Ownership Issues

Published on May 12th, 2020 - Edited on December 7th, 2020

For some reason, I have been having issues with ownership. What’s the coorolation between ownership and power? What do you truely own? How much can you change a product until it is deemed yours?

Before I get into the bad experiences, I might as well mention that I do have some great experiences.

  • Yamamura was developed by Samplasion and myself, and we expressed that clearly. We were an unstoppable coding team, and I could not have asked for a better partner. I wish he was the partner I had for all the other stories, but I appreciate the help he gave me for Yamaumra.
  • DeadSkullzJr and I disagree heavily on what to archive and what to not, what’s considered good and what’s considered not, etc. Outside of that, we actually work great together. We plan to do a new website for DS archives and I already did the engine. Best of all; I’m in the footer credits (something to keep a note of) even though he’ll provide all the content.

Also keep in mind that I will not reveal any names since this isn’t trying to be a call out post. This is rather my personal experiences with ownership issues and I’m just listing my frustrations. I don’t mean any hate to any of the people I rag on here (except power abusers in Discord bots) and most of these are from a long time ago. If you know who they are; good for you. Please don’t bring this up to them saying “NightScript is calling you out” since this isn’t the intention.

Mario Making Mods - Co-Owner issues

December of 2016 saw a start of activity in the Super Mario Maker modding scene. AboodXD made an autumn theme, Zachabossaloler made a Mineshaft theme and I saw potential in a forum dedicated to this modding scene. After speaking to a few of the modders, though, they were comfortable staying on RHCafe’s subforum, until it shut down in April 2017. I brought up the idea again to the same person, but he forwarded it to his friend to do instead of do it himself. Said person made what were at the time popular mods, so I knew that he was a reliable Super Mario Maker modder and could help me get the word out there. While he bought a URL, I setup the forums. However, two weeks in, things started to get a little bit frustrating between his team and I. We ended up splitting and since he had the URL, he could do whatever he wants. He set up his own forum under the old URL, but no one was aware we moved. To be fair, he didn’t have to; why would he advertise a competitor? But then again, it was my content under his URL; did that make it his content?

The timeline moves on to late October 2017. I was now found with a new host with an owner who I will not describe a single bit due to potential legal issues I might have. The basic jist is that we did not communicate properly and I ended up getting locked out of the VPS that hosted Mario Making Mods. My data had to be stolen through an account I made for a friend, but legally, I had been locked out of my own content. The site was migrated to a hosting service I paid for myself using a pre-paid card, yet there were constant downtimes and negative reviews being published about this site. Not being able to afford it, I migrated to the person who hosted rverse mid-2018, who was encouraging yet shady. The VPS constantly went under strike and late fees, with threats to get deleted by DigitalOcean. Oman paid for this twice, which technically makes it Omans VPS and not the original hosters.

So, why am I bringing this up? This all happened in 2017-2018, yet it was the start for ownership issues for me. For one, the contents of the old URL were mine yet it was his URL. The contents of the VPS was mine yet it was paid by outsiders. Was I truely the owner of Mario Making Mods? Or was it me and some other people?

DSi Modding Guide - what wasn’t mine isn’t mine

2016 saw a rise in TWL/NTR mode hacking activity, with the release of nds-bootstrap & TWLoader. Classic Homebrew revived from its graveyards and even a few retail games were playable (although with severe lag). We were no longer constrained to the physical flashcart medium, which was extremely beneficial as I tried to buy them and ended up failing….twice. The people behind the work has put hours to reach this milestone, and I cannot thank RocketRobz, shutterbug200, ahezard and everyone else involved enough for the nostalgia it gave me…but what would be the benefit of running old homebrew if the place for running old homebrew got shut down?

FileTrip planned its closure for April 2019, and without proper preservation, the rest of the DS world would be dragged down alongside it. Even though I never owned a Flashcart myself, I had empathy for those who did own them, and tried to make sure that they could enjoy what they payed money for. Out of all three areas, my focus was on the kernels. Skins are just cosmetics, and most homebrews worked on every flashcart so they would be downloaded much more often. Kernels is unique in the sense that not everyone owned the flashcart, so who knows what the fate of that would be. I’m sure it has been downloaded around 100 or so times before, but who’s to say they would be available on request if they needed a kernel?

GBAtemp, being a sister site of FileTrip, linked to them for its kernel listings. The section of the site this kernel listing was on needed to have a human moderator make an account for the user. Being impatient, I could not wait around for a moderator to respond which would remove time that I could be spending downloading things on Filetrip. A new list on a completely different website was made, manually going through the conversation of converting Wiki Markup to MarkDown.

The website was a hot mess and extremely confusing for anyone that wasn’t 2019-me. Plus, no one wanted to help support it. I reached out to DeadSkullzJr who was trying to work on his own list, so I didn’t want to bother him. Besides, at the time, I wasn’t as good of friends with him as I am right now; I hardly knew him. The people on DS(i) Mode Hacking would claim my website is “out of date” the day after making a Pull Request to the main DSi Guide just with a version change. It was quite clear that changes had to be made on my part. Since I couldn’t do things on my own, I thought I might be able to contribute to already existing resources. I wanted to keep the flashcart list on a separate website since I wanted to make it into a fully fledged guide. The 3DS stuff was miniscule and already self-explanatory so those could be removed. However, there were changes I made to the DSi Guide and since it’s a fork of the true DSi Guide, I figured moving all my changes there would be better for the community.

At the time, the site owner was literally no where to be found so it was up to RocketRobz and any other contributor to update it, and the means of updating it were…awful. Why is there two separate pages for installing unlaunch with only one section difference? I fixed that and decided to do much more. It went to the point where I technically rewrote the whole website, accommodating the last year of non changes. Updated it to standards, removed a few useless parts, made it into my own style, etc.. Problem? It still wasn’t my website. I couldn’t put my name in the footer, the icon was still the icon that was made in two seconds and the repo was under someone who abandoned the guide.

Then, out of literally nowhere, the site owner returned. She was nice, offering me half money of ads, giving me write access to the repo & we setup a cfw.guide community (in terms of a GitHub organization and Discord Server for communication). However, she wanted the guides to be consistent with the other cfw.guide websites which meant conflicting design philosophies between what I did and hers.

To be fair, she had all the rights to do it; it was her website. It was my fault for continuing to modify another persons website, so of course she would want to take it back. The whole thing should have stopped at fixes and not go past that. Instead, I basically rewrote her website and added my name to the footer credits. This situation is even more complex than what happened with Mario Making Mods, since it was never mine to start with, but I simply “made it mine”. So, as I was saying before, she rewrote it to make it streamlined, which directly conflicted with my open ended aproach. This ended up to what was basically a complete rewrite of the website, so did I really do anything long term? I really don’t want to sound like a brat, but it is something to think about when discussing ownership.

Discord Bots - The eventual end to everything & the answer to all

Most Discord Bots on the market hook onto other services that they do not control. What would happen to Rythm once the services it uses finally enforces its TOS and bans it? At that point, the bot would just be online but not functional. In fact, what would happen to the bot ecosystem once the platform their service is being offered on dies out? Combine that with a double service (such as BotGhost) and your bot is now in the hands of two companies, who can revoke access at any time.

BotGhost is a free discord bot “maker” with no coding skills required, opening up the flood gates for many non-coders to enjoy the service. However, there is a limited amount of options you could pick from, so there is bound to be one or two bots that match exactly yours within the 345K bots hosted there. So what separates a bot from being yours when there’s an exact replica of the same service out there in the wild? Why would I use yours when I could just use the other one?

Most people would say “but hey, I own it so you could trust me”, but what they really mean by that is power and control. They get to control who uses it and who cannot. The official name is called a “blacklist”, yet how could you decide who can use it and who cannot when you didn’t put in anything noteworthy other than just drag and drop elements? To extend its scope, we could also include direct copy pasting of bot code.

To be fair, I’m guilty of this too. I never blacklisted anyone in Yamamura (though I was very close to doing so), but there are times where I would take someone else’s code. The difference? I try to make it unique by introducing my own spins to it.

  • Image commands layered and properly resized.
  • The poll command got many improvements to functionality.
  • The initial points code was made by Hindsight. Samplasion and I introduced balancing of levels, switched to a new DB engine and much more.
  • The video selection queue was complex and used a design language.
  • In fact, most things have my unique design language, of having anything bonus in the embed with anything mandatory in the main message.

Bonus: This website - Unusual Conflict

I’ve decided to add in a little segment here about this very website. It doesn’t fit in the above sections and not with my plot progression of “power is everything”, but I still wanted to present the personal conflict I have.

First off, I’m not talking about content. Content will always be mine and I wouldn’t steal it. No point in doing so, since this is supposed to be NightScript’s domain, not NightScript & co. I would get help writing a few things, but ideas are entirely mine. So what do I mean?

Well, I mean the actual layout of the website itself. First off, the sidebar code originated from a template I found online and I heavily modified it. Only bits and pieces of the original is there. Are the changes made enough to be called “my own sidebar code”?

The actual layout of the website is designed around the blue midnight mountain asthetic found in the Midnight UI custom theme for Discord. I didn’t steal any of their code, but just the color asthetic used. Plus, this was all coded ontop of the Bootstrap CSS Framework. As it is right now, the UI is a weird mismap between a minified sidebar design and an asthetic from Midnight UI. The unique features to differentiate myself in terms of UI is the background & the sidebar design.

  • The background used in Midnight UI is a macOS background while I pulled up a background from Google Images
  • The sidebar design does not match up with either designs. The template code used extremely padded sidebar elements with a border (aka not sleek and modern). Midnight UI has all the links have a grey background meaning not directly embedded into the page. My design has the links directly on top of the sidebar with slim padding and no borders.

To take context into perspective though, the sidebar design is so different that no one would realize what it what once was. BetterDiscord isn’t commonly used and most people who use it don’t use Midnight UI. Plus, from a first glance, the untrained eye would not be able to tell that these two have any similarities because the sidebar and background differences. That’s why I’m not worried for this website. It’s weird for me to bring this up though, because I’ve never had any interactions with either of these developers. If they do mind though, I’ll change it.

Main takeaway

In life, you’ll always have to use something provided by someone else. Heck, to even access this page, you have to use external contributions (people who made CSS standards, people who built your device, people who built the OS, people who build the web browser, etc…). They made these things for you though. However, know what’s yours, what isn’t, and the definition of ownership.

For Mario Making Mods, both websites are now dead, the first discord server has been archived and neither of us are owners any longer.

  • Moving to Oman’s VPS landed the site in its best period yet, as uptime stayed consistent (24/7) and my relationship with Oman was healthy. The site ended up dying on March 8th, 2020, making for a fun 3 years of being alive. This is because the host could no longer be paid for, and a lack of interest/activity. The archive came out on November 30th, 2020, being hosted on GitHub Pages under a new domain.
  • Wanting to focus more on my personal life, GRAnimated has taken the job of being the owner of the Discord Server but to be honest, communities don’t need owners. I’m still around (as a moderator), yet the original discord account of the first co-owner got deleted my Discord’s T&S Team. I’ve asked him beforehand if I could write about the experiences, and we both laughed while reviewing it.

Like other Discord Bots, Yamamura was a service provided to users. This service could be taken away at any moment, which is what happened when the database got reset accidentally without any backups. The bot’s discord server has transformed to my personal server, support is no longer given and the bot is no longer hosted (not like it could be hosted in the first place, due to relying on bad code that wouldn’t work with Discord API’s new changes). A rewrite was planned that would separate the back end and the front end, which would allow the service to be accessible via other platforms. I would have also followed modern JavaScript traditions, such as modular import/exports instead of commonJS require()’s. Since the current version of Yamamura was built around the old JavaScript versions and Discord’s ecosystem (using Embeds, reactions, attachments, etc), it would have required a complete rewrite from scratch. This would have clarified any potential concern regarding who’s code is who.

BotGhost is a service ontop of another service, which means double liability. Once BotGhost shuts down, so do the 345K bots hosted there die alongside it. That combined with the fact that they haven’t put work into anything but rather drag and drop elements from a User Interface leads me to believe that they are not considered the owner of the bot. However, this does get you into the possible realm of bot development. Heck, copy pasting template code is better than a User Interface, because you will be able to see what each line of code does, modify it to suit your purposes and do your own thing. If any of you out there use BotGhost and want to start going into proper bot development, the easiest language to use is Node.JS with discord.js as the API communicator. There is a really easy guide on how to use discord.js by Hindsight and York, called anidiots.guide. Don’t worry; you’re not an idiot for not knowing how to code. Everyone just needs to start somewhere. Hopefully you can get to the point of making fully custom bots and get your bot extremely popular, now that your bot is not a walking advertisement for “cheap” & “laziness”.

This website (and any type of website in general) is composed of both engine and content. I built the engine on top of the Bootstrap CSS framework and the sidebar code is barely recognizable to the original. For custom made things, however, I gave proper credit when applicable. Evie11 helped me with Apple and Mobile support specifically for the intents of this webiste, so they deserve all the credit they got in the website information page. Content is always my own, so I feel safe saying that I created and maintained ~97% of the website. Only things stopping me is the assistance from Evie and building the website on top of bootstrap v4, but at that point, it’s fine to give credit. I already did most of the work so just credit the helpers and move on. It’s useless to make a big deal over it.

I sadly can’t say anything about how dsi.cfw.guide would go. The spot the guide is currently going is where the original has existed for so long, on a better domain and is so prevalent that no one would use my version. Attempting to contribute to the main guide is meaningless since our design philosophies are different.

To be honest, I’m glad that these ownership issues have occured. With all this experience, I know how I will go about doing anything going forwards. My next project where I will colaborate with someone else is DeadSkullzJr’s archive for Nintendo DS. I have already created the engine used and since DeadSkullzJr doesn’t know how to do one himself (no offense), I’m already credited for that. Even if he could switch, he wouldn’t. Unlike the other people I’ve had issues with, he knows how to credit fairly (that’s one of the requirements for a preservation place). Working with him is extremely smooth, and it opened me up for more colaborations. If you ever need any help in any of your projects, let me know. Just, make sure you keep a diff so I know what’s mine and what’s yours.