Strap in, this will be a long post.
It has come to my attention that there is a recent increase in people uploading content to the swap pages that they did not create. I suppose it's been a long time since we talked about how this works. Mostly people just "get it" by learning from everything that is already in place. Occasionally they don't and someone needs to explain. (Sometimes language is a barrier here.) Every once in a while someone simply doesn't care about following the rules, but that is rare.
To put it very succinctly, you should not upload content that you did not create (unless the original creator gives you permission).
The swap pages and RealFlight custom content system are designed to allow derivative works based on someone else's content. For example, let's say User A creates a brand new model (including 3D visual model, physics setup, and color scheme) and uploads it to the swap pages as an EA (Entire Aircraft). Other users can download that and enjoy it.
Now let's say User B is a big fan of the visuals in that EA but would prefer to tweak something about the physics setup. Maybe it's the dimensions, maybe it's the power, maybe it's the control throws, or the CG, or the smoke, or the weight, or... After User B has saved their changes in the editor, they can export that as an AV (Aircraft Variant). If they upload it to the swap pages to share with other users, it will automatically be linked to the original EA. Now anyone who downloads the EA will get the original work, and they can also download the AV and have that, too. User A gets credit for their original creation, and User B gets credit for their work on the physics setup they did, and the line between the two is clear.
Now let's say User C comes along and loves everything about User A's EA and wants to contribute a unique color scheme of their own. They can create that and export & upload it to the swap pages as a CS (Color Scheme). Like the AV, it will be automatically linked to the original EA. User A gets credit for their original creation, and User C gets credit for their own unique creation, and the two are separated correctly on the swap pages, meaning it's clear who did what.
That is how it is all supposed to work. So far, so good.
The problem comes in when someone downloads someone else's work, then reexports it and uploads it as their own.
This can take different forms. For example, User D might download User B's AV and then reupload it as a "new" AV with no changes. (Or they might change one tiny thing and upload it. That gets into more of a gray area; it would be good form to reference and credit the original AV and state what User D changed compared to it.)
Another example, and this is probably the most common type, would be if User E downloads User A's EA and makes some physics or color scheme changes. Instead of uploading an AV or CS encapsulating just their own work, they export and reupload the whole thing as as new EA.
These are examples of what not
I think occasionally an EA is seen as a way of tying modified physics and colorschemes together in a single package. I can see the appeal, but that is an incorrect use of the EA type. You need to upload them as a separate AV & CS. Feel free to describe your "recommended setup" and cross-link between them in the descriptions if you really want people to experience them together.
So, what happens when somebody breaks these rules? Nothing--unless you report it.
We rely on user reports to catch these kinds of things. We can't police the swap pages all day long. And we haven't memorized every single thing that every single person has ever uploaded. We need you to report problems if they occur, because you as the content creators are uniquely situated to detect and identify them.
If you report someone uploading work that isn't theirs, please include a link to the original work so that we can see it for ourselves! We need some context and back story to figure out what's happening.
Also, please be patient
. This isn't Domino's Pizza. There is no "30 minutes or it's free" response time guarantee. Sure, it doesn't feel good to see someone else upload your work as their own. But it's the long run that really matters here.
I'm going to peel back the curtain just a tiny bit and give you a glimpse behind the scenes.
I'm not on the forums all day. I'm not even on the forums every
day. Trust me, you want it that way. If I spent all day here, I wouldn't be doing my part to help produce the actual software which is the reason these forums even exist.
Also worth noting: People report all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons, including content that didn't load right for them and even stuff they don't think flies correctly.
Sometimes people report something because they like
The point is, as much as you might sometimes wish it worked this way, we don't see a report and automatically go "Oh shoot, I need to drop everything and take action!!!
" We're usually in the middle of something else, and are conditioned (rightly) to not treat every single thing as a red alert. Also, consider the fact that if I fly in to address a single issue, people who see that will automatically wonder why I didn't respond to any of the other 16 things they wish I would. Occasionally, that can start to build up a case in their mind for whatever nefarious motivations they imagine drive me.
I am not bemoaning my situation. I'm just trying to help you to understand a little better how it works on this side. I enjoy coming here to interact with all of you (well, mostly...), both to help users get more out of the software and just for fun. I would enjoy doing it more, but that's not how the sausage gets made.
So, if there is an ongoing issue, continue to report it--as appropriate. (Reporting it every hour would not count as appropriate.
) If nothing has happened after a while, instead of petulantly uploading inappropriate/offensive content to the swap pages, try posting about it and/or sending me a direct message. It's possible a report will have fallen through the cracks, or that we just haven't gotten to it yet. Regardless, the solution is to continue trying to raise the issue, not to create new
problems. As I said above, please be patient.
I won't be surprised if there are a spate of new reports after this post. I will do my best to address them (though bear in mind we're headed into a weekend). And as I also alluded to above, usually a little bit of user education goes a long way. In these situations I contact the person who has misstepped and that typically does the trick.
Thanks for listening and hopefully understanding.