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.
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.