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  (350 - 400 of 438)
UnknownToaster
UnknownToaster Mar 19 2011, 6:37pm says:

This game is was in such horrible taste. It was not cool at all and just mocks all the people who died in school shootings, men and women, adults, teenagers, and kids. I find nothing good in that mod and I can't say I find any bad coming from this being removed.

Freedom of speech is a huge thing, but there's still a line. You don't go in a movie theater and scream fire. I don't care what all the opposers are saying, I completely support ModDB removing this **** from their database. It's a skidmark on the gaming industry.

+3 votes     reply to comment
*Don*
*Don* Mar 19 2011, 6:43pm says:

Who cares really, it was just some devs trolling anyways.

You just gave them some amazing face time now.

0 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 6:47pm replied:

They already had amazing face time because they were shopping it out to the Escapist, Kontaku and others. Sure, this extends their 15 minutes of fame but it won't become a rallying war-cry because everyone realizes that it's a troll mod.

-1 votes     reply to comment
boredgamer
boredgamer Mar 19 2011, 7:00pm says:

I wish people would just forget that this (incomplete) mod exists. It just doesn't deserve any sort of attention at all.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Aimforthehead
Aimforthehead Mar 19 2011, 7:27pm says:

I personally am not a censor. But I'm not going to say what you guys did is bad. I really appreciate that you guys rarely interfere. But you are hosting this site and if you choose not to host certain media's that's your business. Although I disagree with the reasoning. You shouldn't have to ban certain things because uninformed idiots will associate it with you. Don't cave because of their misconceptions, I would probably allow the mod to stay just to **** them off.

+2 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 7:46pm replied:

ModDB got dragged into this against their own free will. You should ask yourself if a mod that uses ripped assets from HL2 should be the mod ModDB falls on the sword for? Would you really want ModDB to throw away YEARS of work on this piece of **** non quality mod?

This was a non quality troll mod through and through. It has no business being compared with what real artists trying to push gaming into a full art form.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Aimforthehead
Aimforthehead Mar 19 2011, 8:32pm replied:

Annoying.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Pelk
Pelk Mar 19 2011, 7:47pm says:

So now killing anyone that is not a nazi, terrorist, or any other enemy to a larger power is wrong.
Goodbye social intelligence, and bill of rights.

+4 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 7:53pm replied:

Awesome Snowball argument.

-1 votes     reply to comment
_Erebus_
_Erebus_ Mar 19 2011, 8:02pm says:

Probably the only modding trolls who will ever get press coverage.

+2 votes     reply to comment
MajorBanter
MajorBanter Mar 19 2011, 8:05pm says:

The negative impact on ModDB would be far too great to allow the modification to continue updates on the site.

I understand the damage control, and frankly free speech and rights can go **** themselves when it comes to cold, hard business. Checkerboard are free to set up their own external site, but ModDB specifically states it reserves the right to remove offensive content.

ModDB is a company, not just a random site thrown up by a bunch of people, and it has a code of conduct. If something has violated it in massive, massive excess then it should be removed.

As for the mod itself, I have no opinion on it. ModDB's actions are justified, logical and frankly hypocrites throwing out the "knee jerk reaction" statements are making one themselves. You don't own the site. It's not your call. That's an end of story.

+3 votes     reply to comment
version15
version15 Mar 19 2011, 9:42pm replied:

Good, an intelligent point. Thank you.

0 votes     reply to comment
Tokoya
Tokoya Mar 19 2011, 8:09pm says:

It's pretty much down to what the majority feels, just like with child porn or anything else, the majority has to try and decide what should be censured to protect the public, namely children.

I don't think the team behind the School Shooter mod should have their freedoms to create the mod removed by Valve as Jack Thompson is demanding, but it should certainly be tucked further out of the reach of young children and those who don't want to be exposed to such content.

The only boundaries this mod was pushing is the creators talents and creativity to it's very underwhelming limits.

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 8:20pm replied:

They haven't had their freedom to create their mod stripped, don't you get it? It just won't be hosted on ModDB; they are free to create and promote they hell out of it, but on their own time and on their own dollar. They aren't getting a free ride from ModDB to do it.

There's no censorship; no oppression going on here. They are free to do as they wish, just not using ModDB's resources.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Tokoya
Tokoya Mar 19 2011, 9:11pm replied:

Yeah I know, you missed the point I was trying to make. I'm saying that while moddb is fully justified in removing the mod from their site I don't think the team should have their right to make the mod stripped away from them (as Jack Thompson is demanding from Gabe Newell), no matter how trashy others consider it to be.

+2 votes     reply to comment
MagnumPI
MagnumPI Mar 19 2011, 8:09pm says:

Hey guys
This isn't America, it's ModDB.

+9 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 8:40pm says:

Uhh...there was never any freedom of speech to damage in the first place. You can sit and spin on your finger all you want becoming some gagged pig about something that has never and will never exist on a private website.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Pheist
Pheist Mar 19 2011, 8:53pm says:

Why I disagree:

1) After columbine, they blamed Doom and the Matrix
a) I owned both and have never had an urge to massacre anyone

2) They said the same about Rockstar games
a) Manhunt Series
b) Grand Theft Auto Series

3) You could have gone about this through several other actions
a) Put up a disclaimer flash page
b) If you feel responsible, put up rules for the mod community that details acceptable content.

4) I doubt that this mod would honestly pull in more press than any of the Postal games

Why I agree:

While I believe in the freedom of speech, I also believe in the responsibility of speech. It is because people hide behind the freedom and not the responsibility within society that we have groups like Westboro Baptist who are allowed to trample on the freedoms of others.

So, I will leave with a question:

How do we allow freedoms to be expressed without trampling on the freedoms of others or possibly inciting actions of groups that lack the mental capacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Lazy6pyro
Lazy6pyro Mar 19 2011, 9:05pm replied:

ModDB didn't pull Checkboard's own website; their ability to speak isn't being affected. They can continune working on their mod as their heart desires; they can even promote their mod as their heart desires.

You mention Westboro BC, but this is unlike that situation. They are on publically-owned land when they speak, and that speech is protected by the Constitution. They are free to speak as the wish on their website because they own the website and are not committing any illegal acts. Westboro, however, would NOT have the right to come onto my website and drag me into a messy public affair.

If you want to talk about a lack of freedom, look at their own forums. They screen each member to see if they will allow them to post. They will ban you for whatever reason they feel like (as long as it is the "majority" of admins), and if you are banned, your IP will be posted; allowing people to DDoS you or worse.

+2 votes     reply to comment
version15
version15 Mar 19 2011, 9:37pm says:

I bet the creators of this "mod" are laughing their ***** off at the amount of attention this is getting. No matter their opinion now, they obviously made this in order to attract attention they never had before. At least before, I'm sure they never planned to release anything.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Phenixtri
Phenixtri Mar 19 2011, 9:59pm says:

@ Pelk

Its been like that in various forms for about 108-109 years now ... were the hell have you been? But I do agree most of them are mindless ***** regurgitating corprate sponsored media bull ****.

******* moddb's reply button is glitching again >>

+1 vote     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 10:14pm buried:

(buried)

YEA! **** ModDB for encouraging corporate sponsored ********! Let's replace it with troll-sponsored taboo ********!

Because NOTHING goes against mindless ******** like a shooting gallery full of HL2 ripp-off assets! OH YEA!!!!!!!!!!

AND if you're not down with that, I got two words for you

SUCK IT!!!!

-6 votes     reply to comment
Aimforthehead
Aimforthehead Mar 19 2011, 11:13pm replied:

Are you retarded? Who are you even trying to mock?

+3 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 11:15pm replied:

I prefer mentally-handicapped American.

-3 votes     reply to comment
Mik0112
Mik0112 Mar 19 2011, 10:00pm says:

I don't know, man.

Not like I personally have anything against the mod, even if a lot of people (non-gamers mainly) would find it offensive.

On one hand you guys kind of played it VERY safe by simply removing the title, instead of simply maintaining neutrality as a distribution platform.

It's a judgement-call and I don't think you can be blamed for wanting to avoid trouble.

+1 vote     reply to comment
flopsies
flopsies Mar 19 2011, 11:08pm says:

They shouldnt make a mod like this, but they do have freedom of bla bla bla, and most of the hate mail is from people who are like Flanders in the Simpsons

-1 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 11:11pm replied:

They do have the freedom to...just not on ModDB. The project not being hosted on ModDB in no way, shape, or form, prevents them the freedom to work on their mod and distribute their mod on their own dollar.

+1 vote     reply to comment
thatguyphilip
thatguyphilip Mar 20 2011, 1:16am says:

Don't you dare pretend you're doing this for us, you're not doing this for us, you're doing it for yourselves because you guys can't handle some of the bad publicity that comes with being one of the largest modding networks on the internet. But hey, as long as you guys are comfortable somewhere off in hawaii sipping your little umbrella drinks, all is fine. You've destroyed a lot of people's faith today. And you've tarnished yourselves, this wasn't just a simple deletion you made from your website, it was a public stunt that's rattled the faith many modders and fans.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Lazy6pyro
Lazy6pyro Mar 20 2011, 1:27am replied:

Don't pretend that you're speaking for everyone here either. You're not. As the comments have shown; the community is just as "on the fence" as they were. There isn't a majority either way; it's divided just as it should be.

+2 votes     reply to comment
thatguyphilip
thatguyphilip Mar 20 2011, 1:41pm replied:

oh yeah, then that would explain the course of action that has been taken. It's not on the fence about anything, it already made a decision.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Lazy6pyro
Lazy6pyro Mar 20 2011, 3:21pm replied:

You're not understanding their point. They did make a decision for ModDB, as they are they leaders of ModDB. You aren't a part of ModDB as a company or even a website; you're a fan who has been allowed to use this website. That's all you are; that's all any of us are. No one is stopping from not being a fan anymore; you are FREE to click that X in the corner and choose to not participate in this "selfish" community anymore.

I have yet to see anything actually happen. Where is all of this distrust manifested? Why aren't Where are any actions? No one has DONE anything in response to this. Talk is cheap, Phil. Do something about it; if your assumption is correct, then people will join you. So far, no one has done anything about it, and I suspect nothing will be done about it. Because everyone is content to be a backseat driver, but no one wants to drive themselves. Step up.

+1 vote     reply to comment
D3@DM4N
D3@DM4N Mar 22 2011, 8:44am replied:

Hey phillip. You dont speak for anyone. I have seen sooo many gamers that do not like this mod, nor want to see it. Seriously this mod has really bugged me since it was posted last summer. I have spoken with the guys that run Moddb, i posted things i wanted changed on the mod (actually some of the things i begged to be changed were! utter victory for the folks against this mod.) I have posted things against this mod on my facebook, talked to just about everyone i can to do something about this mod.

It was all done in a totally non threatening fashion.

+1 vote     reply to comment
[NE]Fobby[GEN]
[NE]Fobby[GEN] Mar 20 2011, 2:02am says:

I'm with ModDB. To quote the dev on the Columbine shootings: "The way the news victimized the victims and overplayed the evil of the shooters disgusted me more than the actual shootings themselves." - only a human freak would say something like that. These people can take their mod to a different site.

+2 votes     reply to comment
noyart
noyart Mar 20 2011, 2:09am says:

If you dont like how the admins are running this site you can always make your own mod website like moddb, no one is stopping you, but if you stilll want to be here then just live with it.

+2 votes     reply to comment
chulaksaviour
chulaksaviour Mar 20 2011, 2:20am says:

and in no credablitity i mean a recent open letter to valve boss he called HL2 a murder simulator with no morals, which i believe to be untrue and hes spreading this misinformation to people who wouldnt know any better he's done it before and i dont believe we have heard the last of him

+2 votes     reply to comment
Slevo
Slevo Mar 20 2011, 2:34am says:

Here at Mod db. We negotiate with terrorism

-1 votes     reply to comment
ne_zavarj
ne_zavarj Mar 20 2011, 3:51am says:

Question : Can Valve sue them for using the Source engine for " creating a mod " with that kind of content ?

0 votes     reply to comment
JohnnyMaverik
JohnnyMaverik Mar 20 2011, 11:09am replied:

No. At least I very much doubt it.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Akujin
Akujin Mar 20 2011, 10:22am says:

@lackoo

Of course not. The engine's been created for public use. You can use it for whatever purpose you want. No limitations. If you steal/reclaim their work, then they can press charges.

+2 votes     reply to comment
LoudCore
LoudCore Mar 20 2011, 5:45pm says:

lol dont care.

-3 votes     reply to comment
Hotels
Hotels Mar 20 2011, 10:11pm buried:

(buried)

You guys are pussies!

I no longer support moddb as a community.

-5 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 20 2011, 10:32pm replied:

Considering you voted 1 on 60% of your reviewed mods, did you ever support the community in the first place?

You're more than welcome to, and should, leave if you no longer support the community. You don't have to be here; and we no longer need you if you do no longer support moddb.

+5 votes     reply to comment
odilasa
odilasa Mar 21 2011, 1:05am says:

Really you guys just made some server space for the next vile and twisted mod XD.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Barnaby/Pizzaroma
Barnaby/Pizzaroma Mar 21 2011, 2:14pm says:

Whoever was creating this mod was creating it for trololo factor. Why not get rid of it even without the media attention? It contributes nothing to the ModDB and it's primary purpose to **** of members of the ModDB should say something right there.

Freedom used to HURT (or infringe on other peoples freedom) is no use having, just for the sake of freedom.

0 votes     reply to comment
ValuedRug
ValuedRug Mar 21 2011, 3:29pm says:

What happens to the next mod that shows up on moddb, and is slightly controversial?
Why would I want to put my mod here, if the mod police are going to be out in force?
What specific incremental changes to SS:NAT2012 would've made it feasible to stay on moddb? If any?
What role does moddb want to play in the advancement of videogames as art, if any?
Does anyone at moddb actually believe that this is a real mod? It appears to be several primitive rooms, default AI dropped in with no behaviors, a timer, and a 15 minute reskin of part of the hud. Overall, it's a joke. And moddb doesn't want to host "joke" mods, they want to host "real" mods.
I do respect you not wanting to be an amplifier for some douche-bags, but at the same time, I really wonder what type of mod community shuts down creativity. The end result is that yes, you get rid of the offending mod, but everyone will be questioning the content of their work.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lazy6pyro
Lazy6pyro Mar 21 2011, 4:27pm replied:

Is that such a bad thing that modders will question the content of their work?

There is no "mod police" because ModDB isn't the only place to store, house, upload, or discuss modding content. It's the largest, sure, but not the only place. No one, not ModDB nor any of it's admins or users, are preventing the development or distribution of the SS mod; it is simply on their own dime (not ModDB's).

Mind you, this is the first mod that has been closed due to partially controversy. There have been loads of other mods closed or even denied because of either the use of stolen copyrighted work or and other criterai. I, for one, am not opposed to having stricter standards, as long as existing mods are grandfathered in.

As far as specific changes. I can only guess here, but since the whole point of the mod was to drive up such a ****-storm of controversy to be flatly-put ignorned was it's downfall here. Pawnstick nor any "anonymous" user on the team actually cared that ModDB was getting all of this hate mail. They never wanted to address the issue head on; they were more content to ignore, laugh, and troll. Frankly put, if I was running a company (ModDB and Desura are in-fact companies), and I had to take the time to respond, or even set up a mail rule to clean out my inbox from all of this hate mail I had nothing to do with; I would not only delete SS mod from the database, I would also BILL Pawnstick for my time in doing so.

The creators had the luxury of ignoring and even making fun of the controversy because they were anonymous; and no one was willing to be the name and face for which all flack was thrown at. No one was even willing to stand behind SS in name and identity. No, they were content at shoving that off to a third party (ModDB) and laughing at them too.

I think, in short, the whole lesson for this if that you are willing to be controversial and creative, don't hide your neck while sticking out someone else's neck to take the fall for you.

+2 votes     reply to comment
oreopizza47
oreopizza47 Mar 23 2011, 2:37pm says:

I'd just like to throw in my two cents here.

On the one hand, I agree with all the people posting here saying that it was a bad choice for ModDB to take down this mod and not stand up for themselves against the controversy. I think that as tasteless as it is, this mod has a right to exist.

But on the other hand, I believe that ModDB did what they thought was best so they didn't have to suffer through a bunch of mindless bigots riding their *****. The controversy warhorse is still going to follow this mod, no matter where it is on the Internet, and Mod DB was smart to not make themselves a target. Again, it might have been better handled, but it certainly doesn't need to have people all over the site deriding ModDB and it's staff for "backing down and giving the naysayers power." The naysayers are going to have their say whether the mod stays up or crashes and burns. Giving ModDB **** about their decision is not changing that, because the media loves controversy, and they'll make their own idiotic connections to get it. Stepping out of the line of fire is not dishonorable, it's intelligent, so back the **** off and let what happens happen. Video games have made it through worse, and they'll keep making it through if the idiots who cause problems will back off and let the industry breathe and grow. And the problems don't necessarily lie outside. Those of you talking **** aren't helping either, because you're insinuating that the industry needs your help to stand. It doesn't.

So there's my two cents, let's see what I can buy with it. Do your worst, naysayers.

+2 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 23 2011, 10:26pm replied:

The mod does have the right to exist. Just because it's not on ModDB anymore doesn't mean it can't exist...I don't think you've made that connection.

0 votes     reply to comment
Stevoisiak
Stevoisiak Mar 23 2011, 3:25pm says:

You guys did the right thing.

The dude can host his mod, and make it, just not here.

To those saying ModDB caved... and this will be a president for the future.... its not like they are keeping the thing from being released. It just cant be released here.

Great job. ModDB FTW!

-2 votes     reply to comment
Xan_Krieger
Xan_Krieger Mar 23 2011, 3:56pm says:

This is worse than when the Taliban were removed from Medal of Honor. Please put it up for those of us who eagerly want to play it.

0 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 23 2011, 10:24pm replied:

You can still play it when they release it. Instead, you just have to go to the Checkboard's website. It really aint that ******* hard.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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