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Buidling A Devil That You Might Want To Worship: An Ethical Model For Mod Communities


Wounded_Lion

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It's about to get bloody.

 

jcompton (paraphrased in positive form):

 

If modding IE game content without explicit consent is ethical, then modding/utilizing IE mod content without explicit consent is also ethical.

 

To understand this argument, we must understand its implied premise:

 

Modding IE game content and modding/utilizing IE mod content are similar such that the ethical considerations of each are identical.

 

If we consider ourselves ethical individuals, it might seem that we have two choices:

 

Option 1: Answer that modding IE game content without explicit consent is ethical. It thus follows that modding/utilizing IE mod content without explicit consent is also ethical. This is a tenable position for IE modders.

 

Option 2: Answer that modding IE game content without explicit consent is unethical. This is not a tenable position for IE modders given Bioware's lack of explicit consent. If this stance is taken, one must forgo modding IE games.

 

However, we must ask ourselves: Does jcompton accurately describe the reality of our situation?

 

No, he does not. Bioware has given neither explicit consent nor explicit denial of permissions. Can we render his description more accurate? Yes:

 

If in the absence of explicit denial of permissions modding IE game content without explicit consent is ethical, then in the absence of explicit denial of permissions modding/utilizing IE mod content without explicit consent is also ethical.

 

Now our options become:

 

Option 1: Answer that in the absence of explicit denial of permissions modding IE game content without explicit consent is ethical. It thus follows that in the absence of explicit denial of permissions modding/utilizing IE mod content without explicit consent is also ethical. This is a tenable position for IE modders.

 

Option 2: Answer that in the absence of explicit denial of permissions modding IE game content without explicit consent is unethical. This is not a tenable position for IE modders given Bioware's lack of explicit consent. If this stance is taken, one must forgo modding IE games.

 

As ethical modders, we must choose Option 1.

 

What does this mean?

 

In the absence of explicit denial of permissions modding/utilizing IE mod content without explicit consent is ethical.

 

What else can we deduce? Using jcompton's premise:

 

If modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical, then modding/utilizing IE mod content despite explicit denial of permissions is also unethical.

 

Unless we wish to engage in debate concerning whether ignoring applicable laws is ethical, then we must answer that modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical.

 

It thus follows that explicit denial of permissions also renders modding/utilizing IE mod content unethical.

 

What type of modding community does this suggest?

 

A modding community in which it is considered ethical to mod/utilize mod content unless the author of that content has expressly denied permissions.

 

What advantages does this have?

 

1. Efficiency. Unless a mod's documentation contains an explicit denial of permissions, we are free to mod/utilize its content without the hassle of obtaining permissions. This is especially beneficial to us if the author of the mod in question is no longer available for contact.

 

2. Encouragement of Mutual Respect and Goodwill.

 

Bring it. :suspect:

 

aWL

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What else can we deduce? Using jcompton's premise:

 

If modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical, then modding/utilizing IE mod content despite explicit denial of permissions is also unethical.

 

Unless we wish to engage in debate concerning whether ignoring applicable laws is ethical, then we must answer that modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical.

 

It thus follows that explicit denial of permissions also renders modding/utilizing IE mod content unethical.

 

This bit of the argument doesn't work. If Bioware explicitly denied permission, part of the reason it would be unethical is precisely because it's illegal, Bioware being a legitimate copyright holder; in any case, it would be moot since we wouldn't be able to to mod because Bioware could enforce their will.

 

It's perfectly legal to mod mods (or rather: insofar as it's illegal, it's only illegal because of Bioware's legitimate ownership of the original IP, not because of the mod content) so neither argument applies.

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This bit of the argument doesn't work. If Bioware explicitly denied permission, part of the reason it would be unethical is precisely because it's illegal, Bioware being a legitimate copyright holder; in any case, it would be moot since we wouldn't be able to to mod because Bioware could enforce their will.

 

It's perfectly legal to mod mods (or rather: insofar as it's illegal, it's only illegal because of Bioware's legitimate ownership of the original IP, not because of the mod content) so neither argument applies.

 

Technically, we could continue to mod. Bioware cannot stop us from modding in the privacy of our own homes, simply from sharing our mods with other people. So the question of whether or not modding is an ethical activity is in fact a valid ethical question.

 

Also, modding might be unethical for reasons other than the legal issues in question.

 

A.C.

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This bit of the argument doesn't work. If Bioware explicitly denied permission, part of the reason it would be unethical is precisely because it's illegal, Bioware being a legitimate copyright holder; in any case, it would be moot since we wouldn't be able to to mod because Bioware could enforce their will.

 

It's perfectly legal to mod mods (or rather: insofar as it's illegal, it's only illegal because of Bioware's legitimate ownership of the original IP, not because of the mod content) so neither argument applies.

 

Technically, we could continue to mod. Bioware cannot stop us from modding in the privacy of our own homes, simply from sharing our mods with other people. So the question of whether or not modding is an ethical activity is in fact a valid ethical question.

 

Also, modding might be unethical for reasons other than the legal issues in question.

 

A.C.

 

Hang on, you're losing track of the structure of the debate: I'm just responding to AWL's argument that

 

Modding the original game despite denied permission is unethical ----->

 

Modding mods despite denied permission is unethical

 

by pointing out disanalogies. The central point being that AWL's argument for the former being unethical is entirely because it's illegal.

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@Sorrow: Excellent. :suspect:

 

This bit of the argument doesn't work. If Bioware explicitly denied permission, part of the reason it would be unethical is precisely because it's illegal, Bioware being a legitimate copyright holder; in any case, it would be moot since we wouldn't be able to to mod because Bioware could enforce their will.

 

It's perfectly legal to mod mods (or rather: insofar as it's illegal, it's only illegal because of Bioware's legitimate ownership of the original IP, not because of the mod content) so neither argument applies.

 

You contest:

 

Unless we wish to engage in debate concerning whether ignoring applicable laws is ethical, then we must answer that modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical.

 

To maintain the philosophical integrity of my position, I need to prove:

 

Modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical.

 

Shall we engage in debate, then?

 

...modding might be unethical for reasons other than the legal issues in question.

 

As A.C. comments (thank you, btw), modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions might be unethical for reasons other than the legal issues in question.

 

If Bioware were to provide us with an IE game on the condition of explicit denial of permissions, we would have two choices:

 

Option 1: Refuse (and perhaps play/mod another game).

Option 2: Accept and use the software for agreed purposes (play).

 

If we were to choose to accept but then mod IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions, then we would have committed what is known as a breach of good faith. Breach of good faith is virtually indefensibly unethical from any legitimate ethical perspective.

 

Thus:

 

Modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical.

 

Taken with:

 

If modding IE game content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical, then modding/utilizing IE mod content despite explicit denial of permissions is also unethical.

 

We have:

 

Modding/utilizing IE mod content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical.

 

My argument retains its validity.

 

It is also interesting to note that we can use similar logic to prove that modding/utilizing IE mod content despite explicit denial of permissions is unethical without having to resort to jcompton's premise:

 

If a modder were to provide us with an IE mod on the condition of explicit denial of permissions, we would have two choices:

 

Option 1: Refuse (and perhaps play/utilize another mod).

Option 2: Accept and use the mod for agreed purposes (play).

 

If we were to choose to accept but then mod/utilize IE mod content despite explicit denial of permissions, then we would have committed what is known as a breach of good faith. Breach of good faith is virtually indefensibly unethical from any legitimate ethical perspective.

 

You've been blooded. White flag or retaliation? :blush:

 

aWL

 

EDIT: clarity, punctuation

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Please stop commencing or ending every post with a threat or declaration of victory. It's not rhetoric. It's just boring.

 

Ah, Sim, you wound me deeply... or not.

 

Each remark was meant as a humorous reminder of the fact that I am fighting this battle for the sheer thrill of being your Devil rather than for the sake of any deep-seated, pre-existing conviction. You of all people should understand humor as it seems to be your primary contribution to a large number of threads.

 

Perhaps you're just a bit upset that I've torn down the seemingly inescapable jcompton deathtrap?

 

It's okay, don't cry. DavidW is doing a fine job of tearing me down in return. :)

 

aWL

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If Bioware were to provide us with an IE game on the condition of explicit denial of permissions, we would have two choices:

 

Option 1: Refuse (and perhaps play/mod another game).

Option 2: Accept and use the software for agreed purposes (play).

You don't explicitly state Option 3: Ignore the conditions and play/mod anyway. Option 3 is illegal, and on those grounds I agree it's unethical (and I take it so do you; that's your point about legality above).

 

If a modder were to provide us with an IE mod on the condition of explicit denial of permissions, we would have two choices:

 

Option 1: Refuse (and perhaps play/utilize another mod).

Option 2: Accept and use the mod for agreed purposes (play).

You don't explicitly state Option 3: Ignore the conditions and play/mod anyway. Option 3 is not illegal, and that breaks the analogy with the Bioware case unless you have an independent reason why option 3 is unethical in the former case.

 

Incidentally, I agree with Sim. Intellectual discussion is a device to work out the truth; it's not supposed to be some kind of contest.

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Incidentally, I agree with Sim. Intellectual discussion is a device to work out the truth; it's not supposed to be some kind of contest.

 

Intellectual discussion is ultimately useful only as a tool of self-reflection and a means of influencing others. The only law with any binding force is the Law of Might. He who is stronger (and bear mind that phsyical strength is only one part of strength) prevails. This is an inescapable truth of our reality as human beings.

 

Intellectual discussion for me is a tool with which to reduce the logical inconsistencies of my thoughts and reflect on my identity as a person, and also as a means to have fun through friendly intellectual combat with others.

 

But that's waaay off topic. :)

 

As for the rest, I'll respond soon. I'm already running late for a lunch date.

 

aWL

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Intellectual discussion is ultimately useful only as a tool of self-reflection and a means of influencing others.

It's also vastly ineffective if you're TOO much of a prick, as I know probably better than anyone else. People are a lot more susceptible to being influenced if you're not constantly trying to tell them what a failure they are as a human being. The fact that I'm sitting here typing this rather than saying "hey, WL, great point!" is an excellent testament to the fact that your "influence" does nothing but piss me off. "But it's caused you to respond emotionally!" you reply. Yes. But about you as a person and your style of delivery, not the points you make, rendering the "intellectual" discussion worthless.

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Intellectual discussion is ultimately useful only as a tool of self-reflection and a means of influencing others.

It's also vastly ineffective if you're TOO much of a prick, as I know probably better than anyone else. People are a lot more susceptible to being influenced if you're not constantly trying to tell them what a failure they are as a human being. The fact that I'm sitting here typing this rather than saying "hey, WL, great point!" is an excellent testament to the fact that your "influence" does nothing but piss me off. "But it's caused you to respond emotionally!" you reply. Yes. But about you as a person and your style of delivery, not the points you make, rendering the "intellectual" discussion worthless.

 

Note how I drool look absolutely captivated by Sim's style of delivery.

 

 

 

EDIT: No, attention-gathering contest isn't really the best of my ideas...

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Maybe this subject matter would be better discussed in a new topic, started by someone who doesn't use 'Bring it' and 'You've been blooded'. Such bollocks.

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