Getting criticized for your own creative work can be a challenge. I should know. But when responding to criticism involves knocking down marginalized communities, or conducting arbitrary, unrelated, political diatribes that recklessly bash people trying to stay sane and safe during the ongoing pandemic, that’s a limit, according to Valve. This was the situation for the developer behind Steam game DominaDolphin Barn Incorporated, which recently found itself in some hot water after Valve reacted to the developer’s “abusive” actions and continued bad behavior on the platform.
Described by PC gamer as the “least likeable developer on steamDolphin Barn Incorporated has repeatedly found herself in embarrassing and horrible situations around his game Domina, a pixel gladiator sim released in 2017. Dolphin Barn, known for his response to negative feedback with bigoted political views that also appeared in patch notes, was banned from his own game’s Steam community forums. Valve highlighted offensive behavior, including “insulting or swearing at another user” and a general “trend of abusive messages sent when banning players from [the game’s] hub.” These decisions come a few years later Valve turned to a more hands-off moderation policy on Steamdecide to weigh only on content that the company deems “illegal or outright trolling”.
Kotaku has reached out to Valve for comment on this situation and moderation policy.
As reported by Eurogamer during the weekend, Dolphin Barn Incorporated took to Twitter to share the news of the ban Domina‘s community forums on Steam, where a warning stated that this was the “second time one of” [its] violating messages [Valve’s] discussion rules and guidelines.’ While inserting absurd anti-mask rants about supermarkets, and anti-trans rants into patch notes have earned the developer some well-deserved criticism, that’s not necessarily what got them in trouble with Valve this time around. Rather, their hostile and errant behavior on Steam’s community forums when responding to gamers’ criticism is largely under scrutiny.
Dolphin Barn Incorporated’s Steam Account reveals their message history on the forum, including calling people a “hateful c-word” amid accusations that those who criticized the DLC “fraudulent reviews.” The developer has banned users on the Steam community forum who have raised this issue and has mentioned people on several points”r*tarded”, “betas”, accused people of it”handicapped, inferior and useless” “totally illiterate”, “cowards.” the developer randomly quotes bible passagesstates that they are at work”for God” and has vaguely compared itself to “Socrates, Jesus of Nazareth” and “Galileo.” He also has at one point someone told that “if you want me to chew your breakfast and” [fuck] your girlfriend for you too, send me your address.’ They also constantly refer to centurions and armies.
Kotaku has contacted Dolphin Barn Incorporated for comment on this situation.
In response to the latest actions Valve has taken against Dolphin Barn, the developer posted an update on Steam with the terrifying title “DONE.” Here it repeats the accusations of “dozens of fraudulent reviews” of Dominaspeculates on the genitals of those who issued the ban, and casts doubt on whether the game will receive future updates on the platform.