We the people of Sponge community! aka How do you wish to be perceived by the public?

I wanted to greet you all with the following: Greetings fellow spongers! :smiley:
Then it came to my mind to check if that is actually a word… Well, it seems it is… And not particularly a nice one, unless you like to paint on pottery. :smiley:

Anyway, let me get to the reason why I have created this topic in the first place.

Disclaimer: I am really trying hard to make this post as short as possible, just to avoid discouragement of readers by its size. However, the topic is somewhat serious and requires lots of details to be covered.

This is my last attempt at trying to understand what is this project and community all about. It is clear, it has to produce something based on countless hours of programming. Granted, that is the most important component of this whole endeavor. However, is it the only one?

I have spotted a few individuals in the #sponge channel as well as here on the board mentioning and trying to discuss some of the other aspects than programming. However, at least that’s my impression, there hasn’t been too much public acknowledgement of the significance of such topics, especially from the core members of the project.
I also have the feeling that “we will cross that bridge when we get to it” attitude with all aspects of the project can only get you so far. Especially in the current situation and with the recent developments when Bukkit (and others) sank down in a blink of an eye.

Don’t get me wrong. I get the point of “we’ll change to MIT licensing” might be a technical solution to the problems behind limitations of GPL3 in relation with Minecraft modding, but what about all other aspects of what happened? Do you care if you will have the needed acceptance or support of relevant stake holders in the whole story (Mojang, maybe soon also Microsoft, server owners, modders, community members, every kind of contributor)?

If it is enough for Mojang to say “we do not like anymore the idea of you modding our software, we are not willing anymore to keep allowing you doing that” (or whatever similar), shouldn’t you think through and formulate how would you like to be perceived and treated by them (or any other stake holder), what are you doing here, why, how, etc?

There are much more important things to do to ensure the longevity and health of the project/community of this kind than to select forum software, ticketing platform, source code repository, logo, etc.

Of course, I am aware that it is possible to survive even with the approach that you currently are following “start coding immediately, think about anything else later (when unavoidable)”, but is that really a risk you would like to take having in mind recent history and near future announcements?

What I’m trying to say is: start from beginning. Explain yourself to the world.
Who are you and what are you trying to do? How and when?
What are the requirements for you to be able to do so? Do you need acceptance by the owner of the original product? What about the support and help from their side?
What are you going to do if the original game finally gets plugin API implemented? Can you coexist or work on a way of bringing Sponge and future plugin API closer together to allow easier transition for the mod developers and server owners (ultimately to be oriented towards and care about the users of your work)?
Are you going to support or aid in any way illegal usage of the original product?
Are you open to the communication with the product owner and will you accept their suggestions, constraints, wishes in relation to what you are producing here?

This is just an example of what you should already have established and at least partially made public on your official presentation (please do not try to answer to these questions. They were just used as an illustration what is missing for the general public).

At the end, I will just repeat that this is my last attempt at this kind of topics. Of course I will participate here and there in discussion but will not anymore be so vocal about it. I know I must be annoying but I really have good intentions at heart and am trying to contribute in this way to the success of the project.
I really think you are doing a great job and thank you for that one more time!

I know that there are many young people among us but when it comes to projects like this, I believe that there is the necessity to stop acting like kids at least in relation to some fundamental areas. Having some discussions only based on personal opinion of “which is better” or “which I like more” is IMO pointless and are a good way towards wrong or bad choices. But for that time will tell.

To summarize. I would like share the following advices. Think about covering the formalities of a project of this size and impact. Try to make decisions having in mind the targeted audience and the impact of proposed solutions. Be more systematic and thorough in the communication (establish a formal/official way and style) with the public so that everybody are aligned and up-to-date with the important aspects of your project.

It is quite possible that you are already thinking about these things are have already done something about them. The only problem I see in that case is that you must have chose less optimal/efficient way of communicating them.

In any way, please do not take this whole post as anything more than concerned member’s suggestions, criticism, etc.

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Hmm. It’s early days yet, so I don’t think we can expect a great deal more “Important Announcements” until the central code group (essential for Sponge) gets into their stride a bit. However, there are other folk (including Mod staff) who are sure to begin to see to many of the other (non-programming) matters as they come to light. The Sponge community is evolving into a new shape, and we can expect growing pains.
If there’s any particular need you feel needs to be catered for, please elucidate.

Your central thesis seems to be “How do Mojang feel about modding”?
The answer appears to be ambivalent. They are explicitly adding a modding API, aimed at fostering redistributable third-party code, so they certainly aren’t opposed to it.
Even Grum (a Mojang employee) has been on the #sponge IRC without causing ripples.
Nevertheless, the size of the modding community dwarfs a tiny company like Mojang, so they often have very little idea what is going on. Channels of communication between them and big projects like this would be useful - but look at the dire state Bukkit got into through lack of communication.

The meat of it is, Modders are Mojang’s biggest, most successful, free advertising.

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Thank you very much for your reply.

To avoid of being misunderstood, I have to clarify something.

The central thesis of my initial message is that we are how we are perceived.
There is a huge difference between:

  1. an ad-hoc group of programmers throwing modifications at the community
  2. well organized project with clear structure, objectives, control over the processes, (throwing modifications at the community :slight_smile: ).
    Again, no insult intended. Please differentiate between subjective opinion and objective perception.

I believe that it is important to “invent ourselves” before we start producing officially. In that way we are making sure that all stakeholders get a clear picture of what this community is about. Having achieved that we are avoiding to be perceived as a threat for the product or image of the product we thinker around, and might even help establishing much needed 2-way communication with relevant parties.

Mojang, in this case, was used as an easy-to-relate-to example, it is not really important about which stakeholder for the project are we talking about.
To illustrate further on the example of Mojang: their ambivalence might be granted for a longer-term or indefinitely if they see a well organized project that is modding their product.

I know I talk (write) a lot and that I am too confusing sometimes. Hope this explains a bit further my point. :slight_smile:

Grum said the following about a week ago in IRC:

That is pretty much what they said two years ago, so I wouldn’t worry about an imminent plugin API release deprecating the project. :wink:

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Again, thank you for the reply, and, again, that’s not the point of my message. :smile:

If the message I have tried to share with others “let’s be a well established project for the sake of the project itself” is not reaching the audience in the right way, maybe a language barrier is the culprit (I am not a native English speaker, obviously), and I find it difficult to express myself in significantly other way. :blush:
I will stop trying to explain myself any further at this point. There’s no benefit in trying to do so for anybody who find irrelevant the points I have raised in the opening post, or who are clinging to pieces of examples used in it.

I was trying to answer your question concerning what we would do if/when the original game finally has a plugin API. :sweat_smile: Mojang gives the impression that its release is so far away that it isn’t even really a concern… people need a replacement for Bukkit, and Sponge can be that replacement for a long enough time that it’s not a worry.

If the ultimate release of the plugin API is any good, there should not be much difficulty in transitioning from Sponge. Even then, there may be some low-level API that Mojang will be unwilling to provide that Sponge can.

I get the point of your original post, and the reason there isn’t much of an official presentation is because the project has just started. The project’s organization and official stance is still being determined. What the public has now is information from the links in this reddit (primarily the Sponge FAQ) and the latest status update. For a week old project, it will have to do.

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