with this mod. Once you've done the latter, then yeah, the company should have the right to say it doesn't want that association.

A mod hosted on a private third-party server isn't the same, IMO.

Pyrian:
This is kind of the hell of Steam Workshop. Now, you've got something hosted on Steam and with a connection from the original product to the mod (instead of just vice versa). It's one thing to say this mod is none of your business, it's another thing entirely to say that we're making your product associated with this mod. Once you've done the latter, then yeah, the company should have the right to say it doesn't want that association.

A mod hosted on a private third-party server isn't the same, IMO.

Yeah, once it's linked through the Steam Workshop it starts looking more like a problem for them. Which was what they said when they originally took it down, which has been omitted.

They're still able to make the mod (They reuploaded it) and you can still install it. Paradox were concerned as it was hosted on their Steam Workshop page.

Probably best, as Barbas there pointed out, to just put a disclaimer up. There's already age gates etc, either put in a disclaimer page when going to the Workshop, or have it a dropdown like the account notifications stuff.

Also, the Steam comments are SUPER bad. There's almost no real moderation, the number of characters is limited, and every asshole who's every spent time yelling racial slurs into teamchat in multiplayer is on there. It's like Youtube comments in there, seriously bad.

I wouldn't say it's the last thing we need though. Honestly, I'm sick of crap mods, gamebreaking ones and dodgy interactions between them. Oh yay, another mod where someone forgot to mention it relies on another one, which I now have to chase down, but now it's updated and it breaks the mod I was trying to use. Oh the wonder! Some QA would be nice, it'd make it slightly less Russian Roulette. The reason that's a bad idea isn't because those mods are somehow a good idea, it's because it's far too large a task for a development team to undertake.

Should make an update to your original bit. Paradox didn't pull the mod because of the mod's contents, as they had left the mod up for awhile before, and have been fine with other similar mods.

The issue was that the mod was popular enough to be highly visible, and after a time they had started adding a lot to the mod description that the developers didn't care for. Nazism I think was pretty blatant there. So the combination of it being on the front page of the modding bit and thus highly visible, along with some wacky stuff that they did not want associated with their game so early lead them to pull it.

Can go find sources if you really want to, but it was for the stuff added to the description, not the mod itself, that lead to its pulling.

Nice article. I find the statement Eurogamer made to be completely off base. I don't know why everything, this day and age, somehow reverts to everyone thinking everyone else should be treated like children. This is just another way communities have become toxic towards creativity all the while applauding the most creative minds in a given community. It's community sanctioned creativity, and if it falls outside what a few vocal people think, then we have places like Eurogamer declaring that policing must be done. The worst part is if this sentiment spreads, it may well be the end of all modding. It will simply become easier if modding is not allowed, which is not what Eurogamer (or anyone) really wants, but that would be a likely outcome to a company trying to police 75k mods. Or one small company trying to police only a few thousand. It would be several completely pointless full-time jobs where people just install mods to see what they do.

I don't think developers should police mods, but I can understand why they would, expecially on Steam workshop. Somewhere like Nexus, you have to actually seeks it out, so people going to it can be expected to know what to expect. Steam though... that's the storefront, there's not much separation between "official" and "fan" content. Alot of negative press could seep from one to the other.

Plus, I'm sure many developers still remember GTA's "Hot Coffee" incident.

The magic of mods is that anyone can make anything that comes to their mind within the confines the game provides.

Developers stiffing mod creativity for any reason is against this basic concept, if mod policing gets traction we will see (sooner rather than later) mods taken out simply because they 'fix' fundamentally broken aspects of the game because the ego of certain 'primadona' developers got hurt or even because they intend to simply steal the idea for a paid for DLC.

weirdee:
Nexus always removes the child killing mods from their sites, after all.

Removes them or puts them in the adult section making them more difficult to find?
I don't know how many games use those mods but the ones for Bethesda games are still available in the adult section.

You don't have an unlimited right to host things on Steam's workshop. If this is what people think harms the modding scene...

...I got nothing. I mean, this sounds like another thinly-wrapped "freeze peach" argument. At the point that "white people only" mods are now vital to the community, it should be a sign that it's time for self-reflection.

Gatlank:

weirdee:
Nexus always removes the child killing mods from their sites, after all.

Removes them or puts them in the adult section making them more difficult to find?
I don't know how many games use those mods but the ones for Bethesda games are still available in the adult section.

oh, i guess they reconfigured their policy on that

but that mod that lets you eat the baby at the end of The Pitt is still missing from their database for some reason

Policing all mods available from all sources is completely unrealistic. The only real way developers might be able to do this is by disabling all mods except ones submitted to them they officially allow which would completely cripple the modding community.

Steam can remove any particular mod that it wants from being allowed on it's service (and its generally in their interest to go with developer's requests to do so) since it doesn't stop it being available somewhere else. Unfortunately for the Devs (since it isn't their fault at all) their work could easily end up being associated with a particularly egregious mod.
Mods that target particular individuals or promote child porn or whatever are probably worth removing but otherwise you can easily get into a "Hatred" where criticism just causes a backlash.

I can't for the life of me think why anyone would want this mod other than their racism but pulling the mod seems disproportionate when they could have just flagged it as potentially offensive and made it not show up on regular searches.

Similar mods that made all humans Asian or African were not pulled, prompting many to claim that the removal of this one mod was hypocritical.

Because it's blatantly hypocritical.

This is the problem with taking on the role of being the master curator of all your mods. If you take a hands off approach you are not responsible for what other people make. If you decide to start saying some things are okay and others are not, you now invite your curation policies to be criticized and tested - and people are going to use that to cast moral judgement about your company. The issue is, any mod left up and running is going to now be seen as actually sanctioned by your company as it has presumably been reviewed and allowed to remain up (regardless of if this is true or not).

People are always going to find a reason to try and catch you out on some double standard, or try to force in content through grey areas. What if you let a mod that's basically space nazis exist? Some people would find it offensive, others might not. If you take it upon yourself to be the curator and remove it people are going to call you too sensitive; if you keep it people are going to call you too callous. If, instead, you do no curation at all - people can't blame you for anything. It's better to just let the mods be what they are and tell people to direct complaints to whoever actually made it.

Kind of a pointless article. You don't even mention the crux of the situation. Paradox wasn't policing mods, they were policing THEIR own Steam Workshop portal. The ability of the mod maker to make and post the mod ANYWHERE else were not affected. Nor was that ever Paradox's intent.

I'm not familiar with how developer control over their Steam interface works- was Paradox capable of just having the comments deleted?

I investigated somewhat. According to Paradox employees at Reddit the issue was the mod description, which apparently promoted an agenda they didn't want to be associated with:

Paradox Wikis Admin:
We saw the mod, thought it wasn't in very good taste, but let it remain. Then the creator of the mod decided to update the description of the mod to promote an "agenda" not related to computer games at all, and this was being clearly displayed on our product page. We decided it was a step too far and removed it. Eurogamer did not do a good job describing what exactly it was we removed.

Source:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Stellaris/comments/4ktt2l/paradox_pulls_discriminatory_stellaris_mod_that/

Something Amyss:
You don't have an unlimited right to host things on Steam's workshop. If this is what people think harms the modding scene...

...I got nothing. I mean, this sounds like another thinly-wrapped "freeze peach" argument. At the point that "white people only" mods are now vital to the community, it should be a sign that it's time for self-reflection.

You're missing the point. It's not about the content of any particular mod, it's the question of whether we want developers policing the mods for their games and this article has provided some good arguments as to why this might be a bad idea.

I'd rather they spend more thought on developing their code than watching others. Let the publishers go litigious if things are provably damaging sales.

Nothing new. The thought of someone policing fantasies still stays disturbing. As are people who think that everyone should thought-policed because their political agenda is that important.

weirdee:
While we're slipping in attacks on each other's characters on racism, if you wanted to play a game where everybody's white, I invite you to go to any number of game stores and just sweep your arms across the aisle. You can have your pick of any title that has fallen on the floor.

a) "white" is a racist term b) there are other countries than america in the world and c) maybe don't tell people which games to play, m-kay?

So, where are all of the people championing Paradox's right to defend their artistic vision?

First of all, all they did was remove the thing from the Steam workshop. It was still available and rather easy to find. As far as I'm aware, they're not required to host literally anything that the community comes out with on their official Steam store page. Second, given how readily available the mod always has been, would someone like to explain how this is any more stifling to the modding community than, say, issuing copyright takedowns for material that isn't owned by the modder?

So, let me get this straight: Paradox removing a mod who's description had white supremist dog whistles and a link to a YouTube channel with that standard Neo-Nazi "multi-culturalism is bad because white genocide" rhetoric is bad because...?

They thought it was in bad taste, but allowed it to stay up before that happened. They're more policing their game's reputation than it's mod content.

infohippie:

You're missing the point. It's not about the content of any particular mod, it's the question of whether we want developers policing the mods for their games

Except that's not what happened, and nobody seems to have done their homework on it. The mod was removed from their Workshop page, and specifically because the developers linked to their White Power YouTube channel. That's it. Nothing about this is curating mods, as the mod, Nazis and all, was still available literally anywhere else that chose to host it.

The devs aren't policing mods for their games. That's outright false. When people are up in arms about a given instance, and it's a false one, it's not missing the point to point out it's false. This is being used as a case for the argument. It was literally given as an example within the article. Unfortunately, it's not really...true.

shrekfan246:
So, where are all of the people championing Paradox's right to defend their artistic vision?

Dumb as I think the usual internet outrage defending Nazis and their hate speech is, this is probably a bad argument since we're talking aftermarket modifications. Their original vision is intact.

Though I have no doubt if the opposite were the case, this would be an argument.

altnameJag:
So, let me get this straight: Paradox removing a mod who's description had white supremist dog whistles and a link to a YouTube channel with that standard Neo-Nazi "multi-culturalism is bad because white genocide" rhetoric is bad because...?

More to the point, the mod is still available. And then was restored, evidently without the links.

While I do agree with the article in spirit, in that I think it can get out of hand if devs start taking mods down because they can, but, in this case?

I'm totally fine with them doing it.

From what I can gather the mod in question had some white supremacy shit attached to it, and that's really not okay. The devs just want to keep their game from these sort of mods that create an atmosphere of exclusion, and promote nasty ideologies.

So yeah, I don't think the devs did anything wrong, and I guess the mod is still available somewhere. So, happy day for those people, I guess. :/

Okay, so in the EULA for Steam, it is clear that you never own the game you purchased.

Paradox would need some permission from Steam to get in removed from the Workshop. You, the consumer, can complain all you want but you don't own Steam, the Workshop, the game, the community page or the mod. You don't get a choice in this matter, except to complain or not.

So maybe, if you really want something changed, you should attack the source of the problem not the result

Something Amyss:
You don't have an unlimited right to host things on Steam's workshop. If this is what people think harms the modding scene...

...I got nothing. I mean, this sounds like another thinly-wrapped "freeze peach" argument. At the point that "white people only" mods are now vital to the community, it should be a sign that it's time for self-reflection.

One of the points others have made to keep the mod was that were many other single race only mods out already. Including a different white people only mod. If there is a "black people only" and an "only asian mod," then a white only mod is just as appropriate. If you have an issue with single race mods, then I can see a possible angle. If you have an issue with the white people only mod but none of the other racial exclusion mods, then we encroach on the land of hypocrisy.

I understand why it was pulled and I'm glad they put it back after it was fixed. I couldn't ever see the need to use that mod, but glad it exists for those that wish to enjoy it.

Fiz_The_Toaster:
While I do agree with the article in spirit, in that I think it can get out of hand if devs start taking mods down because they can, but, in this case?

I'm totally fine with them doing it.

From what I can gather the mod in question had some white supremacy shit attached to it, and that's really not okay. The devs just want to keep their game from these sort of mods that create an atmosphere of exclusion, and promote nasty ideologies.

So yeah, I don't think the devs did anything wrong, and I guess the mod is still available somewhere. So, happy day for those people, I guess. :/

Except they didn't touch the black or asian only mods. If you're against exclusion, then you should make it consistent. The link to other sites and crap was the big issue and they were right to pull for that. They were also right to put it back up once that was solved. That or pull all race exclusion mods.

I don't really use steam workshop mods but people if you are ever so desperate to make sure that there are only lily white people in space then couldn't the modders just put it somewhere else. By way of analogy if you went to a store and bought a book the publisher would be a little unhappy if at the counter you had the option of adding a white supremacist fanfic to it for free. It implies the publisher condones the content. They could care less if you read it online from an unconnected source.

Terminalchaos:

One of the points others have made to keep the mod was that were many other single race only mods out already. Including a different white people only mod. If there is a "black people only" and an "only asian mod," then a white only mod is just as appropriate. If you have an issue with single race mods, then I can see a possible angle. If you have an issue with the white people only mod but none of the other racial exclusion mods, then we encroach on the land of hypocrisy.

Except that's not what the issue was, and you claim to know it.

I understand why it was pulled and I'm glad they put it back after it was fixed. I couldn't ever see the need to use that mod, but glad it exists for those that wish to enjoy it.

Yeah, it's almost like this mod was singled out for a reason. That's not hypocrisy, and you claim to understand why it was pulled, so why claim otherwise?

Except they didn't touch the black or asian only mods.

Which of those mods linked to white supremacist YouTube channels?

Grumpy Ginger:
I don't really use steam workshop mods but people if you are ever so desperate to make sure that there are only lily white people in space then couldn't the modders just put it somewhere else.

They already had. It was already available elsewhere and remained so. And other people managed to have whites-only mods up at the time this was pulled.

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