Vault content appearing on Steam

Not sure if everyone here has seen what’s on the Steam Workshop these days… much of it copied from the Vault, sometimes without attribution.

Some are actively encouraging this, too - see, for example, comment by Ryo here.

My impression from this discussion here at the Vault is that this community favours a more cautious approach.

Personally, I’m not sure this is a big deal. I’ve hestitated to create an unnecessary stir. However, I know this is an emotive issue for some. We need to hear those voices on the Beamdog and Steam forums, otherwise I expect the trickle will become a flood.

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Uploading without the attribution is a pretty surefire way for them to eventually piss somebody off, for sure. They really need to credit the original authors properly, for their own protection, especially if they’ve put money into their Steam account. No amount of laid-backness and love for open-sourcedness in the general community ethos of the Vault can protect them from the fallout of the wrath of individual authors who feel their feet have been stepped on.

On the other hand, migrating the content for more exposure is a pretty great idea. It’s not wrong that the extra steps of downloading and installing manually will alienate people who’re used to one-click downloading. The majority of the Steam players will never see the Vault content if somebody doesn’t migrate it. A volunteer-migrators-brigade that go about asking permission of the authors and migrating content to Steam with explicit permission to do so would be great for NWN - one of the biggest strengths of the game is the custom content wealth; without that visible on the commercial platforms, it’s just about misrepresented.

I imagine it’d be extremely flattering to come back to an old game after a decade of absence and see that something you made for it way back when is still there, still being used, having been loved and valued enough that people wanted to take it with them into the future. Given proper attribution and respect-paying, it might actually make a good deal of old authors happy rather than angry. Still, all the risk is on part of the migrator, so getting permission first is definitely the safest route for them.

'course, for upwards of 99% of the stuff, they’d probably never get that permission. :-/ But then again, right now is the best time to try - what with the EE, chances of old authors stopping by and seeing contact attempts have never been higher.

Ryo’s rectified their comment, though, so that’s upwards of one person saved from a fairly high risk of horrible humandrama down the road. Good catch.

What if we start up an opt-in list for authors, where people explicitly give permission for (some or all of) their content to be migrated to Steam? :thinking: Volunteer migrators could check that list and know what’s safe to migrate. Make the list very visible, send out messages about it on the various platforms, try and increase the chances that passingly returning old authors will see it. That might avoid message spam floods by migrators to authors as well as migrator frustration over sending out ridiculous amounts of messages that yield no response, and give “My content has been migrated without my permission!!”-annoyed authors something to point the offenders at for future reference that’d actually be helpful for the unwitting migrator.

I think they must have missed the following from the workshop terms of service -

  • You must be the owner of uploaded submission.

TR

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Yup. So, if somebody complains and the rulebook gets cracked open to check for what should be done about that, it’s more likely than not the uploader who’ll be taking all the blame. They’ve gotta watch out for their Steam account, doing this stuff.

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I was going to post on each of the modules Rawkinrex that they need to give credit to the original creator but since I haven’t put $5.00 in my account I can’t. And that is one more reason I’m getting any content from them. So I hope the Vault or Beamdog will post all the new content.

@jonesr65 I left Rawkinrex a polite message to that effect here but have received no response at the time of writing.

Well, it looks as though we may have our first real test case of a truly illegitimate posting of a NWN module to Steam. Leaving aside the presumptuousness of doing this for so many other mods, Rawkinrex has also posted Alazander’s Crimson Tides of Tethyr:

The real problem is that Alazander has already announced plans to update and re-release his modules for EE himself:

So this is a direct posting to Steam of a work not only not abandoned by its author, but for which the author has already announced plans to release his own EE update himself.

This concerns me because my work is also in the process of being updated and re-released for EE and Steam, as well as as a series of novels.

Being fed up with this behaviour I have just started this thread on steam.

TR

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Anyone want to help me dig my way out of this hole?

TR

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I received an interesting pm about this on steam. In it they say -

Hence why I suggest contacting the developer of the game, not the content owner. The developers of the game can remove workshop content in their workshop section, as well as officers they appoint and I think they can give permission to moderators to do the same.

Whether or not contacting Trent about this would do any good is another matter.

TR

I will not be able to post much until late tonight. (This is about as much as I can do right now.) But to address this last question: as both a Beamdog rep and the Vault’s admin, @niv is probably in the best position to opine on this — and he’s already expressed a view on it on the BD forms here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/952506/#Comment_952506

All Rawkinrex’s submissions were removed (or hidden maybe) from the workshop.

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Kudos to you all for maintaining your cool. I was grinding my teeth just reading that.

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Hi guys,

our/Beamdog’s Julius is going to handle Workshop matters from now on, including content disputes.

He’ll be posting an announcement to that effect tomorrow-ish; but if you have concerns or troubles at all about other items appearing on ye olde shoppe, feel free to contact him privately on the BD forums, on Discord, on Steam, divination crystal ball, or whatever other means you may prefer.

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I would have mentioned that mythical Icelandic beast that the three billy goats gruff know but I think that is against steam’s forum rules.

TR

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I see Steam have locked the thread without explanation.

Unfortunately, that leaves the casual Steam reader with two unchallenged misconceptions about the Vault. Firstly, no one involved was speaking on behalf of the Vault. Secondly (as I see it) the Vault has no interest in a traffic war with Steam, as it’s not commercial, and will continue to be an important resource for everyone who buys NWN from Beamdog or Gog.

Trying to say this too directly on Steam might get us banned (could be construed as fighting the moderator) but we could usefully slip those messages into other posts as the opportunity arises.

@niv I’ll PM Julius with a few thoughts.

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Tarot was personally attacked on that thread for posting an innocent question in defense of an author whose work appeared to have been pirated. Given the disgraceful behavior of those who did this (which almost certainly violated Steam’s terms of service), locking the thread was probably the best decision on their part.

I wouldn’t worry about how the thread might reflect on the Vault. With no one responding to it, it will vanish quickly enough. And frankly, I think it reflects much more poorly on themselves, and on the culture of Steam’s user community. It’s even given me pause to re-evaluate my decision to publish there.

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Oh, goodness. A mini-mini-mini-shitstorm on the internet. :slight_smile:

I think it helps to consider the different priorities set by different types of communities. Steam’s a commercial place mostly populated by players, so they’re prioritizing things that’re of interest to players, whereas we’re populated by collaborating content creators, so we’re prioritizing things that favour peacekeeping between content creators, like watching out for eachothers’ ownership rights and preemptively speaking out against things we see that stand to aggravate other authors before somebody gets upset. Doing that helps us get along, so it’s stabilizing to our social environment and we view it favourably.

If you’ve got a community comprised mostly of pure players, on the other hand, then availability of the content to the players is much more important than peacekeeping between individual content creators, and maintaining people’s willingness to cooperate with others just isn’t relevant. If an author leaves - who cares? There’ll be others. That’s appalling to us, yeah, because we actually give a damn, but to the rest of the world? Better part of 'em 'll probably just “meh”. So, sure. Tarot’s concern looks as overbearing and nosey to them as it looks reasonable and considerate to us. Perspectives.

It’s overall not very much in any of our interests to poke at that beehive, though. They’re quite right on some points. The content was created to be seen and used by players. The Vault, as a hosting platform, has no legal right to speak on behalf of the content. It’s in the best interests of the game for as much content as possible to be available to as many people as possible in as simple a fashion as possible. For NWN, and BD, it’d be very good for as much of the Vault content to get migrated to Steam as possible.

I think I’d recommend not giving very much of a damn. The nice part of the Steam ToS is that yes, if an author is upset about a copyright violation of their work, the rulebooks are entirely on their side. Let them do their thing, and us do ours, and if they start trying to bully creators on Steam or elsewhere, we support eachother and have fun building things as we always have.

Frickin’ glad to have you lot, anyway. I like our ‘snobby’ ethical standards a lot better than the love for rampant ad hominem practiced in a lot of other places on the internet.

Maybe we ought to be glad to keep the place somewhat reclusive. :wink: Imagine all the people with the short fuses suddenly started coming to and posting on the Vault, and we had to start filtering out the insults when reading people’s posts.

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I don’t entirely disagree with that, but we need to stop signalling that the Vault was speaking in that thread.

Clearly, there’s a judgement here, which different folk will call either way.

Steam certainly is a wasp’s nest, but equally if we sit back and do nothing when content is ripped without attribution, it will deepen the negative perception of Steam in this community, when (arguably) we should be taking the opportunity to promote the revitalization of the game by encouraging authors to publish there.

I’ve suggested to Julius that we need an agreed policy, backed by Beamdog and as much consensus as we can get here, on what we should do in these cases. Takedown is not the only option - for example, a polite request for attribution might suffice.

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Seconding the motion for polite requests for attribution. As noted, the rules do not favour the migrators if the original authors show up again and dislike what they’ve been doing. Visibly paying respect and appreciation to the original authors in the unsanctioned upload increases the chance that people will recognize it as the flattering “We loved your work so much, we wanted to preserve it!” it’s meant to be, and not take offense.

And, yeah. Steam’s full of players - and we make stuff that’s meant for players to enjoy. The uploads without attribution don’t make for a great first impression, but these aren’t really “natural enemies” for any of us.

Y’lot with the moderator badges should probably start checking in with Niv and/or one another before saying/doing things on other sites, too. You’ve got less personal freedom to act out than the rest of us; when strangers stop by to look up who the heck you are hereabouts, the badge alone makes anything you do look official.