This post was started in March, saved as a draft, then forgotten about. I’m publishing it now for no reason, really.
It can be pretty frustrating, being a content creator on the Internet. (Or, as most of you on HNZ know I don’t create much content anymore, I fear – a content administrator. 😉 )
The problem often is that your stuff gets stolen, taken by other people, and you find out about it somewhere down the line when it’s too late to really react. It’s an unfortunate reality, and for all the safeguards that exist to prevent this, none of them work really perfectly – and none of them work very well when you consider the ZetaBoards forum platform.
That all said, it hasn’t usually been malicious third parties taking things randomly from us. In fact, random third parties more often request permission to use our content and attribute it to us. The real evil seems to come from members of our community.
Countless users of HNZ have decided, after some time, that HNZ might not be just right for them, for whatever reason. So they decide they’ll start their own RPG, but instead of spending time creating their own content (codes, documentation, etc.) they take what HNZ already had in place. This has always been quite confusing to me. HNZ isn’t good enough for them, so they want better and know they can do better – but in the process of doing better than us, they just take what we have and claim it as their own.
Traditionally, I’ve come across communities made by HNZ people with other HNZ people as the regular membership filled with HNZ content. Not just their characters and their RPs (which they’re free to do with as they will, obviously) but also our rules documentation, our forum images, anything that tickled their fancy, and I’m left amazed.
More recently, however, a beast of a different kind has reared its ugly head. HNZ now has a set of useful and dynamic tools that set it apart from similar boards. These tools include the gradebook, the shop system, galleons, etc. etc. etc. These are uncommon codes because they take webhosting and a little bit of coding know-how, two things a lot of people can’t be bothered with. So instead, they try to take HNZ’s.
The thing is, with an external host it’s pretty simple to track down who’s accessing your site, and how they’re doing it. I’ve caught four boards now trying to use the like system from HNZ, if not the gradebook and galleons as well. (They’re pretty much useless without approved staff accounts being able to set up galleons, or assign grades, or anything else, but it’s still the thought that counts – and this thought was malicious.)
Additionally, I’ve caught a couple of the same people stealing HNZ’s custom themes for use on their own boards.
Fortunately, being on the support staff makes it easier to prove stolen content is mine and have such communities closed – but it’s an inevitable and unrelenting frustration to see things stolen, and people believing that we’re stupid enough for them to get away with it.