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[Opinion]

Being affiliated with the Half-Life 2 Leak community for some time now, I thought I'd post a bit on my observations from personal experience and a bit of here-say. I don't intend to ramble with this, as (hopefully) I've become better at summarizing things in a shorter amount of virtual real-estate. I am coming at this from a Biblical perspective, as that is what I believe all absolute truths and morals stem from at heart, so take that as you will.

The Mods

There are a plethora of leak-based mods being worked on, and some that have actually released. Many people complain about how there are so many individual mods, and that they should just combine to make one giant 'supermod', cutting down on time and expanding the leak's breadth. The problem with this is that the leak itself is a disjointed set of ideas that Valve was working on; some were easily connected linearly while others weren't. If all the leak content was to try to be included, the mod would be a mess of overlapping, nonsensical content. If it was to be made coherent, it would lose a lot of leak content and general creativity that makes these mods different from each other.

As it is, I'm quite glad there are so many mods out there on the topic, as it allows more overall artistic freedom for each mod individually. Some mods may be objectively better in some fields more than others, but it could be argued that in this way they actually complete each other without sacrificing any of that individuality.

The Community

Here's where we get into a rather sticky subject. The Leak community has not done itself many favors in terms of general etiquette, although to be fair it is based off of content that Axel Gembe acquired illegally. Regardless, I've seen many instances of leak mods and modders being openly toxic towards both seasoned and newbie modders, often for no good reason. If we wish to be taken seriously, we need to curtail this and be more open to newcomers as well as detractors.

I have seen open flame wars in various leak chats that started over simple disagreements that have flared up into name-calling and childish insults. I have witnessed people with clearly toxic behaviors and attitudes threatening others and not getting the mental or emotional support they clearly required. While this appears all over the internet, it seems to manifest very heavily in the leak community. People become disillusioned and pessimistic, which in turn drives down the probability of leak mods actually surviving long-term, and thus it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

One of the biggest issues that I've noticed is that the community is very adept at holding grudges. This isn't uncommon to human nature in general, but just because something is common does not make it acceptable. In fact, many things that are common in the world today I would find morally unacceptable, but that's another topic all to itself. I've seen hostility toward modders for things they have done months (even years) in the past. We are called to a higher standard than this, and it is shameful that this is even a problem at all.

We should be willing to admit when we are wrong or when we have made mistakes, and people should accept honest apologies. Harboring grudges against people is unhealthy for the body and soul, and honestly it takes more effort to keep those flames lit than is worth it. Forgiveness of past transgressions should be swift, even if it is not returned in kind. Gossiping about so-and-so's mod or what they did that's controversial is ultimately pointless, and rots away respect and level-headed thinking for those listening.

Essentially, if we want to have a good community around the leak, it needs to stop brooding over the past, forgiving those who have done wrong, and move on. If those transgressors decide to keep on being toxic, they can be ignored. As for the rest of us, we have a duty to put our best foot forward and act in a respectable manner. We are hobbyists and are here to have fun and develop our skills, but all the pointless drama that this community stirs up is likely the reason why few potential developers ever make it out of the comment section.

References

Romans 14:19 - "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another."

Matthew 5:44 - "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..."

Romans 12:17-21 - "Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

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