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Change to File Deletions (For reference)


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This is the announcement shared on the semi-private mod author only forums on 22 June 2021. Please, for more information and our reasoning for why this change is necessary refer to this major news post from 1 July 2021.

What has changed?

As you may have noticed we’ve recently made some changes to how we’re dealing with deleted files. As a mod author, instead of deleting them, you can now archive your files which will move them into a separate “file archive”. This archive can be viewed via a button at the bottom of the file page (if there are any archived files).

Archived files are marked as no longer supported by the mod author and cannot be downloaded directly. They can only be accessed if specifically requested through the API.

Before I go into more detail as to why we made this change, let me highlight that we’re sorry for not announcing this to all of you sooner. Over the last week we have been doing testing (something that the upload issues over the last weekend can attest to) and we wanted to finalise a number of project tasks before talking about this change any further.

We did, however, inform community developers on our API/Dev Discord server (essentially a place serving as a direct line of communication for tool developers and our webteam) on the day this change was made live (last week), just to give them a heads up in case this change affected their tools.

Why did we make this change?

Nexus Mods has now been around for close to 20 years and what started out as a hobbyist site supporting a few games with a handful of mods has now grown into a small company with 18 employees supporting the largest modding community on the planet, receiving 1,000 new files per day, over 2TB per month. In the last two decades, we’ve always tried to strike a balance between what is best for creators, the end user, and our technical infrastructure.

This balancing act, however, is not always easy, and sometimes decisions were made for the convenience of mod authors/mod users that caused us more technical debt down the line as the site grew - issues that ultimately degrade our service and the user experience for everyone.

We’re now in a position where that technical debt is being considered, and in many cases worked on. A huge number of backend optimisations have already been implemented behind the scenes - most of them totally invisible to the end user - with the goal of transitioning the site to be in a position to deliver new features in a sustainable fashion.

As you may imagine, the data for mods and files is at the core of almost everything on the site. Unfortunately, due to historic decisions such as permanently deleting mod files, this data can be very tricky to work with and it is not a firm foundation for building upon. Some files are deleted and then uploaded again with a different name, some disappear entirely leaving no metadata behind. This “Wild West'' situation makes it really difficult for developers (both us as well as external tool developers) to work constructively with the data, and in many cases this makes the implementation of new features impossible.

And yes, to be perfectly honest with you, a project that our team has been working on for a while now (internally referred to as “collections”) would be negatively impacted by missing data as well, and yes, you are right to assume that this was also part of our decision making process - we are not trying to hide that fact.

Right now, however, we’re aware that the loss of data/metadata is extremely detrimental to users, tool creators, API consumers etc. and perpetuating the situation as is goes against our goals of moving towards a stable foundation for our data, site, and service.

This is why we’ve removed the ability for mod authors to delete files entirely and made it so the metadata is still shown on the website and on the API, if specifically requested.

What does this mean for you?

For most of you, this only means that instead of choosing to delete a file you want to discard from the files tab on your mod page, you can now archive it, which will move it to the “file archive”. To bring a file back from the archive, you can simply edit its file category and change it from “Archived” to “Main File” or “Optional” - for example.

If, however, there is a file that violates our rules and, for example, contains assets from another author without permission, then we admins and moderators are still able to and will delete these files. Once deleted by an admin, files are no longer served in any way, shape or form.

We understand that this is a change that caught some of you out and we can only apologise for the delay in communication. We hope, however, that this helps shed light onto our reasoning and that at the core of it we are trying to move towards a sustainable (data)base for future improvements to the site.

We understand that you may have some questions or concerns, and we’re more than happy to listen to feedback and to work on improving e.g the sorting in the file archive, as some of you have already suggested. Lastly, let me say that we hope that our track record in the last two decades shows that we are always trying to do right by the modding community as a whole, for mod authors and users alike - and this recent change ultimately has that goal in mind.

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