Compared to the lawless hunter-gatherers of the average mod scene, the Nexus network is Ancient Rome. Infrastructure, learning and law have built an empire of some 31,000 modders, who serve over five million members. Ridiculed by some for its chainmail bikinis and attacked by the odd barbarian – not everyone shares its code of etiquette or respect for intellectual property – it’s nonetheless a wonder of the gaming world. Hosting over 28,000 mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim alone, its importance for developer Bethesda can’t be overstated.This makes it rather surprising that Robin Scott, the site’s young entrepreneurial emperor, barely speaks to the company at all. “I saw how they just handed out the [modding] tools and set up a wiki, so I’m not going to get in their way,” he tells us. “I really try not to contact them at all. Probably less than once a year I talk to [community lead] Matt Grandstaff, and usually it’s just legal things. You can have this Sliding Doors scenario, where if I had bothered Bethesda a lot more and maybe done some advertising deals with them… But it’s just something I don’t want to get into. I don’t want to bother them and I don’t want them to bother me.“It’s almost like they say, ‘Don’t ask us too much, because if you do, you might open a can of worms you can’t shut again.’ Because there’s a general feeling that if modding becomes too much of a hassle for them, past the obvious making of the tools, they’re just going to wipe their hands clean and go, ‘**** it. This is too much of a pain in the arse.’ It’s about trying to keep the community in check so they’re not bothering Bethesda with what seem like petty squabbles.”