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Beta 1.7.3 Registration Changes

haloman30 -

Hey, everyone - we've got an exciting announcement for those of you who play (or wish to play) on our Beta 1.7.3 server!
 
The registration requirement has been removed - all users now default to Member! If you logged in previously and find yourself in the old Guest spawn, just do /spawn to start playing!
 
If you happen to experience any grief, be sure to let a Moderator or above know as soon as possible so we can get it rolled back - we've got proper backup and rollback plugins in place now, ensuring that any damage done by griefers can be properly rolled back.

For those of you curious as to why we had this system in place - and why it took so long to finally deal with it, keep reading. Otherwise, feel free to stop here and hop on the server!
 

We had initially implemented this system due to repeated griefs that kept happening on our Beta 1.7.3 server. This normally wouldn't be a big deal - in theory, undoing the damage would be as simple as rolling things back. Unfortunately, the plugin we were using for rollback, HawkEye, was having a great deal of trouble - and would often fail to roll things back properly. As such, virtually every rollback had to be done, at least in part, by hand.

Eventually, we decided to implement forced registration as a temporary stop-gap, to limit grief damage going forward. This was supposed to be a relatively brief solution, while we sought out a replacement rollback plugin. At the time, it seemed that the best option would've been LogBlock - but we were unable to locate a compatible version for Beta 1.7.3. As such, we left the registration system in place for a while yet.

Recently, however, we decided to look again - and while we did locate a proper jar for LogBlock, it wasn't able to connect to our database server. Despite this, we now at least know a version of the plugin that could work - and as a result, we were able to locate the original source code, get it patched up to work with our database server, and get it running.

Along with this, we've recently implemented daily backups - adding another layer of protection to the server. As such, we feel confident now that we can, at long last, lift this admittedly awful system from the server. It's hard to say what this system has cost us in terms of getting folks to stick around - but hey, better late than never, right?

At any rate - if you're looking to hop on, you can do so now at b173.chaoticunited.net - no registration necessary!

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A Statement and Apology in Regards to Archival

- haloman30

Hey, everyone - there was something that happened recently that I'd like to address.
 
Recently, there was a bit of debate in regards to a particular detail of one of our spawns - if you were in voice at the time, you likely know what I'm talking about (and if you weren't - don't ask for details). I was requested, very politely, to remove this detail - as it was inconsequential to the build (it was more of an easter egg than anything), and held some personal significance to this person.
 
For most of you, the right thing to do will seem obvious - remove the detail. With this particular situation, though, I had a great deal of difficulty making this decision - not because I didn't understand the issue, but because this came at odds with something I feel very strongly about - archival and preservation. In the end, the detail in question was removed - but some folks were (and likely still are) concerned that this was a decision with any difficulty in the first place. After all - the right thing to do should've been obvious, right?
 
Yes. It was - and I will not, and do not disagree with this. However - I do want to explain the perspective I had at the time, to hopefully shed some light on my own personal thought process. I don't ask that you agree, or even entirely understand - but I think it's important for me to get it out there before continuing. 
 
The last thing I want to do is come off as rude or uncaring - I care deeply about doing the right thing. I want to do right by the community, and those who are part of it. However, at the same time, I believe strongly in preserving and ensuring that nothing is lost - both the good and the bad. And I can recognize that for many of you, this likely seems ridiculous - and while I'll argue and defend my position on archival in general, I concede that - in this type of situation - I was in the wrong. This detail should have been removed - and it ultimately was.
 
However, this shouldn't have been difficult - the fear and concern that was felt by this person, believing that my desire to preserve would overrule a largely simple request - there's no reason for that, and no doubt that it's something that I can't undo. Even for those not directly involved, but present to witness it unfold - it's likely that I came off as disrespectful and uncaring. And for that, I do want to apologize - both to the person who requested this removal in the first place, and to those who had to be there and witness this when it happened. Going forward, if we run into a similar situation as before, I'll do my best to handle it better next time.
 
That being said - I also know that I'm always going to have difficulty doing so - and as such, I can't promise that I'll be able to make that decision any quicker or easier. As such - I've been working with our build team to create a standardized set of guidelines - both to address these types of situations, as well as some of the other disagreements and misunderstandings we've had over time. It outlines general expectations for both current and future builders - with the goal of ensuring that what I expect, and my desire for archival isn't new information. It also makes sure that the types of things that are likely to end up being requested to be removed someday in the future are simply not included in the first place - in order to best ensure these issues simply can't happen again.
 
These guidelines will be presented to all future builders, before they join our build team - to make sure there's no surprises going in. If someone simply isn't comfortable with some of the things we do - they should know that before spending their time applying, rather than going through the entire process and being caught off guard. Or, worse yet, creating builds and not learning of some of our unusual practices until after the fact. This is especially crucial with world downloads, which are still relatively uncommon across Minecraft servers. If someone built a spawn with the understanding that it'd never leave CU, and then found out later that their build was uploaded and anyone can copy and mess with it - that's not fair to them, and so that's something they should be fully aware of going in, along with all of the other peculiars.
 
I understand that to some, this might still seem insufficient - after all, if I understand what's right, then why can't I just handle that when/if it comes up? Why prohibit these types of things, rather than just being willing to remove them if the time comes? My reasoning boils down to the fact that, while I recognize what's right and wrong in this type of situation, it doesn't make it any easier to actually do that right thing. Not that I won't do so - but even so, deliberately letting something go does give me real pain. I can't explain why or how, and I can't realistically change this fact - and so, for me, I find that the best thing to do is to simply ensure that such a situation never has an opportunity to present itself again - and to make sure that anyone coming onto the build team is well aware of what to expect going in. Should such a situation arise, I do still intend to honor those types of requests (within reason - I'm not gonna remove a significant portion of a build) - but I still believe that it's better to avoid having to make that decision in the first place.
 

It was never my intention to come off as some heartless or inconsiderate ass - as stated before, it's simply a battle between two things I feel very strongly about. And, in situations like these, I need to try and get better and handling them. Archival is, and will always be deeply important to me - but I recognize that, once in a blue moon, there are situations where it can be justified to leave things behind - and that's something I'll need to learn to accept. It won't happen soon - and in the meantime, I believe the best thing to do is to do what I can to ensure that this type of thing just doesn't come up in the first place. 
 
I hope that you can understand my perspective, and at least somewhat see where I was coming from. And once more, to those affected - I give you my sincerest apologies for this. I may not be able to promise that I won't be difficult, but I can promise to try and do better.

Introducing: The Chaotic United Wiki

- haloman30

Hey, everyone!

We've got an exciting announcement to share - as of now, we are finally re-introducing the Chaotic United Wiki!

The Wiki has been an idea we've had going all the way back to 2014, and have re-introduced a few times over the years. As of now, though - it's been built directly into the website, and unlike previous iterations, it's actually got some useful information on it!

As of now, you'll primarily find information about our custom Survival content - past, present, and planned for the future. Down the line, we intend to document the various communities associated with CU - such as Nuclear District, Hurricane Craft, United AlyCraft, and even some more obscure ones that were all but forgotten. We also plan to add pages detailing some of the notable users and staff members that CU has had over the years, as well as details on most of our custom plugins.

For now, though - that's all we've got. Just keeping it short and sweet today.

To check out the wiki, head to https://chaoticunited.net/wiki!

Changes to our Minecraft Store

- haloman30

Hey, everyone!
 
Today, we're introducing some changes to our donation store - or more accurately, our Minecraft store. While these are mostly minor changes, they're representative of more of a shift in how we want things like disguises, ranks, etc. to be viewed - which as you'll find, is also not really much of an actual change at all.
 
What exactly do I mean by this? Well, let's dig in and find out.
 
The Donation Store
The biggest change you may or may not notice is that, in most places, the store is no longer referred to as a "donation store", and purchasing ranks is no longer referred to as "donating" - instead, it's just a store, and you're buying ranks. This is something that we're going to continue to gradually refer to the store as going forward - though after over 10 years of using the donation terminology, you're likely to catch myself or someone else slip up now and again.
 
It also turns out that this is something we've actually formally announced before - almost four years ago to be exact - and then I simply forgot. Whoops - better late than never
 
So - why the change? What was the issue with the donation terminology? After all, I'm a big fan of avoiding needless change, and it's easy to read this as minor, needless change - and some might see this type of change as not even warranting a dedicated announcement either.
 
Inaccuracy and Dishonesty
Well, for starters, it's dishonest and inaccurate. In the earlier years of Minecraft servers, it was common for donations to be marketed - and in some cases this was even true - as being used to help fund the server. The implication that came with that is that, if there weren't enough donations, the server might not stick around.
 
Some servers even used this as a means of avoiding having to report these "donations" on their tax returns - which is of course against the law. While smaller, obscure servers that didn't get much, if anything in donations, didn't really have any reason to worry about this - for medium to large servers (or servers which brought in a more meaningful amount of revenue), this is a much bigger issue and could result in legal action (though technically, even small and obscure servers are required to report them regardless - I am not a lawyer, so don't use this as legal advice).
 
Clearly, though - that isn't the case here. Chaotic United isn't going anywhere, with or without a bunch of frequent donations. Would it be great if we could reach a point where donations could solely fund the server costs? Of course, and this is even something we hope to see happen someday - but for the time being, and likely for the foreseeable future, the server is going to stick around despite that.
 
Profit Motives
The other big part of this is that, in many cases, the "donation" terminology is something used by non-profit organizations. Here's the thing, though - effective last year, Chaotic United is, effectively, part of Elaztek Studios - a legally registered, honest-to-goodness LLC, which is most certainly a for-profit company. This doesn't have any practical effect, of course - I'm the sole owner of Elaztek, and this is something that will almost certainly never change for as long as both it and myself exist.
 
It does mean, however, is that we do need to be at least a bit more careful with this type of stuff. It's somewhat risky to use the term donation in the way that we use it - and many servers over the years specifically went the route of calling their purchases "donations" for tax purposes. Trouble is, that doesn't actually work, and isn't valid - it's revenue. And unless you do in fact operate a server as a real non-profit organization, it doesn't matter what you call it.
 
The Reality
The biggest piece of the puzzle, though, is that it just isn't representative of what these purchases actually are in the first place. For as long as I've been Owner, these "donations" aren't inherently used to contribute to server bills or server-specific improvements. I've always reserved the right, at least up until early 2020 to do what I please with "donation" money. The flipside of this coin, however, is that I'll continue to spend money out of my own pocket to keep things afloat. In essence, the same amount of dollars are going to the same places - it's just that in the case of CU, there's basically zero consideration or care as to where those specific dollars came from.
 
This did change very slightly in early 2020 - where it turned out that we had poorly communicated this fact, both to players and even some staff members - which resulted in some strong reactions from both. Comparisons were even drawn with Killerteddy1 - the previous and infamous owner of Chaotic United from 2011 to 2014 - who was known to have abused donation money. For a brief period of time, it looked as though I was doing the same exact thing - which saw both a temporary offer for a donation refund - regardless of purchase time - as well as the introduction of a new option during checkout. The option asked the user to select where they wanted their donation to be directed - either towards the server, or to whatever I deemed appropriate, with the specific example being "a pizza or whatever".

 
This option was mostly ignored, with a select few opting for their donation to go directly towards the server - and technically, this is what happened. However, meaningfully, this didn't really have any tangible impact for the same reasons outlined before.
 
The costs to operate CU are not small, and have mostly only grown with time. Approximately $160 USD is spent monthly for all core service costs as of writing, not accounting for the various domain names we hold. The reality is that any purchases and donations brought in are absolutely not sufficient to cover this - which is okay. As mentioned - we've always operated on the assumption that, to properly keep things funded, we have to be able to eat those costs personally. This was a decision I made at the start - with the idea being that perhaps we could avoid an over-reliance on donation funds, which could lead to disaster if we reached a point of success, only to then have those funds dry up.
 
The Changes
So - with all of that said, what's actually changing?
 
For starters, as stated before - we'll be moving away from using the term "donation" in relation to the ranks, disguises, any any future items that are made available on the store. You might still see it here and there - but in general, we'll be avoiding using the donation-specific terminology going forward.
 
Additionally, we'll be removing the "How would you like the donation to be used?" question during checkout. It's largely been useless for a while, regardless - and going forward, we won't be making any promises or guarantees as to where the funds from various purchases are directed. They may go towards Chaotic United bills, they may go towards Elaztek Studios expenses, or they could end up being withdrawn and set aside for personal use by myself or others. If that's something you aren't cool with, I understand - however, in this case, the only guidance I can provide is simply to not purchase anything from the store. That may seem a bit harsh perhaps, but there's no real alternative. And as I've said before - in essence, at this small stage, nothing meaningfully changes as a result of this change.
 
Lastly, the primary URL for the store has been changed from https://donate.chaoticunited.net to https://store.chaoticunited.net/. The old https://donate.chaoticunited.net has been configured to redirect, and that's likely how it'll be staying.
 
Along with this, we've made some minor revisions to the Donation Terms (now referred to as Purchase Terms) - mostly in order to migrate away from the donate terminology, but also to clarify and add a couple other details as well.
 
One thing that will not be changing, however, are the rank names - while they're mostly based on the donation terminology, there's no legal issue here - and we believe it's still quite clear that you're purchasing a rank, regardless of what it might be called. Plus - these rank names date back to the old Chaotic United, as far back as 2011/2012 - so it's a bit late to change them, right?
 
 
 
So, yeah - that's pretty much it. It might seem like a pretty long-winded post for seemingly such a minor change, but we believe it's important to be transparent and open - and we can easily imagine that some folks might in fact see this as a more significant change, and as such, we don't want to just silently sweep it under the rug without being upfront about the changes, and why they're being made.
 
If you've got any concerns or questions, feel free to reach out, either here on the replies below or on our Discord server!

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Servers & Services

Minecraft

Our Minecraft server is our flagship service. Featuring a wide selection of gamemodes, custom content, and more, there's something for everyone to enjoy!

Age of Rebirth (Modded MC)

Our Modded Minecraft server features a custom modpack, designed specifically for our community. It features a combination of technical, creative, and immersive mods to create an experience that just can't quite be had anywhere else.

Valheim

Our Valheim server is a simple, vanilla Valheim server - set up for members of our community to play together easily. No fancy bells and whistles here - just pure, unadultered Valheim.

Minecraft Beta 1.7.3

Our Minecraft Beta 1.7.3 server offers that old-school, retro Minecraft server experience. Featuring economy, a livemap, and a large world, this server is sure to scratch that nostalgic itch.

Forums

Our forums act as the go-to place for long-form discussion within our community, as well as the primary place to hear about new announcements, report bugs, and much more.

Discord

Our Discord server serves as the hub for our community. Announcements are posted there alongside our forums, and many members of the community are frequently active on Discord - even if they aren't online elsewhere.

What is Chaotic United?

Chaotic United (or CU for short) is an online gaming community that can have its roots traced all the way back to 2011. What first began as a World of Warcraft and Runescape private server later became a Minecraft-focused community, which it's become known for ever since.

Throughout its earlier years, it underwent several changes of ownership - and very nearly closed for good. In early 2014, many of CU's team branched off into Nuclear District - in order to create a healthier, better community, free from the clutches of their previous rogue owner. Then, later that same year, the "new" Chaotic United was born - under new ownership. While first treated with skepticism, it later joined forces with Nuclear District - until the original leadership and team decided that their time was done, and complete ownership was transferred to Chaotic United's new administration - who continue to carve the path forward to this day.

While we deeply treasure our past - and go to immense lengths to preserve as much of it for the future as possible - we are equally focused on our future. We continue to focus on our Minecraft server, introducing new gamemodes, features, and content - all with two goals in mind: Build the best Chaotic United we can, and build something that those who came before would be truly proud to witness.

The true core of Chaotic United, however, is its community. The people who've stuck around since the early days, the people who've only been around a little while, or the people who joined yesterday - whether you're on Discord, Minecraft, the Forums, or any combination, you'll find our loyal, tightly-knit community. They are the backbone of Chaotic United, and each member - new, old, or even the ones who have yet to find their home - plays a key role in Chaotic United's long and storied history - a history that will continue being written for years to come.

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