The problem with "mature" content in Fire Emblem fangames

The problem with “mature” content in Fire Emblem fangames is that I shouldn’t have to read through 70 walls of text just to get to the point of “okay are you actually going to do something about this issue?” Because at the moment it seems like the standard method for potentially distasteful content is “wait until someone plays it, and then dance around the point of claiming the hack is an immature waste of bile while never actually saying that.” You can posture about like edgy content is fine, but if it is fine, that leaves the obvious question of why such harsh ire is permitted in their topics.

If a line is going to exist at all, it needs to be clearly defined. Duo Geno Escapo was removed from FEU, and I’d imagine GhebFE would be removed if it were posted here today (despite such a removal being utterly pointless), but is that a standard you’re willing to uphold? Is there any sort of actual praxis here besides “low quality hacks with rape jokes are bad?” Furthermore, what is even the point of removing a hack from FEU? Are you trying to set yourself apart from places like Serenes?

As it stands, this whole affair is just yet another nebulous smokescreen offering clemency to people who want complain about specific hacks but can’t find a way to do so without breaking this bizarre idea of decorum.

Here.

Here.

what are you actually implying here

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I think the entire point is to stop demonizing noobs for being noobs.

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Not just noobs; actual children. And ‘Children’ is a term that ranges from age 0 to age 16 or so. A lot of teenagers, especially anyone special enough to mod a frigging gba rom, are probably not socially aware enough to understand boundaries.

So just, like, don’t jump down their throats, ban them, stomp their projects into the mud, etc. Treat these projects in the same way you’d treat your kid brother making some dumb project for school. Give constructive criticism, ignore the dumber, cringier elements, etc. Live and let live.

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i just have to reiterate that literally zero people have been banned for posting bad edgy content, and the most recent project to have been banned outright was duo geno, which was over six months ago.

I don’t know what threads you all are reading that’s filled with soon-to-be-banned edgy creators being dogged by a throng of detractors calling for a deletion; at worst I have seen feedback that steps over the line of civility (“this is cancerous”, while absolutely uncalled for, is not the same thing as pestering the mods to ask for a deletion).

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The thing is, controversial content has been dogged for change/erasure at a level that’s disproportionate to what’s needed.

If staff doesn’t provide a decent enough response (hell, if they started it), the community keeps the conflict rolling, and these newbies get a boatload of drama they didn’t ask for, for something they didn’t even know was a rule / courtesy. (And if they’re knowingly testing the boundary, well, it still deserves an initial courtesy and a single gentle but firm “this be the way the rules are”. Even if someone wastes time making a project just to get under your skin for a minute, you can and should still play fair and make the rules of the community clear.)

Have enough empathy to see what sort of response is needed (be it direct or a quiet flag to the moderators), see what’s already been said, how many people are in the conversation, and wait for feedback from the other end of your communication loop.

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I can’t remember the hacks name but wasn’t there a problem with a hack because they made gory or violent death mugs for the cast? As far as I remember it wasn’t banned or nothing but the download link to the patch was removed. If anyone knows of its name feel free to say it but that’s one of my examples of mature content on this site that wasn’t crude jokes or something.

edit: I’ve never played this hack personally as I didn’t have a computer or any proper to device to patch the game and play it on a emulator but I do remember seeing discussion about it

Okay, try addressing a single point I wrote.

If Duo Geno Escapo was banned, what is the standard and why is it being upheld? I was very tired when I wrote that overly long message, so I’ll just restate myself much more succintly: if you are going to dance around banning hacks for distasteful content, or if you aren’t, please just rip the band-aid off already. I’m not interested in randos like OP writing 400 paragraphs attempting to narrowly define what is permissible, I want to know what is permissible so I don’t have to constantly second-guess this nonsense.

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I’ve definitely let myself be dragged back to this topic to say more than I intended in a conversation that seems to have become about the moderation staff (maybe I shouldn’t have said anything in the first place?), so I’m going to preface this post by saying that I’m unlikely to respond to any further comments here in lieu of a larger, more comprehensive post that’s currently under review.

To address a few of the high-level concerns I’m seeing as a common thread:

  • Yes, there is definitely a dog-piling problem. We have already been trying to delete comments that cross the threshold without wiping huge swaths of the conversation entirely. I think we could definitely stand to be more aggressive about stepping in early in these cases.
  • Projects are not banned for containing edgy content. They are banned due to a combination of bad taste, poor execution, and, most importantly, the authors being unwilling to yield. A project’s download link being removed is not the same thing. I’m not going to get into more detail about this now, because I’m only going to end up repeating myself.
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You say ‘the most recent project’ in a way which implies there was only one project you removed. I know for a fact you removed DGE, and what about Inheritance? What about ‘Many Emblem’? Fire Memeblem?

You have blocked, shut down, or banned four projects in 2020. That also doesn’t take into account the various Mangs-related hacks, which I have heard offhand either were not allowed to be posted on FEU, or were removed. I don’t know which; I wasn’t involved in those conversations. But given the four projects you removed in 2020, which had no prior year precedent for all of the FE community’s entire existence, I wouldn’t be shocked if you removed those too.

Very small tangent: If you did, in fact, remove the Mangs hacks, I feel compelled to point out that Mangs himself did not develop those projects. He is not a rom modder. His community makes the hacks, and he plays them. That means, by removing those hacks, you would essentially be punishing people who had nothing to do with Mangs’ wrongdoings (And whose projects were actually lighthearted and fun, having nothing to do with sexual misconduct or any of the acts he committed). It doesn’t hurt Mangs; it hurts the people who, by a distant proxy and relation to him, had their creativity squashed and thus suffered guilt by association.

I’m assuming you removed them, but I could be wrong.

Forget them for a second. You absolutely blocked, deleted, or censored four other projects in 2020. That much is irrefutable. What made 2020’s tasteless projects any worse than previous years? The community has had dumb, edgy, fart humor for literal decades. I’ve been around since 2003, so I’ve seen all of the big offenders, with the Gheb hacks by far outpacing any of the four removed hacks we saw this year.

Saying “we didn’t technically ban the creators/their projects, we only removed them or locked their topics” is mere nitpicking. You shut down their projects, one way or another, and that is my point. Why did you do that? Why 2020 out of all the other years? Is this going to continue? Are we going to start seeing projects shut down at the whims of the community simply because children making bad projects grosses some people out?

For the record: I don’t give a damn about any of the aforementioned projects. I certainly had no interest in playing them and their humor was not in my tastes. But Inheritance was not some thrown together hack intending to rile up the community; it was a genuinely good effort by a couple of kids/teens to try and make something they thought would be funny. DGE was a hack made by two people with the intent of making one chapter each, back and forth, without editing the previous chapters. That’s fun and creative stuff, even if the potty humor ended up sucking doodoo and most everyone agrees the end result wasn’t that great.

But by going out of your way to shut those projects down, you have signaled to the entire hacking community that you are drawing a line, where before there was no line. You have become the arbiters of creativity, and anyone whose tastes are too crude to match yours cannot put their projects out. It’s also ramping up a culture of hostility toward actual children.

You said this earlier. No. No, that was not ever the case. Since no projects had ever been banned on the merits or lack of merits regarding their creativity, nobody (except for maybe a few brainlets with an agenda, I suppose) would have blamed you for continuing to maintain that position of neutrality.

But now? Now, the admins have made a stance clear, which means that now, if you do not block a project, you are tacitly endorsing its existence, while if you do block one, you are stating that it is inexcusably bad.

Before, if a project was bad, people would just ignore it, laugh at the little kid dum-dum, and move on. Now, they have a reason to go out of their way, bully the person, and sicc the mods on that person, making their project disappear, and the creator leave.

How is this okay? This will lead to a smaller, less vibrant community over time. I already gave you the far superior solution, so, using words like “This site is attached to me and people will blame me if a project isn’t banned for being bad” does not pass the sniff test.

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mangs moments

Sacred Chairs did get in some hot water because there was a black character with a racist name, but after a quick change it was like nothing happened.

But, yes, when the things that actually brought the creators into the community in the first place are shut down without any positive encouragement or attempts to appear kindhearted, the creators might as well be banned because such poor reception will understandably make them leave disliking the community.

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The inheritance thread was literally removed BY REQUEST OF THE CREATORS, OH MY GOD. Know what you are talking about before you say anything, please.

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doubling up on what relic said for proof

Yeah, and what happened right up to the point before the creator removed the hack? A bunch of people ostracizing him and his design choices, and failing to provide any positive feedback.

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I like how you say this as if I have any way to know or check that information out. The thread is gone, so therefore, I can very easily check on the reason for why it was removed!

And in any case, why did the creator ask for his thread to be deleted? Was it because, by chance, he got bullied and harassed endlessly and didn’t want to deal with this shit anymore?

Eh. Probably unrelated.

He says “even if I didn’t want to do it”.

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He wasn’t bullied. People told him that part of the content was distateful and explained why. Bullying is a serious problem and you shouldn’t use that word so frivolously. No one was banned because of this, and the biggest thing Cam usually did was add a “warning” in the title. There isn’t a big conspiracy and no one is out there to harass children for their mistakes (but if they were, I’m sure the mods would gladly punish them accordingly for doing that, so please report anything like that if you see it happen instead of making things up).

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Nobody explained why, from what I saw. It was simply “thing bad” and no advice for improvement. But then, the thread is gone, so your claim is as well-founded as mine.

So many people did this, it must have been overwhelming.

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I guess it’s your word versus mine. I can’t re-read the Inheritance topic, given it no longer exists. I did read through it at the time, and I did, in fact, see a lot of bullying behavior. I’m not sure what you define as bullying, but when I see five people bandwagoning together on one person to repeat a mean-spirited narrative, that strikes me as bullying.

I’m really not interested in arguing dictionary definitions, though. Maybe someone will have an archive of the thread and prove me right or wrong.

Point is, I posted four links to projects; three of those threads are deleted, and the last one is locked, and all of that happened in 2020. Their creators left the community, and nobody has disproven my earlier point in the slightest. You’re dancing from one justification to the next.

My ultimate point: Don’t ban or cancel or block or harass people, especially if they are a first-time project creator, a teen, a child, etc. Let their projects exist, give them some constructive criticism, and in time, they should ideally stick around long enough to learn new abilities, eventually rising to the level of the giants we have among our community today.

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There’s no point wasting time pointing fingers and spreading misinformation when there’s problems to solve. There’s no need to rile people up and nitpick Cam’s words when there’s a perfectly reasonable solution available in voluntary content ratings, and an official policy already in the works for clarification, which will be posted once it’s out of the drafting phase. If you have something to debate with the staff that’s relevant to solving the issue at hand rather than dragging up past incidents, do so respectfully and with a basis in the facts.

We do admit it’s partially the staff’s fault for not having explicit, public content guidelines established already. With a proper rating system a lot of the surprise and backlash against this kind of content could have been avoided. We can’t control how a general audience of regular members will react to a project, but we can at least prevent escalation of negative reactions to the creator by locking the thread and removing the download link.

From what I remember, those threads got locked due to such fires and devolving into off-topic arguments (e.g. Inheritance thread veered off into FE4 debates), sparked in part by creators being resistant to feedback about the problematic content. This resistance to addressing the feedback and properly warning for the content is why it had to be temporarily removed and a warning label manually applied by the staff (or until the creator edited it). Creators are free to resubmit works with edits to remove or warn for explicit content.

Poor or disproportionate response to criticism is inevitable in a creative space, and it’s not the platform’s fault if creators choose to leave over reasonable and legitimate criticism. If bullying or non-constructive trashing of a work is causing creators to leave, that’s an actionable issue and we expect it to be reported to us so we can act on it. (For clarity, locking a thread is one way we can take action against dogpiling of that nature.)

I think this thread has run its course for the moment, so I’ll be locking it until further notice from the rest of the team.

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