Guide:STEP Community Citizenship
|Notice: The language of this page may be updated or changed at any time, without notice. By using any STEP owned and/or maintained platform, users agree to be bound by and uphold this Citizenship Guide; whether users have read its contents or not.|
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 practices "cathedral modding" or "Open Modding" (see Open Modding Guide), although we do interact with other modding sites, like NexusMods, 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 and rights. Nevertheless, if work is hosted from STEP, given to STEP, or created by STEP, then it is either community owned or becomes community owned upon its transference.
Terms of Service
We humans are composed of personalities that fall within a range of positive to negative, and fortunately, the majority tend to lean towards the more positive side. Unfortunately, there is a minority that leans more negative --not necessarily pessimistic, but more truly negative. While these individuals are not necessarily "bad" individuals, they can be a damper to the majority. Like a wild yeast, these individuals can have a tendency to sour an otherwise perfectly good batch of home-brewed mead.
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.
If members are found in violation of these guidelines, moderation action will result.
STEP has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to piracy. This includes, but is not limited to, software and mod piracy. In relation to software companies like Steam, piracy can be defined as any means employed to circumvent an established software/hardware mechanism used by said companies to control the use of their assets. DRM is one such method and any means employed to disable that, even if the user owns an "uncracked" version, will be viewed as piracy.
- Any members found sharing or posting links to pirated content will receive a warning.
- Subsequent violations of this nature will result in said members being banned.
- Any member found to be using pirated software will have their membership restricted to a read-only status.
- This status can be lifted by contacting an Administrator with evidence supporting a claim to owning, and using, legitimate software/mods.
Automated Downloaders & Third-Party Mod Compilations
Closely related to the previous topic is the practice of developing automated mod installs or so-called "modpacks". Modding is an involved process that requires a lot of manual effort, and often users wish for a simple "one-click" approach to modding a game and/or ask others to develop solutions (sometimes for a fee) or set up websites that house pre-compiled modded games. STEP does NOT support this practice.
It may be very hard to verify the legitimacy of all the assets used in modpacks or that all mod authors affected have explicitly agreed to this form of distribution of their work, so more often than not, these modpacks and automated download/install methods are technically infringing upon the legal rights of others. So whilst not all modpack authors may be technically breaking the law, STEP holds the view that these packs do not contribute to the broader interests of the modding community, and we do not have resources to vet and maintain status of these third-party solutions.
Posting about a site or a service that uses a modpack or supports automated methods of acquiring mods will garner that user a warning for the first instance and possible banning for further infringements.
The STEP Community Mantra:
Help us foster an environment that leverages your enthusiasm within a culture of good humor ... and rigorous analysis!
The STEP wiki is a community-driven source of information. Our goal is to house the best, most up-to-date, guides and resources for the community to use. Since this is community-driven and due to our "Opening Modding" philosophy, any content provided outside of a member's "Userspace", will be consider community content maintained by STEP and various users. This content is open and available to all to freely use as they'd like. Exceptions to "open content" guidelines include:
- Wiki structure
- Official STEP Content
- Other Guides
Content and pages relating to the structure of the wiki and its layout and design are not considered community properties. These elements are restricted to Administrators only. This includes but is not limited to:
- Protected Namespaces
- Style Sheets
- Wiki software files
Official STEP Content
Official STEP content includes any content that is maintained specifically for the purpose of use for the various gaming Guides provided by STEP. This content is restricted to STEP staff members.
Other guides include any guides located within the "Guides" category. These are open for community contribution, however, STEP maintains a level of moderation over them due to them also (A)being used for internal use in conjunction with our official gaming guides, (B)by request or seeking permission from the author to officially maintain the guides, or (C)to maintain a consistent grammatical style, design structure, and writing style among this popular guides.
All content provided from within a member's userspace is not considered community property and all rights to said content will remain with the member. A member can find their userspace by clicking their username on the menu bar in the top-right side of any wiki page. The address will be as such,
wiki.step-project.com/User:UserName, where "UserName" is replaced by the member's username on the forums.
When writing content outside of the userspace, the third-person writing style should be used. 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 userspace, and also is not written in the third person should be corrected accordingly.
Discussions of major changes to content should occur on the page'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 page's creator/main editor and/or a senior staff member and point them to the Talk page discussion when proposing content or stylistic changes to an article. Simple corrections to grammar do not require any special notification or mentions on the forum or 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 factual, but qualify what is intended to be factual with verifiable information by posting a link where appropriate. However, we want to facilitate community contributions to the wiki, so we encourage all users to get involved. We 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 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 notice necessary.
Finally, any post with the following will be subject to moderation. 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 (ie. just for the sake of arguing, etc.).
Use of good judgement when choosing a username for use on STEP is advised. Usernames also apply to all of STEP's platforms (forums and wiki). The following guidelines apply to usernames:
- Don't choose something offensive or vulgar.
- Do not choose a username which is tied to a known mod author. These names are reserved for those authors and are verified before a Mod Author badge is given.
- Usernames may be changed by contacting a STEP Staff or Admin staff member, but this will only be done once so members should choose their username wisely.
- It is recommended to use the same username as used on Nexus.
- Mod Authors
- If you are a Mod Author and a community member on STEP, please contact a STEP Staff or Admin staff member on Nexus for verification. Within the message include your STEP username and the email address used to sign up on the STEP forums. Once verified, authors will be given a 'Mod Author' badge on the forum. This grants a special status so all members will know you are a verified author. This also gives access to an Authors-only forum for discussion or seeking help.
- 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.
- The STEP forums provide support for TapaTalk for simplified and more convenient navigation and information gathering on the go. The following guidelines apply:
- We ask our members posting from their mobile devices maintain the guidelines laid out within this Guide.
- Please remove the standard signature from Tapatalk, which includes the model of the mobile device
- Do not use "text lingo". THIS IS NOT A MOBILE CHAT-ROOM COMMUNITY!
General Posting Guidelines
New members on a forum are often upset when they receive a seemingly curt reply to their posts. This often occurs if the question or comment has already been posted, often repeatedly, in the past. Even the nicest communities tend to get irritated by this situation. Therefore, we ask our members to make good use of the search feature before posting. This especially applies to members looking for support!
The following guidelines apply to all members when posting to the forums:
- New topics should be placed in the correct sub-forum. Topics posted in the wrong forums will be moved by the Moderation Team.
- 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.
- Be conscious of maintaining the original topic to avoid derailing discussions or hi-jacking a topic (referred to as "off-topic posts").
- Don't plagiarize content or post material from other sites without links to the original material. Always give credit where it is due!
- Always try to cite sources when stating information. People appreciate the extra effort of providing links to sources.
- Use the search feature for a forum or topic to find post references when needed.
- Not-Safe-For-Work (NSFW) content is prohibited.
- Links to NSFW material, such as mod pages, must state they are not safe for work.
- Posts that include links to any harmful websites/software, viruses, malware, referral sites, income-generating links etc. are prohibited. STEP will not tolerate this sort of abuse, and offending accounts will be permanently banned.
- Posting with multiple accounts is known as 'sockpuppetry', and is against the spirit of honest and fair discussion. Members found using this practice will be banned.
- Debate and discussion are always encouraged, but rudeness and personal insults are not. Offending posters will be handled accordingly by the Moderation Team.
- Once a post has been made, wait and be patient for a reply. Constantly repeating the same post is considered a form of spamming, and will be dealt with by the Moderation Team.
- Screenshots/videos are allowed, but they should be hosted elsewhere. Do not attach these files! Imgur, Postimages, and YouTube are popular choices for third-party hosting of media.
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 the post and ask, "Is this offensive or needlessly provoking?"
If the answer is anything but "of course not!", then please don't post it. Our Moderation Team does not enjoy extinguishing fires and the users involved are not going to enjoy it either, if the Team has to put on their firefighting gear.
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 spoiler tags to hide really long text such as when posting INIs for support:
[spoiler] textHere [/spoiler]
- Use a code tag to put text in a scroll-able box that ignores all codes (except of course /code).
[code] textHere [/code]
- Use a quote tag to put text in a quote box. These are used when quoting other members or sources.
[quote] textHere [/quote]
- A header can be added to the opening quote tab, which is useful when citing the source:
[quote='quoteTitle by userName'] textHere [/quote]
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).
- Font color should remain readable and neutral toned (nothing too bright please).
- Avatars follow general forum guidelines as well.
- NSFW avatars will be removed by the Moderation Team.
- 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.
Making mod topics easier to find
- The topic 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 Opening Post (OP) and update the topic title.
- 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 (this is what game the mod belongs to).
- Add relevant tags to the mod. Our recommended tagging scheme is to use the main path of the assets the mod provides or descriptive words telling what the mod is. For example, appropriate tags for a mod that re-textures 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
- The opening post should always begin with the standard boilerplate found here: Boilerplate
- All opening posts should include a short review of the mod and its features in the member's own words; please do not copy and paste the description from Nexus or the ReadMe file.
- Mod Authors are free to start a topic for their own mods, if it does not exist (and we encourage this).
- 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.
- Additionally, users should add a tag, testing, to the list of tags. This will allow staff to easily find the suggested inclusion.
- A mod review should be provided from in-game experience. Personal opinions and practical experience for using the mods also welcomed.
- If screenshots can be provided with a review, they will be appreciated by the community and staff.
- If comparing two different graphical mods, please provide screenshots of both mods in the post complete with a vanilla-based comparison shot. This will go a long way in helping the community and and help to promote different perspectives.
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 following are a few guidelines in regards to moderation:
- Don't attempt to impersonate a Moderator or falsely claim authority over other members.
- 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 and be respectful, if and when contacted by a moderator or senior staff member for any reason.
- Please keep any communication regarding moderation private. If a member feels something was handled incorrectly, first contact the Moderator responsible and, if truly necessary, explain the situation to a different Moderator or Administrator.
- 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. User contributed content will be consider "public content" and ownership of said content is transferred to STEP, where users retain editing rights to said content; given set user permissions allow such editing.
User contributed content is any content the user supplies to any platform owned and maintained by STEP. This includes but is not limited to CMS content, forums posts/replies, and wiki content.
Account Removal Requests
To submit an account removal request, user must contact a site administrator. Account removal requests will be handled in such a way that all personal identifying information (PII) will be removed or generalized on said account. Accounts are never deleted for various reasons. They are simply scrubbed of all PII. This includes:
- Member username (if it is your 'real' name)
- E-mail associated with the account
- Profile information
This does not include:
- User posts/replies
- Other user created content
Accounts will be removed or reinstated at the sole discretion of the site administrators. This mean there is no guarantee such removal requests will be fulfilled. If fulfilled, there is no set time frame for completion of account removal requests. Requests will be completed as time permits.
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 Tester 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 STEP:Core installation.
- Site Founders
- This is an honorary group given to members who helped start STEP from the beginning of 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 Guide releases.
- Super Moderators
- Super Moderators are the top-level moderators for STEP. They can handle all moderation tasks on the forums and are not limited on the actions that 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.
Users are not to post any links leading to individual mods or mod compilations, which allow the sharing of mod assets outside of the author's original hosted medium, without the expressed consent of all authors works involved.
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.