Mods come in all shapes and sizes. Some turn you into Shrek. Others turn your enemies into Shrek. A few add Donkey, but they’re (sadly) rarer. There are also political mods. Or at least, on top mod site Nexus Mods, there were. Now they’re banned until at least early next year.
The site announced its decision to ban specifically U.S.-focused political mods in a post earlier today.
“Considering the low quality of the mods being uploaded, the polarising views they express, and the fact that a small but vocal contingent of our users are seemingly not intelligent or grown up enough to be able to debate the issues without resorting to name calling and baseless accusations without proof (indicative of the wider issues plaguing our world at this time) we’ve decided to wipe our hands clean of this mess and invoke an outright ban on mods relating to sociopolitical issues in the United States,” wrote Nexus Mods owner Robin “Dark0ne” Scott. “We have neither the time, the care, or the wish to moderate such things. This ban will apply to all mods uploaded from the 28th of September onwards. We will review this restriction sometime after the next President of the United States has been inaugurated.”
A blanket ban on anything of this nature is, of course, an act of both-sides-ism and false equivalence between frequently unlike concepts (leftism vs outright fascism, etc). However, it also sounds like Nexus Mods users were trafficking in low-quality troll content that referenced Donald Trump, police, and other contentious topics, mostly for the sake of edginess or shock value. For example, a Reddit post from a month ago complains about “3 Trump/police related mods [on] the front page” of Nexus Mods’ Skyrim section. More recently, Nexus Mods’ section dedicated to Fallout 4—itself part of a series heavy on political satire—dealt with similar issues.
“The fact [that] an obvious dog whistle mod featuring the picture of an actual shooting victim as the banner shot up to the top Mod of the Month within an hour of being posted has forever removed my willingness to consider ‘Well, it has the most votes/endorsements and so the people have spoken’ as an indicator of a quality mod,” wrote a user on the Fallout Mods subreddit.
Still, other users wonder what will end up being considered “political.” They fear that Nexus Mods’ staff might overstep.
“Only concern I have about them doing this is that ‘sociopolitical’ is a pretty broad and vague category,” wrote another user on the Fallout Mods subreddit. “What if someone uploads a LGBT-themed retexture or something. Will that be banned?”
Kotaku reached out to Nexus Mods for more information, but as of this publishing, did not receive a reply. Site owner Scott, though, seems pretty set on his decision.
“To be blunt, we do not care how this looks nor do we care if you think the mods we do or don’t moderate reflect on us, our political beliefs, or what we do and don’t want on our site,” he wrote in his announcement post. “Say and do what you want on other sites or services, we care nothing for it here.”
Update (8:27 p.m. ET, 10/01/2020): An earlier version of this story erroneously referred to Nexus Mods as Mod Nexus.