Yesterday I was asked to review the server logs after another malicious attack on our server. When I was asked to do so I could not, because the girls and I were in the middle of our first recording session of the year. When the session was over I was exhausted after spending nearly eight hours solid on the computer, and needed to go do something else. By the time I returned home from my outing I was to tired to get the server logs.
In order to get the logs to look over user activity in order to spot any malicious looking activity I need to shut the server down, back the whole thing up, then go through each log top to bottom. This can take a couple of hours. Even if I do spot malicious looking activity I can not be sure the person I'm reading is actually the one committing crimes. A server log is circumstantial evidence only.
Today I checked to see if the server was up, and it is not. I have left it off to sleep until I can get to it, possibly sometime tomorrow. I don't know how many of you know this, but during the first week of next month Mary, Alice, and My self will meet in person for the first time when they come to visit me. Because of this I am trying to get my house in order, and clean it top to bottom. Moreover, as I just mentioned, we Crafty Girls are recording again. That is very time consuming and exhausting in of it's self, but then Mary and I need to convert the videos into smaller file sizes and get them uploaded to the cloud so that Alice can then get them and edit them. This can take hours as well. On top of all of this I have started taking my art more seriously. I've opened trades and commissions and DO want to work on them every day. Unfortunately with getting the house ready, as well as recording, I don't always have the time or energy to do art the way I want it done. I want to make you guys quality stuff as I love to do, but Quality is a beast that eats time and energy like there's no tomorrow.
I want to make Crafty Girls my full time job, one that pays my girls real people money. I also want to make my art a job that pays ME real people money. I'm going to prioritize these things over tending the server. I am doing this because...
What I wanted originally was a server that I ran just like the recording server the girls and I use. That way I could add what ever protective mod we needed to it. And believe me, I Want Those Mods. I was going to wait until the Crafty Girls had an audience that could support a shop that sold our art on things like mugs, shirts, buttons, and the like. Then with those funds I was going to open a server where I had full control over it's operations. I would have created a Bukkit server that could have mods that locked chests, protected land, given me world builder and more.
With that I would have built a "Government Center" on the server and appointed people to help me run things through the mods I had installed. I would also have had the ability to set aside some land as a "Studio" where I could use World builder to toss up sets and pull them down or copy/paste things into the aria, but still lock the studio down so that if we did want some players as extras we could let only those people in, and not get mobbed.
I still want this. This is a goal of mine. I will make this happen as it is financially feasible.
What we have now is the result of my brother and his friend, who are going to ITT to learn how to use servers, wanting to make a Minecraft server for the fun of making a minecraft server. He offered the server to me as a way to play with the people who like us and wanted to play Minecraft with us. Now my brother is NOT a fan of the Crafty Girls. He does not care about the people on the server. He does not have the time or energy to fight with Bukkit or any of the plugins it would accommodate. Moreover the machine out on the cloud in not a dedicated Minecraft machine, but a server that is open for any thing, not just games. This means that if some one is using it aside from us we will lag, and many times the server will drop Minecraft all together so the other people using it aren't lagged.
I do not know how to use this server. I do not know how to modify Minecraft out side of a one button upload option like I have with the host I use for the recordings. I do know that what we have now is unmodded Vanilla and it will stay that way. All I can do is stop it, start it, and back it up.
The problems we face with an unmodded Vanilla server are many. Any one can join and wreck our things at any time, and we can not stop this from happening. If we ban a griefer then in time another one will just show up and take his/her place. There is nothing we can do to stop this. Vanilla also has the disadvantage of being seen as less interesting or strong as other kinds of Minecraft. Partly because of the greifer problem, but also because more complicated games offer more in game "toys". This can drive some people away before they even try the server out.
I had trepidations about having a server so soon, and one that was pure vanilla, and my trepidations are being proven here. I've finally torn down my farm after the last attack on it and moved to the apartment complex that over looked the farm site. I have grown weary of having a strong, vibrant farm, only to come on and find my animals slaughtered and my items stripped from the chests, and my home vandalized. Right now I don't have the energy or will to rebuild it one more time.
I'm scraping out the time as it is just to try and track down who did it this time.
But I don't want to give up on the server we have. Aside from being with my girls and recording I have had the best time of my life spending time with the Denizens who live in our Crafty World. I won't give up on trying to protect you as best I can with what little I have at my disposal. I won't lie to you. I am inexperienced, and I don't really know what I'm doing, and not knowing what to do is threatening to scare me away from trying.
I am failing.
I don't like to fail, but I don't pretend I'm above it. Failing is an important part of learning.
I am learning.
I've learned there are somethings to watch out for when looking for griefers, and you can help me look for these things. The most important thing of all is to note when you first notice there has been griefing. I can not stress this enough. If I know when it has happened I can pin point what time frame I need to check in the logs to see who was on. Many times having an accurate time frame is all I'll need to find the one responsible because of the second thing I've noticed. Most griefers strike in those short time frames when no one else is on. The thirst thing I have noticed is we seem to be getting hit by people who spend enough time on the server to learn about our Spawn protection against TNT and the like, and to mine enough material to find ways to hurt us in other ways. This takes time and preparation. The griefers may blend in and act like friends, all while preparing to vandalize homes and kill our animals. BUT these people tend to be new, and not on for more than a week.
So Keep an eye out for those quiet moments. If you know the server has been running but there weren't many people on it for a while take a look around and try to see if any thing has been damaged, or animals have been killed. Vigilance is our ally. Watch out for the other Denizens. Take note of when things have happened and report to me when you noticed things and who was on when you saw these things happen.
I've said before I like to think of my self as the captain of an amazing ship, and that you Denizens are my crew. I view our server is our home world. We live there together. It's important to me! My bottom line has been to build a strong community and helping others. The server is where I want that community to be able to gather and interact and grow and make connections.
I will replace the server we have in the future. A bigger, better, safer server. I can not do that yet.
What can we do in the mean time?
We need to focus on that bottom line by helping each other build that strong community. If you are willing to be my crew then I have a couple of simple orders for you.
My first order is report to me, those of you who call your selves Serendipity's Police or Knights. An organized task force or forces I am familiar with will help me be able to track down problems much faster!
My second order is for every one: Take screenshots of any thing that you think can be used as evidence. This, mostly, involves chat that is overly aggressive, threatening, or actively admitting to having done some thing nefarious.
Third is an order to do something different from other communities. I met a person who accidentally ended up on our server and liked it well enough to stay, but had no idea what the server was about, or who any one was. Think back to when you joined a server for the first time. Did this happen to you? Wouldn't it have been nice to have had some one to actively help you find a place to fit in? Tell you who was who, and show you where you could build? Explain the rules to you to help prevent any accidental rule breaking before you got in trouble? It's intimidating to be new, not to know anybody, and not know where you can feel safe to be your self.
I want to form a "welcome aboard program". This will do two things. First of all it will help us keep tabs on any one coming on the server who may be a griefer, as few and far between as those people are, but more importantly it will help strengthen our community as it grows. Unfortunately I have No Idea how to make a "welcome aboard program" and I need your help making one.
And that is my third and final order: Help me make a "welcome aboard program".
We are going to need it. With the new season of Crafty Girls airing in March < You heard it here first folks!) we may see an influx of new people coming to the server. We have roughly two months then to ready the server for the bottom line: Help each other to create a strong community.
Thank you for taking the time to listen. I look forward to preparing things for the future with you all. You have been so kind and resourceful and I can;t wait to see what the future holds for the Denizens.
Destination for navigation
Man up your stations, feel the sensation
Surround invasion with communication
Move quick, we might avoid contamination
Lyrics from Phenomenon By: Thousand Foot Krutch