Back when I was a young BYONDling, I was just like the rest of the anime crowd. I loved Naruto. I actually joined BYOND to play a Naruto game. And what happened was that I found out a lot about the community and even more about the anime community.
You can tell that this BYOND post is dated because it speaks of a time when rips ruled BYOND.
So there's this whole concept of stealing going about that I'd like to explain. On BYOND, there are three types of stealing.
1. Stealing Sources
2. Stealing Players
3. Stealing Ideas
And really, all I'm going to do is explain why none of these are a concern and technically never happen.
I think the chances that a source has ever actually been "stolen" are very slim. Stealing is generally defined as taking something without the owner's permission. If you want to be really technical about it, it's taking something without the owner's permission with intent to deprive them of that object. In the first case, the owner clearly gave "permission" to the person that they sent the source to (or gave the download link of the source to). Note: An assumption that the source was placed there by someone who had permission to know that it was placed there is made. So right away, there is some sort of implied consent involved. So, no stealing. Also, even if there is no "consent," the owner has made the source available in some way, and the person "stealing" the source is in no way depriving the owner of their source.
So it's not real stealing. Which means that we have to re-define "stealing" to suit the needs of BYOND.
Stealing: A. The act of accepting a source from a project owner and publishing it as your own. B. The act of distributing a source that the owner does not desire distributed.
So if you take my Knight source and publish it as your own, you stole it (not that you'd find it difficult to make the Knight). If you took the source and distributed it to others (who then would publish it), then you "stole" that source.
The only way that you could actually steal a sorce is if you went to someone's house with a flash drive and literally removed the files from their computer. I think the odds of that are extremely slim, but hey! I could be wrong!
Why is Stealing Sources an Issue?
It's not. The age of "source stealing" is over and done with. I just thought that it'd make a nice intro. It used to sorta be an issue within the anime community, but it seems to have settled down a bit. Nowadays, you sometimes see a project member split and take what they had of the source and work on it independently. In that case, it becomes what we in the science community call "Publish or Perish."
There's actually a few amusing cases of this. One is when two universities were competing for a grant on nuclear stuffs and when one found out that the other figured it out, they tried to publish incomplete results so that they'd get the credit. Another example is the idea of electron spin. It was suggested to Pauli by a colleague (I am sooooo bad with names!), and when Pauli said it was wrong, he decided not to publish it. Poor choice. Dirac wound up getting credit for it.
This is a "She stole my boyfriend issue." Like stealing sources, it just doesn't happen.
This is also (or at least it should be) a dead issue. It was common during the age of rips. The idea itself can be explained without using rips though! There is one game that say, 50 people play. Soon, a new game pops up that is virtually the same game (or at least extremely similar, thus why it was an issue for rips) and all of a sudden, it has 90 players, 43 of which came from the old game. There'd be a ton of arguments all over this. It'd just boil down to "You stole my players!" which is false.
Face it, if people stop playing your game, that means that they don't want to play your game anymore. Casual Quest was a huge hit. It's not played as much anymore, and that's not because it is a bad game. Sometimes a game gets old. It's not like whoever made the new game held a gun to your players' heads and said, "Play or die." (If they did I would be very shocked!) Your players left of their own accord. If you want them back, you're gonna have to make your game better.
So no stealing of players ever happens. (What a nice sum up!)
This one is talked about frequently, and I really don't get it.
Usually the owner is concerned about someone else taking their game and making it before they do. I guess(?) it's a legitimate concern. But the chances of someone making your game the way you were going to line for line are on the scale of the size of quarks. (Quarks are not significant enough to actively notice without looking for them).
I understand your concer. Back when I wanted to make the best Naruto game evar, I also wanted to hide my ideas. But it did nothing, people can't give constructive criticism and critique on content that they can't see.
So here's the deal.
1. No one gives a damn about your ideas (except for maybe you and some friends) - You could explain the RPG you're making to me right now and I'd say, "That's nice." That's it. Because I have my own projects that I have to work on, and if I did want to make yours, I'd make it better and I'd make it when I'm done with my queue. So even if people do "steal" your ideas, they probably won't steal them until long after the fact. They will probably forget about them if they tried!
2. You make it difficult to help you - You're having trouble with the code, so you post in dev help. Woah, woah, woah. You can't offer the code or someone would steal it! Someone would take your perfectly original idea and use it for themselves without giving you any credit at all for thinking of it! When you only post half the code, you can only get an eighth of the help (because naturally, help is a cubic function of what has been offered...). Refer to 1 about why you shouldn't worry about it.
3. Your ideas aren't original. You notice that there are no games with swinging swords on BYOND. So you decide that the feature to add to make every game more awesome is swinging of swords when attacks are executed. Real awesome. Now I better not share this idea or everyone will do it.
That's cool and all, but where did you get the idea from? Did you play some other RPG and notice that it looks better when swords swing? I bet you did. Your idea isn't original, not that it's a bad thing. I took The Knight's Tour and made a game out of it/my own ideas. It's a nice game all the same. Just because I never thought of playing a game a certain way doesn't mean that I shouldn't make a game that utilizes some principles involved in other games. (You'd be hard pressed to find something that is totally original in concept!)
Odds are that you're not first one to think of your idea, so it's okay to spread it about.
3b. If it's really good, it makes BYOND better - If your idea really is the butter-knife of BYOND, then why wouldn't you spread it? If it's going to make games better across the board, make a friggin flag and wave it in front of everyone's face! Unless you think that you and only you can make the best games on BYOND, and you feel that a game isn't worth playing unless you made it, then I would suggest getting your ideas out there.
Stealing ideas doesn't happen because the ideas aren't yours to begin with!
So I hope I cleared a few things up. I suppose you got a small look into the history of BYOND too. Cool beans bro.
Sad yet Fun Fact: The first typing of this was much better. I accidentally pressed back when I went to click the blue BYOND button, and I lost it :( This is why we need my blog drafts idea!