Guide:STEP Community Citizenship
Welcome to the STEP-Community website! Here you will find many forums related to modding and the project (STEP). We also have a unique wiki implementation that articulates, to some extent, with the forums. Because of this, the official STEP Guide now exclusively exists on our wiki and is always under active development. The wiki is open to the public, except for functional pages relating to the STEP Guide, wiki structure, and formatting. This will help facilitate more of a community-driven approach to STEP. Within the site, you will find many helpful resources which have been voluntarily provided by the staff and other members of the community.
STEP is a "cathedral" or "Open Modding" community that does not practice the "parlor" philosophy of modding (see Open Modding Guide), although we do articulate somewhat with other modding sites like the Nexus that do practice or allow the parlor philosophy. Thus, STEP respects the parlor philosophy of modding as it relates to the work of mod authors and their individual philosophies. Nevertheless, if work is hosted from STEP, given to STEP, or created by STEP, then it is community owned.
We humans are composed of personalities that fall along a continuum of positive to negative, and fortunately, the majority tend to associate with the more positive pole of this continuum. Unfortunately, there is a minority that aligns with the more negative --not necessarily pessimistic, but more truly negative. While these individuals are not necessarily "bad" people, they can nonetheless be a damper to the rest, and like a wild yeast, can have a tendency to sour an otherwise perfectly good batch of home-brewed mead. This monologue and the guidelines that follow are unnecessary for most but necessitated by these less "enlightened" of us.
The STEP-Community site administrators ask that you, as a registered member of this site, participate and/or contribute in a manner of good spirit and common courtesy. Adherence to this simple ethos will head off any unpleasantries before they manifest. Let the guidelines outlined below serve as a reference for our members, so that the community may evolve to its maximum potential.
The STEP Community Mantra:
Help us foster an environment that leverages your enthusiasm within a culture of good humor ... and rigorous analysis!
Members who wish to get involved in the wiki, must read our guide on editing the STEP Wiki.
When writing, the third-person writing style is preferred for most content on our wiki. Other writing styles are acceptable, depending upon the particular context of the article; however, any factual content created to serve as an informative article (e.g. guides and references) should be written in the third person. Any content that does not exist within the User namespace (wiki.step-project.com/User:UserName), and also is not written in the third person should be corrected accordingly to be presented in the third person. Discussions of changes to articles should occur on the article's 'Discussion' forum or 'Talk' page. Comments on Talk pages should be followed by four tildes ('~~~~'), which is wiki markup to insert the editor's username and date. It is also appropriate to contact the article's creator/main editor and a senior administrator and point them to the Talk page discussion when proposing content or stylistic changes to an article (simple corrections to spelling and punctuation do not require any special notification or mentions on the Talk page).
It is expected that any information added to the wiki is clearly cited, where applicable, as many users do not appreciate unverifiable speculation, unless it is plainly stated as such. That is to say, feel free to write what might or might not be fact, but qualify what is intended to be factual with verifiable information. However, we want to facilitate community contributions to the wiki, so we encourage users to get involved and provide a forum topic for discussions of wiki topics. The OP has a list of wanted & needed contributions, so feel free to jump in on that topic and get a feel for what is wanted and needed before diving in.
General Points on Etiquette
- Members are asked to use standard English grammar, punctuation, and capitalization to the best of their individual ability to do so.
- For our foreign members that don't speak English natively,Google Translate, can be a useful tool.
- Please don't use [Caps Lock] or all caps for topic titles or for any substantial part of a post.
- Organize posts into short paragraphs for easier reading and to avoid "walls of text". Use spoiler tags where appropriate.
- When editing or modifying a post, please add the new message on a new line starting with "EDIT:". It can be very confusing and possibly even unfair if a post to which another user has responded, mysteriously changes.
- The exception to this is for minor spelling or punctuation corrections. In such cases, no EDIT note necessary.
Finally, any post with the following will be dealt with as STEP staff best sees fit. PLEASE DO NOT ...
- ... generate spam by posting frequent and/or annoying messages that are not on topic, or are difficult to read.
- ... post anyone's, include your own, personal information... ever.
- ... discuss or assist in illegal activities such as software and music piracy, warez, cracks, serials, etc. This includes linking to other websites with said material.
- ... re-create a deleted or locked thread for the purposes of trying to continue its discussion.
- ... post flashing or strobing images or text.
- ... use excessive amounts of large, colorful, or otherwise annoying text just to emphasize your words.
- ... reply to a thread without anything to contribute (e.g., "First", "Second", etc.).
- Use good judgement when choosing a username on the forums. Usernames also apply to the wiki, as authentication of the two are tied together. Don't start out on the wrong foot by choosing something offensive or vulgar.
- Usernames may be changed by contacting a STEP Staff or Admin member, but this will only be done once so members should choose their username wisely.
- Do not choose a username which is tied to a known mod author. These names are reserved for the authors and are verified before a Mod Author badge is given.
- Mod Authors, please contact a STEP Staff or Admin member on Nexus to verify your username on the STEP forums. Once verified, authors will be given an Author's badge on the forum and given access to an author's only forum.
- The STEP forums provide support for TapaTalk users for simplified and more convenient forum navigation and information gathering ... We ask that our members posting from their mobile devices maintain the posting guidelines within this Guide and to not use "text lingo". THIS IS NOT A MOBILE CHAT-ROOM COMMUNITY!
- Wait at least 24 hours before "bumping" your topic.
- Refrain from "Double Posting" in multiple forums. This is not allowed and duplicate posts will be locked by our moderation team.
General Posting Guidelines
- Use common sense when posting. If members are inexperienced with internet community life, read through a few topics first to get a feel for the atmosphere before posting.
- If a member is in doubt about the tone of their post from a heated debate then they should pause before posting, grab a hot cocoa, a coffee, beer, glass of wine, or a shot of tequila (for those legal aged members). After a few minutes, return and preview the post, read it, and ask: "Is this offensive or needlessly provoking?". If the answer is anything but "of course not!", then please don't post it. Our moderators do not enjoy extinguishing fires and the users involved are not going to enjoy it either if the moderators have to put on their fire fighting gear.
- New members on a forum are often upset when they receive a seemingly curt reply to their posts. This will often occur if the question or comment has already been posted, often repeatedly, in the past. Even the nicest communities tend to get irritated by this. Therefore, we ask our members to make good use of the search feature before posting, especially members looking for support.
- Once a query, comment, or request has been made, don't keep repeating it. Sometimes members do not get the response they hoped for, however, constantly repeating the same post is considered a form of spamming, and will be dealt with by our moderators.
- When making a new topic, always try to find the correct sub-forum for it. Topics posted in the wrong forums will be moved by a moderator into the right location and a post will be made explaining why.
- Be conscious of maintaining the original topic to avoid derailing discussions or mindlessly hi-jacking a topic.
- Always try to cite sources when stating information. People appreciate the extra effort of providing links to sources.
- Use the search feature for the topic to find post references when needed.
- Don't plagiarize content or post material from other sites. Always give credit where it is due!
- Screenshots and videos are welcome, but they should be hosted elsewhere with links embedded. Dropbox, Imgur, and YouTube are popular choices.
- As a general guideline, most Not-Safe-For-Work (NSFW) content is prohibited. This is a very open-minded community, but graphic content that suddenly appears on members' screens can cause real life problems (e.g., angry wives/mothers or overly-curious children/co-workers). Use good judgement and make sure to state if a posted link contains NSFW content.
- Debate and discussion are always encouraged, but rudeness and personal insults are not. This includes starting flame wars or posting purposeless, inflammatory posts. Offending posters will be handled accordingly by moderation staff.
- Links to any harmful websites/software, virus, referral sites, etc. are also prohibited and will be removed with prejudice. The community will not tolerate this sort of abuse, and offending accounts will be removed and banned.
- Each member is allowed to have only one account. Posting with multiple accounts is known as 'sock-puppetry', and is against the spirit of honest and fair discussion. Members found using this practice will be banned.
BBCode is the code used on forums for formatting text. We provide a WYSIWYG editor with a formatting toolbar for our members. However, we'd like to call out the following codes and their uses on our forums:
Use a spoiler tag to hide really long text such as when posting INIs for support.
Use a code tag to put text in a scroll-able box that ignores all codes (except of course /code).
Use a quote tag to put text in a quote box. These are used when quoting other members or sources.
- A header can be added to quote boxes which is useful when citing the source:
- [quote='quoteTitle by authorName']text[/quote]
- A header can be added to quote boxes which is useful when citing the source:
Crazy signatures are a distraction, so we enforce limitations. This is not meant to be restrictive to personal freedom. It is meant to be restrictive of annoyance to the freedom of the many to read topic threads without being assaulted by vertical space and overindulgence of the few.
- All rules and guidelines for the forums also apply to signatures. This means keep it Safe-For-Work, no adverts, etc.
- Signatures are limited to 4 lines and 4 URLs (special groups get 5 URLs)
- Signature images are restricted to special groups (100x50 px limit).
- Excessive animation or otherwise annoying images can really clutter a page, so we may remove such images if they prove distracting.
- Font sizes should be limited to a reasonable size (not too much bigger than normal text please).
- Avatars follow general forum guidelines as well.
- Images size is limited to 100x100 pixels.
- Image's file size must be <= 150Kb
Mod-Specific Posting Guidelines
The follow guidelines refer only to topics created for specific mods. These topics are located in the Mods sub-forum of the Republic of STEP forum.
Posting Guidelines - Mod Topics
Avoid redundancy and excess
- Search the forum for the mod of interest before creating a new topic! Search by author and mod name.
- If the mod thread already exists, post within the existing thread. Multiple reviews and suggestions in the same thread is the whole point.
Make mods easier to track
- The Opening Post (OP) should be titled exactly according to Nexus mod name followed by the author's name in parentheses (eg. ModName by (AuthorName) ). If the Nexus name changes mention the change in a post and we will add it to the OP and update the thread name.
- For non-mod apps or mods that do not exist on the Nexus, use the dev's/mod author's given title.
- Use the appropriate prefix selection for the mod.
- Add relevant tags to the mod. Our recommended tagging scheme is to use the path to what the mod covers or descriptive words telling what the mod is. For example, the tags for a mod that retextures the female elven armor would be: textures, armor, elven, female. All these tags are relevant to the mod in this example. Up to 5 tags can be added.
Enhance quality and usefulness
- Always include a link to the mod.
- All Opening Posts should include a short review of the mod and it's features in the member's own words; PLEASE do not paste the description from the Nexus or ReadMe.
- Mod Authors, please feel free to start up a thread for your mods if it does not exist, however, PLEASE do not write a suggestion or review for your own mods. Please do provide input to qualify others' reviews of your mod(s).
- If a member suggests a mod for STEP inclusion which they have not used, please state as much and provide a statement of the reason why the mod is being requested for STEP review.
- A mod review should provide in-game examples along with personal opinions and practical experience for using the mod.
- If screenshots can be provided with a review, they will be appreciated by the community.
- If comparing two different mods, please provide screenshots of both mods in the post. This will go a long way in helping the community and justifying views.
The STEP Community expects members posting reviews have used the mod enough to post a quality review that is more than a couple vague statements.
Spamming and Advertisement
- Any form of spamming or advertising is explicitly prohibited and will be removed without warning. Any members in violation of this rule will also be immediately banned.
- This includes spamming through the use of the forums directly or any other methods related to this site, such as private messages, emails to users, etc.
- Moderators can be identified by special username coloring on their posts and anywhere their usernames can be seen.
- The forums use a warning system to identify "problem" members. Too many warnings in too short a time will get members banned temporarily or even permanently, and not all "bad" behavior is viewed or handled equally.
- Moderators do not want to ban you! STEP doesn't support "Dirty Harry" moderators who enjoy kicking people out followed with a stinging rebuke for good measure. Our moderators are all nice people who have proven themselves in the community. Please listen if contacted by a moderator and don't force them to act.
- Please keep any communication regarding moderation private. If a member feels something was done incorrectly, first contact the Moderator responsible and, if truly necessary, explain the situation to a different Moderator or Administrator.
- Don't attempt to impersonate a Moderator or falsely claim authority over other members.
- Although we always try to be tolerant and work with our members, we will act immediately in the case of excessively abusive language, malicious trolling, hate speech, etc. Those making such posts will be permanently banned.
Preservation of Information
STEP values useful member contributions, so once any member creates any content anywhere on this website, this information is preserved for posterity at the discretion of the STEP site administrators. Account removal requests will be handled in such a way that all member-identifying information will be removed or generalized, including member name of the account. Accounts will be removed or reinstated at the sole discretion of the site administrators.
Forum Member Groups
Staff Groups and Hierarchy
The following member groups are official STEP staff members and are listed in order of hierarchy from top to bottom:
- STEP Staff
- Super Moderators
All remaining groups are considered "members" and have no affiliation as official staff members.
The following is a list of the member groups which can be found on the forums:
- These are all persons that register on the STEP forums and are not part of any alternate forum group.
- Administrators are at the top level of STEP staff and help to guide all aspects of the project.
- Contributors are members who have contributed or still contribute to STEP in some way or another. Many of these members are retired staff.
- Developers help to develop the wiki structure and other things for STEP.
- Mod Authors
- Just as the name suggests, members of the Mod Authors group are verified authors. We love it when authors are involved in the community!
- Mod Testers
- These members help test mods for inclusion in STEP. Anyone can be a Mod Testing upon request, however, Testers are expected to follow our procedures for proper testing.
- Moderators are second-tier STEP staff members who help moderate the forums. They are limited on the actions which they can handle and may have to escalate issue up to higher tier staff.
- Pack Authors
- Pack Authors are members who have created packs on the wiki which are used to build upon a base STEP installation.
- Site Founders
- This is an honorary group given to members who helped start STEP from the beginning for the project.
- Staff are first tier STEP staff members and are very limited on what they can do. This group is often used as "training grounds" for new members interested in becoming more involved with STEP.
- STEP Staff
- STEP Staff members are sub-administrators on STEP. They are typically the project leads and work closely with other staff on moderation issues when needed. This group is primarily responsible for the successful publication of new STEP Guide releases.
- Super Moderators
- Super Moderators are the top-level moderators for STEP. They handle all moderation on the forums. They are not limited on the actions which they can take to resolve moderation related issues.
A Note About Mod Redistribution
We understand wanting to download mods in bulk from a torrent, or even better, the skyrim/ directory from the full setup; however, we at STEP are committed to the whole of the modding community. That includes mod hosters, the modders that host with them, and the users of said mods. In good faith to all, our commitment precludes our support of mod hosting without the expressed consent of the mod authors.
Most of us are firm believers in "freedom file sharing", but it is not as if everyone in the world does not already have access to these materials and information. It is a matter of respect and ethics which governs the majority of the modding community, who work for free and provide resources for free. We here at STEP simply show the users how to utilize these resources using the intended channels. Users win by the fruits of these labors, so the least users can do is spend the time it takes to download, prepare, and learn how to use these resources.