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Post Post subject: New warez rule   
Posted: Sunday, 12 Aug 2018, 12:12   Reply with quote
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Rule § 4.8 has been rewritten.

As most of you know, this rule tries to frame what kind of pirated content we want to allow and forbid on this forum. But it wasn't always clear how to interpret it, it left loopholes in either directions. After extensive internal discussion, the rule has been replaced by what we believe to be a fundamentally sound and well-defined guideline.

The rule first defines warez and states that warez are generally forbidden on this forum, then goes on to define the precise exceptions that we do want to allow, true to our mantra "We are not a warez forum, yet we share games freely". The core principles remain mostly the same as our moderation policy has been in practice so far:

  • We welcome all game-related content and most stuff that benefits game sharing.
  • Scene releases should be downloaded and posted elsewhere, but we made it clearer that we do not oppose scene releases as file sources in general.
  • Requests for anything that isn't relevant to this forum's "theme" aren't wanted.
  • Staff can make case-by-case exceptions whenever useful.

Please note that as per this rule, from here on out, request threads for random software will be locked and junked.

We crafted the rule carefully, but when it comes to writing rules, we know from experience that there can always be something we haven't thought of. Any feedback on possible drawbacks, loopholes, inconsistencies or ambiguities is greatly appreciated.

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Post Post subject: Re: New warez rule   
Posted: Sunday, 12 Aug 2018, 23:08   Reply with quote
Forum ghost Местное привидение
Joined: Tuesday, 26 May 2015, 18:40
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Just read the new rule, and my most immediate thoughts for possible ambiguities / need for further clarification are:

§ 4.8 Warez
This is not a warez forum, yet we share and discuss PC games freely. Warez are not allowed to be uploaded, linked or requested on this forum, unless they meet any of the requirements listed below and do not violate any other rules.


Q1a) Are users still allowed to make requests like the following one:

"Hello, can someone please tell me where I can download the scene release for this game?".

Since the above is a regular guest on the forums, with GoodOldDownloads being the regular answer. But unless I'm reading it wrong those requests are no longer allowed because of this: "Warez are not allowed to be...requested on this forum", since the above can certainly be considered a request for a scene release, and as such a request for warez. And a site like GoD has the original scene releases so would not get exemption under:

It is allowed to upload, link or request
    2. game files released by
    • scene groups, if the uploaded files are not branded like the original scene release and are fully extracted from the original container files (rar, iso, exe installers and so on) as provided by the group,


... because on GoD the files are still branded like the original scene release. Unless the exemption falls under #5 "warez that were explicitly allowed in advance by a staff member.". But in that case wouldn't that require staff to be the judges on what scene release distribution sites are okay and which are not? GoD okay? Warez-BB not okay? As I said though maybe I'm misreading this, but even if I am perhaps some clarification is required here to remove any doubt. Such as:

- Mentioning, and or linking to, sites that distribute unmodified scene releases is allowed / is not allowed.


Q1b) If linking to (sites like) GoD is still allowed, then how many degrees of separation is allowable for linking to scene releases? By which I mean posting a direct download link for an unmodified scene release is obviously not allowed, but what about a download link for a simple text file that contains a direct download link address for a scene release? Or a link to a pastebin page with nothing on it apart from a direct download link for a scene release? Are they allowed or not?

If so then are links to scene releases allowed as long as the link being posted on the forum is not the direct download link? Or if not then does there need to be X degrees of separation, or some other definition of separation, that means linking to GoD is okay, but linking to [whatever] is not?

Note:
- Q1b can probably be ignored if the answer to Q1a is "no, such requests are not allowed".
- In Q1b I define a direct download link as any link that starts the download of the scene release from a file host or downloads a torrent file of a scene release.


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Post Post subject: Re: New warez rule   
Posted: Monday, 13 Aug 2018, 03:20   Reply with quote
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Thank you. This perfectly illustrates the awkwardness of trying to semi-forbid scene releases and some requests, but not others.

I propose to add this at the end of the rule:

Quote:
Mentioning of non-commercial community sites that provide warez of any kind or linking to the homepage or index of such sites is also allowed.


The way I worded this should clear up both of your questions and should be in line with current policy. Regardless of one's interpretation of "non-commercial community site", there should be no loophole to post direct or semi-direct links. (Disclaimer: I'm exhausted, this could be false.) Only repeat violations of this rule and obvious attempts at circumventing it should be warned for anyway. Nobody's going to rip heads off if you post [[Please login to see this link.]] instead of [[Please login to see this link.]].

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Post Post subject: Re: New warez rule   
Posted: Monday, 13 Aug 2018, 09:53   Reply with quote
Forum ghost Местное привидение
Joined: Tuesday, 26 May 2015, 18:40
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I'll try to give that proposal, and the rule itself, more thought later in the week in order to offer further feedback and suggestions (my brain is fully booked for the next few days). Give you time to recover from your exhaustion as well :) But my first thoughts on the above proposal are that if someone was looking to attack it and argue a loophole, they'd probably target the definition of either "site" or "community site". For example:

Lets say someone had created a forum for warez distribution via one of the free forum creating services. eg. Zetaboards. Could that forum be linked to? As the homepage would be ForumHoster.com, and not AwesomeWarez.com. It could be argued that linking is still allowed in relation to "index" rather than "homepage", and so linking to ForumHoster.com/AwesomeWarez/index is okay in that context. But in that case are you then opening a loophole / inviting an argument for other exceptions? Since a pastebin page full of download links is in many ways the same as a forum full of download links, just without the fancy wrapper and user friendliness.

A counter-argument could be that the pastebin page is not a "community site"* and hence not allowed. But then you have to define what a "community site" is*. Since if a pastebin page is not a community site because it's just a pastebin page and so doesn't have a community, then does a forum with 0 members also have no community? If so then how about 10 members? No? 100 members then? Yes/no? (You can see where I'm going with this). Plus what if the forum is a vibrant community but with just a single mega thread with the OP containing nothing except a link to a well maintained pastebin page? (as a number of warez uploaders have pastebin pages as well as their forum presence). Is a link to the forum okay because it's a "community site", but a link to the pastebin page not okay? Even though the former is just a single click stepping stone to the latter? And it could certainly be argued that the pastebin page does have a community*, it's just hosted in a separate location to the pastebin page.

Having said all this though I have no better rule or wording to propose at the moment, so right now all I'm doing is poking it for possible weaknesses rather than offering any solutions (I need my brain for those). Plus it's often impossible to cover every angle without adding significantly to the word length. So 98% coverage with a single sentence is usually a better practical option rather than 99% coverage with a dozen paragraphs.


* This argument is largely, if not entirely based on how "community" or "community site" is defined. And genuinely, what is a "community" or "community site" in this context? And who's community? Ours or theirs? I've assumed it's defined roughly as any place where people gather online and engage in discussions and activities relating to freely sharing PC games. But the downside to that sort of definition is as previously mentioned, who exactly decides what, or how many "people" constitute a community? This is certainly one of the trickier rules to get right.


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Post Post subject: Re: New warez rule   
Posted: Monday, 13 Aug 2018, 11:02   Reply with quote
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TL;DR: How to think like a mathematician. :ROFL:

I agree with the 98% coverage argument. We can worry about fringe cases when/if they present themselves.

The point of "homepage or index of community site" is not that it should be clearly defined what this is - the point for me is that it is relatively easy to say what this is not. I also think that abuse of this rule can easily be recognized. That said, I made this up in two minutes, so improvements are welcome.

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Post Post subject: Re: New warez rule   
Posted: Monday, 13 Aug 2018, 11:24   Reply with quote
Forum ghost Местное привидение
Joined: Tuesday, 26 May 2015, 18:40
Posts: 387
RessourectoR wrote:
TL;DR: How to think like a mathematician. :ROFL:

:) Partly that. But mostly 15-20 years of experience of having to write various rules, constitutions and the like from the point of view of "right, how can I word this that will stop Known Arseholes A, B, and C from trying to abuse it or trying to find a way around it?". Which isn't the most joyful way of looking at things, but sadly a necessary one whenever there's something to be gained from finding a hole :(

RessourectoR wrote:
..., so improvements are welcome.
I'll consult my brain later in the week and see if it has anything to offer.


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