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YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

Scotty, beam me up. (Edit: Wow, already on the second page?)

Last edited by YesterdaysTomSawyer (Feb. 17, 2022 19:15:34)

YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

E-LE-VATE (P.S. Yes that is a Doctor Who reference)
_nix
Scratcher
1000+ posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

I made a mod back in the day called Scrap. It added a bunch of features which make editing Scratch projects easier (Scratch 2.0 lacked many of the quality of life features we take for granted in 3.0), with the express goal of letting the projects you made run inside Scratch without any necessary file modifications or “export to Scratch” button or anything like that. It's basically an earlier analogue to Turbowarp (which also adds editing features but just outputs normal SB3 Scratch project files).

My editor was pretty “destructive” because it basically just moved all the scripts in each sprite to (0, 0) on top of each other, instead of caring about keeping things organized (the main idea is that you would only be looking at one script at a time). So, technically, even though they worked in Scratch, the projects I made wouldn't be as remixable as most normal projects. In itself, this isn't a violation of the Terms of Service by any means, but it may be worth considering if it goes against a certain aspect of the spirit of the policy.

Turbowarp also gives the option for similar disorganization with the “Customizable block shape” addon.

That said, I doubt any projects whose scripts were generated from external means (such as entirely alternative editors or libraries which convert other coding languages into Scratch projects) have been removed for violating the Terms of Service, unless they also violated other more concrete rules (stuff like not harming the Scratch community). Obviously there's no rule forcing your project code to look clean, either.

So how does the Scratch Team actually apply this part of the Terms of Use?

…Not at all, as far as I can tell

Going back to the start, I included a disclaimer in the launch page for Scrap, and while Turbowarp doesn't specifically comment on this part of the policy (as far as I can tell), it does have a clear line on both its main and Desktop pages: “TurboWarp is not affiliated with Scratch, the Scratch Team, or the Scratch Foundation.”

That's the type of disclaimer mod makers use to avoid getting into trouble. There may be early cases of mod makers getting in trouble for pretending to be officially affiliated, back when the modding scene was much wider (i.e. mods were more easily made and many more abounded than do today)—and maybe related issues lead to the creation of that part of the ToU. But that's just conjecture, and regardless of how it came about, it seems to have little very effect today.

(Note that even the equivalent browser extension version of Turbowarp's “Addons” section isn't even “banned”—the Scratch Team doesn't specially detect and target people who use it and put restrictions on their account, or anything. The only action they take is disallowing referencing it by name (same with all browser extensions) and specifically temporarily (but immediately) muting anyone who attempts to do so in a comment. Even though that's gotten some folk into trouble, it's a pretty light action, all things considered—compared to how the ToU do state that the Scratch Team can take action against violating the ToU; usage of Turbowarp, the browser extension, and various addons seemingly do violate, even though they apparently aren't seriously restricted at all.)

edit: typo

Last edited by _nix (Feb. 19, 2022 02:24:34)


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YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

_nix wrote:

I made a mod back in the day called Scrap. It added a bunch of features which make editing Scratch projects easier (Scratch 2.0 lacked many of the quality of life features we take for granted in 3.0), with the express goal of letting the projects you made run inside Scratch without any necessary file modifications or “export to Scratch” button or anything like that. It's basically an earlier analogue to Turbowarp (which also adds editing features but just outputs normal SB3 Scratch project files).
Interesting. So you're a mod creator yourself. Specifically the creator of a mod listed on the Scratch Wiki. This certainly takes this thread in an interesting direction.

_nix wrote:

I doubt any projects whose scripts were generated from external means (such as entirely alternative editors or libraries which convert other coding languages into Scratch projects) have been removed for violating the Terms of Service, unless they also violated other more concrete rules (stuff like not harming the Scratch community). Obviously there's no rule forcing your project code to look clean, either.

So how does the Scratch Team actually apply this part of the Terms of Use?

…Not at all, as far as I can tell

_nix wrote:

usage of Turbowarp, the browser extension, and various addons seemingly do violate, even though they apparently aren't seriously restricted at all.
Generally speaking, this is the basic idea that I appear to be getting from my observations of the Scratch community as well as what at least one other person has told me. There appear to be certain rules in place that get little if any enforcement. Of course, another reason could be that the Scratch Team doesn’t realize that certain projects exist, but at the same time, considering that these kinds of projects appear to be abundant, then one would figure somebody would take notice by now. What they would or would not have done about it, I wouldn’t know. But when it is considered that the Terms of Use page has not been updated in more than 5 years (almost 6 years), it’s kind of called into question what relevance the document has today. According to a thread I’ve read, there appears to be a specific reason why the Terms of Use have not been updated:

banana439monkey wrote:

the reason ToU hasn't been updated is because lawyers are expensive
Not sure if that is the real reason, but I guess it might be.

_nix wrote:

There may be early cases of mod makers getting in trouble for pretending to be officially affiliated, back when the modding scene was much wider (i.e. mods were more easily made and many more abounded than do today)—and maybe related issues lead to the creation of that part of the ToU. But that's just conjecture, and regardless of how it came about, it seems to have little very effect today.
That’s possible. There's always going to be scams of some sort in these situations, including possibly dangerous ones. But all the same, neither TurboWarp nor Scratux appear to have done anything dangerous to the site, and both appear to assert that they are not part of the real deal.

TurboWarp wrote:

TurboWarp is not affiliated with Scratch, the Scratch Team, or the Scratch Foundation.

Scratux wrote:

Since the official Scratch project does not provide binaries for Linux distributions, we created this project so you do not have to download + build from source.
ideapad-320
Scratcher
500+ posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

The offline editor is “an unmodified copy of the Scratch editor compiled from the source code”.
Section 5.3 is just out of date.
Also, The online and offline editors share code. The offline editor is a website editor.

Generation 4: the first time you see this copy and paste it on top of your sig in the scratch forums and increase generation by 1. Social experiment.
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_nix
Scratcher
1000+ posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

YesterdaysTomSawyer wrote:

Of course, another reason could be that the Scratch Team doesn’t realize that certain projects exist, but at the same time, considering that these kinds of projects appear to be abundant, then one would figure somebody would take notice by now.
You already alluded to this, but yeah, the Scratch Team is definitely aware of mods, modded/extended editors, and the presence of projects created with them on Scratch. Turbowarp is exceptionally popular in the community today (not just the most technical subgroups of it either), and the similar browser extension is also quite well known, to the point where its name is specifically included in the filter bot's disallowed phrase list (like I mentioned).

Funnily, Scratch 3.0 is to a degree designed specifically to be extensible like this! Since it's made with JavaScript, it's far easier (read: at all possible) to expand functionality with ordinary JavaScript code which can be run in userscripts or extensions—and userstyles (modifying the HTML and CSS that make the editor look the way it does) make adding custom themes and appearances a possibility too. None of this was possible in the Flash days of Scratch 2.0. Scratch 3.0 has also been open source pretty much since the start, and more or less regularly has code input and improvements from the outside community, so it's (at least theoretically ) more accessible than scratch-flash (2.0) goes for modding. (Okay actually 3.0's codebase is huge and very complicated, much moreso than 2.0, but that's mostly a product of its nature, it is what it is :P)

Extra emphasis on “to a degree” since it's still not exactly the easiest thing to hook plain old userscripts into the unmodified Scratch editor… but in-between layers like the addon system that the browser extension and Turbowarp provide make it much simpler and more accessible than ever before (hence the regular updates and new additions from the Scratch community themselves).

Unfortunately, there is a bit of a conflict between that attitude and the official policies—both apparently theoretically as regards the Terms of Use, and practically as regards the Browser Extension/Userscript Policy. The programming language designers created 3.0 to be extensible and developer-friendly, but that's undercut by the safety concerns that come with running custom, third-party JavaScript code—with full access to the user account, all the same privileges as interacting with the site normally, but now theoretically run by someone else's code which can do whatever its author likes.

So, though the language inherently supports more possibilities than 2.0 ever did, the accessibility of this is restricted to those who are “in the know”—who discover Turbowarp and browser extensions on their own internet browsing, generally not directly through the Scratch site. That way it's users' own responsibility to understand what they are getting into, and the Scratch Team gives up liability for any misfortune brought about by this unofficial use of Scratch's services.

However…

Nowadays, that also seems to be more theoretical than concretely true. We've seen well and plenty on the forums that discussion of browser extensions seems to generally go unchallenged; we regularly reference the policy forum thread and quote it as though specifically naming an addon (or deliberately advertising it) is the only thing banned, but the last paragraph of the policy can reasonably be interpreted more generally:

Scratch Team wrote:

Because of this, we will now be removing comments, projects, forum posts, user profile information, or other content that reference any browser extension or userscript. In general, we encourage you to use these tools only if they were created by people or organizations you trust. (emphasis mine)

The first paragraph more specifically states “We’ve decided that, for safety reasons, we are no longer going to allow these to be advertised on Scratch.” The FAQ also emphasize “advertising”, saying “The new policy is that you can no longer advertise extensions on Scratch.”—but the more general rule is there too, “Should I report content referencing a browser extension/userscript? - Yes.”

Turbowarp is common knowledge, just as much as phosphorus and forkphorus have been, although Turbowarp notably is now its own fully-featured editor mod in addition to a custom player (how it started). Notably, Turbowarp doesn't itself mention the browser extension, and an external editor does not get access to your Scratch account like an extension does (you would need to manually enter your username and password). It takes several steps to get from the Turbowarp homepage to anything directly to do with the browser extension—I won't lay out those steps because I'd rather not see this forum post deleted But the point is, the Scratch Team probably doesn't see Turbowarp as potentially dangerous in the same way as browser extensions in general are. This likely impacts their practice as regards allowing naming (and discussion) of Turbowarp, but not the same for the browser extension.

Still, like I said, moderation of discussion of even the browser extension doesn't seem to be as strict as it could be. It's gained relatively popular usage, and, to my knowledge, the Scratch Team has made no advances to decrease its popularity, preventing the name from appearing in comments being their only specific action. Note that as a policy the Scratch Team doesn't intend to shut down or prevent extensions/userscripts from existing at all—see the policy thread FAQ: “It is your choice what extensions you want to install and use.” But I mention this because the extension is steadily gaining attention and usage; it's not nearly as obscure as most end up staying. So, in principle, the safety risk expands as more people use third-party, unauthorized-by-ST code. Of course the community developing the extension is self-moderating and reviews all code which goes onto people's computers, to greatly eliminate the risk of someone adding malicious behavior—but that's something the ST is trusting the community to do. They could crack down much harder on extension usage, but even as it grows more popular, they don't—another interesting observation as far as the practice of their policy goes.

Sorry if this was a little off-topic from the main topic of projects created in editors! I just feel that that's a largely answered question (the ST doesn't mind and that part of the TOU is not enforced, and relatively out of date anyway), and that their practiced policy on extension usage is a closely related subject. Sort of the more practical, “today” spiritual successor to the question you're asking, if that makes sense

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YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

_nix wrote:

You already alluded to this, but yeah, the Scratch Team is definitely aware of mods, modded/extended editors, and the presence of projects created with them on Scratch. Turbowarp is exceptionally popular in the community today (not just the most technical subgroups of it either), and the similar browser extension is also quite well known, to the point where its name is specifically included in the filter bot's disallowed phrase list (like I mentioned).
Yeah, you're right. I did already allude to this. I probably reiterated the point just to put a certain emphasis on it or something (or just as filler because I don't always know what to put in somewhat lengthy responses {or maybe some other reason.})

_nix wrote:

Sorry if this was a little off-topic from the main topic of projects created in editors! I just feel that that's a largely answered question (the ST doesn't mind and that part of the TOU is not enforced, and relatively out of date anyway), and that their practiced policy on extension usage is a closely related subject. Sort of the more practical, “today” spiritual successor to the question you're asking, if that makes sense
I understand what you are saying. I've already been aware that other users have discussed things in regards to TurboWarp and ToU section 4.4 before, and generally speaking, like I've said before, the main answer to questions in such regards is that the Scratch Team does not appear to care that much about that section, but I've decided to expand upon discussion in such regards because:
  1. The Scratch Team has not verified that the conclusion you and some others assert is true. Maybe there will never be such a verification. In fact, they might even state something to the contrary. Perhaps they have already, since recently, I found a @Paddle2See quote on a thread from 2021 (last year) which reads as follows:

    Paddle2See wrote:

    Are you using this just to make backups / compare versions? Because the Terms of Use are pretty clear about not sharing projects created with other tools.
    And then he goes on to cite ToU section 4.4. I wouldn't necessarily say that such a statement necessarily ends this discussion, nor does it mean that you are wrong, but this statement does seem to differ from what posts within this thread (including yours) have told me.

  2. TurboWarp is part of this discussion but it is not the only subject. This thread would also cover other editors similar to TurboWarp as well as editors which are essentially just unofficial ports of the regular launcher, such as Scratux. People have addressed TurboWarp primarily in this thread because it is more recognizable, but no one has addressed Scratux. It's true that the responses I've gotten related to TurboWarp probably also could apply to Scratux, but at the same time, I might need to go deeper before I can verify that.
There are probably other reasons I might have for continuing this thread, but overall those are two of the primary reasons for keeping this thread going (for a bit I think I had another reason in mind, but I think I forgot what that was.) For all I know, I might have to settle with the answers I'm getting, but until I decide that there's nothing left to do with this thread, I will do what I can to keep it going.
Kitt-Draw
Scratcher
1000+ posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

although I don't have an answer for this question. Dang bro you've got that essay down

YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

Kitt-Draw wrote:

Dang bro you've got that essay down
Thanks, I guess?
YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

GOING UP!
YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

*jetpack ignites, goes up*
ScolderCreations
Scratcher
1000+ posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

If a project’s SB3 has no noticeable effects of external editing (non-main-scratch editor is external here) the ST will not know to remove it, but if it has a clear difference from normal projects, they may choose to take action.

This most likely means that, automatically, some mods, which don’t leave this cross-application fingerprint, are not going to get you punished.

Last edited by ScolderCreations (Feb. 25, 2022 14:42:05)


FOR SHOVELRY!
YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

ScolderCreations wrote:

If a project’s SB3 has no noticeable effects of external editing (non-main-scratch editor is external here) the ST will not know to remove it, but if it has a clear difference from normal projects, they may choose to take action.
So, basically, your point is that if nothing out of the ordinary is noticeable, then all is fine? Or is it just that Scratch Team does nothing because they don't know it's from an unofficial editor?
RL1123
Scratcher
1000+ posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

YesterdaysTomSawyer wrote:

ScolderCreations wrote:

If a project’s SB3 has no noticeable effects of external editing (non-main-scratch editor is external here) the ST will not know to remove it, but if it has a clear difference from normal projects, they may choose to take action.
So, basically, your point is that if nothing out of the ordinary is noticeable, then all is fine? Or is it just that Scratch Team does nothing because they don't know it's from an unofficial editor?
Making hacked blocks will get your project NFE'd or taken down, but .sb3 files from turbowarp have no difference from a regular .sb3 file from scratch, so if the ST wanted to take projects made in turbowarp down, they probably wouldn't be able to.



through tough thorough thought, though














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Maximouse
Scratcher
1000+ posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

_nix wrote:

(Note that even the equivalent browser extension version of Turbowarp's “Addons” section isn't even “banned”—the Scratch Team doesn't specially detect and target people who use it and put restrictions on their account, or anything. The only action they take is disallowing referencing it by name (same with all browser extensions) and specifically temporarily (but immediately) muting anyone who attempts to do so in a comment. Even though that's gotten some folk into trouble, it's a pretty light action, all things considered—compared to how the ToU do state that the Scratch Team can take action against violating the ToU; usage of Turbowarp, the browser extension, and various addons seemingly do violate, even though they apparently aren't seriously restricted at all.)
I don't think the extension actually violates 4.4 because it doesn't modify anything: it just makes changes to the editor at run time. It doesn't affect the projects made using it at all, which means they're still made using “the Scratch website editor” and likely allowed to be shared on Scratch.


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YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

rayli1123 wrote:

Making hacked blocks will get your project NFE'd or taken down, but .sb3 files from turbowarp have no difference from a regular .sb3 file from scratch, so if the ST wanted to take projects made in turbowarp down, they probably wouldn't be able to.
I think your point about TurboWarp and .sb3s is quite right, even though it's pretty much like a point I've made previously. The stuff about hacked blocks is good to know, even though that’s not entirely the same discussion as this one.

Maximouse wrote:

I don't think the extension actually violates 4.4 because it doesn't modify anything
Generally speaking, I'm not so concerned about browser extension stuff since I don't really use Scratch-like browser extensions. I’ve seen a couple things about them before, and I guess some information regarding certain Scratch policies about them is good to know, but overall they’re not my problem since I don’t use any.
YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

Rise…
YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

*elevator ding*
YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

Stantz: Hey, where do these stairs go?
Venkman: They go up.
YesterdaysTomSawyer
Scratcher
69 posts

The Editor Issue (Or: What makes an editor “modified” [and, as a result, not able to have its projects uploaded onto Scratch]?)

Oh man I forgot to bump it yesterday. So here's a bump for today.

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