After a few less then 10 years Dennis, only you weren't aware of it. All of your hard work was a continuation of someones else hard work and so on. You, or anyone else, would loose nothing.
Only people who would loose are those that still believe that they're the only ones stealing other people sets. Expression of their faces would be priceless, oh well gotta rely on imagination
Of course the best solution would be optional set sharing but from what i heard it's not possible. What would be possible is to make it harder to steal temporarily, at a cost of performance and development time.
This way everybody would be forced to be a kind, sharing person™
The setup sharing sites would still make sense as a readily available repository, the stealing tools wouldn't need to be updated and the replays would still store the setups you wish to steal (advanced version takes the set right under the nose of the person on the server, and even that is few years old). Some cool stuff there.
It would largely help newbies at well, not to mention saving the race winner's time to find and SS every person on the server who asked for a damn set.
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Got a few ideas how to handle the transition, to expand on Anthoop's example. I am all for freely shared sets since i heard about the whole stealing business, at least until a good solution to prevent it permanently is found. And even then I'd like to see an option to make sets free to download while driving on server.
Some examples i came up with:
1) Some way to keep an option to send set (S) explicitly to a person, to let it known to him that he received it. Same as now, but to keep it this way if possible. So theres no need to tell that person: hey, take this set now I want you to try it later; how i imagine it would work in the new system.
2) Improve on 1) by leaving the set downloadable even after the sender spectates, pits or even leaves the server. Perhaps gray out the button with his nick in the latter case and remove the line after the set is saved. If multiple sets from the same person are sent and the previous set wasn't yet saved, overwrite the sent set with the newest version.
3) Some simpler way to distinguish when a set is received or being available to download for others. Even after 7 years i get confused what is S / SS
4) Optional info message about who has saved your setup. Although, it might get irritating in some cases so an additional option to block that specifically instead the whole chat. Ego booster thats proportional to the message/skills ratio
Things of that nature, keeping the usability and improving accessibility bit by bit.