Establishing Rules on Advertising

Lately there have been a number of issues where people are posting on the forum in a way that does not directly contribute to the community. It begs the question that updates are needed to the rules and guidelines for the forum but before those changes are made I thought I would make it open for discussion some elements that I am struggling to moderate.

In general the forum has a policy that you cannot create a user account that sole purpose is to promote for-sale products, games, projects, crowd funding campaigns, etc. If you are an existing community member and have discussed with me first you are welcome to post these as long as it is agreed to be in the best interest of the brand and the community. This policy needs to be more clearly explained.

This policy would also allow you to “legally” use the Arduboy name in your product or project as it is covered by trademark. The fair use is established by meeting guidelines that need to be more clearly explained and will be coming soon.

So to the feedback portion:

Have you in the past, or do you now have any issue with the “advertising policy” on the community?

  • Seems reasonable, this site seems to fairly balance being an open community and a promotion / marketing tool for the Arduboy Brand.
  • It’s too much, the site occasionally suffers from heavy handed moderation.
  • It’s not enough, it’s like the wild west here we need more rules.

0 voters

Furthermore, without naming names, there have been instances where users are entering some kind of gray area of this policy by posting content that is either closed source or advertising for an unreleased game that has yet to be announced for sale or some combination of the two. In general, we encourage everyone to post their games in open source format as it benefits the community the most.

If you want to publish your game as closed source or with a restrictive license, that is your decision. You’re welcome to post your games here on the community forum so long as the game is available to play freely.

If you want to sell your game, you’ll either need to make prior agreements with me and/or run the campaign independent of the Arduboy community. This also includes a disclaimer that the Arduboy name is covered by Trademark and if it does not fall within the fair use guidelines (being available for free) you must seek prior approval to use the name in the game and/or advertising materials.

I’d also like to open this policy up to a vote:

To not be considered advertising, games should be freely available to be played, or source code should be provided. No “teasers” for closed source games.

  • Fair, this is a good balance between open source and allowing developers to protect their work
  • Too far, let people post whatever they want
  • Not enough, all games should be open source

0 voters

Let me know your feedback in comments below! Keep it friendly! This is an effort to try and keep the Arduboy community and even and level playing field so that when games are posted, the community knows what to expect.

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I am totally fine with releasing closed-source projects or talking about them, but constantly advertising oneself with psuedo-teasing “games” that someone knows will never intend to finish but present it as some sort of product can be annoying.

Meanwhile, someone joining the forum with the sole intent of posting about a new device also makes me roll my eyes, even if the product is cool.

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Did i miss something? What posts are meant?

Exactly the dangling of carrots needs to end. I would hate to miss out on any “pay to play” or closed titles that actually got released because rules were over tightened because stuff that’s just false hype.

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Has there ever even been any Arduboy games released that cost money to download?

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Starduino is closed source, that’s the only real significant deviation from the status quo as far as released games go, as far as I can remember.

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Is this supposed to be an actual discussion about advertising rules or only addressing the one particular case that we’re probably all aware of?

If it’s the former then I can think of a few grey areas that we don’t currently have a clear policy about.

In the latter case, I think we have to be clear that it’s more of an issue for cases where people don’t provide work-in-progress versions/playable demos of their game, and that people who do publish work-in-progress versions of their games aren’t a problem.

Though that does leave the question of whether people absolutely have to provide demos/work-in-progress versions of their games to be able to announce their game before release and publish updates about the game’s progress.


Circuit Dude is source-available, which means it’s technically still proprietary if not actually ‘closed source’ under the literal definition.

I’m sure there’s a few other closed-source games, but they’re probably lesser-known games.
I’ve got a feeling a handful of the games created by Japanese developers on Twitter and Hatena blogs and never properly published here on the forums are probably closed source or source-available.

BlueMax’s roguelike is currently source-available, but that’s probably just because nobody has discussed licencing yet, so that might change.

I’d check Eried’s repo, but it needs updating first.
Some games are currently marked ‘proprietary’ when they actually have open source licences.

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I’ve finished going through all the games.

  • 8 games I couldn’t find any source code for.
  • 6 games were confirmed closed source.
  • 77 games were only source available and didn’t have any proper licences.
    • By ‘proper’ I mean widely-accepted and not ‘handwritten’ licences/notes made by the game’s author, of which there were at least two or three

I’m somewhat disappointed by that last figure.

But on the bright side, a few games I previously thought were source-available turned out to actually have licences but they were either well hidden or unusual (i.e. creative commons licences).

If anybody wants a copy of the list I’ve compiled then I can provide it, but I’ve avoided posting it in case anyone misconstrues it as a “named and shamed” thing.

Hopefully in the future we’ll have a way to make this sort of information freely available and not require several hours of some poor sod’s free time compiling such lists.


I can actually answer this at last.

The answer is ‘sort of’.

There have been some games published on itch.io which allow people to offer the author money in exchange for the download.
It’s not strictly mandatory, but the way in which the exchange happens could be construed as actually paying money for the game rather than it being a donation.

Personally I’d class that as paying money for the game rather than making a separate donation to the author,
but under legal scrutiny I suspect it would technically be classed as an optional donation to the author, despite how it’s presented to the user.

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Yes, that‘s exactly what i want to know!

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I’m not getting into a discussion if this is about specific posts or in general, it’s happening.

Basically, yes the rules would prohibit someone from sharing upcoming teasers about a game without providing some kind of code or resources. Now, here is the thing, there can be exceptions made to this rule on a case-by-case basis with existing members of the community.

For example, and I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him out here, but @crait usually contacts me weeks in advance of anything he is planning on doing on the forum, and checks with me right before he does it. Then, after he posts it, he lets me know that he did it. This, along with all of the massive amounts of work he has done for the Arduboy brand and promoting the community, is what allows him to promote his Circuit Dude game on other platforms from within the community.

If we don’t enforce some kind of rules, then the games category has the potential to become flooded with things that are not actually games. In a community based games catalog this is unacceptable.

And I agree that in addition to making the rules on advertising more clear, and the legal guidelines around the fair use of the Arduboy trademark, some guidelines on software licensing and some links to more resources on how to chose the correct license for your work would be helpful too.

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Awe, thanks. I appreciate that. I thought I was just being annoying. :wink:

Ok, let me rephrase the question:
Are you opening up a discussion about what the rules should be and asking for people’s input/opinions on the current situation?

Right… so what are the actual rules? Are they still being written up?

I’ll offer up a few:

There’s also a bit of useful info in this article (particularly the ‘permissive vs copyleft’ part), but the article is quite long so it would probably be best if the info were ‘distilled’ into something more useful for Arduboy users.

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The “draft” of the rules is in the first post, I will be writing them more clearly and putting them here:

https://community.arduboy.com/faq

and/or

https://community.arduboy.com/tos

And be making these pages more obvious in the “welcome to the Arduboy community” post.

It doesn’t seem like there are any glaring errors in what I suggested, so I’m moving forward with what was discussed.

“What does not directly contribute” is somewhat subjective.

Sometimes people discuss things that aren’t actually about the Arduboy, but people enjoy the conversation, so it raises the question of whether or not topics like that count as ‘contributing’ or not.

Take the recent discussion about a colour version of Dark & Under for an example.
(Purely because it’s quite a recent example.)

Technically it’s not actually related to the Arduboy very much.

The game is intended for Android and people have been discussing porting it to other non-Arduboy consoles and the challenges involved, as well as comparing hardware details of different setups.

On the one hand you could argue that it’s not directly contributing because the discussion doesn’t benefit the Arduboy (and only tangentially relates to it).

On the other hand you could argue that because some forum users are interested in the discussion that qualifies it as ‘contributing to the community’.

The rules need to reflect what to err in favour of.

How does that extend to people who are on itch.io where paying for a game is optional but strongly implied?

And what about people who accept donations?

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These rules are subjective, that’s why we have moderators to make decisions on a case by case basis.

In your example of Dark and Under, it’s being done by members of the community that have been here for years and have contributed games, and technical support to the community.

In essence, none of us feel funny about what is happening there, because we all know those people and support what they are doing.

Again, please understand all of these rules pertain to users that the “only” thing they do is post advertising content.

And at the end of the day, it is my decision, and the reason I have this post here is because I’m trying to be open about my reasons.

So these rules are explicit to advertising on the community forum. If you want to do anything else off the forum, the only consideration is a fair use of the Arduboy trademark. So long as the game is available for free, optional pricing models or donations are fine.

The trademark will also prohibit being used in disparaging ways or in the production of works with the intent of malice.

Most of these things should in my mind be considered “common sense” but that in of itself is becoming a meme these days. I just want to make the rules clear.

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Futhermore,

You can’t post content that infringes on intellectual property owned by someone else!

I would have thought this goes without saying, but I will not get into any debates about fair use or “flying below the radar” or any such thing. I am solely responsible for the website in the event that it is issued a DMCA request so anything that I consider a risk for this will be taken down at my sole discretion, this is not up for discussion.

  • No, the internet is a scary place.
  • Yes, and may I have some too?

0 voters

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Fair enough, but please remember to be lenient if a moderator makes a decision you disagree with.

Objective rules and less crucial guidelines are easy to enforce,
but subjective rules about more critical decisions require either some kind of joint deliberation or someone to make a snap decision,
and deliberation isn’t always practical (e.g. if moderators aren’t available to deliberate).

The problem with common sense is that everybody has a slightly different classification of what is and isn’t obvious.

Or, purely because I feel like quoting someone:

“It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say ‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face.’ But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?”
- Isaac Asimov


Fun fact: the internet actually is a series of tubes.
Tubes containing copper or fibreoptic cable buried under the street.

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I have a big nose, it actually fills up a decent portion of my peripheral vision.

Please forgive me if I’ve misunderstood some of the upcoming rules, but, if I got it right, there will be some sort of enforcement to steer people away from making closed source payed games and post about them here, especially in their initial concept stage.
If that’s not the case and I misunderstood the whole thing, forget about this post, please move on : )

If this is really what’s happening, I will express some of my concerns:

  • I bought the arduboy not because there’s free games or open source games, I bought it because there’s some really good games being made for it.
  • I don’t see how closed or payed games might in any way make my experience here or with the arduboy any different. Maybe having a special section for closed/payed games might help keep the existing sections with the same open source collaborative spirit you’ve had so far?
  • I love seeing discussions about game concepts, early concepts, even for games that will never be made, doesn’t matter if the source exists or never will or what payment form will it be eventually.
  • People that make games for a living (hello : ) might very well be interested in making games for the arduboy, why locking them out? I sure would love to play commercial grade games on this little handheld.

Disclaimer, I don’t intend on making a payed game on the arduboy, I’d love to, but don’t have time right now. But heck, I’d love to just see any kind of game-dev around here, not just people that can afford making free open games.
My 2 C.

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I don’t really care about it. Just make wht you fell to be the best to keep your community spirit. It’s a great place for exchange and help. You have alot of talents here and it’s great.
For me all is fine atm, nobody seems to use wit excess of adverts and i like to come here to read all your posts on hadware, software or cocepts (even if i don’t have always time to read the developpments of some of them)