Earlier today, I received an invitation from a network creator who is also a member of my network. No problem, I figure we share the same taste in music, what could be the harm. Well, I got the surprise of my life when I see every last one of my sign-up profile questions while in the process of signing up for his network!
This wouldn't have been a problem, if not for a question this person asked here on Creators today about navigation icons I recently removed from my site. The navigation icons were provided by Jen, so anyone can use them. But in this person's discussion, he used a screenshot of my network. So now there are two things going on here that lead me to believe the only reason this individual joined my network was to take ideas from my network for his own. Before you think I'm being paranoid here, you should know that my membership has just been approved, and I've had the opportunity to have a look around the site. Yep! There go my module headers!
Now look. When I purchased my network theme two years ago, I knew perfectly well that someone else could very well purchase the same theme. That's why when I rebuilt my new network on the ashes of the old last year, I changed the color scheme and did my own tweaks. It was never meant to be permanent, just in place long enough until I could do better. I'm in the process of doing better, and I will soon have a whole new professional theme in place. So what this person does with my old theme, doesn't matter. However...
One of my gripes with Ning has always been that Ning networks all look alike. I don't care how pretty your graphics are, or which theme or layout you use, if you don't possess the skills it takes to make your network stand out from the herd, there's nothing you can do about it. One of my suggestions since 2010 was that Ning build a column width feature similar to that of their competition. This feature allows network owners to drag and adjust the width of their columns. Having this would go a long way in giving us a way of differentiating our networks one from the other. I've been assured by someone up top at Ning that Ning will build no such feature in the near future, which (naturally) means never.
Well, there's nothing I can do about Ning and their decisions, so let's move on.
Original. Unique. Distinct. Individual. These words should mean something when we create our Ning networks. It should be the first thing to come to mind before we decide to put our communities out there on the internet. No one ought to look at another network and desire to make theirs look the same way. There are certain codes that good folks like Jen, Bernard, J Farrow and Soaring Eagle provide us with that help give our sites that extra something, but none of us use those codes in the same way. We edit or configure these codes to suit our themes and our particular needs. When you copy verbatim someone's work, you are stealing an idea. Unfortunately there is no legal recourse, we can't sue people for being unoriginal and uninspired.
Bottom line is this: If you lack imagination, you don't belong here. In fact, you have no business building a community on any platform if you can't come up with your own ideas. By the end of next week, I will have practically stripped the Ning-ness out of my network, and I will have graphics the likes of which I wish I always had from the time I first set up shop on Ning. The new look springs from my imagination, and the graphics from my pockets. It has taken me the better part of a year to get to this point. Anyone looking to make a name for themselves by swiping or mimicking my work better get it through their thick skulls that it takes more than just a gorgeous looking network to be successful. It takes vision, and that's one thing I've got they will never have, nor can ever take from me.
(By the way, despite swiping a few things from my network, the offending network creator has done a shoddy job of customizing his. I'm blinded by the Myspace-style glittery crap. It looks like a ten year old built it.)
I definately AGREE! Stealing is NEVER okay! If nothing else - he could have ASKED you if he could use some of your content. That's what I do! Or at least change parts of it. I frequently visit other networks for ideas - but I would NEVER just copy and paste it and not change ANYTHING. Not without permission anyhow.
Yeah, I don't like it at all. I may view other networks and gain inspiration, I may even desire certain functions. But I do not want my network looking like another. This guy's site does not look like mine by any means, but the module headers that he copied, I paid for!
That's not good. And no, I don't want my site looking like anyone else's... Although I'll admit it isn't super creative at the moment.
Your network may not be "super creative", Janettee, but at least it's your idea, not someone else's.
lol....Now that last line was funny Patrick...lol..WOW! I totally understand, using the same code given with permission is one thing, but copying or stealing an idea from the visionary is just a shame!!! When code is given, we tweak, and make it fit our own designs, and networks. I have had 3 people in the last week join my site just to spam me and our members, steal Original ideas and direction, and lastly, we work too hard to have this happen, and ning does NOTHING ABOUT IT!!!! As NC's we have the option of removing/banning these types of spies from our networks, but there should be some recourse from ning to these thieves. track them, then report them to the proper authorities, do SOMETHING NING! Please! My network is scheduled for a complete new theme and make over this month, and next, with our Original Design Vision we wanted from day one. You REALLY have to be a Code/CSS/Html Specialist to make a ning network compete with others....Ning, I'm glad that you're working on making the creation process more USER FRIENDLY as you Sell in all of your marketing campaigns....NOT!!!! It's not easy to make a ning site look like a regular website...Thats what ALL NC's site should look like a WEBSITE/Community all different in design, and content. NING...can We All Get A Little HELP!!! PLEASE!!! Implement MORE tech worthy features with drag & drop abilities. Give us the ability to have the #1 networks on the net, because the DESIGN Attributes and Functionality is already implemented into the Default of you software and code. Give us Javascriot, CSS, and Flash Based content built into the drag & drop capabilities. We NEED Cutting Edge, Top Of The Line, High Quality, Technology Worthy Apps, and Functions added to the Defaut. AND PLEASE FIX THAT STUUUPPPIIIDDD!!!!!!!! Html WYSIWYG Editor, and update it's functions like MS Word, Corel Draw, Illustrator, or Photoshop's editors, with many of the SAME features. You are STUCK in a Time-Warp Guys, please wake-up, and take a look at ALL of the Ideas your NC's are creating, and you're not Implementing NING. I ask Tech Support Question that they Can 98% of the time...NOT Answer! I have to figure out HOW to do what I'm inquiring about on my own. But I'm paying for PRO Service..With Mo real Help or results.! You have the Power to Make A Drastic Change to your Platform....DO IT! Please. Not just for me, but for ALL OF US WHO Patiently have been waiting for a Big Moves that Benefit US, as well as your platform. Drag & Drop Functionality is what you sell the Ning platform on, but it's not really what you could call what WE deal with every day trying to make our sites look like Thisis50, D.Law, and others. Help US change The Game Ning! Out Of The Gate...Our Sittes should SHINE, and make us & you guys Stand Out From The Rest!!!! Design and implementation should be easy for EVERYONE. You shouldn't have to know coding, html, or anything else to create a gorgeous looking network, worthy of Design Awards around the Net, and media. Thanks, that my 2 cents! I hope you're listening THIS TIME NING!!! Blessings, Pastor G.
Thanks for weighing in, Pastor. When I said "we can't sue people for being unoriginal and uninspired", I was being facetious. The fact is, there is little anyone can do about these things. It's the internet after all. Movie and music piracy are the proof that it is extremely difficult to police the internet.
Your criticism about Ning's features is also unfair. No site could possibly offer the things you suggest, for the simple fact it would be unfeasible. There's a reason there are no online versions of programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Microsoft's SkyDrive, which is the cloud-based version of their Word program does not possess half the features their desktop client has. There are limits to what can be implemented on the internet.
There are features that Ning can and should (and eventually will) upgrade, some sooner than others. But to imply that they're not giving us our money's worth simply is not true. Ning Help (or tech support as you refer to it) is not there to give advice, or to help you learn how to manage your network. It is there for when you have a technical problem that is caused by a bug in their system. Ning Help is not a "how-to" line. That's what Creators is for.
It's an old story many nc's here are familiar with but it bears repeating on this point. When I built my first Ning network back in 2008, I was homeless. I knew next to nothing about HTML, much less java script, jquery or CSS. I taught myself what I knew. I watched, I listened, I learned. It took me a few months before I officially launched my first network (I eventually built five), as I wanted to be sure I knew what I was doing. There were other things I learned on the fly, but I had the basics down by the time I was set to go. Keep in mind, back then Ning was still open source, and we had to upload our fav icons to our source code. These days, all you've got to do is upload it from your dashboard. Anyone coming into the social community game needs to know what they're getting into before hand, and make sure they know the particulars before embarking on such a venture.
There's plenty Ning ought to be doing, and there needs to be a paradigm shift in their philosophical approach to business decisions, but within reason.
well said,,, im new here and have been becoming aware of these very issues. you nailed it,,,there are some great ideas here that are being held back due to lack of ability to really make our site look great without being a code whiz,which i am not...
Unbelievable Dr. Trocar! The temerity of some people never ceases to amaze me!
Yes, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" as they say. Well, if anything, it's proven to me that I am definitely moving in the right direction.
Imitation is flattering as long as it's earned by doing their own legwork. Copying is stealing.
"Bottom line is this: If you lack imagination, you don't belong here. In fact, you have no business building a community on any platform if you can't come up with your own ideas."
Well said brother. You know I'm a PS & CSS nut and spend countless hours making things. To have your work, or the work you paid for stolen is insulting. Laziness is not flattery either.
I think the key point is respect for the efforts each of us put into our networks. Most of us are eager to help others that we respect and consider friends; just ask! I have done this many times and have never asked for anything in return.
Stories like this however, make me feel better about NOT sharing my coolest tips. Disgusted is right my friend.......
Thanks for weighing in, bro. I know how hard you work with your network and profession, and someone stealing your work would be worthy of a head splitting. LOL
...and you know this maaaaan....