NexusMods and ModDB, two of the biggest online sites for PC game mods, have removed a project that cut the in-game pride flags from the recently-released PC port of Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. As NexusMods explained in a blog post, the mod was uploaded to its site by a brand new account with no modding history, which the site’s administrators suspect is a secondary account for one of the site’s users — a “sock puppet” account.
“It was very clearly done deliberately to be a troll mod,” NexusMods writes. “The fact the user needed to make a sock puppet like a coward to upload the mod showed their intent to troll and that they knew it would not be allowed. Had they not been a coward and had they used their main account instead, we would have simply removed the mod and told them that we did not want to host it, only banning them if they reuploaded it again after being fairly warned. The creation of the sock puppet removed any doubt and made it a very easy decision for us.”
As well as removing the mod, NexusMods says it’s banned both “the sock puppet account and the user’s main account.” The mod replaced the pride flags found around New York City with the United States flag, which is frequently seen in the original game.
Hi! We’ve removed the content and banned the users. ModDB is an inclusive environment for all and we do not permit targeting marginalised groups. Our content moderation is largely automated but when identified, we have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of content. https://t.co/0leqjUxqJD
— ModDB (@ModDB) August 17, 2022
ModDB, another popular source of mods for PC games, also confirmed in a tweet that it’s removed the mod. “ModDB is an inclusive environment for all and we do not permit targeting marginalized groups,” the tweet reads. “Our content moderation is largely automated but when identified, we have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of content.”
“Our policy is thus: we are for inclusivity, we are for diversity,” NexusMods says in its post. “If we think someone is uploading a mod on our site with the intent to deliberately be against inclusivity and/or diversity then we will take action against it.” A NexusMods help page notes that “content that may be generally construed as provocative, divisive, objectionable, discriminatory, or abusive toward any real-world individual or group, may be subject to moderation.”
“If this policy upsets you, if we’ve broken some moral code of conduct as a business that you can’t accept, then please, delete your account,” NexusMods writes.
It’s a shame, because the PC modding community has otherwise been on excellent form with the mods they’ve been creating for Insomniac’s Spider-Man title, allowing players to swing around the city as everything from Spider-Man antagonist Kingpin to Black Cat, and there have been plenty of mods to adjust the look and colors of Spider-Man’s iconic suit.