Guide:STEP Community Citizenship

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Community Citizenship Guide
Terms of Service
by: Step Modifications
Info-Logo.png Notice:
The language of this page may be updated or changed at any time, without notice. By using any Step Modifications owned and/or maintained platform, users agree to be bound by and uphold this Citizenship Guide; whether users have read its contents or not, as it's presented to all users at the time of signup and to all Guests via a "guest message" on the forums.

Contents

Preface

About Us

Welcome to the Step Community website! Here you will find many forums (aka The Forums) related to modding and various Step Projects, including our founding project; Skyrim Total Enhancement Project (STEP). We also host a unique wiki (aka The Wiki) implementation that articulates, to some extent, with The Forums and hosts our official modding Guides, which are always under active development. The Wiki is open to the public, except for functional pages relating to Projects, guide framework, and content formatting. This will help facilitate more of a community-driven approach to our content. Within the site users will find many helpful resources, which have been voluntarily provided by the staff and other members of the community.

Step Modifications practices "cathedral modding" or "Open Modding" (see Open Modding Guide). Since we do interact with other modding sites, like Nexus Mods, and users that practice or allow the parlor philosophy, Step Modifications also 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 (public domain) or becomes community owned upon its transference.

Remember...

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 mead.

The Step Modification staff ask that our users, as a registered member of this site, to 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 within this document serve as a reference for our members, so that the community may evolve to its maximum potential.

  • It is expected that any information added to The Wiki or The Forums 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, so we encourage all users to get involved.
    • When citing any user, please include a link to the citation. When citing from our forums, it's recommend to use the "Quote" button at the bottom of the post.

The Step Modifications Mantra:

Help us foster an environment that leverages your enthusiasm within a culture of good humor ... and rigorous analysis!

Terms of Service

All registered users must agree to our Terms of Service Agreement to use our Services. Registration is confirmation of a user's agreement.

The Wiki

The Wiki is a community-driven source of information. Step's 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 staff 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
    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, templates, style sheets, wiki skins, and wiki software files.
  • Official Step Modification Content
    Official content includes any content that is maintained specifically for the purpose of use for the various modding Guides provided by Step Modifications. This content is restricted to staff members.
  • Other Guides
    Other guides include any guides located within the "Guides" category. These are open for community contribution, however, Step Modifications maintains a level of moderation over them due to them also (A)being used for internal use in conjunction with our official modding 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 these popular guides.
  • Userspaces
    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.

Content Creation and Guidelines

For guidelines and help in writing wiki content, see the Wiki Reference.

The Forums

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.
  • Agreement expressed via '+1', '-1', :thumbsup:, :thumbsdown:, /signed, and other short notes of agreement/disagreement are acceptable (as long as the minimum post length is met).
  • 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.
    [spoiler]content...[/spoiler]

Finally, 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 another user has responded or quoted, mysteriously changes. The exception to this is for minor spelling or punctuation corrections. In such cases, no EDIT notice necessary.

Info-Logo.png      Notice:
Editing of posts for new members is time limited to 15 minutes from the initial posting. See this post as to why.

User Guidelines

Usernames

Use of good judgement when choosing a username for use on Step Modifications is advised. Usernames also apply to all of our platforms (The Forums and The Wiki). The following guidelines apply to usernames:

  • Don't choose something offensive or vulgar.
  • Do not choose a username that 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 an Administrator, but this will only be done once or within special circumstances so members should choose their username wisely.
  • It is recommended to use the same username as used on Nexus Mods.
Mod Authors
If you are a Mod Author and a community member on The Forums, please contact an Administrator Nexus Mod for username verification. Within the message include your Step Modifications username and the email address used to sign up on The Forums. Once verified, authors will be given a 'Mod Author' badge on The Forums. 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.

Avatars

  • Avatars follow general forum guidelines as well.
  • NSFW avatars will be removed by the moderation team and a warning giving to the user for its use.
  • Image size is limited to 100x100 pixels.
  • Image's file size must be <= 150Kb.

Signatures

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 clutter a page; therefore, we retain the right to remove such clutter if it proves 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).

Tapatalk

The Forums provide support for TapaTalk for simplified and more convenient navigation and information gathering on the go. The following guidelines apply:

  • Members posting from their mobile devices are also subject to 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 chatroom community!

General Posting Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to all members when posting to the forums:

New Posts

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!

  • New topics should be placed in the correct sub-forum. Topics posted in the wrong forums will be moved by the moderation team.
  • Once a post has been made, wait and be patient for a reply. Constantly repeating the same post will be considered spamming, and thus, dealt with by the moderation team.
  • Refrain from "Double Posting" in multiple forums. This is not allowed and duplicate posts will be locked by our moderation team.
  • Wait at least 24 hours before "bumping" new topics.

Replying and the rest

  • Use common sense when replying. If members are inexperienced with our community's vibe, read through a few topics first to get a feel for the atmosphere before posting.
  • 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.
  • Be conscious of maintaining the original topic to avoid derailing discussions or hi-jacking a topic (referred to as "off-topic posts").
  • 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.
Info-Logo.png Notice:
If a member is in doubt about the tone of their post from a heated debate then they should:
  1. ...pause before posting. Grab a hot cocoa, a coffee, beer, glass of wine, or a shot of tequila (for those legal-aged members).
  2. After a few minutes, return and preview the post.
  3. 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 aren't going to enjoy it either.

Prohibited Content

  • Posts that include links to any harmful websites/software, viruses, malware, referral sites, income-generating links etc. are prohibited. Step Modifications will not tolerate this sort of abuse, and offending accounts will be permanently banned.
  • Posting from multiple accounts, known as 'sockpuppetry', is against the spirit of honest and fair discussion. Members found using this practice will be permanently banned.
  • Plagiarism of content or post material from other sites without links to the original material is prohibited. Always give credit where it's due!
  • Posting Not-Safe-For-Work (NSFW) material is prohibited, however, such things as discussions of NSFW mods is not.
    • Do not post any NSFW material.
    • Links to NSFW material, such as mod pages, is allowed but must state they are not safe for work.

Mod-Specific Posting Guidelines

The following guidelines only apply to topics created for mod topics. These topics are located in the Skyrim LE Mods and the Skyrim SE Mods sub-forums.

Additionally, users posting mod topics should consider creating a mod page on the wiki for the mod. This eliminates one step for staff, if the mod is accepted into a Guide. It's not necessary, but having the community do this also helps to build our "mod database". The "database" is used when our mod list framework (for Guides and Builds). Thus, the more mod pages we have on the wiki, the faster it will be for us and users to assemble their mod lists using our framework.

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 topic already exists, post within the existing topic. Multiple reviews and suggestions in the same topic is the desired result.

Making mod topics easier to find

  • The topic title should reflect: <modName> (by <authorName>)
    • The <modName> should reflect the name of the mod, exactly, as it is on Nexus Mods.
    • The <authorName> should reflect the author's name according to Nexus Mods.
    • For tools or mods that don't exist on Nexus Mods, use the dev's/mod author's given titles.
  • Add relevant tags to the mod.
    • The recommended tagging scheme is to use the path of the mod-provided assets. 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
    • 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.
    Info-Logo.png      Notice:
    Please do not copy and paste the description from Nexus Mods or the ReadMe file for a "review".
  • If a member suggests a mod for a Guide's inclusion, which they have not used, please state as much and provide a statement of the reason why the mod is being requested for review.
    • Additionally, users should add the tag, testing, to the list of tags. This will allow staff to easily find the user suggestion.
  • 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 helps to promote different perspectives.
Info-Logo.png      Notice:
The Step Modifications Community expects members posting reviews to have used the mod enough to post a quality review that is more than a few vague statements!

The Forums - Moderation

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 address "problem" members. Too many warnings in too short a time will get members banned temporarily or even permanently, and not all negative behavior is viewed or handled equally.
  • Moderators do not want to ban you! Step Modifications doesn't support "Dirty Harry" moderators who enjoy kicking people out followed with by a stinging rebuke for good measure. Our moderators are all nice people who have proven themselves in the community. Please listen and be respectful to them, if and when contacted by a moderator or 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.

Any post with the following will be subject to moderation. PLEASE DO NOT ...

... post flashing or strobing images or text.
... post anyone's, include your own, personal information...ever.
... generate spam by posting frequent and/or annoying messages that are not on topic, or are difficult to read.
... 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.
... reply with rudeness and personal insults. Debate and discussion are always encouraged, but these things are not.
... use excessive amounts of large, colorful, or otherwise annoying text just to emphasize your words.
... re-create a deleted or locked thread for the purposes of trying to continue its discussion.
... reply to a thread without anything to contribute (e.g., ...replying just for the sake of arguing).
Info-Logo.png Notice:
Rude and/or out-lashing behavior towards the moderation team while performing moderation tasks is strictly not tolerated! Any such behavior happening privately within PMs or openly on The Forums or The Wiki will be handled swiftly and harshly, up to a permanent ban. All our users are required to follow the guidelines outlined within this Guide. The moderation team is simply upholding these guidelines and performing the duties of their roles. Users are expected to be polite and respectful when moderation occurs.

Preservation of Information

Step Modifications values useful member contributions, so once any member creates any content, anywhere on our platform, this information is preserved for posterity at the discretion of the Step Modification staff. As covered in the About Us section, Step Modifications supports "cathedral" modding, thus, user contributed content to our platforms will be considered "public domain", and stewardship of said content is granted to Step Modifications at time of creation. Users agree to this by using our platforms.

User contributed content is any content the user supplies to any platform owned and maintained by Step Modifications. This includes but is not limited to posts/replies/PMs on The Forums and any content created on The Wiki.

Account Removal Requests

To submit an account removal request, a user must contact an Administrator. There is also no set time frame for completion of account removal requests by staff. Requests will be completed "as time permits", but still within a "reasonable" amount of time.

The majority of account removal requests will not be complete account deletions. They will be handled in such a way that all personal identifying information (PII) will be removed or generalized on requested account. Users agree to this by using our platforms. Accounts are rarely deleted for reasons stated above under Preservation of Information. Account information scrubbed of PII includes:

  • Member username
  • E-mail associated with the account
  • Password
  • Profile information
  • Signatures

This scrub does not include:

  • User posts/replies on The Forum
  • User created content on The Forum or The Wiki
Info-Logo.png Notice:
* Currently there is no way of scrubbing usernames from "quoted replies"; replies that include a quote from another user. By using The Forums, users acknowledge this limitation and understand their username will remain within such "quoted replies" when account removal requests are submitted and fulfilled.
  • Accounts will only be completely removed at the sole discretion of the Administrators. As such, there are no guarantees complete removal requests will be fulfilled.
  • Users agree to these by using our platforms.

Member Groups

Staff Groups and Hierarchy

The following member groups are official Step Modifications staff members and are listed in order of hierarchy from top to bottom:

  1. Administrators
    Administrators are at the top level of Step Modification staff and help to guide all aspects of all Projects.
  2. Project Staff
    Project Staff members are sub-administrators on the forums. They are typically leads on one or more Step Projects and work closely with other staff when needed. This group is primarily responsible for the successful publication of new Guide releases.
  3. Uber Moderators
    Uber Moderators are the top-level moderators for the forums. 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.
  4. Moderators
    Moderators are second-tier 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.
  5. Staff
    Staff are first tier 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 one of the Projects.

All remaining groups are considered "members" and have no affiliation as official Step Modifications staff members.

Member Groups

The following is a list of the member groups which can be found on the forums:

Watchers
This is the default group at signup and has some restrictions in place. Members of this group are usually newer members of our community who will auto-promote to Citizen once they have become accustomed to our community.
Citizens
These are all considered full members of the community, as the name suggestions. They have none of the restricts that Watchers have.
VIP-Supporters
Members who have substantially contributed and supported Step in terms of project work and/or ≥ $50 in donations. Any good-standing member that contributes 2,000 or more posts will automatically be promoted to this group. Several of these members are also retired staff.
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!
Founders
This is an honorary group given to members who helped start Step Modification from the beginning.

A Note About Mod Redistribution

Piracy

Step Modifications 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Info-Logo.png      Notice:
An example of why STEP does not provide support for pirated games, aside from the legal issues.

Automated Downloaders & Third-Party Mod Compilations

Closely related to the previous topic is the practice of developing automated mod installs or so-called "modpacks" (aka torrents). Modding is an involved process that requires a lot of manual effort and time to learn the tools of the trade. Often users wish for a simple "one-click" approach to modding a game, ask others to develop such solutions (sometimes for a fee), or set up websites that house pre-compiled modded games. Step Modifications does NOT support this practice.

Pre-configured solutions can take many forms from simple archive downloads to automated installers complete with GUI. Sometimes the level of sophistication may give the user confidence in the solution's legitimacy. Many torrent creators likewise may think that their solution is legitimate and that they are performing a service to the community. This practice certainly presents a convenience to the user, but the fact is that it is most often NOT, technically, legal. In most cases, these solutions remove mod authors from the process, which could lead to copyright infringement. Many mod authors develop and release their mods not only as a service to the modding community but also for a sense of accomplishment, recognition, and even accreditation for their work. Some mod authors even cite their accomplishments with potential employers. Removing them from this process separates them from control over their unique creations, their ability to support their work, recognition from the community (e.g. endorsements, feedback), and competition with other mod creators on the Nexus and other legitimate, mod-hosting venues. Step Modifications recognizes the legal rights of all mod authors over their unique creations, as well as, their agreements with mod-hosting venues to steward and distribute their property in accordance with known Terms of Service.

It may be very hard to verify the legitimacy of all the assets used in these solutions, or that all mod authors affected have explicitly agreed to this form of distribution of their work. More often than not, these solutions are technically infringing upon the legal rights of others. So whilst not all the developer of these solutions may be technically breaking the law, Step Modifications holds the view that these solutions do not contribute to the broader interests of the modding community. We also don't have resources to vet and maintain the status of these third-party solutions.

Automated solutions may be freely discussed and torrents of mods provided by their mod authors are considered legitimate, however:

Warning-Logo.png      Warning:
Anyone advertizing or posting about a site or service that hosts either/or "modpack"/Step Guide torrents, without the expressed permission from all contributors of said mods, will be reported to Nexus Mods, receive a warning for the first instance, and be banned from Step Modifications upon further infringements. So please be warned.

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's a matter of respect and ethics that governs the majority of the modding community that we align to. Step Modifications simply shows users how to utilize these resources using the intended channels via our modding Guides. 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.