Begging or Commisioning; a question of unethical practice of modding.

[I thought I want to post this in Doom General or Wads & mods forums but I think this topic could be expanded to different thing]

 

cyberbeg for using patreon and shit for developing a mod is a totally questionable ethic, yes. But hat if they come to a modder and asking them to make a mod to their liking, is that also unethical to charge them some sort of commission charge or something?

 

My take on this is simple, let's take a digital artists for example. they charge certain amount of money from people who want to draw some anime tiddies artwork from them. And yet they can draw a comic strip or something like that and upload it to their facebook pages or something for free (for the sake of the context, ignore the fact that some of them are also set up patreon accounts).

 

I just want to know the community's take and stance on this.

 

Friendly PSA: I didn't intended to do such a thing at all. my skills and knowledge is not even at you guys' level so it's really stupid for me to set up a patreon account nor charge people for a mod.

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2 minutes ago, thaquoth said:

Is crowdfunding "begging"

that's depend on the context I guess.

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4 minutes ago, R1ck said:

that's depend on the context I guess.

(that was a bit of a rhetorical question)

 

My stance on the whole thing:

 

The fact that crowdfunding your own survival can be necessary is a tragedy. The problem isn't crowdfunding itself as a practice though. The problem is that relying on the popularity economics of crowdfunding can be the only thing available. The fact that a lot of discourse displaces this discussion on "is it ethical to crowdfund" is kind of harmful honestly.

 

In terms of modding: sure, why not. I have more of a problem with corporate monetising of mod work, to be honest.

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2 hours ago, R1ck said:

My take on this is simple, let's take a digital artists for example. they charge certain amount of money from people who want to draw some anime tiddies artwork from them. And yet they can draw a comic strip or something like that and upload it to their facebook pages or something for free (for the sake of the context, ignore the fact that some of them are also set up patreon accounts).

Are you saying that this is wrong?

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^well, sort of.. but at the same time it's not that wrong since we pay commissions to the modder to make a mod to our liking.

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How is having a patreon forcing you to pay for a mod? Let alone begging? It is akin to crowdfunding since the modder probably showcases their skill then people decide to fund, not appear with tattered clothes and tell you their kids have lung cancer.

 

I feel people insisting modders should never be allowed to ask for monetary help is the unethical one to be honest. It takes a fucking lot of time to make a good mod, practically a full time job if it is a big mod. Especially when it is just an optional payment like patreon and probably rewards a thank you drawing\mini-mod by the person who set it up.

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I don't see any problems in both variants. You can ask modder to do something. And you can pay him to do something. In second variant you have more chances to get what you want.

 

To be honest, one guy tried to hire me to do a GZDoom big mod. I've declined it just because I have no time for this. There was no more reasons to decline this request.

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Making mods for those that donate is acceptable. You need to make what the people want or the money goes away. What ever happened to donations? Oh that's just a one time thing and not a monthly thing?

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So.  If I fix my own pipes for free, does that mean I can't be a plumber because no one else should pay me either?

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4 hours ago, thaquoth said:

Is crowdfunding "begging" or a flimsy band-aid on the fact that we grossly undervalue certain kinds of labour?

Crowdfunding is a good way to gauge or get interest. There are plenty of games that didn't get funded yet still became games.

 

As for a flimsy band-aid... its a way for independents to not be dependent by getting people's money. :-)

 

FIG is interesting, it lets people "invest" and get a share of the profits. I think it was made by Double Fine and other game developers, because why pay for Kickstarter?

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2 minutes ago, Da Werecat said:

So.  If I fix my own pipes for free, does that mean I can't be a plumber because no one else should pay me either?

Are you licensed and insured to do such things? You fixed one problem... can you handle ALL plumbing problems?

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You mean I need a license to draw anime nudes?..

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Comparing plumbers to freelance or rather, self-ascribed artists isn't a very good comparison. For one, a blue collar technical profession like a taxi driver, plumber or an electrician is likely gonna be strongly licensed, codified and unionized, so there are pretty restrictive legal definitions of who is a real plumber and can officially work as one.

 

An artist, from a legal and professional standpoint, doesn't exist. Unless he's formally employed as such (e.g. drawing sketches in a newspaper, as a courtroom sketcher or as a full-time cartoonist), he'll probably be just another "freelancer". His formal qualifications may also vary a lot, from non-existent to holding several engineering and/or CS-related degrees. So depending on the exact kind of work he does (his "art"), he might step on many different kinds of (wrong) toes :)

 

So, a maker of game mods trying to sell it will step on the toes of game distributors, someone who draws MLP-inspired fanwork and tries to sell it will step on Hasbro's toes etc.

 

From that point on, everything boils down to what legally constitutes "selling", where's the line between a donation, a "token of appreciation" and a fee. Or at least where yours and the claimant's lawyers will manage to draw this line for you. However, if something can be counted as real income, the first to take a VERY active interest in it, will be the IRS :-)

Edited by Maes
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12 minutes ago, Maes said:

courtroom sketcher

Wow, I've never heard about this before. Very interesting art genre. It's like suddenly we're back in the 18th century.

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19 minutes ago, Memfis said:

Wow, I've never heard about this before. Very interesting art genre. It's like suddenly we're back in the 18th century.

some countries like mine won't allowed camera in a courtroom. yeah, that profession is somehow made it today.

 

@Maes gave me a very interesting insight. and sorry for using the word "begging" though, I don't know other word to put it.

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32 minutes ago, Maes said:

Comparing plumbers to freelance or rather, self-ascribed artists isn't a very good comparison.

The differences you're listing are kinda beside the point here.


Unless we're strictly discussing the ethics of profiting from someone else's intellectual propertly. In this case, the OP's example with commissioned art is too broad, as it seemingly includes receiving money for completely original work as well.

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16 minutes ago, Da Werecat said:

Unless we're strictly discussing the ethics of profiting from someone else's intellectual propertly. In this case, the OP's example with commissioned art is too broad, as it seemingly includes receiving money for completely original work as well.

Historically, many artists were able to support themselves and thrive only because they had a rich patron behind them, and many rich people and noblemen got famous as patrons and protectors of the arts.

 

The difference with an employer or commissioning client is that a classical patron takes you under his wing so that you, the artist, would be free to express your art and wait for inspiration to come. Unlike an employer/customer, there was (usually) no expectation that you must complete artwork X within time frame T. If your patron was a particularly powerful person (e.g. a nobleman or royalty), you would even move in his house/court. Sometimes a patron may only/mainly offer a place to crash and work quietly, e.g. think of Gertrude Stein.

 

Patronizing artists in the classical sense is not considered equal to commissioning, and any art produced under patronizing is also generally considered original.

Edited by Maes
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Without pointing fingers and telling anyone that what they're doing is wrong, there are certainly cases where a donation economy would make most good-natured people extremely uncomfortable to get such high yields, where a sociopathic unfeeling entrepreneur would highly benefit from treating it like a predatory practice.

 

I watched some YouTube and twitch streams where the streamer takes donations and in exchange the person will read their message live on the stream. Theres something that comes up rarely in these messages, but it isn't any less shocking when it happens.

 

Here's an example, I once heard a message read aloud that said "My girlfriend dumped me and its my birthday and no one remembers. Here's $5. You deserve it more than me."

 

Depression is extremely common on the internet. If you could see the kind of people handing you this money and have them articulate their reasons for doing it, I suspect most people wouldn't accept it. But because these transactions are instantaneous and anonymous, you can kinda block the fact that you're profiting from people who aren't in a right state of mind.

 

Again this is rare, and doesn't apply to all donors, but if you're someone making a living off of this, this money isn't "clean" 100% of the time.

 

edit: in the case of these streamers, they read these comments so often that they get desensitized so they can read it aloud without taking in the substance of the message. They can justify it themselves by saying that if these people weren't donating this money then id be living on the streets starving to death, so these people must know they're doing a good thing. But if you didn't have access to your patreon, you wouldn't just die. You would find out how to make money some other way, just as you wouldn't drown if you fell into a swimming pool. You'd paddle your way out.

Edited by 40oz
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11 minutes ago, Maes said:

Patronizing artists in the classical sense is not considered equal to commissioning, and any art produced under patronizing is also generally considered original.

Okay, but I'm still not sure how this is relevant to whether it's ethical to take money for commissioned art, or to receive donations.

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31 minutes ago, Da Werecat said:

Okay, but I'm still not sure how this is relevant to whether it's ethical to take money for commissioned art, or to receive donations.

If they aren't supposed to take money for commissioned art as part of a formal job (hereby called "the commission"), then when are they? In many jurisdictions, they'd also be supposed to have a valid VAT account and be registered as freelancers for this kind of work, as well as provide invoices. There's no absolutely no ambiguity regarding that in the eyes of the Law. As for ethics, well, it's a legal commercial activity like any other. As long as they pay their dues to The Man, no issue at all, ethical or otherwise. Also, a real commissioned piece of art will be backed by a contract.

 

Making some art "just coz" and then pleading "Please give what you feel like" isn't commissioned art, except maybe in the most abstract, philosophical sense ("The world/my inspiration 'commissioned' this piece of art!"). Any money you might receive for it, outside of a formal contract, is strictly a donation.

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On one hand having a system that is built around benefiting those who pay and setting the creative course of content creators based around the wishes of money holders is scarily capitalistic and could open up a path for monopolies to develop (looking at you Bethesda you shits).

On the other hand people should benefit off of their work to sustain themselves in some way if they deem it so and they are 100% the owners of their labor. I think the practice itself is open to unethical aspects and is even a bit so itself solely for its capitalistic nature, but it’s not really the creators fault as much as the fact we live in a world set around these rules where money leads the way. 

 

In the end maybe it depends entirely on the relationship between the modded and their patrons and how it’s all handled. 

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1 hour ago, Maes said:

Comparing plumbers to freelance or rather, self-ascribed artists isn't a very good comparison.

Maes you're way off the rails of the OP discussion, no one cares about the difference between donation/commission.

 

FWIW the plumbing example was a good comparison. Do you think poor/lower-middle class people pay licensed technicians? 90% of it is done by word of mouth "handyman" type folks (comparable to a freelance artist in this discussion), or if you are lucky a retired old-timer who had a license in the 80's.

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9 minutes ago, Vorpal said:

Maes you're way off the rails of the OP discussion, no one cares about the difference between donation/commission.

 

That's not even wrong.

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I think crowdfunding a big project, or opening for exemple, a patreon page to people give you some bucks if they like your content is perfectly valid as long as you keep your final product avaliable free of charge. I also like the idea of comissioning wads to a certain point, it could work out if executed properly.

 

Things start to get unethical when you start doing things like "you only get this cool stuff if you pledge me $25 or more per month", in my opinion.

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9 minutes ago, GhoulDesecrator said:

Things start to get unethical when you start doing things like "you only get this cool stuff if you pledge me $25 or more per month", in my opinion.

Unless a ruling is produced that states that guaranteeing delivery of some goods upon a certain minimum pledge is nothing more than a common commercial transaction, just like buying bubblegum. Nothing unethical there, but certainly it would take something away from the sheen of the "patr(e)on-supported artist".

 

AND, more importantly, it would make it harder to claim that you're not profiting of a derivative work, as soon as a court would slap the adjective "COMMERCIAL TRANSACTION" all over your operation.

Edited by Maes
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16 minutes ago, Vorpal said:

Maes you're way off the rails of the OP discussion, no one cares about the difference between donation/commission.

Da Werecat initiated this donation commission thread

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Everyone is going to be pissed when Yuki and I destroy capitalism with a planet sized revolver 

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okay, okay, let's take it this way:

 

there's this kind of people- "Hey guys I'm making [insert mod here] and it will be taking a while, I need money from you guys so I can eat stuff in between." (salt needed. interpretation may differ)

 

then there's this kind of people- "Hey guys, our team is working for [insert mod here] and I feel bad for them working free so I need you guys to give any amount of money for them"

 

and there's- "Excuse me, you are a modder for [insert game here] right? what kind of mod can you make for me if I give you 9001 dollars?"

 

One of them is clearly conducting an unethical practice (at least for me that is).

 

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