Ursa Major Awards and a furry fandom game-changer – NEWSDUMP (5-24-16)
by Patch O'Furr
Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag. Tips: email@example.com.
Ursa Major Awards announced.
WE’RE #2! Awooooo!!! “Best Magazine” went to Heat from Sofawolf Press. Next year, maybe Dogpatch Press can get #1 with a shameless award campaign with sexy fursuit pin-up poses. (As fursuiter on staff, it’s not that I don’t have standards… I would enjoy it just as much as anyone who wants to see it.)
Congrats also to Furries Among Us, edited by Thurston Howl, a nice success for a new small publisher. Then there’s the interesting topic of “Best Website” for FurAffinity.
FurAffinity hacked – furry problems reach wider community.
VICE: “Another Day, Another Hack: Furry Site Hacked, Content Deleted.” Flayrah reported loss of six days of data and how the problem is being addressed.
Source code for the FurAffinity site was gained through a security hole. The code ended up on flash drives distributed at Biggest Little Fur Con, even left around at random. Shortly afterward, personal accounts were accessed. Some people who used passwords in common with other accounts (Google etc.) reported attempts to access those. Password reset was done for all users, locking some users out of their accounts if they weren’t linked to current email addresses.
Dogpatch Press got tips, although the info was already on this gossip forum. There was also an informative link to a timeline of FurAffinity’s problems maintained by Eevee.
There’s a long pattern of problems. But then it couldn’t have been easy to build a large fan-based site with a very shaky business model. In my opinion, it shows outside stigma as much as inside mistakes, and a positive testament to fan commitment.
Furry Network launched to the public – do FurAffinity’s problems make opportunity for a game-changer?
On May 12-15, Biggest Little Fur Con was host for a planned launch event for Furry Network. It’s the new art site sparked by IMVU’s buyout of FurAffinity, and developed by the minds behind Bad Dragon, king of what I call the “shadow economy” of Furry fandom.
If we named two leading “institutions” rising out of grassroots, DIY fandom (“Big Furry”), the other might be Anthrocon, representing the “family friendly” light side. Occasionally I bring up the 2012 rule change that blocked Bad Dragon from Anthrocon – a superficially tiny event representing a major schism between two fundamentally conflicting camps. Their strange coexistence is the biggest drawback and strength of Furry. (It’s no mistake that the recent Fursonas documentary specifically focused on leaders of both.)
Game-changer is a hype term – which may be well deserved. Furry Network appears to offer the first widely useable mediation system for payments and ratings to manage Furry business. Flayrah recently had discussion about why Furry-specific auction sites only inhabit a small niche apart from activity hubs. This would be the first fandom-specific site to bring it together.
Remember how FurAffinity’s “cub problem” kept it from having a relationship with a payment processor, preventing growth? Whatever Dragoneer’s faults, he kept the site largely untamed with only modest compromise about content. But that was natively an art site, not an adult business built in the face of outside stigma about “morality”. Furry Network starts out with a robust payment system already in place thanks to a thriving market for Bad Dragon products.
We sure do - complete with support for adult works, buyer/seller protection, and dispute resolution in-house. 😀 https://t.co/c14ZScQbDB— Furry Network (@FurryNetwork) May 19, 2016
Could a potential game-changer like this come from any other fan institution? It’s why I say “porn saves.”
FurAffinity’s most recent drama isn’t the first time they faced a challenge from competition during a crisis. Last year Flayrah reported shedding users when the FurAffinity Forums broke away. Now, security measures on FA (including new Captchas) have a suspiciously convenient side-effect. Grab popcorn.
Hey everyone! We're sorry the importer isn't working - we looked into it, and it seems to be because the source site is in read-only mode.— Furry Network (@FurryNetwork) May 21, 2016
“Announcing the Furry Writers Guild University!”
It may look like just another subforum, but it’s a home for online writing workshops sponsored by the FWG.
“What I’d love for the FWGU to become — with our members’ and supporters’ help — is a place where both new and experienced furry writers can come to learn about writing in a more in-depth way than just a single critique, where our experienced members can pay it forward by leading workshops for their peers and up-and-coming writers in the fandom, and where writers who don’t have the ability to travel to conventions and attend panels can get a little of that same panel experience online from wherever they are. If anyone (member or future member) would like to lead a workshop, we have a proposal form here you can fill out and submit.” – (Renee Carter Hall, “Poetigress”, FWG President 2014-2016.)
Furry Publishers twitter accounts collected by Fuzzwolf of FurPlanet. A list of 14 publishers for furry authors to know.
AMAZING FURRY NEWS COMING SOON – Zootopia Porn Parody As Popular As Real Thing In #7!
Big Pharma Upset When Furry Hugs Proven Better Than Overpriced Pills— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 14, 2015
Con Rulebook Suggests Not To Party Until You Puke Inside Your Fursuit— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 14, 2015
Time Traveler Comes From 2022 To Stop Furry-Brony World War— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 22, 2015
Museum Of Furry's First Exhibit Is Uncle Kage’s Liver— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 23, 2015
Grumpy Old Man In Sleeping Gown Throws Shoe At Furry Orgy— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 22, 2015
Obama Commissions Fursuit So He Can Go Places Without Secret Service Hanging Off His Ass— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 22, 2015
You know, I have to wonder what Toby Fox would think about winning an Ursa Major, because ever since Undertale came out, I’ve wondered how much, if any, interest he had in furry fandom and whether it was ever an influence on his character designs. I mean, while he clearly didn’t consciously go out of his way to make a game just for furries or anything like that, he created some characters like Alphys and the Dreemurrs that aren’t just anthropomorphic animals, they’re animals that are slightly warped in what seems to me to be the same way that most fursonas are these days; the same aesthetic that gives us things like a shark/fox hybrid, or a raccoon with green glowing stripes, or a dragon that’s an inflatable pooltoy. Of course, this is also the same person who created Napstablook and Mettaton, so I think he looks at all of his characters through a pretty idiosyncratic lens.
Unfortunately, among everyone on the internet rambling on and on about Undertale, Toby Fox himself will probably never even hear of there being such a thing as an Ursa Major award or that he won one, and out of all the artists I’ve ever seen, I think he’s perhaps the one who talks the least about his own views on his art, and is the most content to let others debate among themselves what it all means. However, it is actually known for certain that Toby Fox was in contact with at least one furry during the development of Undertale, because the hidden character So Sorry is really an alternative version of the fursona of a fur called Samael the Butterdragon, who donated to the game’s Kickstarter. (His name and appearance were changed because Toby Fox was concerned that otherwise, it would be too easy for kids who played Undertale to find Samael’s FA gallery, where he has fetish art of that character. Still, if nothing else, everything Samael has said about working with Toby Fox seems to suggest that he has pretty positive feelings towards furries in general….)
Toby Fox should hear about winning an Ursa Major Award, because the ALAA is supposed to send him a trophy for it. Is his mailing address a secret?
Hmmm. Well, I actually didn’t know that they sent out physical trophies. That would definitely be a lot more likely to catch Toby Fox’s attention than just sending emails to him or posting links to the webpage that lists the winners.
I assumed that he wouldn’t already have heard of the Ursa Majors or know that he’d been nominated, but that isn’t necessarily true, and even if it is, someone saying he’d won an award would probably stand out a lot more than someone pestering him about minute trivia about Undertale, or just trying to get him to say hello back to them. I just thought that, with all the people that must try to contact him, it would have to be extremely difficult not to get lost in the crowd.
(Also, some of the guy’s fans are really creepy. I mean, there’s this one guy who’s a fan of Undertale and who’s always participating in disturbing roleplaying scenarios on the internet where he pretends to be an accordion-playing leopard with no pants, and who for no particularly good reason is weirdly neurotic about whether Toby Fox approves of the other subcultures he’s part of. I actually kind of hope Toby Fox’s address is being kept secret from people like that.)