Friday, February 16, 2007
MazzleUI - avoiding the Mazzlegasm
A reader asked me to spread the word about his modification of a mod. Which isn't normally something I would do. But the whole story is so hilarious that I'll just post his letter here verbatim:
Anyway - you might have heard of the new addon MazzleUI. It's a great addon - however, it has one problem. When you install it or update it (which happens quite frequently), it takes control of your character, and forces you to /yell "I've had an intense Mazzlegasm" across an entire zone.Besides the obvious humorous value, the post raises an interesting question about the right to modify a mod. When I did PvP end of last year, I had found a great mod that was able to record when graveyards in Alterac Valley had been taken, and counted how long they still needed to be held before switching ownership. It had the option to inform other players about these times, either by say or by battleground chat. But it did so in French. As these mods are written in normal text, it wasn't difficult for me to find the lines for the text output and change them to English. And I didn't even think that somebody distributing his code in clear text and for free might object to other people modifying it, at least not if it was just for their own use. (Modifying it to claim that I had written it and redistributing it would obviously have been a totally different case)
For some reason, the maintainer of the mod, Mazzlefizz, absolutely insists that this is a vital part of the mod, and won't install a switch in the code to turn it off, or even allow anyone to post on the mod's forums with instructions on how to remove the /yell.
So I've written a small utility, which just patches the code to avoid the /yell. It doesn't redistribute any code from MazzleUI - it just does a diff on the text and changes one line.
I've put it up at http://ui.worldofwar.net/ui.php?id=4047
Obviously, this normally wouldn't be news. Just post it on the mod site and be done.
But unfortunately, Mazzlefizz is doing his best to make it as hard as possible for users of his mod to avoid shouting about Mazzlegasms, and hence a lot of innocent users are being forced to spam their servers, and are getting subsequently flamed, ignored or even reported!
I'd totally understand if you felt this still wasn't news! But if you did feel it was worth a mention - I'm not expecting an entire post, just a one-liner would be fantastic - that would be great in helping to spread the word so that people get a chance to check out this mod fairly!
(BTW - if you do mention it, could you not mention my name or email address? Mazzlefizz seems very serious - almost irrationally so - about persuing anyone sharing this information, and I don't want flames landing in my main inbox.)
But apparently Mazzlefizz strongly objects to anyone modifying his mod for personal use. You either use it including the annoying zone-wide yell (aka advertising for the mod), or not at all. Does he have the right to do that to his users? Do his users have the right to remove the advertising, seeing how it could get them into trouble? To me that case seems very similar to using a popup blocker, which allows you to see websites without the popup advertising they use to finance themselves. I couldn't find any "legal terms" on WoWInterface, the site hosting the UI, stating you *can't* modify the mods you download. Are WoW addons kind of "open source"? I don't know, I've been criticized for being notoriously bad with legal questions, and I have no legal training whatsoever. But feel free to discuss.