- The ban was imposed in response to 'provocative and troll mods'
2020 has been a raging hellscape of a year. Now it looks like it’s become increasingly impossible for PC gaming to avoid the fallout from the intensely political fallout from this year. Nexus Mods, the premier PC modding site with thousands of mods and 23 million members, has issued a pretty needed ban on certain ‘US political mods’ until after the next president is inaugurated in 2021.
The US political scene has been a mess in 2020. With increasingly worrisome deaths from COVID-19 passing move than 210,000 the strain has become increasingly difficult for the country to bear. The ineffective and partisan political process has also failed to address ongoing issues with far-right violence and racism, leading to widespread protests. And now this thing just keeps getting worse. The Nexus Mods ban comes as the internet has to deal with the potentially ruinous impact of the ongoing election.
Combine with that that the recent first presidential debate for 2020 spawned the infamous quote by President Donald Trump telling a gang of violent neo-fascists to “stand back and stand by” in response to a prompt to condemn white supremacy. The response from said gang of fascists has been one of endorsement and elation. And all of this comes amid Trump’s blustering over election security, which includes persistent propaganda about the Democratic Party attempting to steal the election. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of cases involving mail-in ballot fraud in the US—which Trump has consistently attacked—have involved his own party rather than the opposition.
Nexus Mods has instituted the ban on mods submitted after September 28, 2020 that are clearly aimed to troll or promote extremist propaganda. Only new mods are affected. Mods that were on the site before the policy went into effect will be allowed to stay.
Various mods like “Synth Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter,” led the charge of far-right trolling on the site. This trend of pushing Trumpian propaganda was supported by other mods that add the “thin blue line” flag to Fallout 4 or replaced Raiders with “antifa”. It’s also worth noting that these particular mods were made to promote the same kind of rhetoric amplified by white supremacists and the Trump administration, who have attempted to demonize all opposition as a violent monolith. So in short, it makes sense that moderators made the call to just outright ban these provocative mods.
“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,” Nexus Mods founder Robin “Dark0ne” Scott wrote. “We have neither the time, the care or the wish to moderate such things.”
The founder also made it clear that site staff doesn’t care if anyone doesn’t like it, this is what they’re doing. “We do not care how this looks,” he wrote, “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. Say and do what you want on other sites or services, we care nothing for it here.”
The ban on US political mods will be reviewed, but not necessarily lifted, after the election is over.