The last time we reported on the upcoming PS4 exclusive that is Media Molecules’ Dreams was in late May of this year. The write-up was about a user seeing his work force-removed by Sony for containing “Mature Content” without warning. As of now, the team behind the forthcoming title talk finding the right people, curation and moderation for Dreams.
In the latest issue of the MCV — on page 23 through 28 — on issuu.com, we learn from three developers working on Dreams take on finding the right people, curation, and moderation for the creative title.
The interview starts off with Media Molecule Co-Founder and Dreams Creative Director, Mark Healey, saying that they are looking for good-natured people willing to help each other out and collaborate:
“We want to do a bit of a slow build up so that we can iron out any obvious problems before we put it in front of too many people’s faces really. And the quality of the community is amazing, which was something we’d really hoped for and something that we put particular effort into, targeting certain people that we knew would be right for Dreams – primarily a lot a LittleBigPlanet creators for example but not just that. My experience is that it’s very good-natured, lots of people [who] are willing to help each other out and collaborate. So I think there’s a nice happy feeling in the community we’ve got so far.”
Healey continues saying that the team is looking into ways to implement filters to help people find “good” content. Although he did not specify what this well-crafted content is, he goes on to say:
“The big challenge that we already knew we’d face, and it’s already become quite evident in my opinion, is how you help people find the good content, so we’re slowly chipping away at that and adding more features to make it easier for people to find things.”
Kareem Ettouney, Media Molecule’s co-founder and art director, chimed in when the interview shifted to curation. Ettouney claims that it is happening organically within the community, but it also sounds like it was planted into the community with the co-founder and art director saying:
“We tried to blur the lines between creation and playing by having curation features – Collections, as we call them in Dreams, is a huge feature in the project and you can be known for your taste rather than your skills in animation. So we also want that side of the community to prosper and enjoy their experiences….”
So the curation process called “Collections” will help people find creative and interactive things better. On top of this is moderation for Collections and content.
We know this because the interview shines a light on Communications Manager Abbie Heppe since she works directly with Sony’s moderation team, where she explains:
“We’re an art game, so there will always be things that fall into a grey area but [Sony’s] been really helpful in sorting this out. We want Dreams to be a safe place for families and younger audiences and we’re working with them to develop what we do going forward. So maybe that’s putting mature tags on content and allowing people to self sort the kind of things that they’re making.”
Contrary to what happened with the Haus of Beavis, Healey adds:
“We didn’t want to do pre-moderation because that would just be a nightmare.”
Ettouney would chime in after Heppe and add that IP infringement and all those things are a “worst-case scenario” thing that rarely happens.
Moreover, the writer of the interview notes that moderation for user-generated content means you need to have the resources so everything “remains nice and polite.” Additionally, this is where the support of publisher (and parent organization) Sony is said to be “highly valued” with a moderation team “working around the clock.”
You can read the full story on the Haus of Beavis situation that sees white naked disproportionate marble statues being censored for “mature content” by hitting up the given link, which an excerpt from the creator over said censored level that dispels Healy and Heppe’s take on moderation reads:
“Today [May 24th, 2019], my level I have been working on for the past five months has been moderated due to “mature content”. It sickens me because Haus of Bevis has been out since the Beta and just NOW its too graphic? I tried to make the contents as tasteful as I could, with consideration of multiple audiences. But it seems that its too obscene for people to see.
“I have put my heart and soul into this dream- and to have it deleted out of nowhere is beyond me. Countless hours have been wasted, reduced to nothing. It also makes no sense because MM have even used footage of the semi-naked sculpts in a presentation at GDC, and featured it on their streams… I really am just confused and heartbroken.”
Hopefully there’s a fine balance between hosting what’s acceptable and finding ways for people to fix what’s not, this way they can avoid anymore headlines dealing with player-made creations being unceremoniously removed from Dreams.