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Tolerance and the NWN2 Custom Content Community

MWMDragon n. 1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others. 2. a. Leeway for variation from a standard. b. The permissible deviation from a specified value of a structural dimension, often expressed as a percent. 3. The capacity to endure hardship or pain. 4. Medicine a. Physiological resistance to a poison. b. The capacity to absorb a drug continuously or in large doses without adverse effect; diminution in the response to a drug after prolonged use. 5. a. Acceptance of a tissue graft or transplant without immunological rejection. b. Unresponsiveness to an antigen that normally produces an immunological reaction. 6. The ability of an organism to resist or survive infection by a parasitic or pathogenic organism.

Over the last few months we have found joy and overcome frustration and finally releasing our custom content to everyone in the community who can find use for it. We are around people who may live on the other side of the world but we communicate in a common language, a language of personal dedication and selfless donation of our hard work to promote and support a growing collective of avid players and developers.

I myself have been in and around the NWN communities since the beta and at first rejected NWN2 as a suitable development grounds for custom content. It wasn't until my soon to be wife, who also loves NWN, asked me to get some new Kama models into NWN2 as there was only one option for her favored class, the monk. Putting my personal views aside I delved head first into the custom content community. Reading the tutorials, viewing other people's releases and just trying to find my way. I am sure there are many people who remember the system shock of all the little intricacies of creating custom content for NWN2, and I'm sure those same people remember just how great it felt to not only succeed but to share their success with a community who longed for this new free content to be released.

But there is an emerging side to the community I think many should be aware of, a darker side that not only hurts the community as a whole but has the potential to rot it from the inside out.

That darker side is called Intolerance.

I'm sure many people in the community know I have not only released custom models, filled requests for development teams and single modders alike. But I have also done some Controversial conversion of weapons from another game. I love to fill the holes in the community in any way I can, even if they are a temporary fix until something better comes out, I want to help where ever I can. It seems my eagerness to mod is being met with intolerance by a few other, very outspoken, community members.

At first, I was happy that people were downloading my releases at all. I could shrug off the negative comments on my releases because of all the positive comments. But in time the negativity got worse. Now I know I am not the only person who feels this in any modding community, In fact I bet there are people who have not joined the community because they don't want to endure the attacks. We need to purge this intolerance from the community before it sets in, and like an infection, can cause any real damage.

Now that I have pointed out the problem, I have a few questions here I would like to answer for the accommodating people running the NWVault. Who, might I mention, even went as far as to add a new sub section called (Weapon - Conversions) to try to nip this demon in the butt. However the intolerance grew from an intolerance of my releases to an all out attack. I hope by bring this into the light, we as a community can learn from our mistakes and continue to grow and support our members not alienate them.

Questions and Answers:

Q: As an active modder how does the "sniping" make you feel towards the community as a whole, and is it fair that you should be made to feel this way for work you are offering for free ?

A: As an active modder I feel that some people will get upset when they feel they aren't getting the recognition they deserve. Everyone is proud of their work and to see someone get more attention over their work, when the person in question does not believe it is deserved, is bound to rub them the wrong way. How that individual reacts to their feelings is another thing all together. But people are entitled to their feelings and comments. It's the intolerance that makes the community suffer. Being told that my work doesn't belong on the NWVault and that I have no clue what quality is, really isn't called for. I put a ton of work into every mod I've made, even the weapon conversions. Just because some people think that conversions are not actual custom content doesn't give them the right to enforce their narrow minded views on other modders. I spend hours working for free on my releases and if I want to share them with other member then I should be allowed to without being discriminated against for it. At first it was an off comment about conversions, but having my every release attacked, some to the point of NWVault moderators having to delete some of the comments, really made me want to spend my time and energy somewhere else. I almost left the community because of this issue, and I don't want others to have to put up with this, just because some people don't know how to respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

Q: Is it right that a few purists who think that unless you design something from scratch, you should not be allowed to share the same space as those that do?

A: Again it comes down to how the community wants to project itself to people thinking of becoming a member. I have created Custom models as well as conversions but the people attacking the conversions are also offering the notion that I have never created any custom models. They seem to like the idea that they are better than other modders and are willing to ignore the facts to make themselves feel that way. I am grateful for all the support I have received for my custom and conversion mods, it seems that most of the community promotes the idea of sharing their space with custom and conversion content. It is a shame the vocal group tend to be the negative members of the group.

Q: You've never claimed to be the best modeler, but you have shown yourself to be enthusiastic and with a desire to learn. Do you feel overwhelmed by the demand of different models people want, or do you enjoy the challenge of providing them?

A: LOL, I have only learned to model in the last few months, I could never claim to be even a novice modeler. I'm still in the larva stage of being a modeling bookworm. I enjoy not only the hard work and dedication required to put out a great release but I love to fill requests that the community has made, it challenges me to learn more. I know the people I have developed some solutions for by way of my releases could vouch for me. People have sent me pictures of items and I have given them a custom model of that item or equipment textured using what they had given me. I think I have shown my ability to work from scratch, as well as my desire to expand the content available with my conversions. The only thing I have been overwhelmed with was the intolerance to let people mod how they want to mod and just be happy that they have taken an interest in sharing all their hard work.

Q: As a new modeler to the NWN2 community, how have you found other custom content makers in general, are they supportive? Judgmental? Encouraging?

A: I have found that the majority of the modders in the community are not only supportive but are willing to help if you have questions. The major problem starts when you give the content designers some reason to be competitive. Like the overbearing soccer parent who doesn't know when to quit yelling at the kids as they play, being intolerant to the fact that they are playing their own way and having fun, not playing to win in the world finals. There are a few members who are like these overbearing parents who don't know when to draw the line. Going from a constructive comment to an all out attack on other people you feel you are in competition with shows poor character. Is this the character you want new members to see as they seem to be the loudest? But if it wasn't for criticism and competition the community would plateau at a certain level of quality and just stay there so it is needed.

Q: Do attitudes change when something like the OE Model Contest is on?

A: This contest is a great idea and it drives the community but as I mentioned above it also drives out the people who can't stay in the guidelines of friendly competition. Getting your friends to vote down another person's creation because you don't think it deserves to be in the competition is just a part of un-sportsman like conduct you will find on any playground. I have made sure to only enter Custom made models into the competition so no one can say my stuff doesn't belong there. But when this conduct is carried over to every release someone makes, just shows how far these people are willing to go to erase the competition. In the end it is only the community that loses, and all for a few people who can't be tolerant to others practices and beliefs.

Q: What sort of support would you like to see given to custom content makers in the NWN2 community?

A: In my interview I talked about my undying support for all modders out there and how the community should greet them with open arms, I am a true believer of this. I want this Intolerance to be ignored if not silenced so other community members will stay around and share their creations; big, small, original or conversion. I don't think that is too much to ask from a virtual community as we expect it from a real life community.

MWMDragon Community Member / Custom Content Creator ( No community members were harmed in the making of this article. No artificial flavors or colors added.)

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