When we were thinking about implementing the 'Add a Variation' button to the site for the first time, a lot of questions came to our minds. One of the biggest being if some users won't abuse it for creating duplicate patterns.
To explain, a variation is basically a pattern with the same knots as the original one, but with different colours. It's a bit more complex, and different for alpha vs. normal patterns, but the idea was simple. We wanted to prevent having multiple patterns with the same knot structure on the site, grouping them under the original pattern instead. It's currently not even possible to add a pattern with the same knots that we already have on the site. It automatically gets recognised as a variation, and it's added to the site that way. In fact, during the migration to the new site, more than 700 existing patterns were converted to variations.
The logic for recognising variations is actually pretty smart and complex. Patterns are also recognised when being repeated, rotated, or even when the knots are moved in a normal pattern. I don't want to go in much detail here in this post, but there's a lot more going on in the recognition algorithms. But still, there are some cases where we're not able prevent a minority of users abusing the feature. The most common, and probably the only problematic case was that some users clicked the 'Add a Variation' button, changed one knot so that the pattern looked the same at the end, and submitted it as a new pattern. That was really a big problem, because it was destroying one of the main reasons we wanted to solve with this. A lot of same patterns were appearing in the admin section, and it wasn't easy for us knowing that the patterns already do exist on the site.
And that's why we had to come up with a solution. Currently, when you click the 'Add a Variation' button, a new pattern is being created in your 'Create Patterns' section, but the difference is that you are no longer able to view, or edit the knots. So the generator behaves a bit differently for patterns created from scratch vs. patterns created from existing patterns. I really hope this will make it a lot harder to add duplicates to the site, and will still let you change the colours and add variations.
Thank you for reading, and please, if possible, bear in mind that we really want to keep the site as clean and streamlined as possible. The duplicate patterns you add will sooner or later be removed, so there's no point in hunting the numbers in your profile. In fact, we're giving rewards for reporting duplicate patterns, so If you find one, please let us know.
Have a nice day 🙂, and thank you all for being so active.