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.
This 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.
#rainfurrest #RF2015 #rf2016— Lorde Sayten (@corri_yammari) October 10, 2015
RF issues in a nutshell. pic.twitter.com/ge6Rdjp3ny
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?
TL;DR - cub porn is no longer permitted on Furry Network. Full details: https://t.co/sWvvgeSCZv— Furry Network (@FurryNetwork) May 28, 2016
- Forum topic: “Remove allowing Cub Pornography on the website.“
- Forum topic: “Possible compromise for the cub art issue.“
- “It’s like they have a God-complex. “I don’t like this, remove it or else.” Even though FN HAS a blacklist so you don’t have to see that type of stuff, they feel like they have to “save everyone from seeing it”. – (Waba Grill)
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:
- Flayrah: Fur Affinity loses AlertPay account, bans cub porn (2010)
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.
Very good, well-rounded essay. I like a piece that tries to see all sides.
That said, this is a topic I’ve railed against for a long time, since back before FA banned my trickster ass. I support cub art. Fundamentally because I think it’s insane to think that any drawn fantasy image is more harmful than any other drawn fantasy image. I think this is largely a problem of insecurity. Some furries legit hate cubfur art, and personal preferences are fine. But the calls to ban it come from, I think, furries who are ashamed to be furry. They think, ‘If we can just get rid of all the bad stuff that makes the mainstream hate us, then they won’t hate us!’ Nope. The lunchroom bully does not stop picking on the nerd just because the nerd buys a less-dorky pair of glasses. The mainstream is going to keep on being grossed out by furries for a long time yet, and there’s nothing we can do about it. They dislike what we intrinsically are. Your family is not suddenly going to be okay with you wearing a tail around the house just because you insist, “B-but I voted to clean up all the dirty furry art!!” It’s all dirty to people who don’t understand it. Either wear your tail with IDGAF pride, leave the fandom, or stay in the closet quietly. No amount of throwing our own kin under the bus will appease people who already don’t like the very idea of us.
Secondly, FurryNetwork does have the right to make this choice. I’d love to have a new platform for my work, but if they’re gonna be all uptight about it, I’ll stay on Inkbunny. Still, they better prepared to deal with the same consequences that FA went through. Meaning that, THE BAN IS COMPLETELY UNENFORCABLE. How can the site admins patrol all of the content that comes through? How will they distinguish between characters that are actually underage and ones just drawn in that style? How are artists supposed to know what an admin will think is cub or not? When FA banned cub porn, the admins rampaged through my gallery, deleting content seemingly at random. They took down things that obviously weren’t, and left up things that clearly were. So if FN wants this ban, they had better have a crystal-clear AUP and a dedicated team of trustworthy mods, or they are going to have a quagmire. We’ll see.
“Your family is not suddenly going to be okay with you wearing a tail around the house just because you insist, “B-but I voted to clean up all the dirty furry art!!” It’s all dirty to people who don’t understand it. Either wear your tail with IDGAF pride, leave the fandom, or stay in the closet quietly. No amount of throwing our own kin under the bus will appease people who already don’t like the very idea of us.”
Well said! I’m sick of watching furries try to reason with or placate mundanes by shooting those furries who are a perceived embarrassment. I couldn’t care less what mundanes or even other furries think. I just want a safe enclave where these people are not allowed to interfere. Thank heavens we have Inkbunny.
Thanks! And yes, three cheers for Starling for being the anti-Neer in terms of running a secure, drama-free ship.
Also, I even think it’s fine if furries do worry about mainstream approval. But I’m all about focusing on what works and what doesn’t. Pointing fingers among ourselves to cast out the “pervs” doesn’t work.
Actually, one of the biggest things I’ve found that does? When someone’s like, “What the hell are furries!?” I say, “Same thing as Trekkies. Same categories apply. Some just watch, others make fanfiction/fanart, others dress in costume and go to cons.’ Linking furries to something they already understand, and know is geeky but not dangerous, has had positive results for me several times.
This article about FN’s policies is fine. But the articles of the last two links, “real” & “think”, are complete garbage.
“[…] whether driven by hate (Ghostbusters) or a desire for inclusion (Frozen 2) both campaigns show the entitlement of modern fan culture. […] These fans are treating stories like ordering at a restaurant – hold the pickles, please, and can I substitute kale for the lettuce? But that isn’t how art works, and that shouldn’t be how art lovers react to art. They shouldn’t be bringing a bucket of paint to the museum to take out some of the blue from those Picassos […]”
Devin Faraci @ Birth Movies Death comparing the new “Ghostbusters” movie to Picasso art. With a straight face. If Pablo Picasso was alive he’d sue. Please kill me slightly.
Jesse Hassenger @ A.V. Club:
“Rolfe, apparently better known as the “Angry Video Game Nerd,” has bravely crossed over from the world of video game crit into a broader discussion about movies via his internet-famous video […] wherein he announces his intentions to not see […] the upcoming remake of the 1984 film Ghostbusters.”
Except James Rolfe is an art graduate and an actual filmmaker, loves cinema, and has been passionately reviewing movies for years. And the website where he hosts all his videos is called CINEMAssacre. So he’s not just an ‘entitled’ fan who rather plays videogames. And he is a nicer and better-spoken person than Jesse Hassenger.
These two sites are giving Hollywood’s shitty-remakes-galore way too much credit.
I didn’t read those two articles closely… thanks for doing it! “Fan entitlement” is a thing even if the articles don’t impress…
Yeah, I think the “picasso” comparison is the right sentiment but the absolutely wrong example.
I think it’s unfair to demand that creators cater to followers of a sacred canon.
At the same time I’m totally in favor of the masses shaping creations by their own wishes. Doing it personally, not by complaining that others should do the work.
I like Andy Warhol’s sentiments about “originality” and think pop art is as valid as avante garde.
To me, criticizing content should start with the hamburger-making process. It shouldn’t matter so much whether something is faithful or original. It’s still totally fair to criticize corporate product for having no soul. Hollywood remakes do get tiresome and soulless and just about bucks.
Rolfe is a friend of a friend… I don’t follow his stuff but I’m predisposed to trust his motivation for passion not money.
Are you sure you really want to quote Crassus of all people in this? The self identified irl pedophile who co hosted a podcast called the “Pedologues” advocating for irl pedophilia and commissioned art containing real life pedophile iconography?
Thanks, I had no idea. It was a tip sent in, and I like to strongly encourage people to do that by sharing what they send, even if I disagree.
Personally, and I think this speaks for virtually the entire community, I revile such activities and won’t support them. I’ll get the cops on the phone instantly if there’s a hint of it crossing the line into real life.
Most furry fans are just that – fans of creativity and each other, not into exploiting others. Most are pretty young on average and the opposite of powerful over others. The older ones I’ve met are super well adjusted. People who want to worm their way into a community with bad intentions shouldn’t seek friends here, they should seek help.
I’m leaving these comments in place to let them be known.
Even if all this is true about Crassus, it has no bearing on his claim about the votes. After all, if Hitler said 2+2=4, that wouldn’t make the answer not 4 anymore.
For things like this where I find an interesting bit of info from a dodgy source, I go look and see if there’s any better sources to confirm or debunk. Maybe someone else in the comments knows some.
I was just going to say, Crassus’s history doesn’t delegitimize the information it provided. Also I find it dangerous to basically advocate someone’s destruction merely for the political and social views they espouse.
Anyway, Crassus merely stumbled onto this. https://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/958-voting-prone-to-anonymous-tor-abuse/
I have to say that illegal material is past the point of just views, and even art of it is a grey area depending on location. I think Furry Network had well explained reasons for the policy apart from votes, and it’s their site, they don’t have to allow you to vote. That’s why I didn’t put weight on whether they were valid (which goes for both sides since the cheating could be done for or against.)
I don’t know how I feel about this. Crassus is pretty much a known pederast, who has in the past run a podcast with people advocating sexual relationships with real, life children. He has been known to travel to visit real live children, and there is a background of numerous people catching their real live children in a relationship with Crassus.
I don’t think he’s a good spokesperson for the imaginary production of art like this, because he’s clearly unable to keep it in fantasyland.
I can say this, the voting on the forums had nothing to do with the decision Varka and crew made. It was a simple matter of legal consultation and the desire to take FN into a mainstream environment. Sites like FN are not going to be run by polls on forums.
I really wish this comment could be posted anonymously.
Thanks, I had no idea. It was a tip sent in, and I like to strongly encourage people to do that by sharing what they send. See comments above, I revile such activities and think the community does too. I’m leaving these comments in place to let it be known.
I got a smart comment elsewhere that it’s just as likely for voting to have been abused in the other direction. Someone was afraid that it would be linked to 4Chan for a joke. The ban seems reasonable.
The number of votes seems quite disproportionate with the userbase FN would have at its stage of development. Slightly over 2,000 supposedly were cast within a span of 33 hours, 69% for and 31% against, when the petition to ban cub 3 days earlier received no attention and the concurrent petition advocating cub porn merely be auto-blacklisted upon registration received 41 votes and 80% approval. The vote and this the decision was complete and utter bullshit.
Also, rejecting information someone provides merely for their ideology seems inherently irrational. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter since we still have the petition itself to go by, but someone can be evil and still very accurate. And, someone can be morally unassailable and be a complete and utter dumbass.
To be honest I don’t see the problem with this, it only affects a bunch of depraved and deranged lunatics. So those creeps getting the cold shoulder on this new site only makes it more appealing to me. No sweat off my back. Keep on keeping on my friend wonderful article.
I’m curious where your moral standing is to say they’re depraved and deranged lunatics.
It’s something he doesn’t like
I have satirized this entire fiasco with a Downfall parody. It’s my first one, and I’m quite proud of myself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOYB0R49620
OK, “Weird Green Bastard” gets laffs.
Thanks. I wanted him to insult him in a way that was both humorous and obviously not meant as an actual attack. That absurd insult came to mind.