Report article RSS Feed Why we removed the school shooter mod

We have removed the School Shooter mod from ModDB, read on for our explanation.

Posted by INtense! on Mar 19th, 2011

Allow me to begin this post by saying we believe in the freedom of speech, the right to share information and be creative. We have enjoyed watching mod developers push the boundaries for years and create amazing content, and shall always do this.

However, recently a mod on the site called School Shooter: North American Tour 2012 has been getting quite a bit of mainstream press due to the controversial nature of the content. It seems that people sit on two sides of the fence on this one. There are those that believe the makers of this mod should have the right to make whatever they want, while there are others that believe it is disgusting and crosses the line.

We sit on both sides, on one hand we find the content to be deliberately offensive and in poor taste, but on the other we also feel people should have the right to be creative and share what they want on a community / developer run site, and we shouldn't have the right to dictate what is/isn't allowed.

The challenge faced is we are currently receiving quite a bit of threatening mail as people believe we are the creators, supporters and makers of this content. I want to stress that this absolutely isn't the case. We have never encouraged or made any content, we disagree with the mod but at the same time believe in freedom of speech and the unique ability modders and indie developers should have to create games (good-or-bad) about topics, issues and events considered risky or taboo.

There is also quite a bit of confusion from non-gaming press, who state that games like this are the reason why all bad things occur, spreading misinformation and fear.  As a result of this confusion and hate, at the moment we feel the best course of action is to remove the mod. We don't want the hard work of thousands of other mod developers to be threatened by people misunderstanding this one mod/game, and assuming all others are like it.

Edit: We did contact the developers with no reply back in August 2010, chances are this would have ended differently if they had replied.

Post comment Comments  (50 - 100 of 454)
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:41pm replied:

ModDB shouldn't be put in a position to defend itself over a troll mod; you're kidding yourself if you even remotely think that this mod was anything serious other than to get blood to shoot out of people's eyes and take as much down with it. That's why it was pulled.

They can still develop it and promote the hell out of it (I doubt they will since I guarantee they already hit the high-tide of their propaganda); just not using the already established avenues of ModDB and Desura. No censorship; no injustice.

+1 vote     reply to comment
yournamehere
yournamehere Mar 19 2011, 3:02pm replied:

I registered an account just to voice my thoughts.

Quite frankly, I think MODDB made a huge mistake in removing this mod by hiding under the guise of "protecting the images other mods." This would be like my local library banning a really offensive book because it is a detriment to other books. It hasn't happened, nor will it ever happen.

By caving into the unfounded concerns of parents who don't understand what the ESRB system is for, you've just destroyed all credibility in the arguments made within the main post.

Example:
"...but on the other we also feel people should have the right to be creative and share what they want on a community / developer run site, and we shouldn't have the right to dictate what is/isn't allowed."

Except by caving in, you essentially DID dictate what is/isn't allowed, thus in my mind, rendering that part of your post untrue.

Example 2:
"There is also quite a bit of confusion from non-gaming press, who state that games like this are the reason why all bad things occur, spreading misinformation and fear."

The non-gaming press ALWAYS claim random stuff is the reason why all bad things occur. Hilariously, it was FOX NEWS that ran the story. You know, the station that ran the story about anonymous and yellow exploding vans. Yet MODDB caved. As holdenmcclure has said, you're only proving that knee-jerk social reactions will evoke responses from the MODDB administration.

There is a saying that goes something along the lines of "I don't like what your saying, but I'll fight to the death to defend your ability to say it." MODDB clearly doesn't follow this principle.

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:36pm buried:

(buried)

So, since you just registered; you have zero jursiduction on what the ModDB community expresses. You have fully inadequate information to judge on whether ModDB made a mistake or not.

You're simply here because it's a cheap opportunity to sling mud.

-5 votes     reply to comment
ElSofaFuerte
ElSofaFuerte Mar 19 2011, 4:12pm replied:

I think you are taking cheap opportunities to sling mud by accusing people of doing so when they add some cents in as users of this site(however minor users that don't contribute). This is like banning a 9/11 relative from mourning the victims because they 'have no information'. Also, just because he just signed in you personally dictate for a fact he has 'no information on the issue' when it is in fact sitting right there.

+2 votes     reply to comment
yournamehere
yournamehere Mar 19 2011, 4:15pm replied:

Nice ad hominem. I am not here to sling mud. I'm here because I have been watching this mod, and the moddb page is where I learned of it. I think it's unfortunate that the MODDB staff decided to remove the modification based on complaints of "oh it'll lead to more school shootings, etc." Arguing about what I believe that's a false statement is for another discussion. I still think iNtense's actions contradict what he says in his post. I have no doubt he only wants the best for the community. I just disagree with his decision.

+3 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 4:38pm replied:

Since you have been watching this mod, you should know that it is intended to stir controversy and if it goes down in a ball of fire, take as much with it. ModDB became an unwilling target in all of this. Pawnstick doesn't care about ModDB; nor does any anonymous coward on the team that can't show their face because THEY don't want to be associated with this project.

How in the world do you expect Intense to stand behind it when even the creators can't stand behind it?

+2 votes     reply to comment
yournamehere
yournamehere Mar 19 2011, 4:50pm replied:

iNtense doesn't have to stand behind anything other than his "we support freedom of expression\" statement. Moddb is a database for mods. Controversial mods are going to get uploaded at some point no matter what. I'm not sure how ModDB would've been taken down with this mod. They only host the projects. They could've easily added a disclaimer somewhere stating that they are only hosting the mod and nothing more. Instead, it seems like they took the CYA approach and removed it all together.

"Pawnstick doesn't care about ModDB; nor does any anonymous coward on the team that can't show their face because THEY don't want to be associated with this project."

It's just a mod. There isn't much damage it can do. Most parents have never heard of ModDB and they most likely never will. And if they do, what is going to happen? A boycott? Let's get real here. If you're offended by this mod, I fully support your right to express that. However, I draw the line when your reaction prevents me from accessing content.

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 5:08pm replied:

You can still access it. You can go to Checkboard studios website. INtense isn't hindering their ability to develop or distribute the mod.

Your convenience doesn't equal ability to access. I think you are forgetting that.

+4 votes     reply to comment
yournamehere
yournamehere Mar 19 2011, 5:17pm replied:

Good point. I should have thought of that before posting. But what if a mod's only website WAS the ModDB page? Removal would be denying content. This is how censorship gets started. Australia is a great example. They censored the crap out of L4D/L4D2 because people had knee-jerk reactions to violence years before, leading to censorship laws. In the end though, iNtense can do whatever he wants with the site. I just wish his decisions aren't guided by idle threats.

+3 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 5:27pm replied:

Then they can go other places to have it hosted for free, or even pay for hosting. You would have point if ModDB required people that registered mods to pay a registration fee. Then and only then would people have the argument of paying for a service and having it denied. AFAIK ModDB will never require payment for mods (Desura is a different story and a different platform), but as such you are subject to the whims of ModDB; you have no claims behind it.

ModDB is only one avenue of content hosting; not the only option. Those that make it their only option but provide ModDB with no consideration (money) have no legs to stand on. Much like the saying, you can't put all of your eggs into one basket.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ImABot
ImABot Mar 19 2011, 7:58pm replied:

Whoa don't **** on MobDB they needed to remove it because they where getting blamed for the mod's content, when it wasn't them, now i do also think this mod was sick in its own way, but then again they have the right to make what they want. But if you had someone outside your business protesting and you were getting blamed for it, wouldn't you kick them out and tell them to leave? Your sounding hypocritical. Oh and about your last comment, since ModDB started when's the last time you have seen a mod get his much attention?

+3 votes     reply to comment
yournamehere
yournamehere Mar 19 2011, 9:40pm replied:

People have a right to protest. This doesn't mean that ModDB's only option is to remove the mod. They could've stated very clearly that they do not condone the mod at all, and played no part in its development. Hell, Google links to offensive material all the time. Unless it's something unlawful, I don't think they've ever removed any links (feel free to correct me on that). I feel that even though the mod was in poor taste, this action sets a precedent. To me, it seems like if any mod is made regarding a sensitive concept, the chances of ModDB removing it due to complaints are fairly high. While I understand that iNtense didn't want to deal with all the crap from media outlets and non-gaming press, I feel that he could've handled this situation slightly differently.

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 10:20pm replied:

The people also have the right to protest the protesters for protesting.

+3 votes     reply to comment
yournamehere
yournamehere Mar 20 2011, 1:58am replied:

I never claimed otherwise :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gradius
Gradius Mar 20 2011, 1:32am replied:

ModDB isn't a goverment, it has every right to "violate freedom of speech" without actually doing so. Point in question: If I were just to post "N***er N***er N***er" my post would get removed because I'd just be being offensive for the sake of offending people... that mod is no different.

+3 votes     reply to comment
yournamehere
yournamehere Mar 20 2011, 2:04am replied:

"ModDB isn't a goverment, it has every right to "violate freedom of speech" without actually doing so."

I totally agree. If you read my argument again, you'll notice that I only take issue with the premise they used to justify removing the mod. As I've stated before, if the mod had violated a law or a rule in the TOS, I'd be right up there with you guys voicing my support. However, this mod didn't do any of those things. Was this mod an exercise to see how far limits could be pushed? Perhaps. But now that it's removed, what are the limits? Have we figured them out? What justification will be used to determine what is off-limits in regards to hosting stuff on ModDB? These are questions I have right now.

"Point in question: If I were just to post "N***er N***er N***er" my post would get removed because I'd just be being offensive for the sake of offending people... that mod is no different."

It would get removed because you are in direct violation of the 'Terms of Use' for ModDB. I quote from it: 'As a guideline any post that contains (but is not limited to) any of the following will be subject to remedial action by the moderators... comments of a bigotry nature (derogatory towards race, religion, gender or sexual preference)'

It doesn't look like this mod violates anything in the TOU.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Barnaby/Pizzaroma
Barnaby/Pizzaroma Mar 21 2011, 2:16pm replied:

Trololo

Freedom of speech? Alright, I'll just post random comments on your comments and we'll see what you think.

+1 vote     reply to comment
RocketSurgery
RocketSurgery Mar 19 2011, 4:26am buried:

(buried)

lame

-14 votes     reply to comment
Fallen_Angel.cz
Fallen_Angel.cz Mar 19 2011, 4:36am buried:

(buried)

This really made me laugh "we support the freedom of speech.... NOT" :D

-6 votes     reply to comment
Auxor
Auxor Mar 19 2011, 4:36am buried:

(buried)

Babies, babies everywhere.

-13 votes     reply to comment
macacos2
macacos2 Mar 19 2011, 9:48am replied:

I want to congratulate Checkerborded Studios for trolling everyone with fail content and making a couple more thousand parents and politicians support Videogame censoring and bashing.

You teenagers did a great job being lame.

gg

+25 votes     reply to comment
Xylemon
Xylemon Mar 19 2011, 4:47am says:

It's just a troll mod aiming for attention and there are already hundreds of those on here *yawn

+16 votes     reply to comment
ScarT-
ScarT- Mar 19 2011, 7:09am buried:

(buried)

I can assure you we're not a troll mod.

-22 votes     reply to comment
ludvink
ludvink Mar 19 2011, 7:34am replied:

Then what are you?
I'm a pretty tolerant man, but I cant see the point of this mod if its not about being offensive. Can you please explain it?

+12 votes     reply to comment
Slevo
Slevo Mar 19 2011, 7:55am buried:

(buried)

they are the line which has been drawn of what developers can create and not create.

That is what this game is now, If it was a troll game it now is much more then that.

-13 votes     reply to comment
ProspectGames
ProspectGames Mar 19 2011, 8:18am replied:

"If it was a troll game it now is much more then that."

Haha yes by censoring they have made it into so much more. You'd think, based on the amount of times this happens on the internet people will have learned. Just take a look at youtube, a video gets flagged un-fairly and a hundred mirrors will pop up. By trying to remove you instead create more copies.

+5 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 5:42pm replied:

But nothing's happened, besides a multi-page click-bait discussion.

+3 votes     reply to comment
NuclearBanane
NuclearBanane Mar 19 2011, 3:36pm replied:

Any one defending this never played Gmod and spawn civis and shoot them. Its so mindless only a total brain dead ***** would find it fun for more then 30 seconds. Its fun when its a zombie because it " can " fight back.

And then he makes promises that would make it a half decent mod ( Excluding the premise of shooting kids ofcourse ) but yet he can't actually make it because he isn't a modder of quality, just look at his other project.

I'm trying hard not to reply to any of the people crying Free Speech.

To all those crying free speech:
Free speech is very important when you have something to say which people should hear.
And to have a premise to remove that mod we had to listen to what he had to say.
After listening to the message, they and all the people you call " Haters " deemed it a message definitely not worth passing on and bad taste.

I support ModDB for shooting down this project which isn't a mod to better gameplay or introduce something new to make players continue playing HL2 mods.

+4 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:50pm replied:

Bingo. **** mod is ****.

You know you're messing with brainiacs when they wanted to leak their own mod in 12 parts on Rapidshare.....

+5 votes     reply to comment
Gishank
Gishank Mar 19 2011, 4:48am says:

Whilst I haven't personally played the mod, I think that you've made a very bad decision in caving in to baseless threats made by people like Jack Thompson. The only thing this action will cause is for people to choose to go to another mod-site like MoDDB, why? Well, simply because there are tonnes and tonnes of controversial mods out there, some which can be considered perfectly fine to others... What will you do? Remove them too?

As Holdenmcclue said, you've given in and thus given the people making these baseless complaints a little taste of power and as such they won't give up. Your actions haven't done anything to hinder the mod, only your own reputation.

-4 votes     reply to comment
INtense!
INtense! Mar 19 2011, 5:12am replied:

First of all we haven't been contacted by jack thompson. we have however been contacted by concerned parents, relatives and those that went to these schools.

We have 12,000+ mods listed in the database, and in 8 years this is the only 1 that has ever caused such controversy. So no we wont be removing any others. We have attempted to contact this team to discuss their mod, their aims and have received no response.

I'm willing to admit if we've made a mistake, so if a creator of this mod wants to get in touch I encourage them too.

+19 votes     reply to comment
ProspectGames
ProspectGames Mar 19 2011, 7:50am replied:

"So no we wont be removing any others"

As soon as you remove one mod over controversy you are liable to do it again. I support your right to control content on your website, but you lose the trust of the people who use and support the site with actions like this.

+5 votes     reply to comment
Slevo
Slevo Mar 19 2011, 8:06am buried:

(buried)

I wont be surprised to see grand theft auto future releases to be ceased. This game can now be used as an example of what is right and what is wrong.

In the end this action wont be seen as the single Action of a crackhead Intense! it will be seen as the Action of the Gaming Community......

Considering Moddb is the home for Modder's you have spoken FOR EVERYONE..... i don't think you understand what you have done yet. This is not a small thing

-14 votes     reply to comment
ProspectGames
ProspectGames Mar 19 2011, 8:19am replied:

"We have attempted to contact this team to discuss their mod, their aims and have received no response."

Did you do this before or after removing it from the site?

+1 vote     reply to comment
johntis
johntis Mar 19 2011, 11:06am buried:

(buried)

And with this, i lost all respect for moddb...

-9 votes     reply to comment
Pawnstick
Pawnstick Mar 19 2011, 12:48pm replied:

You know why you haven't received any response? Because you haven't sent an email yet, *******.

-1 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 1:32pm replied:

Or, you could have deleted the e-mail and lied to get yourself more publicity.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sn1pe
Sn1pe Mar 19 2011, 1:44pm replied:

They claim to have contacted the team but I don't recall getting any emails touching this matter.

-2 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 2:19pm replied:

It doesn't matter if you get an e-mail or not. ModDB wins you loose.

+4 votes     reply to comment
JakeyKakes
JakeyKakes Mar 19 2011, 10:55pm replied:

why would he delete his email? is one of us going to check it?

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 20 2011, 12:08am replied:

Why would it be an e-mail in the first place? There are methods of contact beyond e-mail.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Tatsur0
Tatsur0 Mar 19 2011, 5:10am says:

Intense you do sorta contradict yourself in the post but I think I understand that you're saying, that this is more than threats and free speech. It's easy to argue for free speech but let's be honest, we have to draw the line somewhere or we end up with rape, child pornography, and murdered children. Obviously these aren't games we want our kids playing but in what way would those games/material be suitable for adults either? Should we support films, music, any other form of "art"/media that promotes it?

Again, a line must be drawn. What's sad is that it should be us the developers who are doing so and not the media who are just out for a story which does eventually reach the rest of us.

+14 votes     reply to comment
ProspectGames
ProspectGames Mar 19 2011, 7:53am replied:

"in what way would those games/material be suitable for adults either?"

I am an adult who can decide what is an isn't appropriate for myself. If I am not harming anyone by choosing to experience these things what right do you have to tell me otherwise? Humans are not childish cattle who need to be told what to do on every aspect of their lives.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Slevo
Slevo Mar 19 2011, 8:20am buried:

(buried)

Tatsur -_- do you know what freedom of speech means? you obviously do not... If freedom of speech exists it means you can SAY what ever you want to say.

you can do anything you want to do (AS LONG as its within the laws of where you live,,, And its common courtesy to respect other peoples wishes while doing so).. This means that people that want to see this mod have the freedom of speech to do so.

and people that don't want to see this mod Have the freedom of speech to do so. No one forces them with a stick and tell them to. They do it them self

Mod db obviously does not believe in freedom of speech because its telling a Mod which is receiving publicity to stop just because other people are telling them to stop.

It would of been OK for Mod db to stop the mod when they registered it but they did not they Accepted it and Agreed this is good enough content and a good concept for Mod db

All this is, Is Attention seeking to be Heard Mod db just wants to be on the paper. They couldn't give 2 ***** about the actual Game developing Community

-19 votes     reply to comment
Cervi_Messias
Cervi_Messias Mar 19 2011, 3:31pm replied:

humans are basically cattle Andrew_Bennison, and the line does need to be drawn, not because a god or a political leader says so but because the majority of people say so.

0 votes     reply to comment
JakeyKakes
JakeyKakes Mar 19 2011, 11:50pm replied:

You could illustrate your discontent for, or distance yourself from, a mod or game without the removal of. Why not just say: "School Shooter, the terrible mod, step right up and post your mostly irrelevant thoughts here." instead?

But seriously, why not just critique it. i mean i get that people, dumb people, could misunderstand your having it, and thus associate you with it, but thats the point... to show that just because you have it you don't necessarily have agree with it. And if someone, even then, is still stupid enough to sling mud at you for having it, then they're obviously not worth your time, your consideration, or your actions.

you are this massive online entity, if someone is going to take the time to challenge you, they should at least have an opinion to discuss. it'd just be nice to see your critique of it, i'd be interesting. and, also, no infringement on free speech, i think, at all.

(an opinion other than the decision that this mod is unfit for Your site i mean.)

+2 votes     reply to comment
AndY
AndY Mar 19 2011, 1:14pm replied:

What bothers me the most about this situation is that Desura's publicized "edge" over the competition is that it's "Developer driven, Community run" ( Desura.com ), and I quote:

"We are not some mysterious editor in an ivory tower controlling content - it's anybody who can put pen to paper."

ModDB's actions today seem to have disproved that. Shouldn't ModDB let the community decide what's worth playing and what isn't? Shouldn't we be treated as grownups, capable of deciding for ourselves what's right and what's wrong?

What ModDB could do is add a content rating (à la ESRB) or just a warning to parents that content isn't rated. The rest should be entirely up to us.

@Tatsuro You speak of a line, but why should they be the ones drawing it for us? As long as the contents aren't illegal (child pornography is, slaughtering a bunch of simulated people of any age isn't - last I checked), they shouldn't be intervening at all.

You can say that this is just one special case, but once it's been done, you've basically opened the door for it to happen again.


In closing, did everyone already forget Danny Ledonne's similarly-themed RPG? En.wikipedia.org

+5 votes     reply to comment
treat
treat Mar 19 2011, 2:37pm replied:

I honestly don't understand how everyone is jumping on this "first step towards Nazi Germany" train, here. The mod was in poor taste, designed to stir the pot, and was clearly not a legitimate effort to do anything *except* appeal to the temperaments of reactionaries. Is this the image of games you'd like to perpetuate? Would you rather controversial games receive more attention than well-designed ones? Of course not.

When your freedom of expression tarnishes the image of a separate entity by association, that entity has the right to disown you and your so-called expression. INtense made the best possible choice for the ModDB community as a whole, it'd be nice if more people would recognize that.

+5 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:33pm replied:

Danny Ledonne put his name out there; he as an individual stood behind his work. None of the developers wanted to do that. They were all content on being truly "Anonymous" They didn't want their identity attached to it in any form.

Anyone who actually cares about the development of School Shooter shouldn't care what ModDB does. It's not censorship; it's not preventing people from accessing Checkboard Studios; it's not preventing them from doing their own work; ModDB is simply saying, "Not here on my webspace." No censorship; no suppression. It is ModDB looking out for ModDB and Intense made no bones about that; he doesn't want this site to get mixed up with it; you can either agree to that and stay on ModDB, or you can leave a promote your projects via another avenue. I have no doubts that the response weighed heavily on Intense and ModDB's mind; they made up their minds, now you should make up yours.

+6 votes     reply to comment
holdenmcclure
holdenmcclure Mar 19 2011, 5:18am says:

INtense! you misunderstand, it wasn't ModDB who was contacted by Jack Thompson, it was Gabe Newell himself:
Escapistmagazine.com

His claims are that all shooter games are a training simulator for actual violent acts, one of his examples claims that Half Life was responsible for a school shooting in Germany.

There are a lot of people watching this go down and thus your actions have a huge impact on the way people perceive this issue. You claim that you're protecting the social outlook of ModDB users which is quite honestly a pathetic and meager excuse at best for contradicting your philosophy of free speech. The way the opposition perceives School Shooter mod is that it influences crime, and by caving to their demands you are acknowledging that assertion directly or not, and whatever you say in this article isn't going to change that.

+10 votes     reply to comment
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