Very weird question about a grey-area possible ad scheme?

Putting this in the general discussion because it’s less of a code issue and more of an ethical concern in general-

I’ve run into a situation with a certain workshop addon, but I’m not sure whether or not the creator is necessarily totally guilty over the situation that is presented here.

The addon is Workstop -

The issue with the addon itself is that server owners add it to their server’s workshop collection, then force clients to download it, or tell players to subscribe to their entire collection, meaning anyone who subs to it will have their dupes and saves disabled in singleplayer. The creator left this message:

(whether the “recommended” language is significant or not, I don’t think it matters in this case.)

Today, a few friends noticed loud dubstep noises coming from their singleplayer games that only stopped once Workstop was unmounted. They had not willingly subscribed to Workstop.

Here’s the problem code with safe spaces added to the URL:

-- lua/autorun/server/sv_workshop_disabler.lua
CreateConVar( "workshop_disable_url", " in-game/ workshop", { FCVAR_ARCHIVE, FCVAR_REPLICATED }, "The webpage to show instead of the workshop" )

The default convar here points to a webpage that will redirect within an HTML panel to Indian tech support scams, ads, and oftentimes extremely loud dubstep noises (as mentioned above), which means that any client who has had the addon forced upon them will suffer at the hands of intrusive ad revenue attempts in singleplayer unless they go out of their way to pinpoint Workstop as the problem addon, and/or remove it, or change the convar.

My opinion is that most players, particularly those who aren’t inclined to write code, aren’t well-versed in changing convars or pinpointing addons that play ads - my concern is that the entire situation seems like it falls in a grey area. Does the creator have the clearance to exploit the fact that people mount the addon anyway (willingly or not), despite it being labeled with an “ONLY FOR SERVERS” tag? Is that even what’s going on?

Maybe I could word that better, but I have no idea where this fits, and want to get some other peoples’ opinions.

when players download workshop addons from the server due to resource.AddWorkshop they’re not mounted on other servers / singleplayer.

also even if they were, which they’re not because that’s a stupid way to have another “Lua virus” - the convar will reset whenever you restart the game.

Isn’t this just a case of the addon being old and the default URL being an expired domain, which might have been bought by scammers?

Makes more sense, shoulda whois’d it

Just a random idea since the OP said this does affect singleplayer, do GMAs still fail to unmount after leaving a server? I know once upon a time this was an issue. Could explain why people would still see these replacement pages in singleplayer if they haven’t restarted their game.

Considering the “malicious website” is, in fact, only due to the url being an expired domain bought by scammers (as Tenrys suggests), I feel like a better question for this situation is something along the lines of:

Is it okay for addons to advertise to do one thing and instead do another?


Is it okay for addons to outright disable fundamental base game properties without the knowledge of its subscribers?