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Modpacks, should they be banned?


Mod repacks, time to end it?  

104 members have voted

  1. 1. Allow mod repacks, or ban them?

    • Allow repacks
      36
    • Ban repacks
      68

This poll is closed to new votes


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This story with modpacks looks absolutely similar to the Linux package hell.
Either redistribute a 3rd party package, or just mention it in a requirements list, anyway you get a wrong version and need to dance with tambourine round the fire to make it work.

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1 hour ago, VaPaL said:

I'm not a modder and I didn't know about modpacks until this thread, but if I undestand right the problem could be solved by banning modpakcs as a compressed file containing the mods and, instead, be done providing a link to the autors thread, for exemple:

  Reveal hidden contents

Modpack thread title: Eyecandy KSP Modpack

Thread content:

This modpack is to make KSP more... [description]

The mods for this pack are: [link to OP of the mods]

The modpack is tested using the versions x, y and z of the mods with KSP versio xyz. If a mod gets updated, please wait until compatibility is verified. If any problem arises, check for help here first.

Thanks for modders A, B and C for creating theses mods!

What do guys think? I only gave a quick read on the thread, since it grown a lot since a last visited it. I've some posts suggesting things more or less a like what a said, but not this way exactly, but sorry if I missed something!

As @sal_vager said: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/157361-i-am-making-a-modpack-website/&do=findComment&comment=297731

 

 

6 hours ago, sal_vager said:

@SolidJuho came very close to what I would accept as ideal behaviour from a modpacker, his pack has a theme, he listed all mods and their licenses, he put mods he couldn't include into a list of separate downloads, unfortunately a small handful of the included mods are licensed in a way that disallows redistribution and the modder who created those works has stated he has not given permission.

This was unfortunately the straw that broke the camels back for me, I have yet to see a modpack posted to these forums that didn't cause an issue, with the majority of modpacks being nothing more than blatant theft of modders work for imaginary internet points.

If SolidJuho removes those mods, or gets permission and states that permission in the first post with the agreement of the modder, it will be closer to an acceptable release.

So it could work from staff side, but if this thread is going to kill modpacks, well...

So when i get rights to use those few mods from modders, or i just remove, it is allowed to zip/rar most of those mods in one pack.

Of course i am going to create some kind testing video of it actually working, so less work for moderators.

Edited by SolidJuho
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Here's my personal stance, as a modder firstly and a player secondly. With CKAN and it's ability to make install lists, SpaceDock and it's ability to search (or similarly Curse), and the fact that pretty much every mod has a thread here on the forum, I see no reason for mod packs to exist. I fully support the idea of mod lists with links to each mod's forum thread and additional configs or installation recommendations provided by the list maker. If they want the players following the lists to use specific versions with known compatibility, then they can just mention that in their list. It's less work for the list maker and modders don't need to worry as much about random outdated versions existing somewhere they don't have control over, which is better for the players as well.

Look at Realism Overhaul and/or RP-0. Those are basically "mod packs" in that it's a whole set of mods with huge amounts of config changes to make everything work a specific way. It uses CKAN to make it reasonable to install and players can get fixes for individual mods without having to set up the whole thing all over again. As a modder whose mod was in RP-0, I've actually added extra functionality at the request of those creating and using RP-0 and am happy to help diagnose any issues people encounter.

In short, mod lists = awesome and mod packs = unnecessary.

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On 3/4/2017 at 3:58 PM, Red Iron Crown said:

I'll be frank here: I haven't used serious VFX mods since 1.1.3. They often don't play nicely with CKAN due to order of operations of installation, their dependencies are moving targets that often mean a distribution of the core mod only works with specific versions of them, and deciding which mods to use together in the first place usually involves a bunch of tedious testing. For me at the moment, it's just too much time commitment out of my limited time for KSP. But...if someone packed together a suite of VFX mods that are tested well to work together and look good (while of course honoring licenses, being courteous to the original modders, and supporting their own distribution), then I'd be first in line to click download. To a large degree this is what some of the existing VFX suites already are.

This has been my experience as well.

Aside from KSP, Morrowind and Fallout 3 are the only games I've ever applied mods to. Both games have a daunting number of mods that change the base appearance of the game. . .sky boxes, weather effects, terrain textures, character models and animations, etc. Basic incompatibilities aside, as a player it is very easy to assemble a batch of VFX mods that function together, but end up looking horrible when taken as a group.

I am a big fan of "graphics overhaul" or "visual compilation" packs that allow me to apply a certain aesthetic to my game without having to spend an inordinate amount of time experimenting with dozens of different VFX mods a la carte. This is especially beneficial in games like KSP where there is a strong emphasis on exploration-- having to manually fiddle with and evaluate all of the artwork ruins some of the "I wonder what's over the next hill?" surprise. I find VFX packs attractive because I know someone with an eye for it has taken the time to comb through the final product to make sure the artwork blends well. And yes, sometimes this can be accomplished with a group of individual VFX mods and a single .cfg file. 

I'm not going to vote in the poll-- I'm not a mod developer and don't have enough skin in the game to warrant an opinion. Clearly, there are ways to do compilation packs right (full list of mods, their licenses, their authors, etc) and ways to do them wrong. But I think properly assembled and credited VFX packs provide value as a form of curated artwork, and I just wanted to raise that point. 

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I voted "Ban" because I really don't like the idea, kinda muddies the waters when it comes to browsing the released mods forum and makes support a headache for modders. I also don't like dependency repacking because someone is inevitably always one version behind and I have to fix that crap in a massive install (E: this sounds overly harsh, it isn't meant to be, it's just another thing to think about when manually installing).

But honestly it should really be handled by licensing. Then we'll all see how this happy OSS playground we currently live in stands up to repackaging vultures (and no, I'm not talking about dependency packaging).

Edited by regex
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I honestly don't think most people understand the question. If fact we on page 5 and people are probably still trying to decide what a "mod pack" actually is in relation to KSP. It has very different modding requirements to other games so comparisons don't really work well here. By some of the definitions proposed. Mod packs have been around for a very long time on the forum. Mod authors have already used every variation offered. Some of those variations do cause problems but that's off topic really. I just wanted to point out that all those variations are already in use.

I hand on heart believe that using the right licencing is key. For a mod author to express exactly what they want to happen. Each individual can choose their own options and nobody should be forced to conform. Some mod authors will object and others will not. We should respect everyone. 

At the same time. We also have to respect the views of the forum Moderators. If they feel that this is all an administrative burden and requires extra rules. We can't really complain. I honestly think if the current licence rules are followed things will work out ok. However, moderators can still change things later if this looks likes it is going to blow up a social storm. 

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One thing this thread has achieved is to persuade me to put a much more restrictive licence on any mod i release then I had previously planned to do. I wanted people to be able to continue the mod if i left or make derivative works, I'm not so sure now.

Maybe I've just not thought it out properly before now and a none re-distribution licence should have always been the correct option but either way, a restrictive licence is only beneficial to me rather than the community as a whole.

 

In regards to modpacks I don't want to see them, I don't want my work being included in them and i'll therefore be licencing my mods appropriately. 

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5 hours ago, nobodyhasthis2 said:

people are probably still trying to decide what a "mod pack" actually is in relation to KSP

I'd love suggestions, obviously any definition should not encompass the kind of releases we already enjoy from content creators, there should be minimal or no effect on current practices.

 

10 minutes ago, dboi88 said:

One thing this thread has achieved is to persuade me to put a much more restrictive licence on any mod i release then I had previously planned to do.

This is a shame, and I hope that whatever comes of this thread does not cause modders to have to change anything they do.

 

11 minutes ago, dboi88 said:

In regards to modpacks I don't want to see them, I don't want my work being included in them and i'll therefore be licencing my mods appropriately. 

If an appropriate definition of the kind of modpack you don't want to see can be found then the rules can prevent this, at least here.

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23 minutes ago, sal_vager said:

I'd love suggestions, obviously any definition should not encompass the kind of releases we already enjoy from content creators, there should be minimal or no effect on current practices.

In my opinion bundling anyone's work into a zip file and posting a download link on the forum should be banned without express permission, license or no license. This allows mods like MM to have express permission declared on their OP, and allows other mod authors to give permission where they are happy for it. The onus should be on the modpacker to provide a full list of mods, licences and permissions. Any modpacker that won't take the time to provide full documentation should not be allowed to post a mod pack and should have their posts removed until they do. At the end of the day it's likely the original mod author spent 100's of hours making the mod, the least the modpack er do is spend a few hours polishing their pack.

Here's an example of what i believe to be a best case scenario for a modpack, it bundles none of MKS or KPBS, is 90% configs to tie everything together, and the few models that have been included have been given express permission from the original author. 

 

52 minutes ago, sal_vager said:

If an appropriate definition of the kind of modpack you don't want to see can be found then the rules can prevent this, at least here.

See above, i'd be much more open to allowing a more free licence if at least here on this site (which is all i'm bothered about) it was unacceptable for someone to bundle my work without my permission.

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47 minutes ago, dboi88 said:

Here's an example of what i believe to be a best case scenario for a modpack

I would actually call this a mod in its own right, though it targets other mods instead of the stock game, much like how Kopernicus configs can provide new planets but require Kopernicus to be installed.

Work was actually done to produce these files and the mod doesn't exist if those files are removed, they are far from minimal, and are not included with the sole purpose of conforming to a definition.

This isn't the kind of work that could be replaced with a list of mods for example.

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7 minutes ago, sal_vager said:

I would actually call this a mod in its own right, though it targets other mods instead of the stock game, much like how Kopernicus configs can provide new planets but require Kopernicus to be installed.

Work was actually done to produce these files and the mod doesn't exist if those files are removed, they are far from minimal, and are not included with the sole purpose of conforming to a definition.

This isn't the kind of work that could be replaced with a list of mods for example.

I know how much work was done(i did all the art work for that pack) and I agree but maybe i wasn't clear in what i really meant, this is the sort of input i would expect from a modpacker before i would consider them reasonable in bundling in others work i,e, what i would call enough work to be reasonable in releasing a modpack you'd call a mod in it's own right and that's what we really want, high quality pieces of work with the appropriate support.

The users we are having problems with would have happily thrown in MKS and KPBS in full in a zip with maybe a few rough cfg's and caused a huge amount of support issues along with it.

We NEED users like @DStaal around who are putting in an amount of effort equivalent to most modders.

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I'm too for banning mod-packs (in the definition of : multiple Mods mindlessly thrown into one .zip archive), they have a real big potential to cause a lot of troube and frustration for all sides.

BUT, like @dboi88 said, it has to be possible for mods to redistribute other mods that are specifically meant to be redistributed with other mods (e.g. ModuleManager, Community Resource Pack, ...)

And like @dboi88 i too considered changing the license if there are unteachable individuals not respecting the wishes of the original creators. Looking for a valid license i read about the NoDisitribution attribute of the Creative Commons licenses here and am a bit curious about it. The description reads as if they do not permit mod packs! Is that right?

Quote

BY-ND and BY-NC-ND material
The BY-ND and BY-NC-ND licenses do not permit distribution of adaptations (also known as remixes or derivative works), and prohibits the creation of adaptations under the pre-4.0 versions of those licenses. Since you may not share remixes of these materials at all, there is no compatibility with other licenses. (Note that the ND licenses do allow you to reproduce the material in unmodified form together with other material in a collection, as indicated in the next FAQ.)

I suspect however that this also prohibits other mod authors to build upon my mods and/or continue them for the case that i'm not anymore able/willing to do so. This is definitely not something i want to have....

Is there a license that allows the redistribution of ones work only when the redistributor actually contributed to the work he/she is redistributing?  (As in adding content, fixing bugs, writing documentation, providing support in the forums or similar). 

Edited by Nils277
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2 hours ago, dboi88 said:

In my opinion bundling anyone's work into a zip file and posting a download link on the forum should be banned without express permission, license or no license.

Honest question: Is a permissive license not express permission?

This is the part I really don't get. A modder uses a license that explicitly permits redistribution or derivatives but then calls foul when someone redistributes it or makes a derivative. The entire point of the license is to define how the mod can be used for such things, I truly don't understand people using permissive licenses when it's clear that's not what they really want. 

For those who wish to have more control over their mod but would also prefer to permit someone to take it over if they leave the community, I would suggest using a time-bombed license, like the one stupid_chris has for RealChute:

You are free to copy, fork, and modify RealChute as you see fit. However, redistribution is only permitted for unmodified versions of RealChute, and under attribution clause. If you want to distribute a modified version of RealChute, be it code, textures, configs, or any other asset and piece of work, you must get my explicit permission on the matter through a private channel, and must also distribute it through the attribution clause, and must make it clear to anyone using your modification of my work that they must report any problem related to this usage to you, and not to me. This clause expires if I happen to be inactive (no connection) for a period of 90 days on the official KSP forums. In that case, the license reverts back to CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 INTL.

In this case redistribution without modification is fine but derivatives aren't (though it could easily be reworded to prevent redistribution). The important part is the last bit, which reverts to a CC license if the author goes inactive.

@Nils277 The ND versions of CC prevent derivatives but do not prevent redistribution or inclusion without modification in a collection of works. If you are looking to prevent redistribution altogether then CC is not the way to go.

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3 minutes ago, Red Iron Crown said:

Honest question: Is a permissive license not express permission?

This is the part I really don't get. A modder uses a license that explicitly permits redistribution or derivatives but then calls foul when someone redistributes it or makes a derivative. The entire point of the license is to define how the mod can be used for such things, I truly don't understand people using permissive licenses when it's clear that's not what they really want. 

For those who wish to have more control over their mod but would also prefer to permit someone to take it over if they leave the community, I would suggest using a time-bombed license, like the one stupid_chris has for RealChute:

Yes, and I'll readily admit that i have been extremely naive up until this point about licencing. TBH I'd never noticed issues with licencing until the big CKAN debate a while back but I've never really considered it properly until this conversation(and the fact i've got a big release on it's way). Hence my suggestion that a no redistribution licence was probably the licence i should have always been considering now i think about how i actually want my work to be dealt with. Prior to this conversation I had this idea in my head that the community would respect my wishes while an open licence would allow continuation if i was to ever stop support. A lot of comments on this thread have shown me that I've been extremely naive during that thought process.

Thankyou very much for providing the time-bombed licence example above, it fits very closely with my own sentiment and is likely the way i'll go myself.

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12 hours ago, regex said:

happy OSS playground we currently live in

Do we? As soon as it gets to mods containing artwork my impression is that we are pretty deep in ARR-land. Which worries me because all it takes for good things to vanish is a single person getting mad at someone (which has happened before, and I do notice threats about pulling back close-licensed content every now and then).

Edited by pellinor
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@Red Iron Crown Thanks for the clarification! Hmm...moving to a license that is more restrictive than CC feels kinda wrong. Lets hope that the (hopefully coming) ban prevents most of the heedlessly thrown together modpacks. 

@dboi88 So far i did not have any (support) problems with modpacks causing a too high overhead that i know of, although my two mods are under CC-BY-NC since the beginning. The only nuisance is a certain third party website redistributing a hopelessly outdated version of KPBS. But this site is banned here and i never heard of anyone mentioning downloading the mod there.

Edited by Nils277
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On the 'license expresses permission' issue: I think this is actually part of a much larger issue (beyond KSP in scope) - 'legal' and 'right' are not synonyms.  Europe is a bit better on this with the concept of 'moral rights' over a work, but in general I figure a license is 'this is the most I can stand' - you have the legal ability to do these things.  However, I expect most people to be decent human beings, and respect that it's my work and something that therefore reflects on me, and using it in a way that annoys me or reflects badly on me is likely to liquid me off.

So, my mod-in-progress above is licensed MIT, because the legal limit for me is to make sure I'm credited for my work.  But if you want to be a part of the community and not a douchebag, asking for permission or at least being very grateful and nice (and clear) about who's put in what work, and what you are adding in (and actually adding something of your own in...) is always helpful.

I can of course change the license and treat everyone as if they are douchebags by default.  I really don't want to do that, because in my experience douchebags are the exception and not the rule, and can usually be dealt with in other manners - including social pressure.  (And quite often by appealing to the admins when their actions inevitably call for it.)

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Honestly, I'd say it's kinda a gray area. If the post has a zip with mods from other users with no permission from the mod creators, this obviously needs to be taken down. However, if it's a revamp or new version of the mod, links to the forum pages of suggested mods that work together, or a zip of mods that the creators have agreed to allow be put in this pack should be allowed.  If it was possible, I'd suggest the creation of either a launcher or similar tool like Technic Launcher for Minecraft. Honestly, I don't know how the devs or the moderators you constantly keep up with this and ensuring everything is proper, but I think it would be a fast and easy way to produce KSP modders saves friends can share with each other.

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@TrooperTK_0421 I think sharing the same experience with friends has never really been an issue in KSP. When one wants to pack mods together to show friends what cool things can be done, zipping the gamedata folder (or a portion of it) and sharing it via Dropbox or similar is totally valid in my opinion. As long as it is used in private.
Only when one wants to get imaginary internet points by releasing mod-packs which cause headaches for every third party involved it becomes a problem. :wink: 

Edited by Nils277
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2 hours ago, pellinor said:

Do we? As soon as it gets to mods containing artwork my impression is that we are pretty deep in ARR-land.

Check the licenses of mods that are only parts and report back. ARR is pretty rare around here at the moment and parts mods get resurrected, passed on, and reused with some frequency.

Quote

Which worries me because all it takes for good things to vanish is a single person getting mad at someone (which has happened before, and I do notice threats about pulling back close-licensed content every now and then).

Well then maybe we should consider treating content creators with respect. :wink:

1 hour ago, Nils277 said:

@Red Iron Crown Thanks for the clarification! Hmm...moving to a license that is more restrictive than CC feels kinda wrong.

Why? That sets the terms you're willing to share your work by. If you don't want people doing certain things with your work then you should license accordingly.

Quote

Lets hope that the (hopefully coming) ban prevents most of the heedlessly thrown together modpacks. 

The KSP forums imposing a ban on repackaging is just adding another layer of licensing, why is the onus on them?

Edited by regex
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29 minutes ago, regex said:

Why? That sets the terms you're willing to share your work by. If you don't want people doing certain things with your work then you should license accordingly.

I am willing to share my work the way it is licensed now. And until i read some responses in this thread i thought that a decent moral understanding and social behaviour prevents people from doing things againts the explicid wish of the content creator.
I don't want to punish everyone who wants to build upon, use, alter or continue my works just because a few are not playing by the (moral) rules.

Quote

The KSP forums imposing a ban on repackaging is just adding another layer of licensing, why is the onus on them?

Because i think (and hope) that most mod authors thinks the same that an open license is the most beneficial choice for a modding community. If most mod authors get frustrated because of modpacks or similar nuisances and are 'forced' to use a more restrictive license their mods will eventaully cease to exist at one point because the community is legally not allowed to continue their mod. It would also not be possible to build upon the work of other to create more and more wonderful things. If the mod authors are 'protected' againts this by the forum rules, they can use an open license without hesitation.

Edited by Nils277
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1 minute ago, Nils277 said:

I am willing to share my work the way it is licensed now. And until i read some responses in this thread i thought that a decent moral understanding and social behaviour prevents people from doing things againts the explicid wish of the content creator.
I don't want to punish everyone who wants to build upon, use, alter or continue my works just because a few are not playing by the (moral) rules.

Because i think (and hope) that most mod authors thinks the same that an open license is the most beneficial choice for a modding community. If most mod authors get frustrated because of modpacks or similar nuisances and are 'forced' to use a more restrictive license their mods will eventaully cease to exist at one point because the community is legally not allowed to continue their mod. If the mod authors are 'protected' againts this by the forum rules, they can use an open license without hesitation.

I couldn't agree with this sentiment more.

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3 minutes ago, Nils277 said:

I am willing to share my work the way it is licensed now.

Then you accept the consequences of that.

3 minutes ago, Nils277 said:

And until i read some responses in this thread i thought that a decent moral understanding and social behaviour prevents people from doing things againts the explicid wish of the content creator.

Yes, we do have a social contract of sorts going on around here, and it's going to cause trouble eventually. Witness the stink over CKAN's past usage of licensing to always list OSS software no matter the modder's wish.

Explicit licensing is the way to go. Set the terms of usage of your work the way you want it used, do not rely on others.

3 minutes ago, Nils277 said:

I don't want to punish everyone who wants to build upon, use, alter or continue my works just because a few are not playing by the (moral) rules.

Then license accordingly. Nothing says you can't add a redistribution clause to a BSD license (for instance).

3 minutes ago, Nils277 said:

If the mod authors are 'protected' againts this by the forum rules, they can use an open license without hesitation.

Yet there's nothing preventing people from redistributing and using your mods in ways you don't agree with, but within your licensing, outside these forums where such rules don't apply. The onus is on you, the creator, to set the terms of usage of your creation; relying on others to "play nice" is generally disappointing.

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There are two angles of attack here: the license the mod author applies and the rules of the forum.

Now, the license is the first thing that has to be considered as it is what states what the mod author is allowing people to do with their mod.

The issue at hand falls under the redistribution clause I believe. Do you allow others to redistribute your mod? Yes, great, others can host your work on CKAN, Spacedock, etc. for you. Not so great it is perfectly legal for someone to zip your mod up in a modpack and redistribute it that way.

In my understanding, if you maintain your own CKAN or Spacedock mod listing, that is you "distributing" the mod, not CKAN or Spacedock "redistributing" it in legal-speak.

This goes hand-in-hand however with the derivatives clause, which is what covers a mod being abandoned and then another person updating it for a new version of KSP. However there is significant gray area here, the CC license uses the term "passed along unchanged and in whole" to define if something is a derivative or not which means that legally speaking if someone changes a single character in a MM config file and then re-uploads the mod with no other changes, the derivatives clause applies as the mod is changed, even if only very technically.

Now the rules of the forum are both more flexible as the moderators are around to enforce them, and also more limited as they only cover the forum, not all methods of distribution. In short, the moderators can define a modpack as they see fit and ban them, the question then comes back to "what is a mod-pack"?

And at this point I'm going to leave it, I'm actually not sure what my feelings on this subject are. As my mods are utility rather then gameplay or visual/thematic mods, I am somewhat insulated from this issue as it doesn't seem to happen to me.

Taking a look at my own license, I typically use GPL-3, it has a clause that  "For the developers' and authors' protection, the GPL clearly explains that there is no warranty for this free software. For both users' and authors' sake, the GPL requires that modified versions be marked as changed, so that their problems will not be attributed erroneously to authors of previous versions." This is interesting because it could be taken to mean that the creator of a mod-pack must indicated that my mod has been changed and that all problems are with the modpack are taken to him. It's arguable how well that would work and it's still reactionary in that it is action taken after the modpack is put up, not before, but an interesting thought.

D.

Edited by Diazo
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