How a Minecraft video series changed Mojang's trolling policy

Minecraft developer Mojang will "clarify" its trolling policy, a reexamination that began because of a YouTube video series dedicated to the forbidden practice.

YouTube user John "ZexyZek" Morin posted the first video in his Minecraft: Trolling! series on Aug. 17, 2013. Throughout the series, Morin generally confused players by destroying things they created, locking them into rooms and wreaking intentional havoc. More than 3 million people have watched that first video on YouTube, and the nearly 90 videos that followed have hundreds of thousands of hits each.

The problem, though, is that Mojang discourages behavior like Morin's.

Minecraft's end user license agreement outlines "The types of things you must not make available using our Game." Those include "posts that include racist or homophobic language; posts that are bullying or trolling; posts that might damage our or another person‘s reputation; posts that include porn, advertising or someone else‘s creation or image; or posts that impersonate a moderator or try to trick or exploit people."

According to a post on Markus "Notch" Persson's personal website, the Minecraft creator "didn't write the terms and conditions," in part because he finds "legal documents very boring, and I just want people to have an excellent time in general."

"From what [I] understand, ZexyZek noticed this and contacted us about it, asking if trolling really was against the rules," Persson wrote. "Because it is, the reply was yes. He took this as it being the end of his series about trolling people in Minecraft, but I think that's miscommunication. Nobody I talked to about this said they had told him he couldn't make the videos."


Morin took to YouTube late last week to explain that his video series was coming to an end.

"Hey guys, this video really was not easy for me to make," Morin wrote Feb. 27 alongside a seven-minute YouTube video. "Unfortunately, Mojang will no longer allow me to make Minecraft trolling videos, the series that I have built up for over a year and a half. I understand why I cannot continue the series and I am certainly not mad, I am only a bit upset. I would like to thank each and everyone of you so much for making this such a fun series to look forward to. I am sorry it has to end."

In the wake of that announcement, Mojang received word from many upset fans.

"My first reaction when being screamed at to do something is a sort of immature impulse to just ignore it," Persson wrote. "My inbox is getting flooded with really nasty emails, and I know this is happening to other people at Mojang as well, and it's kinda making us feel defensive and bitter since we didn't intentionally do anything wrong. So I said nothing and did nothing until I calmed down."

Now that he's "calmed down," he's directed "the people in charge of the boring legal texts to clarify 'trolling' with better words" that would allow video series like Morin's to continue.

"Content creators like ZexyZek and all the community their fanbases creates is the reason Minecraft is where it is," Persson wrote. "At this point, you're more important to Minecraft than Mojang is. It's grown so incredibly big."

On March 2, Morin posted another video explaining that he plans to reinstate the video series and what he's learned from the last few days. He hopes to have the next entry in the series out by the end of the week.

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