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The Somewhat Acerbic Modder's Dictionary attempts to categorize, delineate, and figuratively pin to the bulletin board of our collective, subjective subconsciousness the various types of situations, attitudes and entities that we, as modders and modding community members, are likely to encounter.
While we strive for light wit, and mild criticism, we sometimes stray into serious observation. Our apologies in advance for these lapses.
Warning: Some of these terms are likely to offend, and should be used with caution in polite conversation. Keep in mind that sometimes terms such as "thundering nitwit" are most peacefully enjoyed within the confines of your own skull, and on occassion, in subdued private conversation with friends and colleages. (Or as a blunt speaking Texan might put it: Don't be an ass.)
- A mod that aggregates materials from other mods, either for convenience or to build a consistent vision. Examples:
- General overhauls: Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul
- Shared resource mod: Cobl
- Race mods (Beautiful People, Cosmetic Compilation, etc.)
- Clothing mods (Collections of clothing for particular body types
- User made merges: Bashed Patches, manual merges of different mods
- The primary advantages of aggregation is convenience -- one mod that uses one slot that contains everything. The primary disadvantage is that the players may not want the full package.
- Aggregations of wildly disparate components with no option to opt out of individual components are Overlord Mods.
- A person who, when facing anything new, will ask first -- before doing a forum or google search, or reading a supplied manual or readme. Some ask-firsters are quite pleasant while asking their question, while others are not. However, even for the pleasant variety, the very laziness of their behavior and the imposition that the place on other forum members and mod makers tends to quickly generate strong antagonism, and soon, injunctions to RTFM!
Back Seat Modder
- A poster who takes over a WIP thread and insists that the original author implements all of their ideas.
- In Defense:
- The line between enthusiastic user and Back Seat Modder can be hard to draw.
Big Plans Modder
- Frequently, some newbie shows up and with Big Plans. They're going to rebuild Kvatch, relevel everything but better, recreate the island of Morrowind, etc. They start a topic, lay big plans, and then... disappear never to be heard of again.
- While all modders are new (and therefore ignorant and naive) at one point, most new would-be modders at least have the sense to try poking around the construction set and doing something small before trying to build some world changing mod. Hence a newbie who shows up, pronounced big plans, and then demonstrates a lack of knowledge of basic points about the construction set or of how large the project will be is quickly taken for a fool.
- In Defense:
- It should be noted however, that some people who show up with big plans, actually do progress and release something, maybe even exactly what they promised. Rare. But it happens. Such people are usually smart enough to understand that they'll face a huge amount of skepticism until they release something.
- For various reasons, it's easy for people to find it quite difficult to leave the community. While to a large degree this is simply a normal human reaction (humans are after all, social animals), there are reasons why the modding is particularly difficult to leave.
- First, the Potato Chip Effect means that it's always easy to drift back in. We're all close to our computers much of the time and it's easy to yield to a momentary temptation to check the boards or download sites "just for a minute or two". After all, perhaps something has changed, or some community friend has sent a PM that we really should answer. This is in-contrast to real world, in-person communities, where attending a meeting: requires a substantial amount of time and effort; can only be done at the rare times a meeting is in progress; and in which we cannot lurk anonymously.
- Another factor is that, if not involved in the community, there's still the game. Often dropping out of the community, just leaves us more time to play the game, catch up on mods, etc. Which of course, tends to resolve whatever anger and annoyances we had with the community, and thus motivates us to go back to the community again.
- See also: Wikipedia: Internet Addiction.
- A disease that afflicts games that are adapted to be popular on game consoles. Generally marked by a general simplification of gameplay, overly large interface elements, and conversationally limited NPCs. Severe consolitis can be recognized by an obsession of NPCs with the dangers of small, easily defeated creatures.
- In the Cathedral view (archive), modding is viewed as being like a joint effort to build a cathedral. Individually, our contributions may be small – and may not be worth doing for themselves. But by each person contributing something, we construct something larger and more worthwhile than any of us could do on our own. Under this view, creations are contributions – and may not be taken back. (Just as in building a Cathedral, it would not be allowed for a person to contribute a stained glass window and then later take it back.)
- To some degree, the Cathedral view might be seen as a guiding ideal for integration efforts, however the Cathedral view is more about the long term public availability of work, while integration tends to be focussed more on the immediate practicalities of getting different mods to work together. I.e. you can have Cathedralism with integration, and integration without Cathedralism. Indeed, few people doing integration work would claim to be Cathedralists.
- A customander is a player who wants a mod built custom to their desire. When faced with a large mod with many features, they'll ask to get some features removed and other features added. When faced with smaller mods, they'll ask for more features to be added and for it to be amalgamated with other mods. They'll casually ask for quite difficult features without regard (or really awareness) of how difficult such features are.
- In Defense:
- It should be noted that the customander is just an extreme version of a normal player. It's quite normal (and acceptable) for a player to ask for more features. There's no clear and simple dividing line between the two, it's more a matter of degree. However, if all a player does is ask for new features, and especially of the player asks for removal of features, then the more likely they are to be a customander.
- Note that there's a natural tension between players and modders, in which a modder decides which requests to accept or not. Requests that are initially rejected may be later accepted if the demand is high enough. And a modder who aggregates a large number of disconnected features is more likely to be asked to make some of those features out.
- A person who, as a matter of policy, cheers modders on in their modding efforts -- even though the cheerleader is unlikely to use the mod.
- While cheerleaders certainly add a positive air to the forums, if a lot of them cheer on a mod that they have no intention of using, the modder may find himself dis-illusioned when the released mod fails to garner the download interest that the earlier appreciation suggested it would.
- See also: Rating Fairy
- In Defense:
- It's important to distinguish here between a poster who is genuinely interested in a mod and would like to play it, and the cheerleader who tends to be very encouraging of all efforts.
- When a modder pulls their previously released mods from distribution. I.e., not just leave the community, but actually remove their mods from distribution. (From idiom "pick up marbles and go home".)
- Fan Service is a term from the anime/manga community used "to refer to elements in a story that are unnecessary to a storyline and are designed to amuse or excite the audience with sexually-derived content."
- Fan Service can be used in the modding community to refer to the plethora of female body mods and particularly the scanty clothing for them, along with the many screenshot collections of female characters modelling said body and clothing mods.
- See also: Wikipedia: Fan Service
- In Defense:
- A nude body mod by itself is not necessarily fan-service, but rather may be motivated by Immersion, or a desire for better modeled or differently built bodies from Oblivion's default, somewhat mannish females.
- Not all fan service mods are concerned with the female body. Just most. I.e. 90%. And keep in mind that many users of female clothing mods are actually women. (At which point, it probably doesn't count as fan service.)
- Many people do not get enough sex. Fan Service provides a pleasant though limited substitute. Note that for some people "plenty of sex" is still not "enough sex".
- See also: Thong Armor
- A poster who frequently posts comments like "Any updates? Please don't let this be dead!" on thread topics. Fluffers may simply be impatient, may hope that their enthusiasm will help keep the modder motivated, or may be trying to maintain Froth Popularity for the topic.
- Fluffers are distinquished from merely enthusiastic users and from Cheerleaders by the frequency of their postings. However, the distinction may be simply a matter of degree.
- A popularity boost enjoyed by topics on the first page of the forum threads list. (I.e. the topic is popular in part because it's floating in the "froth" of the forum active topics list.)
- See also: Idle Posting
- Wildly ornate item/gadget. E.g. wildly ornate sword, suit of armor, head-dress, etc. Often but not always uber (see Tin Gaudjit).
- See also: Tin Gaudjit
- A generous rating assigned to a mod by a person who has not actually played it.
- This is a more genteel version of Rating Fairy.
- A modder with 150 projects on the go, who manages to rarely finish anything because they keep getting distracted by new ideas every time they're close to completion.
- Posters who claim to be working on some cool, interesting mod, but in reality are not. Generally when it reaches the point at which they should be releasing something or showing a screenshot, "their hard disk crashes, and they lose months of work, and are too depressed to try to resurrect it." Sympathy ensues.
- A notorius case on the Bethsoft forums several years ago was a poster named DarkFlame, who claimed for about a year to be working on a large expansion; he talked extensively about the mod in several topics and even posted screenshots. Turned out the whole thing was a fraud, and the screenshots were taken from a different mod.
- Community members posting onto topics because they have nothing better to do. Idle posting tends to support Froth Popularity.
- An immersionist is a player who focuses on increasing their sense of "immersion" in the game. Immersionists are likely to do things like refuse to use fast travel, set the timescale to 1 (1 hour in Oblivion == 1 hour in real life), use survival mods, etc.
- Immersionists can be somewhat arbitrary in what they consider to break immersion. (E.g. an immersionist might object to Cobl's options menu trigger which appear in the users inventory, while blithely ignoring the fact that they have an invisible hyper-dimensional backpack in the first place.)
- A modder who works to integrate different mods, i.e. to allow them to work together without conflict. Work may take the form of creating patch mods, merging tools and/or writing documents on avoiding and fixing mod conflicts.
- A modder who is relatively unconcerned about mod integration, but is not actively hostile towards it. Typically they are only personally concerned about integration with mods that they actively use (which may be relatively few). ("Islandist" because to some degree they mod as if on an island, separated from other mods.)
- Islandists vary substantially, and can lean towards integration or isolation depending on how attitude towards integration efforts.
- See also: Customander
- In Defense:
- Islandism is a natural reaction against Customanders.
- Mod making is a vastly time consuming task. A modder may simply feel that they can't worry about integration on top of their existing workload.
- A modder who is actively hostile towards integration and compatibility efforts in regards to their mods. This is in contrast to an Islandist, who while not personally active in integration, are accepting (even helpful towards) integrationists.
- An Isolationist pursues isolation as a matter of policy. An isolationist will typically: 1) ignore compatibility guidelines, 2) refuse permission to build patch mods, and 3) demand that their mod be used in isolation -- i.e. not in conjunction with other mods.
- In Defense:
- A modder who merely does not wish to make the personal effort to support integration is **not** an isolationist, but rather an Islandist. It's the active hostility and interference with integration that makes a modder an isolationist.
- See also: Customander
- Contrary to established lore. E.g. a mod that has the Nerevar living in the the Imperial City, with no explanation of how s/he recovered from the expedition to Akavir.
- In Defense:
- The Elder Scrolls series leaves a lot of wiggle room for changes in lore. Nonetheless, a mod that presents something that's counter to established lore ought to at least demonstrate an awareness of that lore and attempt some Lore Patching to explain its variation from it.
- ("Lore Arcadian") A player who believes that the lore (both texts and general gameplay) of the Elder Scrolls series has continually degraded and become simplified over the course of the series.
- See also: Consolitis.
- Any sort of patching of lore to explain a discrepancy with established lore, or fix a discrepancy in established lore. E.g. a mod that provides levitation in Cyrodill, should explain how this is possible in violation of the Levitation Act.
- Players who are particularly concerned with the lore of the Elder Scrolls universe. While initially rich, lore has been decreasingly emphasized in the various games, and so the appeal of the ES series to lorists has lessened over time (but is still quite strong).
- A problem with game lore is that most of it is presented in the form of books, and of course books, being written by mere man and mer, may be wrong. Lore presented in the game are fables, religious books, etc. Some of it may be fictional, some of it may be simply wishful thinking, or religious propaganda on the part of the "authors". Events that have happened personally to the player character in past games carry much more weight, but even these are open to interpretation. I.e. it appears that "X" happened, but perhaps what really happened was "Y".
- Still, modders who wish to add lore relevant material to the game should at least be familiar with the existing lore.
- (verb) Get around the limitations of modding tools through use of existing abilities in a non-obvious, non-standard way. E.g. using a container with special tokens to present an option of choices. E.g. using activate on a special object to simulate a function call.
- Given the limitations of the construction set, recourse to MacGuyvering is often necessary - althogh the continued development of OBSE has reduced the need somewhat.
- See also: Urban Dictionary: MacGuyer
Magic Eye Feature
- A feature that's right in front of you, but is completely invisible until someone points it out, at which point it's obvious. E.g. the Bethsoft forums search function.
- Someone who tinkers with the construction set to find new techniques, and/or creates external tools (e.g. OBSE, Pluggy, Wrye Bash) designed to allow regular modders to do new things.
- A person who collects large number of mods simply to have a collection -- i.e. with no or little intention of playing them. Sort of the modding equivalent of a pack rat.
- Modding is an avocation, a hobby, a community activity for which participants are not paid. Given its nature, and particularly the potato chip effect, many modders (and other mod community participants), often find themselves over-committed, too detached from normal life, etc. At this point of exhaustion the modder is likely to substantially cut back on participation, or more often leave the community altogether. The modder may also De-Marbleize, and/or become a Tragic Modder.
- The ideal mod list. Modtopians will hold off playing until the next big release of some mod is out. They will then pester the mod creators every several days (hours, minutes) to ask how soon the update will be out.
- Advanced sufferers of this disease end up trying to build Sisyphus' Mod List.
- Posters/modders who come post excitedly about the same "bright new idea" that is suggested every other week and which is already implemented in five different mods.
- An Aggregation Mod with wildly disparate components with no option to opt out of individual components. E.g. a single mod that combines: bug fixes, item/actor leveling, player leveling, weather system, etc. features. An Overlord Mod essentially tries to take over the whole world. Even if the mod does not cover a given aspect of the gameworld at one point, there's always the likelihood that they will at a later point, since these mods expand steadily to "fulfill the author's vision".
- See also: Isolationist.
- In Defense:
- That's the way the modder wants it, so there.
- In the Parlor view (archive), mods are like privately owned works of art displayed in the modder's parlor. The modder invites others into the parlor to appreciate and enjoy the work of art – but may at any time close the parlor door and ask their guests to leave. And of course, the modder may be very selective about who they invite into their parlor. Under this view, our creations are never contributions; rather we continue to own and control them – takebacks are normal and accepted.
PDLO (Public Display of Load Order)
- The public display of one's load order (usually in a forum post), frequently followed by total strangers commenting on "how good" the order looks, and/or what might be done to make it look better.
- Though it seems that this activity might be better confined to a bedroom or private dressing room, it's actually quite useful in resolving conflicts between mods. Hence, newbies should not be surprised or (excessively) dismayed by a request to "pylo" (post your load order). (It should be noted that load order related diseases are more likely to be resolved than caused by PDLO's. So, just breathe deep and bare it.)
Potato Chip Effect
- Where easily taken incremental efforts add up a large cumulative effort. (As when eating "just one more potato chip" leads to consumption of the whole bag.) Many modding/playing/forum activities are potato chip like, i.e. "just check the forums for a few minutes", "just play this one cave", "just check my PMs", "just fix this one bug", "just add this one new feature".
- Because such efforts add up, modders/players/forum members often find themselves spending more time on the activities then they really wished to.
- A person who awards a mod a high rating, without having tried it. While certainly more pleasant and good natured than a Rating Troll, praise from a rating fairy rings hollow since it is not based on any experience and so does not reflect an honest evaluation of the mod.
- A troll who practices posting extremely negative reviews and low ratings -- typically on download sites, but also forum sites with RELZ threads.
- Some characteristics of Rating Trolls:
- Down-rating w/o downloading the mod.
- Typically very low ratings.
- Down-rating a mod because the idea of the mod is dis-liked.
- Down-rating a mod because theoretically it might have a problem.
- In Defense:
- Rating Trolls should be distinguished from reviewers who post honest criticism. Honest criticism is based on actual gameplay and cites real concerns with the mod. Constructive criticism is useful to modders (at least to those who aren't too thin skinned to handle it), and warnings of extreme problems are useful to other players. However, Rating Trolls often pose as honest critics.
- To distinguish Rating Trolls from Honest Critics, one should watch for: 1) troll characteristics listed above, 2) a lack of positive comments to balance negative criticisms, 3) a general lack of tact, and 4) consistently negative reviews across multiple mods.
- Aka (Read the Fucking Manual!) A somewhat rude response to posters who ask questions that could easily be answered by reading the manual/readme or by doing a google search.
- See also: Ask-Firster
- The vast majority of mod players never comment on mods. The download, play, enjoy or not, but simply don't leave comments negative or positive. Worse, most players will not comment unless they have a problem. The lack of positive feedback is discouraging to new modders, but after a while one figures that "A silent player is a happy player." and take that as a compliment.
- Note. Yes, Silent Majority is also a political term. No, I am not suggesting that the Silent Majority in the modding community are in any way correlated with any political party. It's just the same name for a similar idea.
Sisyphus' Mod List
- The perfect mod list. A Sisyphean task because the number of available mods is huge and interactions between them are massively complex. And more mods, and more ways integrate mods are being added all the time.
- See also: Modtopia
- Tease modders are modders who start a WIPZ topic on a mod, talk it up quite a bit, and do some real work, even posting screenshots of work in progress. And then quit. Often, once they've pulled this several times and are no longer able to pull in a crowd of adoring fans, they depart the forums.
- It should be noted, that some tease modders and mixed, they release some mods, but not others. And they may have personal reasons for finding it difficult to release mods that aren't "perfect". Some Tease Modders avow a policy that a "WIPZ" topic does not in any way promise a public release, i.e. that WIPZ may refer to something that the modder is doing for themselves. However, few people accept this interpretation of "WIPZ".
- In any case, whatever the explanation for teasing but not releasing, the effect on admiring fans is the same -- repeated disappointment terminating in a "We'll believe it when we can download it." attitude.
Ten for Lifer
- Players who, though they're active in the community never proceed past level ten or so. I.e. either they keep starting new characters, or they get too involved in modding to actually play much.
- A very small and/or lightweight item of apparrel, which despite it's size and flimsiness somehow manages to provide as substantial armor rating. Archetypically, a thong with the same armor rating as a pair of Elven Greaves.
- In defense. Well none, really. That's the point, isn't it?
- Bumping an dead thread to bring it back to life.
- See Bump (Internet).
- In Defense:
- Bringing a relevant old thread back to life is often prefeable to starting a completely new thread since it resurrects the info in the old thread rather than starting everything from scratch.
- Just because something is dormant doesn't mean it's dead. E.g. a mod release thread can be pretty reasonably re-raised when a new update is released.
- The Bethsoft forums regularly discard old topics. Bumping old topics that contain particularly valuable information keeps from being destroyed. (E.g. the Savegame Bloating topic is occasionally bumped because it's the seminal discussion/investigation of the problem.)
- Wildly ornate item/gadget, that is notably not wildly overpowered.
- A group of people who bewail the evil, uncaring and cruel community who has driven away the Tragic Modder. The Tragic Chorus will go on at length about the supposed travails that the Tragic Modder has suffered, with no indication that the modder has received compliments as well and/or is generally well appreciated. The Tragic Chorus will also attack anyone who suggests that they're overdoing it, that the abuse that the modder suffered wasn't that bad, or that the modder should grow a thicker skin.
- In short, the Tragic Chorus is frequently as bad as Trolls. One must wonder if the Tragic Chorus actually is a Troll tactic.
- A modder who departs the community, bewailing the cruel way in which they've been treated, often de-marbleizing at the same time. Tragic Modders are sometimes followed by a Tragic Chorus, which often states the modders pain in much worse terms the original modder did.
- The problem of Tragic Modders is that they punish the rest of the community (and themselves) for the actions of Trolls. I.e. they toss out all of the good will and appreciation that they've generated along with the Trollish bath water. And they do so in a way that comes across as overly-dramatized.
- While it seems that adult modders should learn to handle negative criticism, it seems that many have naturally thin skins and cannot do so. Fortunately, the major download sites allow downloads to be configured to be "Ratings Not Allowed", and alternative, more tightly patrolled forums (compared to Bethsoft forums) are available.
- A person who is deliberately inflammatory on the Internet in order to provoke a vehement response from other users.
- See: Wikipedia: Troll.
- Lore introduced to cover up the absence of items and behavior that one would otherwise expect. E.g. the introduction of the Levitation Act to explain away the sudden absence of the levitation spell effect.
- Whenever a mod requires the use of a resource (OBSE, OBMM, Bash, Cobl, etc.), 2% of the posters will publicly proclaim their refusal to use that mod because they refuse to install the resource. They will then expend three times as much energy describing the difficulty/annoyance of installing the resource than the energy that they would have spent in simply installing the resource.
- Lore from some a non-Elder Scrolls source (typically a movie, anime or other game) that has been imported into the game. Usually takes the form of items and NPCs rather than actual books. E.g. Star Trek uniforms, Boba Fett armor, Soul Caliber Sword, Master Chief Sergeant, etc.