Questions about the Price of Freedom and CYS

Again, I disagree.

Does anyone else have any questions about what happened? I want to put this behind all of us.



Going forward, in situations where there is a dispute, are things going to be more transparent to avoid the rumor mill?

Are there any protections in place for authors to avoid these situations?

Will anything change, behind the scenes, to make things more transparent and clear for authors going in, since all of this can be confusing for people being published for the first time?


Sorry, I’m not Jason but mind if I ask for clarification?

What kind of transparency would you expect? Transparency is something that I value very highly in businesses, but it’s also a very general term that could mean lots of things. Is there any specific transparency you’re asking for?

I’m afraid I don’t understand this question.
CYS’ TOS are public, and it is upon an author to read them through before signing or uploading anything, especially in regards to copyright.

And before anyone directs me to the screenshot placed on CYS: that isn’t from a CoG employee, per the use of, “you might have somebody contacting you from Choice of Games”.

Further, I would assume this is still on the onus for the author to be upfront about any copyright issues before submitting their game lest they merely waste time.

I mean, just because you applied to a new job doesn’t meant it’s up to your potential new employer to quit your old job for you. That’s something someone has to do for themselves.


I feel like COG’s submission information (and HG author information) is extremely clear and transparent, and policies and guidelines are written out very clearly–almost to the point where I wonder what could be made any clearer. Everything seems to be covered, from contracts, royalties, intellectual property, what’s part of the process, and where/how things will be published. I’m not attacking your question, as I’m also not Jason, but I’m wondering what “protections” could be put into place for authors (when COG graciously allows all IP to be retained, which can be rare in this kind of market) or what behind-the-scenes changes could be made to avoid this specific situation?


:woman_shrugging:t2: He said ask anything, so I asked.

Transparency of a business is important, especially when rumors abound.

Protections in regards to rumormills.


I’m curious as to what steps Jason and the rest of staff plan to take to protect authors from having vitriol spewed from multiple sources and directions from people with less than half the story.

I mentioned nowhere anything about legalese or copyrights.

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But I guess what we’re asking is: what transparency are you asking for or suggesting? From my point of view, COG is inordinately transparent, and even when Price of Freedom was first withdrawn from HG publication, Jason left a note in that thread as to why, which is more than I’ve seen from, well, any place of business.

I guess the question is: is it really their responsibility to protect people from things that are said in other areas of the Internet? Steps can certainly be taken here on the forums, but I don’t think they can control what others say elsewhere if an author themselves doesn’t feel the need to share “the full story” with strangers. Is it the responsibility of Penguin Books to share the details of business transactions and publishing details when J.K. Rowling is attacked on Twitter for something?


Mm, well, I’ll wait patiently for a response from Jason, because I felt I was clear and that my comment was being purposely misread.

I did not mention other websites. I mentioned here.

See: adult topics, certain games being banned, advertisements and such being deleted quite quickly, email chains being spread. What steps are going to be taken to keep these things transparent, so that when authors just up and disappear, fans aren’t left wondering why?

In addition, what steps will be taken that certain authors, who will remain unnamed, stop having brigades of people on this site and in official and unofficial cog discord servers hate on them en masse?

What steos will be taken to ensure that rumors are nipped in the bud?

What steps will be taken so information is freely available?

This should have been obvious from my first post, so I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough.


Hi there, admin of CYS here.

Avery owns her intellectual property published at ChooseYourStory. She’s free to do with it what she wills. This has been clarified by the site creator in the past (not the first time a question like this has come up).

Also, we aren’t affiliated with the Spring Thing Contest, which I’m assuming is the one being referenced in the OP. I’m genuinely confused as to how this was attributed to us.


Hi Killa_robot,

Thanks for visiting!

Also, please understand that I appreciate you trying to come and clarify things.

However, I hope you understand that I can’t take a post here by you as something legally actionable.

Personally, I think the CYS TOS are poorly worded. If the TOS were changed to clearly say what you’re saying here—the CYS makes no claim to the IP of the authors—that would be legally actionable. If someone from Halogen Studios wrote me an email saying the same thing, that would also be legally actionable. Also, if HS sent a letter that said that they retained the IP, but were granting Avery permission…that would be legally actionable.

But an admin—and a pseudonymous one at that—is not someone whom I can or should recognize as a legally authorized representative of Halogen.

So, I very much appreciate you taking the time to drop by, but this doesn’t change things from my perspective.


I’m not really sure about the game’s publication, but I saw it being advertised on CoG forum a few days ago. However, when I tried to access it, the post was already gone seconds after I clicked it; does anyone have an idea what happened?


Yes, I deleted the thread. The description of the game was grossly offensive.

I don’t think Avery meant it to be offensive–she framed it as a trigger warning–but advertising a game that includes–if I recall correctly–child rape, child soldiers, violence against children, etc etc, is not a game that I want advertised on this site.


But wasn’t the game close to being published before being pulled though? Wasn’t this content already in the game before?


I don’t know; I don’t read most HGs. And, regardless, I don’t know what’s changed since she submitted it to us and its final form on CYS.

What I know is how she described it, and the way that she described it was grossly offensive.


So, you don’t actually quality check the games you publish, just vague descriptions of things it may contain without context? I’m just confused here.


Was there any attempt at communication before it was deleted? Was Avery given the chance to edit the description in a way that would serve as an effective trigger warning without seeming offensive?

I ask because it seems like a very worrying precedent if a popular WIP can be up for months and be slated to be published only to be unilaterally deleted if a staff member discovers something objectionable in it.


Hi there, owner/creator of CYS here. I guess you can verify that with my twitter account I used to sign in?

What @killa_robot said is true, the author is free to do with it what she pleases. I didn’t read the entire thread here, but I was asked to step in and give an “official” statement.

@jasonstevanhill is right, the TOS is very poorly worded. I wrote it a long time ago and I probably just plagiarized it from other content sharing sites like … whatever the heck was around before YouTube.

I haven’t read it in ages, but the intent is that when publish your storygame on CYS, you grant CYS a license to share/promote/etc. your storygame. The theory was, at the time, without such a license grant CYS could probably be liable if we did something like “hey everyone checkout this really cool storygame that so-and-so published”. That was when the internet and content sharing was very new, I have no idea what modern sites do anymore.

These days, CYS is a community-run interactive fiction site.I have virtually no involvement, but I’m very proud of the work of the community (despite my lack of involvement). I have no intention to turn CYS into a commercial venture like COG, but I’m glad someone is doing something with interactive fiction commercially.

If a CYS member wants to publish their storygame elsewhere, then I would feel really bad that a poorly-worded TOS is giving someone (author, COG, etc) anxiety about publishing it.

You’ve got my statement here, and I understand if that’s not enough. So, if someone wants to send me a release" form, I will gladly sign it. Just please write it, because I don’t know what more information you need from me.

If someone wants to rewrite the CYS TOS to be more modern and clear, by all means. It’s a community site, and will continue to be for the forseeable future.


The publishing guidelines for HG writers make no mention of “quality” as such. There are requirements (beta testing, word count, etc) and that the game not contain grossly offensive content. After submitted for review, a member of the COG team reads it to make sure that it doesn’t contain any such content, but that isn’t really a “quality” review. Please, anyone, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.


Hi Alex!

Thanks so much for reaching out. Yes, now I have your email. If something like this comes up in the future, I’d be happy to cook up a release so authors can publish their games with us.

I really appreciate you stopping by!


I’m not certain why leaders are answering for Jason, but I gotta say I find it a little sketch.

I’d also still like to know what CoG plans to do to prevent harassment of authors by brigades of people who heard through a game of telephone that something was bad.

I’d also like to know the protections in place against things just being deleted. Will warnings be provided for things such as “grossly offensive material” that may not actually be grossly offensive and may be just a poor choice of wording?

The WIP, Broken Lenses, is far more offensive tha what was written by Avery. By leaps and bounds. Just as a for instance. In fact, if I recall correctly there are actually scenes of sexual acts committed against minors. I may be misremembering, though, to be fair. I just know it was so grossly offensive, I couldn’t read it anymore.

Her trigger warning was just poorly written.


As Sviyagin says, no, no one “quality” checks HGs, beyond a minimum of intelligible English. Then there is a content review. But that content review is not done by me. That task belongs to other people.