Reminder: Donation Options and Guidelines

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Without mod authors sharing their creations our modding community wouldn’t exist. As you know, many mod authors put countless hours into their mods, maintaining documentation for users, and supporting their mods. It’s because of this fact that, over the years, we’ve added a number of ways for users to say “thank you” by donating to their favourite mod author - be it through our mod rewards system, the donation options we provide (donation button on the mod page), or by allowing mod authors to link to a (monthly) subscription/donation service (such as Patreon or Ko-fi) on their mod pages and user profiles.

Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more mod authors linking to such monthly subscription services on their mod pages. While that - as far as we and our rules are concerned - is not a problem in and of itself, we do ask mod authors to adhere to our donation guidelines. The gist of these guidelines is that if you want to link to your Patreon (or similar monthly or one-off donation service) then it must not advertise monetisation of modding or modding related content/services in any way.

At the same time, let us be clear that we are not the “Patreon police” - if you want to go ahead and attempt to monetise modding on another service then that is up to you. We cannot and don’t want to stop you. However, in that case you must not link to it on Nexus Mods and neither may you link to a Discord server (or similar) where monetisation of mods is discussed or advertised. 

Why can’t I monetise and link my Patreon/other service and advertise it on my Nexus Mods page?

Now, some of you might be asking “why?” and it’s the purpose of this news post to answer this. 

We are not in principle against the idea of mod authors earning money through their work if it’s sanctioned and deemed legal for example via the game’s EULA or statements made by the game developers.

However, what we have increasingly been observing recently and what we are concerned about is the way some people are trying to monetise modding while operating in a grey area, sometimes abusing our site and their Nexus Mods mod page as a stepping stone towards profiting off paywalled content. 

What do we mean by “monetising modding”?

  • Offering mods, files, updates, or technical support in exchange for donations
  • Early access to files, updates etc. in exchange for donations/payments
  • Stretch goals for the creation/development of mods (“I’ll make XYZ when we reach $1,000”)
  • Allowing donors to request mods/files/updates in exchange for donations

We think that this sort of monetisation is ultimately bad for the modding community as a whole because it incentivises withholding the best content (for example, significant updates) while keeping a Nexus Mods page to advertise the paywalled content. The mod page on our site would then only serve as a repository for outdated versions and to lure in people who are willing to pay to get access to content that the mod author may deliberately be keeping in a perpetual beta state (early access).

Introducing paywalls, commissions or any other form of monetisation can very quickly lead to creators resenting each other ("why has his small mod made x when my superior mod only makes y?") and encourage dubious practices such as misleading users into paying before they can even see the "product". It can further fragment the community into those who can afford to pay for exclusive content and those who can't, and it may even encourage mod piracy when those who cannot or don’t want to pay turn to theft (similar to software piracy in general).
Moreover, if the monetisation of modding got out of hand, there is the concern that developers, or more likely their legal teams, may start cracking down on mod authors, us, and modding in general. If you think this is a doomsday scenario that will never happen, please consider that this exact thing did in fact happen in the GTA 5 modding community, when the cease and desist letters started flying in to put a stop to overly aggressive monetisation of mods.

We don’t want to get entangled in a mess like this, and I’m sure neither do any of you. 

What is and isn’t allowed?

  • Linking to your Patreon/Ko-fi/similar service is fine as long as you’re not violating our donation guidelines
  • If you are monetising modding, you cannot link to your Patreon/Ko-fi/similar service anywhere on our website, our forums, or Discord servers
  • If you are monetising modding, you may also not link to a Discord server/Twitter/Facebook/other social media where your monetised content is advertised or discussed. This is to prevent skirting the rules by essentially indirectly linking to your monetised content.
  • In the interest of fairness, even if monetisation of modding is allowed by the game’s developers/EULA, please do not link to it on our site

“But mod author so-and-so is doing this and you’ve not taken down their mod page!”

Please remember that when it comes to moderation, we operate on a reactive basis. That means if something has not been reported yet, our moderation team might not be aware of a rule transgression taking place. If you come across content that is violating our rules, never assume that “it must be fine then”, instead, report it through the appropriate channels providing conclusive evidence, and it will be handled.

Due to the sheer amount of content that is being uploaded to our site on a regular basis, we have to rely on community reports, rather than proactively scan the site for (possible) rule and guideline violations.

So, please, never assume that just because there is something that is against our rules that has not been moderated/removed yet, that it must be an indication that it’s fine or that we don’t mind.

If you are running a Patreon account/similar service and you are monetising modding according to our definition…

Please take this news post as an official reminder of our rules and guidelines and remove any link to your Patreon etc. (or Discord server/social media indirectly linking to the place of monetisation).

Alternatively, you are of course welcome to instead adjust the way you’re running your donation service and bring it in line with our rules.

We’ll give it a bit of time for this reminder to reach everyone who may need it before starting to moderate mod pages that may be going against our guidelines (until 9 May). Please keep this in mind when/before raising reports.

At the same time, this deadline is not an invitation to now aggressively advertise monetisation until then. If we are made aware of mod pages/users violating our donation guidelines, we will be getting in contact with the mod author in question in order to get any links removed etc.

Thank you all for understanding, and please keep supporting mod authors who are playing by the rules!


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