Author Topic: Rules on erotica  (Read 6695 times)

Sore Hand Games

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Rules on erotica
« on: February 18, 2010, 03:44:13 am »

   So.... Yeah. Questions.

Let us hypothetically say a certain group has created a certain game that focuses on certain erotic content. And let us also consider that this certain group is searching for a place to showcase the game and then it finds a certain forum with certain confusing rules regarding erotic content. What should they do?
   
The guidelines on Completed Visual Novels read:
Quote
2. If your visual novel includes content of a nature that is meant for mature audiences (erotica or graphic violence), please provide an appropriate warning. Doing otherwise will be interpreted as impolite. Mindless pornography is not allowed.

So how would mindless pornography be defined? Would a Dating Sim qualify? Would an average doujinshi? Do we need to quote Nietzsche to make it classy or just Shakespeare will do?

Oh, and also we do not have the quote in hand, but to enter the forum we had to agree to this scary contract that would ban us unto oblivion if we wrote anything obscene (?) vulgar (??) or inaccurate ( we promise to be trying our very best to be accurate in this post ). So... Was that contract just a potential weapon against trolls and similar minions of chaos or does it include Sore Hand Games Inc. and its productions?

So... We'd like some clarification on what goes and what doesn't in this forum. Are erotic pictures on the game allowed in the forums? Linking to the game folder? Linking to another website with erotic content?

The Future of Ero lies in the answers to these questions!

So... Better answer them. I guess.

lordcloudx

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 04:37:31 am »
Greetings and welcome to The Teacup!

Now for some rather long-winded answers to your questions.
Quote
Let us hypothetically say a certain group has created a certain game that focuses on certain erotic content. And let us also consider that this certain group is searching for a place to showcase the game and then it finds a certain forum with certain confusing rules regarding erotic content. What should they do?

All visual novels with erotic content are generally allowed in the Completed Visual Novels section of the forum. Even games with erotic content to the level of (nsfw link, of course) Rapelay by Illusion is allowed. Even if the game is focused primarily on delivering pornography, as long as it also tries to deliver a story,  (Just a story. It doesn't have to win any literary awards nor does it need to be written in high-brow literary style like Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita.) we will allow it.

Providing a warning is a simple as adding "(18+ Content)", "(Mature Themes)" or something to that effect in your thread's title. How you choose to include that warning (choice of words etc.) in the thread title is up to you. Vague, cryptic messages that require meta-interpretation is, of course, discouraged.

Quote
So how would mindless pornography be defined? Would a Dating Sim qualify? Would an average doujinshi? Do we need to quote Nietzsche to make it classy or just Shakespeare will do?

Mindless pornography is to be adjudged by the administrators on a case-to-case basis. For a general baseline, games like the (nsfw link again) Sex Kitten Sim Date  series, while quite fun as diversions, are generally prohibited. We will make exceptions based on the merits of your own game.

In case your game is deemed as inappropriate by our team of administrators, we will issue a discreet warning through the private messaging system advising you on what actions to take to qualify, and to remove your game until you have met with our requirements. That aside, we will generally allow all types of erotic games on the site as long as they come with a specific warning in the thread title and they deliver a story, aside from just being pure pornographic slide shows.

"Delivering a story" is subject to interpretation by our team of administrators, since it's impossible to list out all instances of a visual novel that delivers a story. Rapelay, is again, a good gauge of what qualifies as delivering a story aside from erotic content.

Erotic pictures and linking to erotic material is allowed as long as it is relevant to the game and its promotion and as long as it stays within your appropriately titled thread.

As for the scary contract when joining the forums, don't worry about it. It's the default for the software we're using: "Simple Machines Forums" and we had no hand in drafting them. The controlling guidelines are in the sticky posts in each subforum since we made those ourselves.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 04:46:29 am by lordcloudx »

Hime

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 08:19:06 am »
So... We'd like some clarification on what goes and what doesn't in this forum. Are erotic pictures on the game allowed in the forums? Linking to the game folder? Linking to another website with erotic content?
Explicit erotic pictures (ones showing genitalia) are okay as links, but not when directly included in the post. I would advise you not to post such pictures with image tags, but linking to them is fine as long as you include a warning. But not all erotic pictures are explicit like that, so some pictures that could be described as 'erotic' are probably completely fine. For example, a picture of a clothed pair kissing passionately is erotic, but posting it directly to the forums would be okay. A good measure of what is accepted and what is not would be the worksafe criterion: if someone's boss saw them looking at the picture at work and the boss would most likely consider it obscene and improper for work due to erotic nature, then it is better to link to it than post it in img-tags.

Links are completely okay too, assuming they pass the advertisement guideline (no completely unrelated links to non-VN erotica). Just remember to mention what lies beyond, lorcloudx's post is a good example of this.

When linking to 18+ material (sites, images, your own visual novels), just provide a clear and visible enough warning and we will be happy to have your contributions here! :)
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HG

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2010, 11:06:26 pm »
I think the sole criteria should be whether it's a visual novel or not, and if it has adult content, to be marked as such in the thread's title.

I don't think titles should be excluded based on whether they're mindless or not(whether the content is pornography or otherwise).  For all I know, someone may want to make a thread just for talking about mindless vn rapefests, and I certainly wouldn't discourage them to do so provided visual novels are in fact being discussed and the thread title is marked appropriately.

Just because the vn itself is a mindless rapefest doesn't mean the discussion couldn't be thoughtful, meaningful, or insightful, or even helpful to authors of said rapefests.

I mean, it's not like I'm going out of my way to discuss Violent Semen Inferno, but if something can be gained from discussing it, I don't think it should be excluded or judged on a case per case basis.

That's just red tape, and I don't think posters would want that feeling of uncertainty(as displayed by Sore Hand Games in this very thread!) that comes from having to wait on a verdict as to whether someone else thinks the thing they're discussing is mindless or not, and I don't think moderators would want to have to go around rubber stamping threads either.

lordcloudx

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 04:11:12 am »
A valid opinion, HG. It does open up another can of worms though. Exactly what makes a Visual Novel? We'll have to hold an administrative meeting regarding your point (along with several issues that we've been planning to tackle now that The Teacup has been around for a while.)

My own take on this is to narrow things down with a "Teacup" definition of the term Visual Novel. In any case, we can always choose to exclude "mindless pornography" with an appropriate definition as being non-VN as an administrative prerogative, since this undefined term seems to be the initial cause of Sore Hand Games' doubts. (this is my opinion and does not reflect the sentiments of The Teacup admin board)

Please put this discussion on hold until we make an official announcement sometime after our scheduled meeting on the 21st. Your points will be carefully considered.

mikey

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2010, 04:00:44 pm »
As far as ero content is concerned, I think one should distinguish between:

- (1.) Discussion topic: the topic or game itself (like lolicon, or Experiment Pleasure) as basis of discussion, and

- (2.) Discussion content: the actual discussion and content on the forums (screenshots, content of discussions, like whether they are helpful, intelligent or silly and inflammatory)

In the case of (1.), the topic of the discussion can be almost anything, even though I would say there are certainly limits here as well. For example, as open as you might be, there can be topics which you don't want to associate with your forums or community regardless of whether it is in fact an intelligent discussion. For example, you may want to disallow talking about extreme sex fetishes like mutilation / guro - disallow talking about it as a topic, and disallow releasing a game on the forum with this topic, no matter how intelligent the discussion and how artistic the game. Guro would make most people extremely uncomfortable and may also violate many service providers' terms of service, this is why taking away the right to speak about it from a few other people is perfectly justified.

In the case of (2.), the content of the discussion (how people behave and what they say), there are also considerations to be made. By content I mean words and images directly on the forum. I'd see a few areas to think about:

- [A.] The words. This would mean the words that appear on the forums and how they are treated. There will be some limits as to how insulting people can be, how many swear words one can use, how "graphic" or explicit a description can be and how tasteless a comment can be.

- [B.] The images. The limits here can be not posting an image with exposed genitalia or excessive brutality, or something even more restrictive, like not posting anything which would be classified as NSFW (no nudity at all). It depends on how the moderators want to shape the public image. Because of the nature of pictures/videos, restrictions on visual material tend to be stronger, so while it's often okay to have an article about sex, the accompanying pictures will usually be "dialed down a level", just depicting a tasteful picture of a couple kissing in bed.

So, to give an example:

Someone wants to post a guro game. This is not allowed. (1.).
He then wants to talk about guro. This is not allowed either. (1.)
Someone else wants to post a pornographic game. This is allowed. (1.)
He then wants to post screenshots of the sex scenes. This is not allowed. (2.)[B.]
Because he can't post screenshots, he talks very explicitly about the sex. This is not allowed. (2.)[A.]
Then, he just wants to talk about the sex aspect of his game. This is allowed. (2.)[A.]

To respond, then:

Quote from: HG
I don't think titles should be excluded based on whether they're mindless or not(whether the content is pornography or otherwise).
If by mindless you mean "mindless, but not morally objectionable", then I agree. A silly game, a sexfest, they should be both fine. There shouldn't be any judgments as to how mindless or not a game is. However...

Quote from: HG
For all I know, someone may want to make a thread just for talking about mindless vn rapefests, and I certainly wouldn't discourage them to do so provided visual novels are in fact being discussed and the thread title is marked appropriately.

Just because the vn itself is a mindless rapefest doesn't mean the discussion couldn't be thoughtful, meaningful, or insightful, or even helpful to authors of said rapefests.
... this is much more complicated - a sexfest and a rapefest are different things. A "harem game" where the sex is consensual, or even a game where rape is a dramatic plot point with a clear moral stance by the writer is most probably acceptable. But a rapefest which caters to a fetish and/or trivializes a crime against human dignity is a different matter, as this is a significant moral and in many countries a legal issue.

If that's the case, then it's actually irrelevant that the threads are marked 18+ and it's equally irrelevant that the conversation is intelligent, or that the work is artistic. It may simply be the policy of Teacup not to discuss rape at all - to avoid controversy, to make a statement or any other reason - simply not wanting to go there in the first place. I'm, not saying you can't mention the word or a game, but the discussion should then just be tangential and not a separate topic or even a game release.

This example has rape, but it could be racism, murder or drug abuse, so imagining a racism-fest, murder-fest or drug-fest is much the same, there are very good reasons why you as a community would not want to feature or support the creation of games that deal with the protagonist murdering people (Manhunt's controversy comes to mind) or abusing drugs.

So just because people can talk intelligently about something doesn't mean that they should or can or have the right to talk about it anywhere. Also, just because rapefests are a well known part of Japanese VN scene, doesn't mean Teacup should support or even accept the creation of rape games. I'm thinking especially about the site owners and the public image - sexual content, not to mention rape, is a significant factor in the public image of a site, and the community in general. Also something to consider is that many communities start very diverse, and then a unified direction forms and I don't think it's the case with Teacup as this is made of people who I believe share a lot of values together, which means they will be more strict as to who to allow to join (in regards to their values).

The obvious task of course is to try to strike a balance between the freedom of the artists to create erotic scenes and a certain moral image and standards. Ultimately this is up to the moderators/owners, but I can't stress enough that rape is not a trivial subject, and neither is explicit nudity, as both can earn a "porn site" (or worse) stamp very quickly.

I think the "worries" of HG and SHG are nevertheless justified in that saying that "Mindless pornography is not allowed" kind of suggests that the moderators decide on the quality of a story, suggesting that sexfests without deeper thoughts are not welcome. Which shouldn't be the case - though I doubt this was the intention anyway. It's from my understanding more geared towards stopping Flash-style "shovelporn" (click-here-to-put-it-in- kind of games) wrapped in Ren'Py with a few text lines in between for good measure. Perhaps changing the statement a bit would clarify it. Or leave the statement as it is and give some examples of actual works it tries to avoid.

Anyway, the above was about the content - so now, there is the matter of gameplay.

This is an entirely different discussion, and actually I don't want to elaborate on it that much, but suffice to say that the form (VN gameplay, dating sim structure) shouldn't be used to work around content considerations.

So for example, just because something is a VN (has text, overlayed over a sprite and background), it doesn't mean it should automatically be allowed, no matter what the content. If it's explicit guro, it shouldn't be able to get around restrictions by having text and sprites overlayed on backgrounds. It's still guro and still unwanted.

Quote from: lordcloudx
My own take on this is to narrow things down with a "Teacup" definition of the term Visual Novel.
I may have misunderstood, but I don't think (given the context of that statement) that a definition of a VN will actually solve content issues (like eliminate rape games). A form definition (VN) will not be able to determine content people put in that form.

As a general rule though, a definition of a VN or other accepted works may work in getting rid of unwanted formats like Flash-click games (which typically, though not always, have such mindless pornographic content), or "test games". Not that there would be a need for that now, as Teacup is a quiet community that doesn't have these issues. But for the sake of argument, sure - this would also exclude some of the action games which sometimes have a VN segment moving the game forwards. These are not really the scope of the community either, I would say.

But I'd say leave the definition very open, because no matter how you try, it's impossible to condense the essence of VNs and related works into a short and meaningful definition. I would almost say (legal analogy coming up) it's best not to codify VNs, but to build up a case law for them. So have a simple definition and enrich or restrict it with a few cases. Since the medium is evolving, this seems to me to be the best way - plus you can also project Teacup's values and directions into it as needed. Also, I would not be afraid to change the definition as time progresses. People seem to think one definition should stand forever, but especially in this field, that's not really the case as more creativity makes more variations on the typical VN formula.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 05:52:03 pm by mikey »

HG

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2010, 12:09:46 am »
mikey, I think I could agree with you if I had the patience to read 3 pages worth of a single forum post.

Could you cut out all of the fluff and just focus on your main points?  Also I'm going to need those TPS reports by Friday.

As per lordcloudx's request I'm going to hold off on discussion until an announcement's been made.

Ruler

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2010, 02:36:16 am »
Regarding mikey's post, he did ask us for permission before continuing the discussion prior to this announcement, so it's fine.

Based on the admin meeting last April 21, 2010. Everyone unanimously decided to keep the current forum rules regarding erotic content as is.

Regarding what is a "visual novel?" - This is something that we have decided should be dynamic and open to change. It will be an administrative prerogative to disallow certain games that we believe should not be considered as visual novels. It will be a lot more work, but our admins are ready and willing to take up that challenge. Games which have been previously disallowed will form a part of precedence for this forum as to what should be excluded.

As to "mindless pornography" this is also a term that will be defined based on precedence rather than a concrete definition that is set in stone. For now, the admins have decided that the threshold level should be set at games like The Nettestadt Troll which is the maximum level of erotica tolerated here. 

However, we feel that it is better to gradually add a list of what types of games are excluded rather than what games are included to make the rule a bit less restrictive.
Regardless of any prior statement made by any of our admins, for now the controlling rule regarding this is: the following games or those of similar nature are not allowed to be discussed nor posted in the Teacup.

-Rapelay (and basically all of Illusion's 3D sex games)
-Sexual Fantasy Kingdom
-Suck My Dick Or Die
-The Maiden Rape Assault - Violent Semen Inferno
-Virgin Roster
-Polygon Love 2

Images containing explicit content are also not allowed to be shown here. We have to consider the limitations of our host's server and even if it were allowed, it would be impolite to the owner of the lunaen.com domain. Furthermore, the admins themselves do not wish to have discussions of "mindless pornography" (refer to the above examples for a baseline) in the forums.

If you have further inquiries, please do it in a PM to any of our admins so we may discuss it among ourselves. If you are still confused as to whether or not a certain type of game or game discussion qualifies in the teacup based on our rules, please do it in a PM to any of our admins as well.
If you have something to say about the forum rules, please contact one of our administrators:
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number473

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2010, 07:38:15 am »
I am very glad to see that you've adopted a firm, no-nonsense stance on this. I totally support keeping this a friendly and comfortable environment that anyone can be proud to be a member of.

Hime

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Re: Rules on erotica
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2010, 09:01:11 am »
That is what we hope to achieve, number473. Many visual novel communities are far from worksafe, so we hope at least this site could stay as such.

Also, regarding this conversation, we really cannot stress our values enough:
This community exists to serve as a creative, encouraging environment for makers of English visual novels. The purpose of this forum is to enhance productivity and creativity by supporting the makers and helping them materialize what they want.
Honestly, I cannot see how discussing rapefests, for instance, or allowing coarse porn, could help us succeed at doing this. We have a goal, and because we do, we unfortunately cannot tolerate absolutely everything. There are some things that cannot be said or shown here, yes, but there are several hentai caverns around the net that are more suitable for such purposes. This forum, hopefully, will continue to be very good for its intended purpose - creation of visual novels.

The reason our current guideline regarding 18+ content is so fuzzy is because we do not want to forbid everything with X - X being certain kind of content, such as rape, drug abuse or so on. While most visual novels with rape, for example, probably do not have any merits other than to serve as a tool for certain sexual activities, there are still many good stories that have rape as one of their themes or events and we do not want to rule them out just because they have this certain kind of content. Because of this, we will approach and evaluate each game individually to see whether they are simple porn, or mindless porn as our rule currently says. We believe every visual novel deserves a chance.

Nettestadt Troll is a really good example of what we accept. It is a visual novel with several explicit sex scenes. Even so, it has value outside of that of a simple porn game: it has an interesting story, nice characters, some mystery and atmosphere... and the same goes for Experiment Pleasure. They are both wonderful visual novels with erotic content, and the kind of games we want to have here.

As said before, if someone seriously haves a topic to discuss or a game to release they are unsure about, rather than just a hypothetical problem, feel free to send a private message to one or two of our admins and ask them whether this content is okay. We will be happy to answer you.
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