Why the Forum was closed - Appropriate Content and Reactions

Phil7

Moderator
CX Code Contributor
3rd Party Tool Dev
Joined
Jun 26, 2017
Messages
876
Hello everyone!

We have always been very fond over the years of how positively people are communicating here in the forum even when opinions differ vastly. Maybe that is the reason why we were somewhat taken aback by a comment reacting to a game that was posted a while ago. Thankfully, @MikeHart closed the forum to give us some time to think about how to deal with these kinds of topics as moderators.
For those of you who haven't seen the thread and its content, we want to give some context. Not to blame anyone for that situation but to learn from it to avoid critical things to happen in the future.
One of our users started a thread about a homemade game and linked to it. The game revolves around dating situations and occurs to have a gender-critical or homosexual atmosphere/background. We have to admit that we didn't play the game to a point where explicit sexual content was shown, so we simply don't know what the game actually contains. Now, regarding the comment made by another user reacting to that game: Obviously, the user was very offended by the game, especially its sexual tendency, and wrote explicitly about his opinion concerning gender ideology and sexual content in a controlled but harsh and negative manner, using single-letter abbreviations for curse words.

Long story short: While the overall topic of sexuality in media, gender studies, and identity is something that is discussed wherever you look, @MikeHart and I have decided not to allow content or discussions about those topics on our forum. First, because this is a forum about game development and not about politics; and second, because sexual content itself would require an age-restricted member section here, which we are not willing to establish. This forum is a place for everyone.
As a result, we have decided on the following practical steps to prevent future escalations:
  • We completely removed the mentioned thread containing the link to the game and the attached posts.
  • We will have an eye on games or posts with sexuality related content and remove it if we see any risk of it being offensive. There is certainly a broad spectrum of "implicit sexuality" in games that we do not intend to prohibit. Mario can still kiss his princess in the end ... or even Luigi. ;-)
To get to the most important message of this post: There will always be content that may be perceived as offensive or inappropriate in some way or another. Please don't make the forum a platform to insult or depreciate people publicly. Neither personal nor generalized regarding opinions or groups of people. If you have the impression that something is inappropriate, just write a personal message to one of the moderators, and we will work to resolve the issue.

This forum should remain a place where you can express yourself creatively and freely, while showing respect, and have the opportunity to learn from mistakes without the fear of public punishment.

All the best,

Your CX Team
 
Hi guys, glad the forum is back. I got back to CX a few days ago but I found that weird message on the forum, now I understand what happened and feel reassured about the future of CX and the team's spirit.
 
On other forums I have seen a lot worse. Locking the entire forum for this was a bit of over reaction in my opinion.

Anyway, since we are talking about not allowing to post and link adult and political content, I would personally also consider to bann gambling games from the forum. Imagine someone post a link to a poker game where members of the CX community lose lot of money or turn out to be a scam completely the game designed in a way people can never win.

Speaking of restrictions on the forum, personally I would also prohibit the use of CX for making gambling and erotic content of any kind.

Again, gambling can turn out to be a scam and imagine if someone care to credit CX in a porn game with CP content in it.

In the license of CX it should be made illegal to use CX for staff like this. Period.
 
@ddabrahim Yes, I think gambling is a good suggestion for the forum guidelines. Posting it on the forum without a proper age restriction wall would be illegal for most countries AFAIK.

And just to clarify the closing of the forum was not meant as a measure to the issue, but because this hasn't happened before here we simply were not sure what to do about it and we didn't want to do something unreflected that might cause more harm than good.

While I can understand your concerns about what people might do with CX, this is completely out of our hands with it licensed as it is. It's a tool to create freely just like other publicly available programming languages out there. You wouldn't try to restrict the usage of c, java, js or assembler, would you?
 
[You wouldn't try to restrict the usage of c, java, js or assembler, would you?

Cerberus X is not simply a programming language. With mojo and mojo2 I would consider it a framework. Even with an open-source license it would be possible to include en EULA that restrict how people allowed to use CX. At least it would make people hide the fact their little porn, political and gambling game was made with CX which is preferable if you want to stay out of any illegal and political debates.

But it is up to you guys. I would include this EULA.
 
You need to understand that these monstrous licenses that large companies like Microsoft are rolling out are not at all an attempt to limit anyone - they are a way to protect themselves.
In the MIT license, a disclaimer clause serves this purpose, so everything seems to be fine.
 
It would be silly to put restrictions on it, IMO. Everything in Cerberus is completely general purpose, including mojo. You would only be making a stick to beat yourselves with.

RPG Maker is a well-known framework, *much* more specific than CX, and nobody thinks of it as a porn development system even though there are many porn games and visual novels that use it!

And the boundaries are very fuzzy for what constitutes gambling and erotic content - let alone politics...
 
nobody thinks of it as a porn development system even though there are many porn games and visual novels that use it!
It is not about being considered a porn development system but the message Mike initially left on the lock screen did suggest he was afraid of being sued or framed for some reason. As I mentioned if someone would make a CP game with “made with CX” credit, that would bring CP discussions to the forum if CX devs support CP or not. Imagine what would then happen. Servers would be burnet.
And the boundaries are very fuzzy for what constitutes gambling and erotic content - let alone politics...
Not sure what is fuzzy about it. Gambling is when you invest certain amount of money and hope you win more money back. Erotic content involve nudity and intimicy. Political content include topics of race, nationality, sexuality, ethnicity.

In my head it is not that complicated but also no need to get so detailed about it. Everyone knows what gambling, porn and politics is.
 
I support the decisions made here. Plus, I owe Mike, the mods, and the community at large a big apology.

For the record, I'm the culprit who is to blame in the first place. I take full responsibility for my words. I was definitely reacting emotionally and inappropriately so. I believe every word I wrote, however, though I am embarrassed that - at my age - I didn't take it to a mod first for discussion and instead reacted entirely on emotion.

That said, this entire policy change 100% addresses the issue at hand and any future potential issues. The solution given here is absolutely sound and correct. It is true that dealing with modernity and all of its ideological nuance is not an easy thing to do for anyone at the helm of a group of any sort. And since our craft is very "platform agnostic" so to speak (i.e. we get lots of folks from lots of backgrounds), I find the approach of: "We just won't deal with these topics at ALL on our forums" to be a perfectly valid and effective means of handling it.

Very simple: No religion, politics, or sexual content. Easy peasy.

Keep in mind this IN NO WAY prohibits people from making whatever content they wish...political, religious, or sexually implicit. It is simply the display and discussion thereof on official forums that is limited in these topics. There are platforms such as itch.io, Discord, and others for the offering and discussion of these types of content. Even PMs maybe. Good points are made above about gambling, which is a thing that never even occurred to me. I also concur with other users who mention licensure. The current license is good and offers a complete disclaimer. Of course I'm not a legal expert, but that is what I came up with after reading it.

Apologies again for stirring the proverbial "pot." My goal was definitely NOT to grind the forums to a halt for any length of time, or to cause anyone any undue stress or extra work. I do feel the reaction by the team was entirely appropriate and commensurate, as I recall reading up above someone who didn't understand WHY the forums were paused to begin with. I am fairly certain the catalog of resources was checked to make sure nothing else in violation of the new policy was around and removed if so. That's my best guess.

That said - if not me now, then someone else later. These policies - for better or for worse - would have had to been enacted sooner or later. I would suggest this is a normal side effect of growth. Any time you have a group of people whose number increases over time...those people are going to have differences, and such a neutral policy as now exists is the time-tested and proven way of handling such conflicts as may arise due to this intermingling. And for the record, I think litigation is gross and slimy and dumb. That isn't my way.

I consider the matter to be completely resolved, I consider the resolution to be completely appropriate (even should the final result of resolution be my own ban), and the criticism of my reaction to be entirely accurate. I did use "single letter" curse words. It's true.

Again, my sincere apologies for going FULL KAREN. This is a great community overall and in all the years I've visited this place this was the ONLY time I've EVER had anything remotely approaching a "negative" experience. And as far as that goes, I've lived through FAR WORSE. I feel rather silly now, looking back. I can only attribute it to a lack of maturity and parental instinct in overdrive in tandem with an acute knee-jerk reaction via a set of strongly held beliefs. Not an excuse, but certainly an explanation. I overreacted.

That said, under the new policy, expressing those very thoughts are by nature political and were thus rightly deleted. Again, if I were to be banned, this would also be in step with current policy and - while I obviously don't WANT to be banned - would completely understand if they did.

Sometimes if you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.

As I said then, I say now: I do not particularly care what people think, do, or believe...until it steps on MY thoughts, actions, and beliefs. This new policy prohibits any such conflict going forward and that is - to me at least - a very good thing which allows us to focus on the task at hand: Using Cerberus-X to make awesome games for everyone to enjoy and learn from! Apologies again for being ridiculous.
 
Last edited:
Yikes. BIG yikes.

I do not support this outcome - at all. Everything in life, including games are political in nature.

In one side I do agree that pornographic material should not be allowed, but are you guys even sure it was porn? There are a ton of "dating sims" out there, that has no nudity or porn material out there.

Now regardless of what it was or what the reaction was, reading things like "no religion, politics, or sexual content", "leave politics out of games", etc., always creeps me out. This is what 'conservatives' complain and use to try to ban just about anything they don't like.

Instead of wording it like that, I'd say: do not post anything forbidden by law, nothing that is 18+, hateful or harmful content. No fights or flame wars. Respect and be respected.

Game developers should be people with open minds. For a long time, being a 'game developer' was considered a joke, not 'a real profession'. More than once I heard people tell me to "leave this kid thing and get a real job".

We should be better than this. And this prompted me to take this stand. A "ban" on "politics" feels wrong to me.
 
There are a ton of "dating sims" out there, that has no nudity or porn material out there.
A game doesn't have to contain nudity or porn, etc. But if a game contains concepts either direct or implied via language or imagery, or goes against a moral code that would be considered as inappropriate or offensive in any country, and is subject to legislation in any of those countries; then it can become a bit of a legal minefield for an online forum, or social media website to operate in those countries if they don't have access to expensive legal teams. Sometimes it only takes a hyperlink to an item to cause trouble.

In the United Kingdom, game ratings are under the purview of the Games Rating Authority and are subject to the Video Recordings Act 1984, this was updated in 2010 and didn't add anything new. Currently this act has a loop hole, as it only covers games supplied on physical media, and not games sold online. A dating game, if sold on physical media, would then have to have a PEGI rating of 12, as the chances are that at some point in the game there will be concepts that would be considered inappropriate of younger age groups.

I'd say: do not post anything forbidden by law
The problem there is each country has their own laws. What is acceptable in one country may not be in another.
 
Last edited:
A game doesn't have to contain nudity or porn, etc. But if a game contains concepts either direct or implied via language or imagery, or goes against a moral code that would be considered as inappropriate or offensive in any country, and is subject to legislation in any of those countries; then it can become a bit of a legal minefield for an online forum, or social media website to operate in those countries if they don't have access to expensive legal teams. Sometimes it only takes a hyperlink to an item to cause trouble.
Use the law of the country where the forum is hosted, in this case German law. To sue internationally is VERY expensive, so unless something really drastic occurs, you can rule that out if you're covered by local law.

Otherwise, trying to abide to all laws of all countries, you'll be subjected to laws of countries like Venezuela, Russia or North Korea - and I don't think anyone wants that.

As for game ratings, you can use things like PEGI.

Now, for this:

But if a game contains concepts either direct or implied via language or imagery, or goes against a moral code
Who gets to decide this "moral code"? What is "implied"? This is a slippery slope, vague wording that can be use to prohibit just about anything. There was a time where showing a knee was 'immoral'. There was a time that having POC in the same room as white people was considered 'immoral'.

One should not be guided by subjective things. What one culture considers 'immoral' another considers it perfectly fine.

I give you one simple example: in Europe, women sunbathing can expose their breasts, which is considered normal. Here in Brazil, although women wears very, VERY small bikinis at the beach, if they put their breast on display people freak out. If a woman from Afghanistan wears a Brazilian bikini in public, she will probably be sentenced to death.

Which behavior is right or wrong? Its not for me (or any individual) to judge - that's why we have laws.
 
Last edited:
Sometimes it only takes a hyperlink to an item to cause trouble.
Is that really true? I can't imagine a link cause any legal problems. I always imagined at minimum you should get a warning. I don't actually know the law, but I can see that Mike did frequently freaked out because of very strict law in Germany.

In Germany can you really get sued because of a link? Just straight away, summon to court coming through the post, no questions asked because someone posted a link or embedded a video on you forum? I can't imagine it would be that bad. I have a blog hosted in the USA, it is constantly get hacked, hackers inject links in to my website to all sort of content, at one point my ISP just emailed me I need to remove the links or they need to remove my website, Google also emailed me few times I got black listed, need to remove the links.

But really can you get pulled in to lawsuit because of a link? I can imagine after a few warnings definitely yes but without warning overnight just get f** and go on your holy way with a fine and a lawsuit? This is sounds crazy to me.
 
In Germany can you really get sued because of a link? Just straight away
It's not that easy. Usually you are right, you might get a warning. But there have always been companies with lawyers doing nothing else but searching the net for illegal behaviour. A few years ago it was common practice for those companies to demand a fee up to 2000€ to prevent a lawsuit for some minor data missing in the impressum for example. Now they can only charge up to about 50€ for mailing you about some misbehaviour, but they try to get 200€. I had that case only a few weeks ago when they mailed someone I once made a website for. He used a google font on his site and didn't give all the information about it in his privacy policy. In theory you are violating the privacy right of each user visiting the site so it could be x times 50€. This business model seems to be stopped now but you never know.

In general with German law and the GDPR it is pretty hard to get it all right. I think we have to keep an eye open and try to do our best.

Instead of wording it like that, I'd say: do not post anything forbidden by law, nothing that is 18+, hateful or harmful content.
That's about what is stated under terms and rules and should be a good base for the legal side. But I think we should still consider that younger kids are able to view the site without accepting those terms and keeping content at pegi 3 is not that easy. I might create a members showcase section where we have a semi 16+ hurdle by the mandatory terms and rules.

I think @SLotman is right, that you cannot avoid religion, violence, politics and sexuality entirely. That is simply unrealistic and would propably destroy creativity in games. The guidelines are trying to give an orientation of what to watch out for when posting. Sometimes common sense and gut feeling is enough to decide if content is disturbing or not. My hope is that the guidelines are helping to navigate better, have the moderators involved in edge cases and negotiate a feasable way to deal with those things in the future.
 
once made a website for. He used a google font on his site and didn't give all the information about it in his privacy policy. In theory you are violating the privacy right of each user visiting the site so it could be x times 50€.
That's really f* up. So what if you go ahead and just fix privacy policy after getting the fine and just not pay and claim that it is not true or simply ignore them? Would they actually take you to court where you need the proof you had the proper information in place or they would just get a court order with some web history to show to court you were violating the privacy law? I mean not giving people a chance to fix their mistakes is just pure wrong.

In my country about 10 years ago downloading games via torrent was illegal and people did actually get fines through the post up to €500. They did simply get your IP from the torrent session and sent you a demand to pay the fees or you are facing a lawsuit. It was really scary, it was illegal, but the court was just way too busy for this nonsense. No court did actually bothered to enforce these claims so they had no power to send debt collectors to your door just the letter to pay or you get in trouble. But nothing really happened. Later they did scrap this law completely.
 
So what if you go ahead and just fix privacy policy after getting the fine and just not pay and claim that it is not true or simply ignore them?
They won't be able to sue everyone they mail to, but the problem is that these companies are no uneducated average scammers that try to scare and hide at the same time. They have educated lawyers that know how to prove the data and they send an excerpt of it with the mail. Those things are actual loop holes in law and principally legal until officially judged otherwise.
 
Back
Top Bottom