Forgot your password?
Plok, January 28, 2015 in Command & Conquer News
Although this move was handled in rather a messy way, our intention was never to harm users, compromise data and leave people in the dark. Our community was launched hap-hazardly before we were able to delete the content that we didn't want/need (users, posts etc.). Our objective was to secure the 6-7 years of game design discussions from the respective forums of TSR and AR so that our projects wouldn't be set back after we moved. As a co-founder of BHP, I figured that I was well within my rights to move content relating to my project's design and development wherever I pleased. However, it is unfortunate that we weren't entirely ready when we launched, so a lot of old content that we had intended to delete was still there.
We could have asked for a copy of our data, but we didn't want to risk our projects being held hostage by the webmaster that we had disagreements with. The unpredictable behaviour of this individual in the past left us with fears that we would lose a lot of the content that we had worked on for so many years, which is why we have travelled this route. All we have done is in our projects interest, as we can now build a community that will benefit and revitalise the W3D community as a whole. Over the next few months, we aim to work with other W3D mods to provide more coverage, tutorials and downloads in order to promote the engine as a viable development platform for developers.
In regards to moderators and abuse, that is a separate issue that is completely subjective. A lot of us at W3D Hub feel that the current moderation lead installed at BHP isn't effective at doing their job and shields problem players from blame, which is another reason why we have parted ways.
We have worked with BHP to solve the forum content and user data issues and we are open to any requests that they have of us. No amount of finger pointing is going to change anything that has already been done, so the best thing we can do now is work together to sort out a compromise that will allow both communities to move forward and coexist peacefully. We are fully open to working with the APB staff in the future to benefit both communities. BHP is free to request anything that they need and we will do our best to help out, whether it be inclusion on our launcher, their own build of the launcher, download hosting, server hosting etc. We're really not looking for a fight and we apologise if it has come across that way.
We all know that this looks incredibly bad and we're sorry for that, but at the end of the day all we really wanted was the ability to govern every aspect of our projects (moderation and community, not just development) the way we wanted to govern them, instead of being constrained into hosting our games in a community that we didn't enjoy working in (for the last six months at least). It doesn't take a genius to see that something must have been very wrong for over half of the active development staff walk out of BHP in one single move.
If anyone has any further questions or would like to discuss the move with me, please feel free to approach me by email or skype at [email protected]
I hope that we can all move forward from this in a positive way. Thank you for reading.
While setting up a new site is perfectly reasonable and a noble endeavour, I must wonder, what actually necessitated the hasty launch of the website before proper precautions had been taken? What circumstances justified taking and exposing personal information and content from so many users? Why was a new forum license not purchased and software installed in advance? Why were permissions and privacy settings not tested privately ahead of time prior to making the site public? Once the site was ready to launch, why were senior BHP staff not notified ahead of time? Why were a new terms of service and agreements not even drafted to replace those that were taken and still appear on the "new" site?
These all seem like reasonable considerations that would have been trivial to address. It seems very irresponsible to prop up a page without any apparent concern for those whose data you've taken, with the thinnest pretenses to explain how it was handled. As far as I can tell there was no pending deadline, and my personal backups and offsite backups of the forum both appear intact. There doesn't seem to have ever been the "hostage taking" that was feared so much as a bungled virtual "kidnapping." At a minimum, it has been a case of profound and widespread plagiarism in lieu of providing original content to attract new users.
The undeniable fact of the matter is that very little was done to shield users from the impact; this was handled in a very cloak-and-dagger manner, to everybody's dismay. I was contacted this morning by yet another user who says his Facebook details were lifted as a result of the forum breach; he claims it was done in retaliation for requesting his data be returned/destroyed under EU law, as jurisdiction for the duped site now exists outside the US. As with the other reports, he claims his pictures are being taken and used elsewhere in a mocking fashion.
It is unfortunate that the launch of a new community site must be tinted by such apparent recklessness.
Your intentions are not being questioned, OWA. The execution of your plans (of how W3D Hub splitted from BHP) is what is completely messed up. To make things worse, you (and Wallywood) seem to be insisting in the same mistakes that are being posted here.
The mistake number 1 is to claim that any content of their database belongs to you as a co-founder. It does not. When you post in a forum, you can do whatever you want with the text of your post. If you want to re-post the same thing you've posted in one form into another forum, it is ok to do it. However, you can't take the database of the place with you, because you've contributed with it in some way. The way the content of this post is stored (aka: database) belongs to the infra-structure of the place that hosts this content, which, in consequence, belongs to the company that hosts this content.
Now, transporting it to Wallywood's example above:
when you rent a building from someone (unless it comes fully furnished) then you provide the contents in that building for your business,living or whatever. The renter owns and maintains the building while the contents inside are owned by the one renting. You move out, you take your contents with you.
You can take your stuff, but you cannot take the bricks, cables and pipes from the building that where you rented, just because you were there once.
Bringing back to your situation, you guys took the database and the forum liscense from BlueHell Productions. I've seen Chronojam posting in this topic his displeasure about the fact that BHP forum liscense being used without authorization from BHP staff.
We could have asked for a copy of our data, but we didn't want to risk our projects being held hostage by the webmaster that we had disagreements with. The unpredictable behaviour of this individual in the past left us with fears that we would lose a lot of the content that we had worked on for so many years, which is why we have travelled this route.
And there goes another mistake: you could have held a private copy of their database to avoid being held hostage by unstable people. This copy could have been used to copy the text from the posts that really matters from the old forums or to export news posts as RSS and importing them into a new forum.
Just to make one thing clear. we have not stolen BHP's licence key. We are currently running the forum on a licence key purchase by danpaul88 for W3D Hub's use. Prior to the key being purchased, we were running the board in offline mode. You may notice that the BHP forum has the IP.Content and IP.Downloads addons for IPB installed. We do not because they aren't part of our current licence. We can also verify our licence to be legitimate if you still don't believe us.
@Chronojam:The hasty launch of the website was due to the fact that BHP members that were not aware of the move were seen to be browsing the forums; this prompted a kneejerk reaction which resulted in a lot of the dissent that has been spawned. I can accept that this was wrong and can only offer my apologies. The comments in my previous post still stand, so if there is any compromises that we can discuss in order to make things right, then we will be cooperative.
As far as I know no personal information from the database has been maliciously used to expose anybody. Only danpaul88 had access to the database copy and I highly doubt he's gone and hacked it to search for random Facebook profiles. If you could point me to the involved parties I'd be grateful, because I'm literally in the dark on that one. I did receive an email from one user saying that his Facebook pictures were being posted, but it couldn't have been done through the database. Someone has likely just played online detective and put his name into Facebook search, which isn't anything to do with W3D Hub. This user also requested that his forum account be deleted, which I did immediately. You may have the emails as proof if you wish.
We did install the forums and purchased a licence in advance. The licence that we launched with is W3D Hub's Licence.
Permissions and privacy settings have been tested, I'm not sure where you are going with that one.
The last two questions were also by-products of the kneejerk reaction. A proper release had been planned for next month, but plans accelerated unintentionally and spiralled out of control for a brief moment, resulting in where we are now. Bits and pieces were missed, but they have now been cleaned up. Again, if there is anything on our site that you are still not happy with. Please feel free to contact me.
I know I'm repeating myself here, but I am of the opinion that the respective HQs of the respective projects belong to the teams of the respective projects. Bluehell Productions as a community consisted of three teams working on three projects. It is my opinion and my team's opinion that any content created in the relevant sub-forums of the relevant projects therefore belongs to the project. So when the project moves, the associated content comes with it. Any other content that was hosted in other non-project related sub-forums has now been deleted. In lieu of this I can see that we are just going to have to agree to disagree on this point.
It's like we took the filing cabinets that were in our office, labelled "AR HQ"and "TSR HQ" rather than the bricks, cables and pipes.
Again, we didn't touch the forum licence.
We had a private copy running for a while, but due to the kneejerk reaction this situation has come into being. Copying the relevant posts over one by one was not an option, with many years of historical design discussions and public news posts that had built up. We made a mistake by launching before we were fully ready, but we are hoping that we can move on from this in a positive manner. As I have said before, we aren't looking for a fight and this is for the good of our projects, even if the launch has spawned a tirade. We have been cooperative in our endeavours to patch things up and we would prefer to sort these issues out.
It was not wrong of us to leave, but to launch the community in the state that it was in was wrong and we fully accept that.
Regarding the forum license, I'm sorry. I wasn't aware that your team has actually bought a new license.
However, regarding the database, you still do not see the difference between the content and the infra-structure that was used to store the content. The content belongs to your team and that's something that I also agree with you. Text, pictures... are part of the content. However, the infra-structure that was being used to store this data is from BHP. The forum database is part of this infra-structure and it is not restricted to your content.
Regarding the content restoration from the forum copy, while the task of copying text of relevant posts is indeed slow, RSS exporting/importing is much faster and IPB does support this feature by default.
Well this has certainly gotten pretty hostile rather quickly. Its a shame because I have respect for both OWA and CJ for what they have done for the C&C community over the many years. I think what this boils down to is lack of communication. I can understand OWA's move and eagerness to get W3D Hub launched as quickly as possible and probably did not really meant anything malice behind it. On the other hand, I can see where CJ is coming from as well. From out of no where someone uproots a lot of hard work from a site that took years to build with lots of information contained with it without any sort of notice or permission.
Again, if this was talked out properly I think that things would have went without any incident, though perhaps OWA felt that there was too much tension between him and CJ for him to let him proceed the way he wanted. Regardless, I agree with Sonic that this reeks of the whole "APB vs Reborn" starting to rear its ugly head and boy do I remember those days...and as fragile as the C&C world is these days we don't need that kind of division to erupt again.
I do recall that a few AR staff members had raised concerns over the past several months that Catalyst, our web services guy, would just inexplicably delete all of AR's files for some reason without provocation. It's all pretty unsubstantiated. Despite not personally being as active as I'd want to be for the past few months because of fairly serious real life issues, I am confident that nobody was going to just selectively delete only AR's files and related forum posts out of the blue. This unfounded paranoia over hypotheticals is perhaps is what led to these actual and highly unethical violations of trust and propriety.
There still does not seem to be any reason why this rush-job was performed when there seems to have been no reason to not show more due diligence if the community's best interests were at heart, here. After stealing all the content, what harm would there have been to ask politely for a copy of the internal development posts that are purportedly the sole interest of the data breach? Why would users be invited to seamlessly log-in to their copied-over profiles using their existing credentials, if taking that account data was not part of the plan?
That some users were able to stumble across all sorts of once-hidden forum threads before the site was actually ready simply speaks of a poorly planned rush-job with ill-prepared privacy configurations -- it doesn't strike me as a valid reason to throw up your hands and suddenly make the whole thing public. Again, this does not build confidence. "Just contact us if you want your own individual content that was lifted to be removed" also did not strike me as the most well-planned response to the debacle, either. It's good to see efforts being made to correct some of these missteps, but why were these missteps allowed to happen in the first place?
I will remain neutral here, I love APB, TSR, and AR. I do wish my account remained the same and I did not have to create a new one, but that's no biggy.
But why make a move to a new forum without involving W3D's biggest mod?
That's a good question.
Hey, I know that Expansive Civilian Warfare/Roleplay 2 doesn't get much news these days but I can guarentee that we do indeed plan on moving assuming I can ever get the time to make the move.
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!
Already have an account? Sign in here.
No registered users viewing this page.