Do not take this as precedent, that Kotaku is going to get involved in every level taken down on LittleBigPlanet. But the demise of Azure Palace seems newsworthy for a few reasons -- one, it's well made (a little too fly-and-grab for me, but still a good level); two, there seems to be no apparent reason for it; and three, it's the big stink in any forum now discussing the heavy-handed moderation on LittleBigPlanet.
Azure Palace's creator is understandably pissed about the whole thing, posting his email to Media Molecule in a GameFaqs forum. He defies someone to show how the level violated the terms of service and, frankly, I do too. A couple of statues' heads resemble Pac-Man (depicted above) but come on, that cannot possibly be it. There also are some bloodstain stickers (you can't really tell in the YouTube video) but likewise, that seems extremely petty for it to possibly be a defensible reason.
If, on the other hand, this and anything else made with care is being flagged by lulz-seeking griefers and moderators are blindly taking down levels with zero investigation, then they're just being manipulated by the worst members of the community, and the business consequences there are obvious enough.
Here is the video of the level:
Writes the level creator:
I invested a huge amount of time making The Azure Palace to not only be original, but to shift the gameplay of this wonderful game you guys made. Besides similarities to underwater stages in general, there is nothing directly taken from any game/movie/etc. If there so happened to be one, the terms of moderation are by far extremely irrational. The user is given no chance to change certain aspects of his creation to conform to said rules above. WE'RE NOT EVEN GIVEN A FREAKING REASON AS TO WHY IT HAPPENED!!!
Sony has to understand that in this case, doing something without giving any reason is akin to doing something for no reason. Sure, some plainly egregious levels don't need a moderator telling the creator what he or she did wrong. If they're going to be completely arbitrary about what gets deep sixed, anyway, they can also be arbitrary about who gets an explanation and who doesn't. But they need to start giving some, and Azure Palace's creator is owed one.
Update: I made changes to this story that removed direct references to Media Molecule, as I am not certain who exactly is responsible for the moderation of this game, be they MM or Sony employees. I put that back on Sony, as the publisher, in the above paragraph.
Also, there is a petition circulating now demanding changes to the whole moderation system. You may view it here.