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#1 2019-04-30 07:45:24

Wiki Mod
Joined: 2015-02-15
Posts: 10,038

Guidelines for a database archive

This post has some technical information in it. I was going to post it in Bots & Programming, but decided to put it in Game Discussion since it also deals with privacy ethics the community as a whole. You can move it if you feel it's better suited there.

World metadata

ALL world data stored on the servers should be archived for use in Everybody Edits Offline. This seems like it could be as simple as creating an EELVL file for every world, but it's not quite like that. As far as I know, metadata such as number of plays likes, or total woots (not visible in-game, but can be gotten) is not saved.

This is a problem. These stats are important to worlds. They can be very valuable in seeing what kind of worlds are popular. In addition, comparing likes and totalwoots to plays can say a lot about when a world was popular. Even the obscure functions, like which potions are enabled can be interesting to look at as it tells you what kind of worlds allowed zombies, curses, and things like that.

As you may know, I worked on coding a little bit for a world downloader. I can still get number of plays and stuff like that. So please, if anybody makes an automatic program that turns the database into EELVL files, make sure to save all the metadata too. Otherwise somebody will have to go and download every one of those worlds again for info that takes up a small minority of world filesize. Or Staff, if you're reading this, please consider just adding all this data onto the current EELVL format. UserIDs are stored already, and those won't make sense after the game is down, so I'm not sure why likes, favorites, and such couldn't be saved. That would help a lot, thanks.

User data

This is a tricky issue. Right now, the database is not secure about accounts at all. You can view the IDs and names of owned worlds, liked worlds, and favorite worlds of any account as far as I can tell. There is also some info about last time played, last magic coin, last shop purchase, owned items and likely some others. So should we archive this? I think we should. Perhaps in the future somebody could use this info to help with algorithms. That may sound weird but I still think it's worth keeping.

Private data

So this leads into a general problem. The contents of every world in the database can be downloaded by anybody with the right code, whether or not it's public. If there is a completely uncensored archive of worlds and maybe users spread around the community, anybody with the archive can see this. People may be embarrassed that their hidden worlds are visible. Worst case scenario, some worlds could have private information (though this could likely be dealt with on a case-by-case basis).

Do we keep the worlds in the archive for an authentic database archival? Do we make sure there is always a trustworthy person with access to a copy? Or do we just hope their owners will come back to archive them? If so, this could result in the issue of users returning to Everybody Edits Offline or Universe just to find that their secret projects or nostalgic old levels were lost forever because they didn't return at the right time for reasons they had no say in.

How about user data? Are liked and favorited worlds even a big deal? Most users probably don't even know their likes and favorites are visibly stored in the database. What about the list of the user's owned worlds? Have it be opt-in? Opt-out? Deal with it differently depending on whether the profile can be viewed by anybody, nobody, or friends only? There are lots of options here, and there does not seem to be a simple answer to this.


For obvious reasons, backed up worlds meant for play should be available in an EELVL format. Any other type of data is up for discussion. What do you think?

I go by she/her pronouns nowadays.


Wooted by:

#2 2019-04-30 15:42:41

From: Canada
Joined: 2015-11-28
Posts: 4,027

Re: Guidelines for a database archive

You could use basic cryptography to solve the issue of privacy.
If you encrypt the contents of a serialized world with a salt comprised of a secret in combination with the world ID, you can effectively create an opt-in system with email/manual verification for publication of worlds in the future.



#3 2019-04-30 23:26:31

Joined: 2017-04-07
Posts: 1,318

Re: Guidelines for a database archive

Nice cat avatar. I think it's super cute.



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