Furry Network’s new content policy gets panties in a bunch.

by Patch O'Furr

Sorry, I couldn’t resist a flippant headline. I’m laughing with the subjects of the story. Some of the crinkly among us will consider panties and similar undergarments to be literally just something to wear. And who am I to judge? It’s not my place to “change” them.

This reminds me of an amusing topic at Reddit’s r/furry community. It asked, if furry fandom had a motto, what would it be? Winner- “Yes, I am into that”.


There’s an endearingly permissive spectrum of Things Furries Are Into. At the far end is a topic that’s naturally going to be more uncomfortable than any other.  You see, quirky curiosities like Vore aren’t going to happen outside of fantasy and imagination.

voredThis one (let’s name names – “cub”, babyfur, littlefur, AB/DL, age play) is likely to be nothing but consenting role-play.  But people get squeamish.  We’ve all been vulnerable kids or responsible caretakers at some point.  I don’t like slippery-slope overreaction, but it makes an extreme test of the coexistence of two fundamentally different camps.

I call it the Big Umbrella from Disney to Dirty.  Day and Night furs. This shouldn’t have to be said but many furries want NOTHING to do with dirty stuff.  The divide of clean vs. adult is unresolvable with this hobby.  But you have to remember that your parents had sex AND raised kids.  Duality is part of life.  Handling it poorly is a problem with neurotic, puritanical America, where sex is scary and murder is entertainment. Torture-porn is box office gold but a TV nipple-slip is a scandal.

Role-play can be chaste, but adult art is a specific issue.  Pushing the limits of cute, pastel-hued character art has been a thing since many furs were still in di… uh, bad figure of speech.  Read Fred Patten’s discussion about 1990’s Tiny Toons fan art that provoked Warner Bros. cease-and-desist letters. Some furries get extremely prudish, and others get vehemently defensive: “We’re here, we’re crinkly, get used to it.”

It’s certainly not a thing you’d want associated with regular life or profession – like when a subject of the documentary “Fursonas” was bullied out of a job.  To push it as a “rights” thing seems ill-conceived and embarrassing… but on the other hand, it’s not fair to be scapegoated about harmless private quirks.  In 2015, the Rainfurrest convention shut down due to vandalism and it was conflated with “morals” offenses.  There’s a “fandom complex” about this.

Does a subculture need moral nannies?  How about nannies who support cub-furs to be themselves, like good partners?

It all leads to an update for last week’s story – the launch of Furry Network, a “furry fandom game-changer”.

Complaints about management of a furry art site?  That wasn’t going to happen to Furry Network, was it?

Crassus writes in:

“I did a bit of research and I discovered something rather odd that I don’t think has been made widely known yet. There was a security setting on FN’s Support forums that was not toggled, so it is likely that those votes in favor of the Cub art ban were actually made by a small group of people who spoofed hundreds of votes… In other words, signs indicate it was a hoax.

The timing of the revelation coincided with Varka’s locking of the thread and preventing new comments.

If Varka knew about the possibility of a hoax, why did he proceed with their demands?
Why did Varka leave it to a democratic majority decision when this is more of a civil rights issue?
Why did Varka allow such a thread to continue when the forum itself is supposed to be for tech features?
Will Varka be pressed to consider the implications of the ban if it is made widely known that a hoax took place?

And finally, will Varka retract the ban?

I wrote a short thought-piece on it on my IB Journal: “Were the FN Cub Porn Ban Votes FAKED?

In light of the ban taking place in record-breaking time I think this revelation is rather significant and could have a long-standing effect on the community if not acknowledged.” – (Crassus)

In my opinion, I wouldn’t be surprised if people went out of their way to take advantage of such a voting loophole.  But it just sounds circumstantial without someone naming themselves for doing many votes.

Whether voting is fair or not, it’s Furry Network’s call to set policies (you use Facebook and don’t get to vote there, right?)  Even if the voting was worthless, FN’s policy is in line with other sites.  Their announcement seem reasonable and caring to me.  It’s very sensitive content, there’s other sites that host it, and “professionalism” (a subjective word) is a tradeoff from extreme freedom for a special subset. They don’t want harm for professional artists using the site.

Furry Network runs a business, and they’re offering significant potential to improve Furry Business for others. Access to the work of developers doesn’t make entitlement to “rights”, it’s more like being a guest or partner. (Don’t like the policy, don’t use the site.)

Keep in mind how FurAffinity couldn’t make a relationship with payment processors:

Remember how long and loudly people complained about wanting a better site?  It makes a conundrum if you can’t pay to build a site when policies make it hard to develop a business.  Freedom or funding?  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Dragoneer did keep the site largely a haven for adult content – arguably a pro-artist compromise that held back development (separate from management topics), but supported Furry growth until now.

That may have led to this point when a new site can swoop in with a solution – not because Furaffinity failed, but because FA navigated limitations to make this possible. There had to be a community who like what Bad Dragon sells. That’s how BD built a baked-in payment system for FN.

With Furry Network’s policy, multiple sites are still needed to cover all the bases.  Competition is good, and this doesn’t stop you from expressing what you want on your own, or sharing it peer to peer.  Enjoy being DIY, which I think is the coolest thing about furries.

Fan entitlement is another topic, but keep in mind that it’s a real thing.