I have received notes that the server crashed/reset today and some users lost stuff (one person apparently a lot). I went and looked into the logfiles and found that a plugin froze and then unfroze again, halting the server for some time (not restarting it btw). In this process, it seems that changes done on the server were lost (or not saved).
I was asked subsequently for help from 2 users, the one who lost a lot today, and from someone else who lost other stuff in a similar incident 2 weeks ago. Because of these requests for help, I would like to highlight the general issues with these problems and how they can be resolved (or not) in order to get a better understanding from everyone:
Why this happens
There are a LOT of reasons that can happen. Sometimes, they are user-caused (someone does something that freezes the server, be it by intent or accidentally), but this is rather rare as far as I can tell. More often, it’s a plugin causing trouble. We are running a long list of plugins, and many of them are either in Beta or Alpha/Dev status since they have not been released as a stable version since a LONG time, or because they stable version, despite not being that old, came up with a serious bug I and had to use a DEV snapshot. In other cases, some plugins update almost every week and I simply cannot keep up with every release, since it is not even really clear if the new version changes anything that really matters for the server. When there is a problem, the server freezes for long enough that changes during the freeze do not get saved to the disc and once the service continues, those changes are somehow ignored or overwritten.
What I can do
Well, I try my best to keep up with the plugin updates. People who are on the server around 20:00-22:00 EST see me restarting the server quickly, which is usually because some plugin updated. I also occasionally donate money to plugin authors to coax them to update their stuff or fix a bug quicker. I further chat with them directly and submit trouble tickets to get rid of bugs or add new features. For example, most recently I donated 25 USD to the author who is responsible to enable enchanted items in the shop again, and I am texting him with reports and testing DEV versions for him to speed up the process. But of course these authors are also just people with their own lives and have other priorities also, so sometimes we just have to wait.
What I cannot do
One of the biggest issues is that I have ZERO transparency of what happens during a freeze, what information was stored, what wasn’t, who had what before and what was lost afterwards. So if someone comes to me and tells me he lost 1 diamond in a freeze, they can equally claim that they lost 100 diamond blocks in the freeze, and I would not have any way to check what is the actual amount lost. While I know that most of you are honest about this, the issue is that once I start refunding this kind of thing without having ANY checks or verifications, there is basically a guarantee that these request will exponentially grow since people WILL abuse it. Just like people abused the AFK machines to work around the normal AFK kick, just to get some mob heads. Imagine what they will to for 100 diamond blocks! In the worst case I can imagine someone doing something odd to freeze the server, just to claim later what has been lost. This is why so many rules on the rules page are around the topic of “no handouts”, “no refunds” etc.
So, as much as I regret this, and as much I feel sorry for the people who lost stuff, there is nothing I can do. Unless you are suffering from a repeatable, traceable bug, there will be no refunds in case of crashes or bugs. This is why it says on the FAQ Page:
I lost something during a crash/death/theft/whatever, can you give it back to me?
No. I cannot. I cannot verify what you had before and I don’t hand out stuff. If you had bad luck, that’s what you will have to live with. If someone tricked you, same. Same goes when I personally kill you as a reminder when you violate a rule or ignore a FAQ.