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Goodnight, Mana

• Jul 10, 2022

It’s been a journey of almost three years. A journey that included countless sleepless nights, head-banging, smiles, and tears. It’s hard to imagine that there would be a time when I would somehow announce Mana’s shutdown. I always thought that this daughter of mine whom I had painstakingly cared for and have quite the emotional attachment to would be standing still like a tower even after five or even ten years.

Although this isn’t the first time that I have taken Mana down, this will be the most painful decision for me since this is the longest time I’ve maintained a project. Before I delve deep into the history of Mana, I want to explain the reasoning behind her closure and it all comes down to two factors: mentality change and maintainability.

Explanation.

Mana has always been in this gray line of legality that has been clinging to my mind for a long time now. All her images are collected without any form of permission and hear me out, it’s not anything new in Discord especially in the past with Discord bots like Groovy and Rythm which once allowed streaming of YouTube songs into Discord. I was fine with it earlier back but have thought recently that “this isn’t really something to be proud of” and rightfully so.

I tried my best to at least credit all the artists by giving users potential paths to all the sources, but it wasn’t powerful and the rate of inaccuracy was growing each passing day. The algorithm was falling apart quickly and needed constant maintenance to be kept steady which wasn’t something that I can do. Mana scrapped images but she herself doesn’t know who these images come from and that’s where I played in and implemented several algorithms to at least help her find the artists.

After some time, the algorithm was working well but there was then another critical factor that Mana needed to resolve and that was her images weren’t for safe for work at all. This one was a hard problem for me especially back when I first took upon this issue, I was still sixteen years old when I took up this issue and I don’t think I was supposed to be looking at images that were for adults.

I looked for quite some time over how to resolve this issue and implemented multiple algorithms that filter out images as best as it could but it didn’t do much at all. It was then when I encountered artificial intelligence and went over to integrating one with Mana, it worked but at what cost… resources, performance, and time. The artificial intelligence wasn’t trained that much and finding a dataset that was basically non-safe images wasn’t that easy nor was making one.

There were also her roleplay commands which were manually collected because of several factors including quality and relevance which was something that automated methods that I had available could perform. In total, there are over a thousand GIFs all located in storage servers that were handpicked by people who I really appreciate. These GIFs will be forever online since storage and bandwidth is free, don’t worry.

Overall, the final straw in the line was the recent explosions in her servers which stemmed from legacy configurations and architecture. Her server itself wasn’t that good and had multiple explosions which led to multiple downtimes one after another. (this blog used to be on Mana’s server but as of writing, I had to take it out from the server because of major crashes).

From now on.

The road from here is vague. I personally don’t want to take Mana offline forever which is why I am calling it a “sleep” rather than a “shutdown”. There are still a few features that I find very neat and use a lot with other people which includes her roleplay commands, those features are easier to maintain and will allow me to downscale all of her infrastructures but this will require some time to perform.

I don’t know when she will wake up again, but when that happens, I hope most of you are still happy to greet her by then. 💝

A walk-down history.

Mana was first created in 2020 after a Discord bot called Emoji Thief was taken offline. I wasn’t someone who really took programming seriously. Mana was originally named “Paradoxium” which was really a funny name but I don’t really remember why I named her that. She was originally a fork of the aforementioned Discord bot but I was pretty bad at that back then and decided to make her from scratch.

“Paradoxium” was this odd bot, she was a multi-purpose bot that was created mainly for my private circle. She had badly written moderation, economy, emoji features, and all those other stuff which included anime roleplay and Yuriverse (which came out first) before WaifuWorld. Although it didn’t take long before “Paradoxium” fell asleep because of financial reasons.

I was just a simple writer back then who wrote code in my free time. I didn’t have the funding to spend 20$ (which was a huge number for me back then) every single month. I had to take her down and down she was for several months before… Mana came to replace the girl. Mana took Paradoxium’s legacy as a multi-purpose bot, she had so many features one after another that it grew too large for me to maintain.

It wasn’t long after Project Stargazer when I took upon the task of completely rewriting Mana. It was also at this time when Mana no longer had message commands after months of usage checks which showed slash commands were more loved in Mana than other forms and that’s where our little story ends.

If you want to see the full memorial of Mana’s old days, have a look at our Discord server at https://discord.gg/45yKngSBvf

Goodnight, sweet angel.

I feel a bit emotional writing this entire blog post and making this decision. I always looked up to Mana as more of a companion rather than a programming project, she’s almost as if my daughter who I took care of for almost three years now. I know a lot of people don’t like this decision. I also don’t like this decision but it’s not possible for me to keep her online for the time being.

I wish you a goodnight’s sleep, Mana. A companion who I had for almost three years. A partner in crime. A teacher who taught me many lessons and my pillar in what is now my future path in life.

Honorable song for this moment: https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=7rKRr_mvIY0&feature=share


Goodnight, Mana

Shindou Mihou