How to think about the OARS ratings?

Hello. I have some doubts about the OARS ratings that flathub require applications to have, especially the part about Violence in relation to games.

The docs have a link to this generator. Is that all or is there a more detailed specification somewhere?

I wonder, should we take the text descriptions literally, or should we essentially ignore them and just choose between “Mild”, “Moderate” and “Intense” based on what we think makes sense and what we think users would expect them to mean?

I’m asking because it seems like most games would get a very high rating if you followed it literally but it seems like most games on flathub uses a milder rating (which makes more sense in my opinion).

For example, the Cartoon Violence rating have the following options:

Mild: Cartoon characters in unsafe situations
(Doesn’t almost all games have “unsafe situations”? E.g. you’re standing close to the edge, you’re riding a bike without a helmet or there are enemies nearby.)

Moderate: Cartoon characters in aggressive conflict
(Enemies are usually “aggressive” and there is a “conflict” with them even in pretty cute games.)

Intense: Cartoon characters showing graphic violence
(You kill and get killed in pretty innocent games such as “Mario” and what’s more violent than killing?)

Based on this I would say that SuperTux should be rated as at least “Moderate” but when looking at the appdata it’s only mild, and Bombermaaan is a bit more graphic but is also only mild.

Bloodshed is another rating that is confusing to me. If it really means “killing or wounding of people” (whatever they mean by “people”) then I think this is happening in almost every game. When you lose HP you get wounded.

The Desecration rating talks about “dead human remains” but does that include skeletons? Skeletons on the ground? Skeletons that are alive? Doesn’t “desecration” usually imply that you actually disturb them somehow? If you find a skull in a cave does that even need to be as high as “mild”?

So how to think about this? The OARS website says it relies on honest answers but it’s difficult to be honest if it’s not clear what each rating means, especially when knowing that a high rating might scare away users.

You might want to look at Issues · hughsie/oars · GitHub and raise concerns over there, some of the questions you’re asking seem to already be raised in that issue tracker :slight_smile: