Nintendo has been deleting Mario Maker courses for months without explanation, and the community is tired. The company updated its Mario Maker support page today with new guidelines, but it doesn't have many answers. "A Course I Uploaded Seems to Have Disappeared. Where Did it Go?" reads the support page, in which the company declares it may "sometimes have to delete courses from Course World". (Course World is where player-created levels live.)
Nintendo then outlines four reasons for a course being deleted.
1) When a level isn't played much or hasn't been recommended ("starred"). (This isn't new.) "After a fixed period of time, courses with low stars/plays will be automatically deleted from the server," said the company.
The problem? Nintendo doesn't provide a threshold for levels to meet, nor a timeline for when levels are removed. If people knew "hey, I've gotta make sure this course gets starred five times," it would help. Nintendo's perspective might be that people would just beg others for stars, but that already happens, and right now, potentially great levels are removed for no good reason.
2) Bugs. This makes sense, and I don't think anyone is OK with exploits:
Courses that include bugs that were unintended by either the course creator or the developers will be deleted. It's important that we remove levels with bugs quickly, because letting these levels remain in Course World can lead to negative outcomes for many players such as players experiencing levels in unfair ways that the original course creator did not intend, or re-writing 'World Record' times.
Even though Nintendo recently changed how P Switches work in Mario Maker, they didn't remove stages that required P Switch jumps, so that's not a "bug".
3) Players can't request for their level to get starred. We already knew this one, as well; Nintendo outlined it in an old set of patch notes. "Users are unable to use words 'Like', 'Yeah!', and the '★' symbol in their course names," the company recommended. "Please change the course name when saving a course that includes these words." Begging is annoying, so this is fine!
4) Levels can disappear over what Nintendo deems "inappropriate content." "Courses that contain something inappropriate, such as offensive language or phrases will be deleted," the company said.
It did not, however, convey what it means by "inappropriate", which is a key distinction with Nintendo. They're a family-friendly company whose standards for "inappropriate" may very well be different than others. Why else would they remove a bunch of levels with the word "poo" in them? Is that "inappropriate"?
Though these guidelines are appreciated, they don't fundamentally fix what's wrong with Nintendo's approach to policing Mario Maker. When a level is removed, Nintendo can't tell you why. If you want to fix the problem, if there's an "inappropriate" level name, there's no way to re-upload the level after it's deleted. Nintendo can't reinstate the stage, nor can you re-upload it yourself.
Nintendo can have whatever rules it wants for Mario Maker; it's their game! But if they want to foster an active community in the months and years ahead, they need to communicate with that community. Right now, that hasn't changed. If players were told "your level was removed because it wasn't played enough, consider some edits and re-uploading!" or "your level was removed due to the presence of inappropriate language in the level title," it'd be a different story.
Whether it's Mario Maker levels or an inability to explain why they're changing their Japanese games in translation, Nintendo's silence continues to hurt them.