Baxil (baxil) wrote,

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That old "interesting times" adage

After a weekend spent working and entertaining family -- punctuated by a server move that I'm almost certain had nothing to do with my mysterious hacker -- I've come back to the Pony4e board with an uncomfortable realization: I can't afford to wait and watch "Princess Luna" any more.

She hasn't done anything else wrong -- unless Inaki and I missed something grave while investigating the recent server outages -- but it's only a matter of time before she realizes I've been watching. And if I don't force matters before then, she might do something regrettable.

[Ponies and Pegasi]

So, for reference, here are the threads "Luna's" started or contributed to:
  • How marvelous! - Introducing herself; breaking the fourth wall while staying amazingly IC; engaging in a little discussion on the nature of fiction
  • Elsewhere in Equestria ... - Background fiction on a Luna/Celestia fight, and Luna reading Harmony's letter
  • The faith hammer party - Controlling an NPC to deliver a reply apparently foreshadowing her arrival; also pushing another NPC into the Temple to complicate the scheming of the various ponies in the basement

I'm blown away, honestly. "Luna" would be a model co-contributor under any other circumstances. But here's what's forcing my hand: She's still hiding her posts from me.

This includes Harmony (who's my freeform-RP PC, and who's listed in the Cast of Characters under my name). It makes sense that she'd also block Harmony from her posts while she's trying to evade administrator attention ... but makes a lot less sense when she's joining threads (which include Harmony) with the apparent intent of RPing.

In fact, over the weekend, someone replied to her post and quoted it. I haven't directly checked, but I don't think her obfuscation code extends to other people's posts. So the thread is a ticking time bomb of accidental exposure. (Even if that particular reply is harmless, how long can we keep RPing past each other, when she's visiting Fillydelphia because of Harmony?)

Fortunately, I haven't logged in with Harmony since then -- I've still got the barest shred of deniability. But replying to that thread is a direct admission that I know of her presence, and my silence is holding up the RP.

I should be clear -- based on her behavior so far, I'm not really expecting her to do something like delete the board. But if I handle this wrong, she might panic and disappear. Considering the amount of effort she's put in to joining and writing, I think that's what scares me the most! Which is a weird thing to say, for someone who hacked my site's web server, but still ...

On the other hand -- she did hack the server. (When we moved the site to a server with a fresh OS install, Inaki quietly installed some rootkit detection software, cranked all the settings up to max, and even went so far as to drop weird syslog entries to our cell phones in real time. Nothing yet.) So I keep second-guessing myself. What if Luna really does have something more malevolent in mind? Or what if she was waiting for a confrontation, to pull out some sort of crazy blackmail? Is she going to escalate once she realizes we're in a hacker war? And what if there's a backdoor we didn't catch, or she coded something else damaging in?

If it comes to that, I can pull out a two-month-old website backup, install it on a brand new webhost, and give up on the pony board. I would be able to recover with minimal personal loss ... but that's still the worst possible outcome. That would wipe out a lot of great camaraderie, effort, and creative writing (including Luna's)! So I feel a lot of pressure to make her feel welcome enough not to resort to warfare.

But, at the same time, how do I do that without completely ignoring the fact she hacked my server to join in? I mean, shouldn't that have consequences? And even if I'm willing to forget the past, how do I trust her not to do something worse in the future?

Augh, I don't know, and the clock is running down. Any suggestions? :/

- - -

UPDATE: The ball is in her court. (Um ... assuming celestial ponies play tennis, that is.)
Tags: my brain now hurts, transcendent masculinity

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