2016-05-11 00:34:40

The following is a message I wrote to the administrators of the site, regarding the situation in the should accessible steam games be added to the databasetopic. I present it for community awareness only, and do not post it to breed contention, but I feel it fair to bring to light the way this situation was handled.

Begin Message

I'm writing to you on a matter of community representation, in reaction to a particular individual attempting to silence the voices of those who harbour opinions in direct opposition to his own. He has closed the "should accessible steam games be added to the database" forum topic, claiming that the topic possesses "sniping" and "mob mentality", wherein I shall counter with the fact that people in the discussion, whilst passionate about the subject, have done neither.

To give you some background: Aaron, a moderator of the forums, proposed a poll inquiring whether or not accessible games which are offered through the Steam platform should be added to the Audiogames database. As of this writing, 29 people have voted that they should be included, as opposed to 6 who say otherwise.

A series of discussions and debates have been lobbied on the subject, with an overwhelming number of people expressing their interest in supporting accessible games made available through Steam. At some point during the discussion, the moderator Dark steps in to proclaim unequivocally that "Therefore, "until the client is fixed, steam games won't get pages". He does not provide that the subject will require time for consideration, nor does he suggest that perhaps the matter may have to wait until demonstrations on how to accessibly use Steam are easily available, nor does he acknowledge the efforts and opinions of his fellow moderators (one of which proposed, and thus was at least entertaining the idea). he states without contest or any degree of flexibility that the matter is closed, and that Steam games will not be considered for inclusion, no matter what the community desires.

He furthermore continues on to insist with all impracticality that developers who release games on Steam, a medium which affords them with a readily available and easily accessible distribution platform, must consider releasing versions untied to the service before they'll be considered for inclusion. In this day and age, we well know the truth of piracy, and requiring a developer to make a special release which may be less secure and thus more easily pirated, to say nothing of making a special version just to cater to a realistically small market is both unfair to game developers and unrealistic in general.

Additionally, his evidence of Steam's accessibility is circumspect, as it comes from heresay. "Last I heard the steam client required OCR interpretation, literally printing material to the screen and then clicking with guesswork." I can personally attest and demonstrate to you if desired that his statement of Steam's deficiencies is both erroneous and born of ignorance. He has neither researched the truth of the situation before making his case, nor has he considered the overwhelming proof from multiple people who regularly use the service without accessibility issues.

The discussion continues, wherein I do call him out on his very dictatorial decision, ignoring the needs of the community as a whole (as expressed by the overwhelming number of positive votes). I ask him to show evidence of Steam lack of accessibility, ask him to observe proof of Steam's accessibility, and ask him to reconsider his decision. He has yet to defend his stance on the subject, and instead has elected to close the topic, implying that there has been material offensive enough to warrant such a drastic measure. I counter that this is a personally driven reaction to a situation wherein the offending moderator was unable to deliver a valid response to the overwhelming view. He calls those of us who are contending for Steam a mob, saying he's opposed to a "mob mentality". At no point have any of the contributors demanded Steam's inclusion. We have but strongly defended the stance that Steam should be included, that it's accessible enough to use, and that to do otherwise is to disparage the efforts of those developers who do go out of their way to make their mainstream games accessible.

I ask you as administrators to the site: Is this forum not a community effort? Are the games and contributions here to the greater benefit of the community as a whole, rather than just to a few select individuals? If the site is designed with the community in mind, then how can such an arbitrary move as to close a topic which does not agree with one moderator be allowed? Furthermore, how is this not being discourteous to his fellow moderators, as well as to those who support the initiative? I quote rule two from the forum rules: "2) Be nice to each other and respect the moderators. The moderators will delete messages with offensive behavior and warn the responsible user. The number of warnings is limited. We want to keep this forum a nice place!" I'm going to assume this rule applies to the closure of topics as well. He has not sighted any offensive material, nor do I see any. He is furthermore breaching that very same rule, holding himself above it by denying people the ability to further speak on the subject.

I am in no way requesting Dark's deposition, but I sincerely request that something be done about this breach of conduct. Moderators should be serving their community, not trying to rule it with an iron sword. Moderators should respect their peers, rather than assume their opinions don't matter. Moderators should not be so close-minded, nor should they quote hearsay as evidence.

I love the Audiogames forum, and I respect the work of game developers who do their best to make games accessible to us, a very small and niche market. I am highly disappointed at this level of disrespect openly expressed towards those efforts. I hope you are not of like mind, and that you will harbour the growth and progress of the blind gaming community, rather than oppressing it, keeping the community bound to only those games which a select individual or group approve of.

Kai

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2016-05-11 00:56:30

Hi,

Ok, what I say here is my opinions, and are not meant to offend. But, this is a community forum, so figured I would add my sense. I already put some of this on twitter, but still. Lets put this simply. What he is saying is "Screw the community, I will use my admin rights, and I seem to think the topic is getting out of hand, what I say is final. So, shut up and stop talking about it. At least, this was my impression. Dark is a wonderful admin on the AG forum, and makes decisions, but one like this was created by another admin anyway. I'm sure, Aaron was reading the posts in the topic, and could have closed it if he took it as getting out of hand. As being someone who doesn't really know any games that the blind person can play on Steam, this would be a great resource. The mainstream gaming community is constantly talking about all the amazing games out there, and the fact that we can play some of those included in the store is great. Like someone else mentioned on the previous thread, most of the games on this site are created, or mostly made for blind players. Nots saying all, but most. This could go two ways. Either this site being a place where others can talk about Audiogames in general, or games that the blind user can play on a daily basis, without need of a sighted counterpart.

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2016-05-11 04:11:57

I'm not going to address your points at the moment, because it would only invite more impassioned disagreement, but I think you should know that the issue that's giving you so much grief is presently being debated in the house--I mean, among the moderators.

Just myself, as usual.

2016-05-11 04:16:54

Xoren just said everything what I could. People like Dark SHOULD consider that really.

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2016-05-11 05:08:36

Hello
xoren  is absolutely right.
I can only give a thumbs up for your comment
greetings and thanks.

sorry my english, is not my native language.

2016-05-11 06:40:32

Ahoy there

I Wonder what these games are that people keep talking about as being accessible and on steam. The only game that comes anywhere close is skullgirls and no other.
A blind legend is available for all the platforms anywhere,so the question of it being not added in the database doesn't come up at all.

I'm not saying not counting the opinions of the community as the hole should be completely thrown out the window, but Ultimately if we were to have a vote on everything we'd probably only just have free games,cracks posted everywhere and so on. So, for some things decisions have to be taken with which people might not be happy

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn't visit the forums at all,and looks at the database for games. Now they see a game on steam, lets say, A blindLegend,and since the game's listed on the database,where all the games are fully accessible or almost so that a person can play them in one way or the other. Either by normal useage of their reader, the jaws/review or what other curses what have you.
There's a steam guide,so they even look at it,and try to follow it, just like I did. Although level of difficulty ain't appreciated,but its what we have to deal with,so that's cool. What happens and what's their opinion of the audiogame database as the hole when they can't get the client to run at all? or have issues with it just like I did.
And this isn't something that I did a few months ago, its about 20 days or so ago when I tried and failed to get steam up and running.

Consider:
Why are titles/apps that have been appreciated by the applevis community by adding them into the hall of fame removed when they aren't accessavle enough although they still can be used? Sure one could say we are in the minority and must be happy with what we have and given and etc stuff, but that doesn't mean we go ahead and promote the same stuff which has issues,you know just because minority.

This in no way means that we shouldn't appreciate the effort developers put in into making any game accessible, in fact I admire the developer of skullgirls( can't for the life of me spell his name right :d) for adding in accessibility as he has and  listened and updated the game with more  accessibility features. Hence I suggested adding skullgirls in the database as  an exception,with one of the players that knows of it writing up a description and instructions for it. With a note on the ache steam is on the rear end.

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2016-05-11 10:20:18

Dear all,

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Your arguments matter to us and we're currently discussing this with our team of moderators. We value the precious work of our moderators and the efforts they've made to make AudioGames what it is, but value our community just as much. We'll keep you informed.

Best!
Sander

2016-05-11 15:11:07

Unfortunately for you all, this is not a democracy. The final decision will, no doubt, be made by the owners of the site, and as owners, what they decide is what will happen, regardless of whether you like it or not.

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2016-05-11 16:00:40

Owners also are making video games so hopefully they will understand us and change these things to not close the community by some dictatory and private point of view.

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2016-05-12 03:37:13

Well written, and I agree with you. Nicely written.  I see no reason why Steam games shouldn't be added to the database, if they can be played with some work, then why not?  Everything isn't going to be 100% accessible, and if their are workarounds so that we can play them, then so be it.

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2016-05-12 06:40:53

I'm not sure that the matter is one of simply wanting to add them in and having it done.  When I was a mod, I couldn't simply add iOS games without having an iOS device.  ON the surface, it may seem like Dark is throwing his weight around, possibly even complaining, but honestly, unless things have changed since I gave up my position, he does most of the work around here as far as adding games to the database goes and, as such, I imagine the task of having to fiddle around with yet another platform as well as keep his head wrapped around all of his responsibilities would, I imagine, initially seem daunting at the very least; methinks I probably would have had a kneejerk reaction that was similar to his, if not worse.  I'm not condoning his call or his action on the matter; goodness knows I've had my disagreements with him on the past... The private messaging debate comes to mind right off the top of my head.  Sometimes, however, I do feel the community is a bit pushy and slightly ungreatful for what is available; I'm sorry if this hits a little too close to home for anyone on here... It's honestly nothing personal.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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2016-05-12 08:20:35

Well, the solution is simple: More responsible moderators. Everything can be done logically if someone wants to do it and what about Steam it's not like a console, phone or differend platform. It's available for everyone who's using computers and it's possible to test things out rather than saying something without the knowledge.
Dark did excellent job many times holding everything in the right way but yeah...
This site should have atleast few mods responsible for differend things / sections if we wants grow up as a community, as the players and game enthusiasts.

In terms of Skullgirls, narcissu or some other titles to come but actually can't say more, I fought a lot to bring it to you. Everyday I'm fighting about accessibility in the video games because it's the future of gaming for me. Don't close to the community but be opened.
I don't care what actual mods are thinking or saying. I'll always find the way to spread this around and no matter if it will be this site or not. I believe in real gamers who are not only sitting here and there criticising with their lack of informations. I believe there are people who wants to do something to push everything foward and I always will do everything for this kind of gamers. Don't care if someone is not appreciating this, I care about players and delivering that around to let everyone these games exists, these are 100% playable and it's not a big deal even with steam to use it. I written the steam guide and now working on something easier, form of extended guide / tutorial to help everyone.

L

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2016-05-12 08:39:30

hay forum members.
I haven't play any game on steam
but yup I have heard about it.
I agreed with post 1 that steam games should be added.
if they are accessible.
if you are adding steam games then why should not we add Play station games?
I wonder that Mister dark haven't posted a single word regarding this matter and I want the reason behind that.
agreed with you dood.
ultra power clone maker is still alive and actively participating in the forum but he banned walter without any reason.
yulanda is still there and how she reincarnate I don't know.
that is the evidence that how mister dark is going against the community.
Maybe he just not carefully reading any post.
in the previous post of survive the wild I wrote that every moderator should be objective and should not use his/her prejudices.
Thanks
Ishan

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2016-05-12 10:47:31

Sadly, the hardest part of wanting to get something done is actually getting it done.  It's easy enough to say we'll do this or that thing; we may even initially start off in the right direction.  I've seen far too many things, however, particularly amongst blind people, simply come to nothing because they choke on their own excess commitment which ends up overwhelming the party or parties involved.  This little thing called life gets in the way at times as well; it's not all about leisure time, I'm afraid.  I'm sure if Dark and the other mods could turn this into a job and get paid for what they do the matter might have been settled differently.  Things get really interesting when you add free/unpaid to the equation along with the task of finding "responsible" moderators.
Funnily enough, what I don't see happening is anyone who has bothered to spend energy on complaining about the unfairnesses concerning this site bothering to develop something equall to, if not better than what we currently have here.  I've seen many arguments come and go on this forum regarding this or that thing, strictness, disregard and lack of consideration for its members, poor judgment and hasty calls and decision making, etc.  I'd never go so far as to say that the mods have always been right, no matter who's involved, but what does interest me is that, we can never seem to help coming back.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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2016-05-12 19:16:16

thumbs up xoren, agree.

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2016-05-12 23:10:56

Hi all,
The reason we are not adding playstation games is because they aren't exactly audiogames.
When I'm talking about adding Steam games, I am talking about a small selection, ones that are usable with screen readers or self voicing. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter will not be added because they rely more on memory. The reason a game like SoundVoyager is in the database is because it really does have audiogame style gameplay, on the gameboy advance of all things.
Games like Skullgirls and the Choice of Games will work with screen readers or some of them like A Blind Legend are self voicing, which is kind of what we are aiming for here, not just any game that people can play.

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2016-05-13 06:16:32

I wholeheartedly agree with Zoren's post. Yes, it is true that Steam can be a pain in the ass to set up. But it can be done, by anyone good at following directions in a tutorial. Additionally with Skullgirls, the game got even easier to use because the game no longer relies on sending text to the clipboard for accessibility. So I believe, no matter how painful steam can become, developers should be recognized for their hard work in making their mainstream games accessible, and that may mean posting a huge warning on each game page that says the game is running in steam, referring people to the steam guide.

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2016-05-13 11:36:35

I will wait for Seal to create an updated Steam guide before taking any sort of action, with a note on any page saying it's the responsibility of the user running STeam at their own risk, although people in the forum will be willing to help. Maybe that part could be on news articles. I don't know if the forum should be in database descriptions or not.
By the way folks, on another note Dark does seem a bit upset at how direct some of you are being. It's strange because I really do see both sides here, I know some of you are annoyed as he closed the topic quite abruptly, but I can also sort of see why he did what he did and it's not necessarily about the Steam element of the topic. It was the way it was headed, it was getting quite heated, at the same time I still think that's the nature of debate and of course stuff like that will happen.

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2016-05-13 12:25:24

Aaron, don't how long it takes but as soon as possible. Regarding Dark? nobody attacked him or noone was offensive. Sometimes there's no other way to express everything you feel. BTW, really? I can't understand dark and it's nothing private. As I said, closure of the topic was without any logical argument and it seems like He did it only because everyone or... most of the users debating there are disagreeing with his actions. I read through this topic few times and it looks the same everytime when I'm reading the closing post.

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2016-05-13 12:57:01 (edited by Xoren 2016-05-13 20:59:17)

First and foremost, I'd like to thank you Aaron for being open minded enough to have brought the subject of Steam inclusion to light, be it inspired by discussion with various other persons or not. I will apologize for your perfectly well-intentioned poll descending into this state, and hope that it hasn't by association soured your interest in this matter. That being said, I do have the following to say:

Perhaps a kinder soul might find compassion and apologize for any feelings hurt over this issue, but I still stand by my opinion that the topic was closed prematurely, and the subject was too readily dismissed, be it through conviction, defensiveness, misjudgment, or otherwise. My entire point in contacting the administrators in this case, a pair of guys who I'm sure are rather busy with other affairs, was to rail against the level of high-handedness in the moderation of the Steam topic which, while I may grant was heated, did not unduly attack anyone. I will contend that my calling out Dark on the subject could have been avoided had he thought his response through, as would this further communique. At no point in my strong requests for him to demonstrate, beyond ignorance, justifiable evidence for his case, did I or any others deliver any personal attacks, aside from calling a spade a spade.

Busy lives are busy lives, and if Dark had calmly explained that neither he nor the other moderators were currently unable to explore a new platform, the situation could have easily been dealt with by means of community effort: members who review and write entries for games, members who demonstrate and explain the setup of the Steam client, members who may have been willing to contribute in any number of ways. Even if This were not possible, a simple and diplomatic explanation to that fact would have done better, and would not have so firmly slammed the door.

I believe in equal representation. I well understand that Dark and the other moderators perform their responsibilities voluntarily, and at no point have I ever openly disrespected any of them (that I am aware of). However, equal representation does not mean arbitrarily closing a topic which, while slightly opinionated and perhaps "heated", had remained on topic, and had not deteriorated into duplicity. I will point to my forum signature which illustrates this fact at its finest: The Ultrapowered topics and their ilk for some time received hundreds of rather discourteous or offensive messages, and yet no moderators at any point in time saw fit to slam its doors (despite multiple entreaties to this end). In other topics where heat arose, moderators often warned the individual(s) involved, but allowed the conversation to continue. Why then, was this Steam topic an exception to that established modus operandi? At any point, a moderator could have stepped in and warned myself or my fellow contributors that we were being too hostile, if indeed we were. As this never occurred, I can only assume that the topic had not escalated to a level which would concern the group of moderators as a whole. Responsibilities are responsibilities, and that means owning up when you make a mistake, as I believe has happened here.

I do not seek to vilify or condemn anyone. My contacting the administrators was to seek redress for the undue execution of powers. Perhaps this situation will set guidelines for the moderators themselves in future exchanges, and perhaps things will just quiet down and return to how they were without any significant change, but I cannot just roll over and except that one person can shut down an entire avenue of discussion, where everyone was conforming to the rules, and that person receive no reprisal.

Even if Steam games remain apart from the Audiogames database, there should be a good reason why this is so. Remember, at no point during the discussion was it demanded that Steam games be added to the database by those who were voting for it. If it be it a lack of time or inclination, allow the community to contribute where you cannot. If it be ignorance, then do not embrace ignorance as fact, but allow yourself to be educated as time permits. To do otherwise is not only discourteous and unappreciative to the developers who have gone out of their way to accommodate their visually impaired fans, but is also a disservice to the members of the community, who (in this case) have clearly demonstrated an overwhelming desire for Steam representation, and have furthermore demonstrated (through various other forum postings) their willingness to assist in this matter.

I did not post this topic to rehash the argument, nor did I do so expressly to cause distress to any parties involved or otherwise. I did so as a public service, believing that the members of the community have a right to know how those who are at the reins are handling the steed. Dark has done a lot for the Audiogames site and community, and in no way am i seeking to disavow him of that legacy, but I would not like to see this repeated in the future, wherein perfectly fruitful conversations might be shut down due to the judgement and impulsiveness of one individual. Such a system is not a community, and I do not wish to see Audiogames descend down that path.

Kai

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2016-05-13 17:55:54

Instead of writing long post: Well written Xoren and I have nothing to add here.
Roger and out.

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2016-05-13 20:19:12

Well, you've obviously made up your mind. This doesn't change the nature of opinion, though, so I'd ask you kindly not to presume that your personal experiences constitute irrefutable fact, particularly not if you intend to attack others for being guilty of the same thing. Dark may well have acted prematurely, but not for lack of provocation.

Having said this, the discussion does seem to be leading to some definite compromise in favour of listing games in the database, provided that the fact that they are accessible in and of themselves (i.e., are not merely mainstream games, memorised) is made clear, as is the fact that they require Steam. In this way people may learn about the games, but be well informed about the nature of access to Steam. Dark has relaxed his stance, the source of his convictions, because he now understands that setup is essentially a one-time process, so that once the game is installed it can be launched without further need to fiddle with the Steam client. I think this is an all-round win for everyone.

Just myself, as usual.

2016-05-14 00:46:38

The thing that people need to know though is setup is fiddly in it's current sate, there are no two ways about it.
Also Steam must be sitting there in the background for a game to run.

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2016-05-14 09:37:46

I will appologise for acting too quickly in the Steam topic, as Sebby said this was an attempt to prevent a flamewar and indeed my action was prompted as much by posts from certain people who do not like Steam as those who do. I did reply rather quickly which was I admit a mistake and I should've worded things better, though due to a rather stressful day (involving my fiance's visa application to live in the Uk), I probably didn't consider things as carefully as I should've done. For this I am sorry.

If people will persist in seeing me as the villain here, well that's up to them, though I confess quite apart from anything to do with Steam I am rather upset that people so quickly jumped to this conclusion and began castigating me, after all I hope I have not been too villainous in the past.

My opinion of steam was! based on personal experience , and I did believe that the problems with access would be encountered each time a game was runon the platform. As this is not the case as Aaron said, Skullgirls will get added to the db, though with appropriate links to the STeam guide and note on the inaccessibility of the platform, even when running accessible games, ditto with other accessible games on steam in the future.

Hopefully now matters can calm down and we can return to gaming big_smile.

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Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
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2016-05-14 12:19:13

Regarding flamewars and the like, I watched a space moo topic as carefully as I could when I was moderating on here and yet was unable to prevent it from escalating as quickly as it did; sometimes topics just spiral completely out of control before the mods are made aware of it.  IN the case of the topic I am refering to, it took someone shooting me a DM on twitter if memory serves me correct to grab my attention.  It is simply unrealistic to believe for any stretch of time that a small group of people... How many do we have now, four?  Five?  Such a small group of people cannot read the high volume of posts on here in their entirety.  I believe this is why the reporting functionality exists.  Not only that, but I confess that sometimes, topics that just, flat out did not interest me did in fact not catch my notice and I skipped over them; I wouldn't be surprised if at least one mod on here now does the same thing. If anyone else on here actually does have the time and attention span required to read in such a capacity, I'd probably start questioning why that is.
Unfortunately, reiterating at least to some degree, it's a hard road to walk.  Posts 1 and 24 are proof that calling too quickly based on judgment alone and how one might be feeling at the time is apparently wrong, though as post 20 kindly reminds us, waiting too long is just as possible and almost as easy.  I sincerely hope Dark's apology on the matter will suffice, since, again, I freely confess just as I did in post 11, I probably would have done the same if not worse in order to keep the topic from hurtling into unwanted realms and been considered "dictatorial."

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