An Update on Creator Guidelines

Where did you find it? It was removed.

As per my point, there are countries that take their laws less seriously. The thought of NDAs not being nearly as important as the people behind this statement make it out to be, is not done as a rebuttal raging against the idea of having rules.

It is the failure of doing ones job to instead blindly follow procedure then in the aftermath of causing a mess, say you did nothing wrong and pretend it wasn’t their fault.

Like a mall cop arresting a toddler for walking out of a store with a handful of candy. There doesn’t seem to have been an ounce of critical thinking in resolving the scenario, just a manager that throws their hands in the air saying the law is the law.

No, an NDA is there to set up a standard to work with or around. To set up expectation and understanding. In defying any attempts to make sense of this scenario and maintain AoN as a valuable part of this community, he was thrown under the bus because of one thing.

Because this ridiculous attempt at marketing is effectively a scam that they should be entirely ashamed of even trying to pull off. These people were expected to essentially do free labour, and Age of Noob, unmistakably, thought he was doing this for a reward as any reasonable individual would.

What does he get for calling out this poor attempt at marketing that only tries to take advantage of said individuals? Nothing, he gets thrown under the bus when he tries to sort this out with them, because they were exposed for doing so.

And this is exactly what leaves a bad taste in my mouth. PR people saying the cop did nothing wrong in following procedure after their parents try to put him on blast for arresting said toddler.

Very gracefully handled. Very good job.

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It was reuploaded on archive.


Except I’m not a “PR” person. I just said this as my own personal thought. I also want some clarification.

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I’m not talking about you. I am reacting to what I quoted from you. That they went full on PR mode after being caught enforcing their rules in the worst way possible.

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Oh, I see. Sorry for the misunderstanding then!

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Given what I know of various countries and laws, that isn’t necessarily a good thing :sweat_smile:

If I’m reading you correctly, your main issue is how the punishment was followed to the letter instead of leeway given (and on top of that, a general critique of modern management of the franchise).

I appreciate your mall cop example and I see the point you’re making. The thing is we’re not privy to the specifics. Some are assuming it was an ion cannon, others are assuming TiMi are pushing MS, I’m assuming that protocol has to be followed, and so on.

I’ve been under a lot of NDAs for the past 15 years or so. I’m sure I’m not alone. Treating them strictly has always been a part of it. It’s not MS, it’s not AoE, it’s not this specific case. In my experience, breaches are always handled like this.

Which is why I tried to stick to a general “what we can and can’t do with and without NDAs”. I get why people are frustated with this specific case, and there are a bunch of valid reasons beyond what happened to AoN that is feeding the negative reactions. But this isn’t unique. It isn’t new. It’s how NDAs are handled across the industry. This treatment is the standard.

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Yep. Don’t want to be bound by the terms of the NDA, don’t sign the NDA. If you’re forgetful on the terms, then look at them on occasion.

I signed NDAs to participate in betas for AoE stuff and still don’t talk about what I saw/experienced there. Not sure if we’re allowed to? I don’t recall any “this NDA expires upon game launch or xx/xx/xxxx date”, but I mean, I signed it, so shouldn’t I honor it?

The company has certain expecations for beta participants. If you fail to meet the terms, no more beta access. No law broken in that, per se, just a breech of trust. One breech here, one breech there… where do you draw the line on how many or what type of breeches you’re going to let go? And how many people will you allow breech the same terms before penalizing or not inviting back to future betas?

NDA things are often secret for a reason. Violating terms can have far-reaching impacts for the company. So, again, if you don’t want to agree to said terms, then maybe don’t sign… or be willing to accept removal from the program (or beta access) if you violate the terms. Imo.

If you’re right (and I suspect you are), this makes the reprisal all the worse. Because what he was doing was essentially whistleblowing. Yes, maybe he violated the NDA, but he violated the NDA because they broke their end of the agreement by failing to fairly compensate him for his work. How else is he supposed to call them out on that without explaining exactly how they ripped him off?

Microsoft wants to eat their cake and have it too.

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Nono, you don’t understand! They didn’t violate anything because they did try to pay them with poptarts, gift cards and uhh some pocket flint!!

They totally got compensated, and AoN should be HAPPY for even getting as much despite having provided the most exposure!

This just makes me so mad, this NDA can shove it for protecting these scammy marketing practices over the failure of a disgusting mobile game that has absolutely nothing to do with Age of Empires. Even Diablo Immortal is at least a Diablo game, what an utter embarrassment.

Shame on you for trying to protect whoever’s behind this. AoN has provided more value than any of these managers.

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Ahh, I misread FloosWorld’s post. I thought they were talking about the game prices or something… now I see. Guess I will try to find AoN’s video sometime to see for myself what is said. But where does Floos say or imply AoN was whistleblowing?

I remember I was punished for talking about the leaked Romans civ for AoE2. I was suspended from the forums for a month for violating NDAs, even though I signed nothing. I just happened across a leaked screenshot of the Roman Castle on Google; even though the post associated with it was deleted, the information remained. I saved the picture to my computer and shared it privately with anyone who was interested; I did NOT post it for all to see, because I didn’t want to spoil the suspense for anyone.

The reason I share this anecdote is because unless the forum mods thought I was an insider, even people who never signed NDAs are bound by them if they happen upon leaked info.

Well, in general, prerelease content is considered confidential regardless if you signed an NDA or not.


NDAs usually last even post release to cover content/features that were in the beta but cut for the final release.

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I get that, but the stated reason for my suspension was “violating NDA,” which isn’t true because I never signed one. Perhaps I’m just being nitpicky, but it seems unfair to bind people to the rules of a contract they didn’t sign just because they happened across the wrong information without being an insider.

Could I have just kept the image to myself and not shared it? Yes, but the mysterious nature of the image led me to want to discuss it with others who were also curious about the then-little-known DLC. Since I wasn’t an insider and the leaked picture had no context, it was difficult for me to contain my own curiosity and speculative nature. However, I only wanted to discuss the image with those who were truly interested, which is why I shared it privately. Microsoft had not shared anything about the DLC in months, so this was the first scrap of real info anyone had.

Once information is out on the internet, there’s no getting rid of it; there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. You basically have two options at that point: Try to cover it up and create more press as a result (the Streisand effect) or just let people talk about it, hoping that it isn’t taken seriously by many people. With a screenshot that looks as real as it did, sometimes more extreme action is necessary to prevent a spread, but this can have the unintended effect of making it more suspicious; it’s basically a no-win scenario for the company.

I understood the actions taken because of what I did, which is why I didn’t protest, but at least I was somewhat responsible for what I did with the screenshot; I feel like I deserve some credit for that.

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I’m not sure what Floos said. AoN’s video was whistleblowing because it was a video saying “hey, they said they’d pay people for videos about this game. I made a video about this game and I got way more views than anyone else. They aren’t paying me.” That’s a short summary of the video. There’s definitely more nuance to it than that, but that’s the basic point. That was a point I was making, I don’t think Floos ever said as much.

You did sign an NDA. Getting invited to the betas is something that happens after you sign up for the Age of Empires Insider Program, and part of the sign-up process for Insider involves signing the NDA. They also repeatedly remind you about that fact every time they send out communication about betas.

I actually will take Microsoft’s side on NDA violations when it relates to beta content in general. The difference here is that the violation (if one truly occurred) was not around beta content, but around the details of the contract itself, a contract which had already been violated by Microsoft themselves, and the violation was for the purpose of exposing that.

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I didn’t sign an NDA, nor did I get invited to any betas. I’m not part of the Insider Program.

Just some clarification, and I don’t think its nitpicking to feel confusion about receiving a message about an agreement you didn’t sign, that’s completely understandable.

Forum mods are not staff, they are volunteers and do not have access to any information about the Age Insider players other than the badges available to Insiders on the forums. If you ever have concerns about a situation like this in the future, you’re welcome to reach out to the Support team- those tickets are answered by staff and they can clear up any kind of confusion.

Though the reason may not have been articulated using ideal terminology, enforcement action for leaking unreleased content is absolutely following correct procedure for our volunteer mods. Leaking content before official announcements is a violation of the Xbox Community Standards which apply to all of our players (these are linked within our Code of Conduct).

None of this is meant to discredit them, we’re grateful to have a wonderful mod team who wants to keep this a safe and welcoming space.

Thanks for the clarification. My suspension made a lot of sense then.

I guess I felt like the rules regarding leaks didn’t apply because I wasn’t an insider, but once the suspension happened, I understood what I did wrong. The wording was the most confusing part.

To be fair, it’s extremely uncommon for someone outside the Insider Program to be able to leak content, so the assumption from the mods is understandable. My situation was very unusual, since I literally just found it on Google.

Absolutely, and our Support team is always available if there was a mistake or honest misunderstanding (if you didn’t know the image wasn’t part of already released images/promotional content for example).

I appreciate that. I knew the image wasn’t official, but I took the rules too literally and assumed they didn’t apply because I wasn’t an insider. Now I know better.