Poll: Should ParserComp amend its IFDB/IFArchive option?

Should an opt out clause for games entered in ParserComp to be archived in IF Archive?

  • Yes - Allow an opt out for inclusion in the IF Archive
  • No - Do not allow an opt out for inclusion in the IF Archive (inclusion mandatory)
0 voters


Perhaps a game put forward controversial topic, that even though passes beta test no problem, it got picked up by a hate group, causing mass personal attacks upon the author.

In such cases, the author may decide to close everything, for personal safety. This has happened several times, including even famous author (see Key VN).

So… It would be if you opt-out, you don’t get an IFDB page either, or all entries have an IFDB page but you have the option not to be archived?
(because the title of the thread includes IFDB, but the poll only refers to the IFArchive)

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If an author is harassed, well hopefully that won’t happen again, but cases like that can be handled by the IF Archive removing files from the archive. Pre-emptively opting out for that situation doesn’t make much sense to me.

I definitely think the culture should be strongly in favour of archiving anything submitted to such a competition. There may need to be better communication - The IF Archive is for archiving. It doesn’t mean the Archive needs to be the main way the game is downloaded or played. It doesn’t prevent you having your own website. The Archive’s copy doesn’t need to be the top option on IFDB.

I can understand not wanting rough speed-IF to be archived (even though many are). But the ParserComp is for serious long term creations. If an author doesn’t think it’s worth archiving they probably shouldn’t be submitting it to the comp.

You can’t really opt out of the IFDB. While they’ll take down things that never really should have been there (like homework games), anything submitted to a comp is notable enough to have an IFDB record. What can be done is that the authors name can be removed on request.


I just wanted the title/poll to be clear on the question. Since it could bring confusion on what is referred here.


Since hate groups are usually short lived, maybe instead of deleting, you can just hide it for, let’s say, 10 years. Then it gets restored, hopefully when the furor already died down.

I agree that it’s better if more materials got archived than not.


Maybe there’s a middle road. Have the entrants sign on to an agreement that it is desirable that entries appear on IF Archive and IFDB (and that this will happen absent future action by the entrant), but don’t make it binding. It seems like there are too many cons to each option to make a choice one way or the other.

I’m undecided and therefore haven’t voted, but I just want to note that it’s possible to use a pseudonym. That way, even if archival becomes mandatory, people who don’t want their real name to be connected to their game in the archive can still enter.

I don’t know if that’s enough to assuage some of the worries, but I thought it was worth mentioning.


I think you can always use a pseudonym. The problem is that it’s an extra burden on the author part. Traditionally speaking, you can put down 2 names: one is the copyright holder and author’s real name; the other is pseudonym. All neatly in one (credit) page.

So, that’s the upload fields. You see a field for name, but you don’t see a field for pseudonym.

It would also be helpful if posting in a forum, you can select which name you want, real or pseudonym. This is what I mean by enabling pseudonym, instead of the author having to create multiple accounts outside the publishing system.

In fact, in traditional publishing industry, it’s so easy that some authors have multiple pseudonyms. That’s rather commonly done. AFAIK, Harlan Ellison uses several, for example.


Here’s an example of database hostile to pseudonym process:

There is no way to credit a Work or Edition by the pseudonym it was written and published under.

For example, Stephen King has published under two pseudonyms: Richard Bachman and Beryl Evans.

The only way I can credit these works in the database is to use Stephen King and then detail the pseudonym in the Annotation section. The result is the works published under Richard Bach or Beryl Evans can’t be separated in the Stephen King database.

From this page:


Suppose a work has multiple authors. That is a problem, even in Amazon listing, and they have been at it for years! No problem with separate credits for author and illustrator. But multiple authors? first author, et al .

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What’s the difference between that and the current “they’ll be put in IFArchive unless you opt out”?

First, get the author to sign on to an ideal from the start.

Second, make it a fait accompli that they are already archived and must make the effort to undo it.

I don’t know, maybe that is what’s happened in the past, in which case I got nothing.

I dunno. I’m a great believer in the preservation of games for future generations, but everything on the IF Archive is treated like it’s public domain. When a file is submitted to the archive, there is a text box where you can provide licence details, but I struggled to find any games where the licence was listed with the game. I could only find one in the whole of the 781 z-code games and none in the other folders I checked. In some cases, the licence may be hidden away in a zip file or a readme file or in the game itself, but you have to download it first to find it.

I had to wade through the terms of service to find that all files are for personal use only. How many people are going to read this? This should be plastered across the top of every page. Something like: “The files in this archive are NOT public domain and are provided for personal use only”.

I guess I’m talking myself into the YES option. If authors are uncomfortable about having their game listed on the IF Archive, then they should be able to opt out. Otherwise, they can’t enter the comp, and that would be a pity.


It’s certainly not treated like that by the Archive team. The terms of service are quite clear.

I’m sure some people treat the files like they’re public domain, but lots of people on the internet treat everything like it’s public domain, freebooting creative works without attribution all over the place.

But I’m not aware of any specific problems like someone trying to sell stuff they downloaded off the IF Archive.

I guess that would be an option, even though the ToS are clearly linked on every single page. Have you suggested this to the Archive team before?


On this specific point: you’re right, we don’t attempt to provide license details in the ifarchive game listings.

First, most game authors don’t provide license info. The “for personal use only” text on the license page really is the common assumption for games.

Second, IFDB is better at collecting bibliographic metadata. IFDB has a license field. The Archive just has enough info to identify the game and then offers an IFDB link. (Not all games have IFDB links but we’re working on it.)

Compilers/interpreters are different; they generally have an open-source license in the package. And they don’t have IFDB links (because IFDB is just games) (but they might hav IFWiki links). We could tag each one with its license, but is this the best use of our time? People do in fact download the files and look at the licenses when they care. (Or use the “View contents” links.)


Also I’m for the preservation of IF, both binary and, most important, source, so my vote is obvious;

I can understand why people can be afraid about associating their name to IF sources, because in many cases are not great coders or even no coders; personally I noted that the 100% of the criticism on Creative cooking was on the lack of polish, and zero criticism was given to the source code (released with the story file) so I think that should be no fear in releasing source code.

If one has noted, for Portrait (and Isekai) I have explicitly allowed derivative work, aiming specifically at fan fiction/art and dojinshi, with the only proviso of a complimentary copy.

so, generally speaking, being an hardcore OS supporter, my stance is: public archiving, with or without source, should be the standard way to share IF work, and software in general, provided that the public archive isn’t nosy, of course.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


I’m in favor of allowing the opt-out, although as a potential game creator I would never use it.

If the opt-out option is going to be removed, do it next year. Leave this year alone.