In Response to the CloudFlare News, Please Change Your Passwords

Hello, everyone.

Last night, CloudFlare announced that they had an extremely small percentage of requests that could result in leaked information from previous requests being included by mistake. Furry Network uses CloudFlare to help protect against distributed denial of service attacks.

CloudFlare has since resolved the issue that was leaking information, and they have contacted staff to let us know that no Furry Network users were affected according to their knowledge. However, as a precautionary measure, we have logged all users out of the website. We also request that you change your password.

Because issues like this may affect a large number of sites, we recommend reviewing your password sharing habits. You should also consider using a password manager and a unique password for each site.

CloudFlare’s announcement can be found here.

A list of potentially affected sites can be found here.

We thank you for your patience with this matter.

-Digby and the Furry Network team

Furry Network Update – February 16, 2017

Hello, everyone!

We’ve been working with our developers to roll out our next update, and it has now gone live! This update involves reindexing submissions, and this process will likely continue through most of Friday. Parts of users’ galleries may not be visible during this process, so if it looks like you have a few submissions missing, don’t worry – those will show up soon.

Here are the updates for the site.

Activity History Feed

home-page-toolbarThe Activity History feed is a record of the activity for all the people you follow on Furry Network. Previously, the Activity History feed was text only – there was no way to view submissions or promotions without clicking on the item in the feed.

The feed has been changed to have a visual element. Now, published artwork appears large on the feed, and any promotions or comments have a smaller icon on the feed item. This way, you can get a quick glance at the submission and see if this is an artist that may interest you.

As a quick note, favorites still do not appear in the Activity History – these remain private to you. If there is something stellar that you want your followers to see, though, hit promote!

Activity History Feed.PNG

Sorting By Most Popular

For several months, sorting by popular has been frozen on past submissions; the “Most Popular Last Week” and “Most Popular Last Month” sections were identical, and there wasn’t any movement in the submissions over time.

We corrected this issue, and the sorts now work correctly. The popular feeds now react in real time to the activity on the site, updating as submissions are viewed, receive comments, and are favorited or promoted. We want our users to find some of the most outstanding content on the site, and this will make discovering fantastic creations much easier.

Sort By.gif

Full Change Log

  • Added outlines to blank area when scrolling down.
  • Changed users’ activity to show content when promoting, commenting, or publishing.
  • Fixed issue with not being able to remove the first tag from the Global Blacklist
  • Popular feed fixed so it updates regularly.
  • Changed What’s New feed to truncate automatically, avoiding site slowing when a large feed is cleared.
  • Corrected issue with imported items appearing in a random order.
  • Extended login tokens from a week to a month.

Known Issues

  • Not all gallery items are appearing in users’ gallery – should be resolved as gallery submissions are reindexed through February 17th.
  • What’s New feed is not showing recent submissions, and some past submissions are appearing multiple times.

What’s Next?

These site changes have come in preparation for commission testing. Originally, we had planned to begin testing at the end of January or the beginning of February, but we wanted to make sure the rest of the website was functioning well. We are still aiming to begin testing before February is over.

We are also working on a text editor for the site. At the moment, the tools to format stories and journals on Furry Network are nonexistent. Our developers have put together tools that will allow easier formatting, and this is expected to be implemented in the next site update.

We appreciate your enthusiasm, and we hope these changes will help you find and share content that you absolutely love!

-Digby and the Furry Network team

Policy Changes and Updates – February 2017

Hello, everyone!

As we are moving closer to testing the Furry Network Commission Tool, we have worked to clarify policies and add documentation about how information gathered on the site is used.

Acceptable Upload Policy

We have added guidelines in our Acceptable Upload Policy for game and program screenshots. These will be considered artwork and should include content that has been created by the user. Made a detailed red panda model on Second Life? Show it off! Modded a Khajiit to have Nigel Thornberry’s nose? A little odd, but sure, upload it!

Screenshots of things that were already in programs or games won’t be permitted. Yes, we know that black chocobo in Final Fantasy XV is adorable, but screenshots wouldn’t be allowed since they would not contain user-created content.

Privacy Policy

Furry Network has also put together our Privacy Policy. This policy shows the ways that information is gathered by the site and how that information may be used. Most of the information gathered goes towards improving the site and analyzing its current tools. We value our members’ privacy, and information will only be used as detailed in this policy.

If for some reason information does need to be used in another way, the policy will be revised, and we will post an update outlining that change.

What’s Next

The development team is currently working on an update for Furry Network. We will roll out several bug fixes, but the biggest change will be with sorting by popularity. Currently, sorting by popularity always shows the same images; this will be fixed to show submissions with the most activity. You will be able to sort by weekly, monthly, or lifetime popularity. We want your outstanding art to be seen by the community, and this will help veterans and newcomers alike to get their work out in the open.

Shortly after we have rolled out the site update, we will begin testing the commission tool. For now, sellers are being hand-picked to test, but any Furry Network users will be able to purchase commissions. We still have a few slots open for sellers, so if you are interested in helping test the commission tool, feel free to fill out our volunteer application.

We appreciate the talent and the warm-hearted nature of this community!

-Digby and the Furry Network team

Volunteers Needed for Commission Testing

Hello, everyone!

When Furry Network was created, we wanted to help people throughout the fandom come together to bring worlds and characters to life. We’ve seen the wealth of imagination submitted through various media to the site’s gallery, and your creativity continues to amaze us.

One sore spot that has remained for many, though, is the commission process. We have seen cases where people on both sites of a commission have fallen through on commitments; at times, these are eventually resolved, but some disputes drag on for months or years. Many worry about the risks that have come with commissions.

We believe that bringing an idea to life should be a fun and exhilarating experience for buyers and sellers alike. Because of that, we have created Furry Network’s commission tool, and we are now accepting volunteers to help test the commission process.

How Is This More Reliable?

Traditionally, buyers and sellers commissioning art have discussed payment terms. People paying upfront have sometimes never received the final commission, and content creators accepting payment at the end of the commission risk not being paid at all.

Throughout the commission process, Furry Network will act as a third party, ensuring that payments are made, cancelled commissions have refunds processed, and disputes are resolved. Having a third party gives several benefits during the commission process:

  • If a commission needs to be cancelled for warranted reasons, refunds are guaranteed to be available for the buyer
  • Sellers are guaranteed that funds are available for payment once the commission is complete
  • Any payment issues can be resolved if either party becomes responsive
  • An unbiased staff member is available to assist with any disputes and ensure that matters are resolved according to commission rules

The commission tool also comes with space to upload reference sheets, a summary showing the scope of work, and statuses to easily sort through the progress on current commissions. In addition, a page showing accounts open for commission provides more visibility for both experienced and new content creators.

We will provide more information about the tool as well as the full rule list in the coming weeks.

Signing Up as a Volunteer

We are looking for 20 content creators to help test the commission tool for the website. Tests will begin either at the end of January or the beginning of February. Because this is a new tool, we expect for some problems to appear on occasion; we will have a staff member available to help whenever any issues arise.

If you are interested, please fill out our volunteer application. Note that you do not need to fill this out if you wish to purchase a commission through this system; any Furry Network users may purchase commissions during the testing process.

We are thrilled to begin testing this tool, and we hope all involved with commissions can find more excitement in the process of creation.

-Digby and the Furry Network team

New Staff, Changes, & What’s to Come

Hello, everyone!

This small update is coming from someone you haven’t heard from before. My name is Digby, and I will be working as the site community manager for Furry Network as we work towards the full release of the website!

A Taste of What’s to Come

Furry Network development has been on hold over the past few months, but now that we have the manpower (or foxpower, I suppose), we are expecting updates to roll out over the next couple of months. We have revised the Code of Conduct and the Acceptable Upload Policy in order to add clarity to the rules; this revision will outline content appropriate for the three content ratings and clarify the purpose for the rules in place. We are also preparing the commission tool for live user testing.

We know you’re excited for our commissions system, and we are, too! In the near future, we will ask for volunteers to help test commissions. Be sure to keep your eyes on our Twitter account for the chance to get involved in our testing and the project’s ongoing development!

We’ve had some great ideas and received lots of suggestions for how we can improve the community involvement aspects of the site for both artists and followers. As we near the full release of the site, we will begin to hold our first artistic competitions! Some contests will focus on artistic prompts while others will throw in added challenges. If you’re not an artist, don’t worry – we’ll have opportunities for all types of content creators (and even if you’ve never made anything before)! We hope to give recognition to your individual way of expressing creativity. If you can make it, we want to celebrate it.

About Digby

Hi, I’m a fox, and I’m new here!

I first discovered the furry fandom around 2002, and have been active on and off in it for 10 years. Of course, for the sake of uniqueness, I chose a fox fursona. I’ve written several small fictional pieces within the fandom, and I tried my hand at publishing a series of short story publications. Outside of the fandom, I perform improv comedy, and I volunteer for gaming charity events. My favorite movie is Troll 2, and I make the best lasagna in the world.

We all look forward to making this the most exciting site for the fandom!

-Digby and the Furry Network team

Site Update – August 11th

Hello everyone –

We’ve just launched a little update to Furry Network, improving the Popular feature on the siteas well as fixing a number of bugs. This is one of our ‘wrap-up’ updates adding final polish to the site, before we change gears and start working on policies, promotions, tutorials and commissions.

New Popular Feed Sorting

The popular feed now has three options: most popular of all time, most popular last month, and most popular last week. This was added to fix the popular algorithm and keep the popular feed from feeling stale. This is now present in both the main galleries and the character profile galleries.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 5.12.55 PM.png

We also fixed a bug which was causing some submissions to not appear in the Popular feed when they should. All newly-uploaded content from now on should show up correctly in the Popular feed.

Profile Bug Fixed

Quite a few users informed us of a strange bug that has been causing people’s profiles to display the wrong contents; this usually came about when you’d view someone’s profile from the following/followers section. This has now been fixed.

We also fixed a ton of other little bugs site-wide; if you’ve been having an issue with something on the site, give it another shot – there’s a good chance it’s working now!

Full Changelog

  • New popular feed sorting. The popular feed now has three options: most popular of all time, most popular last month, and most popular last week. This was added to fix the popular algorithm and keep the popular feed from feeling stale. This is now present in both the main galleries and the character profile galleries.
  • Fixed bug with some submissions not appearing in the popular feeds when they should
  • Fixed bug that would cause another user’s profile information to initially display when clicking a character in the following/followers list
  • Various other fixes and polish

Now Hiring: Community Manager

We’ve set up a shiny new Jobs page, and are looking for an outstanding Community Manager to help take Furry Network to the next level. Do you want a full-time, paid job supporting the Furry community and helping it grow and develop? This might be just the thing for you. See our Jobs Page for more information and to apply.

Next Steps

Our Development Team is going to be taking a break to focus on other projects for a bit, while we get the documentation, tutorials and policies side of things brought up to date. As mentioned in our last update, we have quite a few new things ready to go out on the non-technical side of things – and we want to make sure Furry Network is a well-rounded experience.

We’ll also be starting the ball rolling on testingo our on-site Commissions features, and refining them for a gradual production rollout (similar to how we did our initial early Beta, where you had to request a key).

Thanks everyone!

-Varka and the Furry Network team

July Site Update

Hello everyone!

It’s been quite a while since our last update announcement; almost a month and a half – and we’ve blasted through the last of our remaining todo list as part of giving the site the final coat of polish it needs to really shine.

We’ve been very quiet, mainly because there’s been a lot going on (both in developing Furry Network and in other projects) – we hope to change this up and make things a lot more active in the coming weeks, now we’re getting the last few items finished up site-wide.

With that said, we have a jumbo update for you – this time, featuring some much-requested features, including Profile Pages, Journals and better navigation.

Onto the features:

Character profile home page

Character profiles now have customizable home pages! You can now feature sections of your profile including any media galleries (artwork, photos, stories, etc.), highlight a single submission, or get creative with some Markdown text.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 2.02.23 PM

You can go to Edit Your Profile to add and manage what is displayed on your homepage:

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 2.00.58 PM

Journals

Journals are now supported. To add a journal, simply visit your submission manager by clicking “Upload” in the navigation and adding them to your profile.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 2.29.20 PM

Unlike Stories, Journals will only appear on your profile and your followers’ activity feeds, not in the general site-wide new/popular galleries. Journals support all the same functionality of other site content including comments, tags, favoriting and more and can also be featured on your homepage.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 3.41.26 PM

Single submission view improvements

Improvements were made when viewing single submissions throughout the site to appear in a modal instead of a new page to allow for a better browsing experience.  Now you can close the submission and go back to what you were previously viewing, even if you’ve scrolled down on a feed.

You can also use your arrow keys to navigate between submissions, favorite, promote and close what you’re currently viewing. If you wish to view something in a new tab, you can click Download. Hover over the compass icon in the lower left of the screen to view thumbnail navigation.

modal

 

Community Tag Improvements

Artists and admins now have control over managing community tags on submissions. Artists can disable community tags on a per-submission basis from the submission manager while editing one or many submissions.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 5.03.51 PM

 

Artists can manage community tags from both the submission page and the submission manager, either adding them to the block list for that submission (clicking the X) or promoting them to artist tags (clicking the checkmark). Artists have a button at the bottom of the community tag modal to list and delete their blocked tags for that submission.

managecommunity.gif

If a user tries to add a community tag that has been blocked by the artist, the user will receive a validation error. They will also receive an error if the tag already exists. Users can only remove community tags that they have added

Users can now flag community tags. Admins can review the ticket, which includes a link to the submission, the user who added the community tag, and the user who flagged the tag.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 11.14.54 AM.png

What’s New Feed Improvements

You can now optionally prevent submissions from hitting What’s New or Fresh feeds. In the submission manager, there is a new Publish All button on draft pages that will move all current drafts to public. Checking the “publish my submissions…” checkbox will publish them in the Fresh feed and followers’ What’s New feed. Leaving the box unchecked will only make the submissions public, and they will not appear in What’s New or Fresh Feeds. Each submission can only be published one time to avoid spam.

optionally

Navigation Improvements

We have updated the header to now show links for Home, Gallery, Upload and Community. There is also a message notification icon next to the general notification icon, and a settings dropdown. Gallery takes you to the Most Popular and Most Recent feeds for submissions. Upload will take you to your submission manager.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 5.09.45 PM

The Settings dropdown includes account and content settings, logout, support, rules/policies, about and the content rating switcher.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 5.13.42 PM

Profile dropdown improvements

We’ve made the profile switcher dropdown menu more intuitive and link directly to frequently visited profile areas such as the homepage and edit sections

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 3.52.14 PM

 

 

Full Changelog

  • Character profile home page. Character profiles now have customizable homepages! You can now feature sections of your profile including any media galleries (artwork, photos, stories, etc.), highlight a single submission, or get creative with some Markdown text. You can go to Edit Your Profile to add and manage what is displayed on your homepage.
  • Journals. To add a journal, simply visit your submission manager by clicking “Upload” in the navigation and adding them to your profile.
    • Unlike Stories, Journals will only appear on your profile and your followers’ activity feeds, not in the general site-wide new/popular galleries. Journals support all the same functionality of other site content including comments, tags, favoriting and more and can also be featured on your homepage.
  • Single Submission View Improvements. Improvements were made when viewing single submissions throughout the site to appear in a modal instead of a new page to allow for a better browsing experience.  Now you can close the submission and will go back to what you were previously viewing, even if you’ve scrolled down on a feed.
  • Community Tag Updates. Artists and admins now have control over managing community tags on submissions. Artists can disable community tags on a per-submission basis from the submission manager while editing one or many submissions.
    • Artists can manage community tags from both the submission page and the submission manager, either adding them to the block list for that submission (clicking the X) or promoting them to artist tags (clicking the checkmark). Artists have a button at the bottom of the community tag modal to list and delete their blocked tags for that submission.
    • If a user tries to add a community tag that has been blocked by the artist, the user will receive a validation error. They will also receive an error if the tag already exists. Users can only remove community tags that they have added.
    • Users can now flag community tags. Admins can review the ticket, which includes a link to the submission, the user who added the community tag, and the user who flagged the tag.
  • Optionally prevent submissions from hitting What’s New or Fresh feeds. In the submission manager, there is a new Publish All button on draft pages that will move all current drafts to public. Checking the “publish my submissions…” checkbox will publish them in the Fresh feed and their followers’ What’s New feed. Leaving the box unchecked will only make the submissions public, and they will not appear in What’s New or Fresh Feeds. Each submission can only be published one time to avoid spam.
  • Header Redesign. We have updated the header to now show links for Home, Gallery, Upload and Community. There is also a message notification icon next to the general notification icon, and a settings dropdown. (we will be adding a search to the header as well, it’s just currently disabled).
    • The Settings dropdown includes account and content settings, logout, support, rules/policies, about and the content rating switcher.
    • Users are able to switch characters by clicking on their picture in the upper right.
    • Clicking “Upload” takes users to their submission manager. “Gallery” takes users to a page where they can switch between fresh/popular feeds for all content types.

We’re excited for all these improvements, and can’t wait to see what creative things you get up to with them!

What’s Next?

We will be focusing on clearing out our backlog of changes, policy updates and general documentation improvements site-wide, as well as squishing any last few remaining bugs. In addition, we’ll be putting together some how-to guides, as well as useful markdown references / copy-paste examples you can use to make your profile beautiful (as well as accomplish common tasks). We will also be adding a ‘jobs’ page, which we will be using to recruit some more staff onto our team!

Once we’ve gotten these out of the way, the real fun begins: Commissions!

Feel free to hit us up on

Watch this space!

-Varka and the Furry Network team

 

Site Update – June 6, 2016

Hello everyone,

It’s been another busy week for our team – getting the kinks worked out, and essential new features added! In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the changes since our last update, as well as give you a glimpse into what we have planned for the near future.

 

One Million Submissions!

We’re proud to announce that on June 5th, at 4:52am MST, Furry Network officially passed one million submissions! This is a huge milestone for us – and it wouldn’t have happened without your support. We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support in helping make this possible – and hope we can keep living up to your expectations!

1_million_submissions.png

 

What’s New Grid View has Actions now

By popular request, we’ve readded the Fave, Promote and Delete buttons to the ‘grid’ layout on What’s New. You can now dismiss, favorite and promote submissions right from the what’s new page, without having to switch to linear view or using delete all!

acitivty.gif

 

Huge Performance Improvements

By upgrading to PHP 7, we managed to reduce CPU usage on the web servers which run Furry Network by about 80%. Here’s a before-and-after – note the percentage vertical scale:

Before – peaking at ~30%

before_php7.png

After – peaking at ~5% (note the vertical scale):

after_php7.png

Additionally, as the site has grown rapidly in the past few weeks, the number of tags on the site has skyrocketed to over 400,000 tags. Our autocomplete search box shown on the right of the page requested the full list of tags every time the page loaded – which was making search results take several seconds to complete. By disabling auto-complete on the tag search box, we managed to reduce load times from 3-4 seconds on average, down to under half a second for most queries. This also saved us a lot of CPU:

300k_tag_fix.png

 

All this means that as Furry Network grows, it should continue to be fast and responsive! Things have come a long way performance-wise in the last 3 weeks – and as we grow I’m sure we’ll have more tweaks to make.

 

Import Tool Captcha now more robust

The import tool now displays a loading message when it’s fetching a captcha image, and has a retry button if it fails. This makes the captcha portion of the importer login a lot less confusing – and more reliable too.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 6.55.36 PM.png

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Flagging Notifications fixed

We’ve fixed a bug with how flagged posts are handled – most notably, that the user who uploaded it was incorrectly notified that it’d been flagged (by receiving a new ticket notification in their top menu), before one of our moderation team got a chance to look at it. We’ve set it so that now the person who’s submission is being flagged will not be notified, until a moderator has reviewed it and determined the flag reason to be valid.

Screenshot 2016-06-06 20.59.51.png

Given that the ticket that showed up in your feed when this happened to one of your posts was very sparse on information – in particular, not including the reason why it was flagged in many cases – it was quite understandably causing undue anxiety for those who received them! Like any site which relies on eagle-eyed users to spot problems, we feel it’s important that moderators take a look at any report before any action – including notifying the user who uploaded it – is taken.

 

Change Password form improvements

We added validation and confirmation when changing your password in account settings. Users are now told their password has been updated successfully, and the fields are cleared after a successful change. There are error messages on the screen when the user enters invalid info in the password fields. Previously nothing happened on this page when updating your password and it was a bit confusing – no longer!

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 6.41.54 PM.png

 

Stories can now be deleted

Somehow we forgot to add the ability to delete stories to the submission manager – it’s now fixed – and stories, like other types of content, can now be deleted while editing them in the submission manager:

deletestory.gif

 

Markdown helper text now has a tooltip

We got a lot of questions from users on social media, asking how to add formatting to their stories, submissions and posts – and it turned out that our Markdown cheat-sheet wasn’t visible enough.

When hovering over the “Markdown supported” text while editing a story or making a commission announcement, a tooltip explaining Markdown is now displayed. When you click on it, it’ll show a cheat-sheet of some of the things Markdown lets you do. We’ve put a placeholder link in place for some examples – be sure to let us know what examples you’d like us to develop for you on our support site!

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 6.49.55 PM.png

If you’re curious, here’s some of the things you can do in Markdown:

Screenshot 2016-06-06 20.33.42.png

 

Better icon for mobile menus

On the “What’s New” feed page, we previously used a magnifying glass icon on the bottom right to open the menu with filters and actions, which worked great when that page was searchable, but makes less sense now it’s an ‘inbox’ style feed of content. As a result, we’ve updated the icon to a three-line ‘menu’ icon, which should hopefully be less confusing.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 6.50.48 PM.png

 

Display Name / Username Switch Fixed

A number of users reported a bug whereby people’s display names and usernames were being switched on the What’s New page. This is now fixed!

Screenshot 2016-06-06 20.40.27.png

 

 

 

 

Full Changelog:

  • Users should not be notified of a pending ticket or see it in their ticket list until a moderator has replied. Users will no longer receive any notifications for tickets unless a moderator replies to it. That way if a ticket is found to be invalid, it can be closed/dismissed without the user ever knowing or being bugged about it.
  • Added validation and confirmation when changing your password in account settings. Users are now told when their password has been updated successfully, and the fields are cleared after a successful change. There are error messages on the screen when a user enters invalid info in the password fields. Previously nothing happened on this page when updating your password and it was a bit confusing.
  • Delete stories from the submission manager. Stories, like other types of content, can now be deleted while editing them in the submission manager.
  • “What’s New” grid items have actions now. While on the list view, it was possible to remove/favorite/promote individual submissions – but this wasn’t present on the grid view. Now users can perform these actions on both views.
  • Fixed missing tooltip message for Markdown on Commission Announcements and Story Editor. When hovering over the “Markdown supported” text while editing a story or making a commission announcement, a tooltip explaining Markdown is now displayed.
  • Changed the magnifying glass icon on mobile view of feeds. The magnifying glass on feeds on mobile was changed to three lines to indicate a menu.
  • Importer now has loading message when getting a captcha image and a retry button if it fails. This makes the captcha portion of importer login less confusing for users.
  • Fixed typo on tooltip for clearing individual submissions (“you feed” changed to “your feed”).
  • Fixed submissions on What’s New page having display name and @names switched. This was a bug involving users who have a display name and username that are different. Submissions on the What’s New page had them backwards – display name showing as username and vice versa. This is now fixed.
  • Fixed multimedia thumbnails in galleries showing up as black spaces in Firefox. Can see multimedia thumbnails in Firefox again.
  • OG/Twitter, submission image not appearing when the url is posted. Fixed this bug so that the image appears when a link to a submission is posted on Twitter, etc.
  • The importer now shows up as “FurryNetwork Importer 2.0” instead of “GuzzleHTTP Client” in FA’s security settings/access log page.

 

What’s Next?

We are committed to making Furry Network a fantastic place to be, and part of that is in finishing up this last round of tweaks, polish and procedures, before we embark on getting our Commissions functionality ready for prime time. Our current focus is split into two areas- Administrative and Technical.

Administrative Plans

We’re working our way through our Code of Conduct and Acceptable Upload Policy with a fine-tooth comb this week, and have finished our “About Us” page. Our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service are due to get some attention – though given that attorneys will be involved, they might take a little longer than the others to be completed.

In addition, we’re developing our internal policies surrounding content classifications, unused usernames, evaluating some edge cases and making sure that we have a good structure in place for moderators to escalate issues in the event that there’s something we haven’t encountered before. Like any site in its infancy, we’ve found no shortage of tweaks needed (both code related and policy related!) – but as always, we’re committed to making things as great as they can be.

We have been recruiting additional moderators to the team, building out our staff roster, and getting policies and procedures in place for staff management. Since we launched the site a few weeks ago, our moderation team has almost doubled in size – and we’re planning for further growth, as more people use Furry Network.

Technical Plans

Our development team has been hard at work fixing high-impact bugs and working on long-term improvements to the site, based on your feedback through our support site.

We’ve adopted a ‘lean’ approach to how we prioritize tasks, and meet regularly to evaluate the features, bugfixes and improvements we have planned, to make sure that we can keep up with the changing needs of the site and its users.

For this week, we’d like to give you a little insight into what we have lined up right now – though of course the schedule may change a little as things come up or are easier to fix than expected. If toy don’t see your favorite feature on here, don’t fret – we’ll be sneaking in a few little items here and there – and are always open to your input and suggestions. We think you’ll be excited by what’s on the horizon.

Here’s what we have planned for the next few weeks:

Week 1 – June 6th-12th

  • Finish fixing “Load More Submissions” button on What’s New feed (sometimes it doesn’t load more, and you have to refresh the page to make it work).
  • Fix issue with unsaved edit information being lost on upload for multimedia & price sheet. When editing a piece of multimedia any unsaved text or tag changes will be lost after uploading a thumbnail. When editing price sheet for commission, unsaved instructions are lost after image upload.
  • Prevent imports from hitting Fresh / What’s New feeds, together with functionality to allow users to publish content without notifying their followers / it showing up in fresh (ideal for WIPs)
  • Publish All / Select All button and batch saving functionality (especially on drafts page).
  • Community Tag Improvements – including:
    • Ability for artists to approve/reject suggested tags, and blacklist them from being suggested again (from the view submission page, as well as the submission manager)
    • Ability for artists to disable community tags on a per-submission basis (later plans: ability to disable community tags for all their submissions)
    • Ability for artists to flag a community tag as abusive (with resolution functionality via the on-site ticket system)
    • A way to find images without any tags (or only ‘default’ tags from import) and display them in a list. (This is for a tagging drive / competition we are planning in the future!)

 

Week 2 – June 13th-19th

Three big items for this week: Journals/Announcements, Top menu tweaks, and User Profile redesign! These features are some of the most exciting – because they’ll have the biggest impact on the site as a whole, and we expect them to significantly improve how useful and easy Furry Network will be to use.

Journals & Announcements

Long-form Journals using the story interface, and short Announcements with an optional image for timely updates. Ability to edit/hide announcements at a later time (eg for art streams). Some teaser screenshots:

Screenshot 2016-06-06 22.05.19.png

Screenshot 2016-06-06 22.05.28.png

 

Top Menu Tweaks

Revisiting the site’s navigation to reflect how the site’s structure and layout has changed, and to make things less confusing. Teaser screenshots:

Screenshot 2016-06-04 17.33.47.pngScreenshot 2016-06-04 18.08.28.png

 

User Profile Redesign

Adjust user pages more towards ‘content’ rather than ‘social’, adding a modular homepage where the user can decide what ‘modules’ or blocks are shown, and what they contain.  Teaser screenshots:

Screenshot 2016-06-04 18.15.17.png

Screenshot 2016-06-04 18.15.22.png

 

 

Thank you

Whew – that was a lot of stuff to go through! Thanks for sticking with us.

This is a very exciting time for Furry Network, as we work on solidifying the site’s design and applying that final layer of polish to make it into a finished product. You’ve all been very patient and helpful with us as we get things wrapped up – and for that, we are eternally grateful.

We look forward to seeing your reactions to this update, as well as hearing your feedback and input. As always, you can reach out to us on Twitter and get support or vote for your favorite features on our support site. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

-Varka and the Furry Network team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content policy changes – May 27, 2016

Hello everyone –

Recently, we had a large number of our users express concerns about our content policy – in particular, concerns regarding underage furry characters in sexual situations being permitted under the current rules. As the issue rapidly became prominent in social media, we saw a huge number of differing opinions on the subject in both directions. We realized the impact the subject matter has on our community, and wanted to make sure we took the time to hear everyone’s voice, and come to a decision that was in the best interest of the community as a whole.

Our Core Values

One of Furry Network’s core values is in involving the community, and in taking on feedback on how the site is built and run, because Furry Network was built for our community. There are a lot of great ideas and very intelligent people out there – and we’ve discovered that the key to success is to keep our ears open, take notes, and make a well-reasoned decision that considers all factors.

We always listen to feedback – no matter how it is expressed – but are aware that, for controversial decisions, the most emotionally charged ones are often not the most reliable when it comes to reasoning and making a sensible choice. Our style of decisionmaking is founded upon making well-researched, factually backed, objective decisions that are fair and considerate – and in this case, this meant soliciting and analyzing feedback over the next 24 hours, particularly from individuals who stated their case maturely and respectfully. Thank you to everyone who sent in (or publically stated) their position on this – including those who voted on the support request thread.

At its core, the issue at hand is that for a significant portion of our user base, underage furry characters in sexual situations (typically referred to as “Cub Porn”) was a significant ‘deal-breaker’ for being a part of Furry Network, for a number of reasons, and as such, is something we must exclude.

How we arrived at our decision

At the beginning of the site’s development, we understood the issue at hand as the one most often stated to us: that users did not wish to see this type of content or otherwise be inadvertently exposed to it. Based on this, we had prepared a technical solution – a “default blacklist”, which automatically hides extreme content (including cub porn) from all users, unless specifically enabled in their content settings. This hadn’t gone live yet, but was scheduled to be deployed alongside completion of our new Code of Conduct and Acceptable Upload Policy this week. When we were initially designing and implementing the site, the feedback we’d received indicated that users were broadly happy with this ‘default blacklist’ arrangement, and that it’d be adequate for their needs.

However, given our recent increase in size and user base, the demographics of the users of the site have changed significantly – and has grown to include professional illustrators, artists, and participants of all tastes, ages and backgrounds. With this change has come a difference in perspective and opinion on what our users are comfortable with or not – and in the concerns reported.

By far the most-reported concern recently was people’s discomfort in knowing that the content is permitted and present on the site (even if they can’t see it), and legitimate concerns about being guilty by association or otherwise directly associated with it, particularly through ‘outing’ actions by its vocal detractors. Furry Network is a site which is intended to aid the fandom’s growth and evolution, and to lead to a better future for the community as a whole (See our formal mission statement) – and as such, this concern is one that no technical solution could solve.

The second most-reported concern was that banning said content would be a failure of Furry Network to protect artistic freedom, to allow a “small but vocal group of people” to dictate the rules, and as a heavy-handed political solution to a problem that could be solved via technology (eg, a default blacklist). As a site dedicated to encouraging creative expression, banning this content would be a ‘loss’ for artistic freedom, and a move towards a ‘nanny state’.

We also considered many other factors as part of our decision – you can read more about them at the end of this document (see “Factors we considered”).

As responsible site owners, it’s our job to balance the needs of all participants in the community as well as the site itself – and to always make great decisions that are in the best interests of the site and the community. With this, we decided that the best course of action is to not permit this type of content to be uploaded or present on Furry Network.

 

What happens next

Effective immediately, our moderation team will be removing all mature or explicit-rated cub content from Furry Network, and updating our Code of Conduct and Acceptable Upload Policy to reflect these changes. In addition, we will be clarifying via our support and community outreach channels that this content is not permitted on Furry Network – as well as dedicating additional resources towards responding to content flagged via our “Flag Submission” tool. For those affected who may have uploaded artwork to Furry Network and do not have a backup copy of the submission, our support team will be available to recover the deleted images for a period of 14 days. You can contact them via our support site.

Screenshot 2016-05-27 20.12.51.png

We’re setting a goal of Monday to finish removing this content from Furry Network, and have already taken steps to remove submissions that our moderators were able to locate. If you’d like to help us out, then we encourage all members of the community to use the “Flag” tool present on each submission page to report content which they believe contains underage furry characters in a sexual situation, choosing the “Other” flag reason and entering “Cub porn”. We’ve also developed guidance and information for our moderators to make a fair and informed judgement on each image. Please be sensible in the images you report, and ensure they do in fact contain a minor in a sexual situation – our usual rules regarding ‘abuse of site tools’ will still apply.

A model for change

The outpouring from the community on this issue has been enormous, and it has made us sit up and take notice that so many participants are so committed to the future of the site! We are very grateful to all of you who contributed in a constructive manner to the discussion. Obviously we are committed to the ongoing success of Furry Network, and part of our ethos is to put our egos aside, admit fault, and work to learn and grow from every hiccup along the way.

We are confident this will not be the last time we develop a policy that we end up needing to correct, but as always we are eager to listen to the community’s input and are not afraid to reverse a decision or admit that we were wrong. We believe that adapting to change and being open to feedback is what will make Furry Network successful – combined with dedication to our mission.

Thank you for your patience and consideration while we’ve worked through this decision – it wasn’t an easy one to make, and there were strong opinions on both sides.

We have some great new updates and features lined up for the next week, and we’re eager to put this chapter behind us and keep building a great site the community can be proud of. As always, you can reach out to us on Twitter and via our Support System.

Thanks,
– Varka and the Furry Network team

 

Addendum: Factors we considered

Some of the factors we considered as part of our decision included:

 

Professionalism is a core value of Furry Network, and is something we wish to encourage in our userbase. As such, we expect that a growing number of artists/creators will rely on Furry Network for their livelihood. It is in our and the users’ best interest to put our best foot forward, so that artists are not afraid to be associated with Furry Network. We have data to suggest that this is a factor for some professional artists – a key demographic for us, especially as the site’s capabilities grow to include commissions, and financial transactions completed through the site. In addition, this is something which is important to many other members of the community, as the content and context of the sites they choose to frequent reflect upon them as individuals.

Technical and moderation investments would be required to ensure that this content did not cause issues, if it were retained. There would be complex features that’d need to work perfectly every time, both on the site and in our moderation team, to ensure the content could remain present on the site.

Fairness and impartiality of the decision is a factor, because we could lose respect if we  make a rash decision. We realized that in many ways, the concern here was more about how we come to the decision – with a comparison between “we got complaints about it, so we gave in and banned it” and “we listened patiently to all viewpoints, considered all relevant factors, and made an informed decision that was in the best interests of the community and the site”.

Resources within the community is a factor, because other sites and resources exist that accept and encourage this kind of content. By choosing not to support it, we judged that would not be substantially excluding a portion of the community from participating.

Investment and future of the site is a factor, because we have made a substantial investment into building and supporting the site and its growth. In the interests of the site’s future, it’s advantageous to choose the option which would lead to the best competitive advantage in future.

Legality is a factor, because this type of content is frequently considered a legal “grey area”, with many indications both authoritative and not as to whether it is legal to host in Furry Network’s jurisdiction. In addition, many users are not within Furry Network’s legal jurisdiction, and as such, viewing such content (even accidentally) would be against the law.

Scope creep is a factor – where one type of content may be banned, but through persistent pressure placed upon the site administration, other types of content might be perceived to be next. Furry Network’s future hinges upon balancing creative freedom with the needs of the community – and while it can be claimed that making the decision to ban this kind of content sets a precedent for future censorship, it must be considered in the context of the community’s viewpoint and moral standards of what’s acceptable or not.

Creative freedom is a factor – because Furry Network is committed to providing the maximum creative freedom it can for all users, provided it’s not at the expense of others, and excluding this kind of content from the site is a form of censorship, that limits the freedom of expression of our users.

Duty of care is a factor – because Furry Network has a duty of care to the broader community, to ensure it’s always putting its best foot forward as a prominent, representative member of the community.

More Features & Updates

Hello everyone!

We’ve just deployed a new release to Furry Network Beta – this time adding a number of much requested features and some Importer improvements!

Muting, Blocking & Privacy Options

You can now mute and block other characters in Content Settings, by entering their username and hitting enter. Solid controls for who you do (and don’t) want to hear from on Furry Network are a key part of our drive to empower everyone on the site – so we’re eager to hear feedback on it, to confirm it works well!  This was very popular also, garnering 34 votes on our support center.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 5.19.20 PM

We’re also working on adding some buttons to user profiles, to make it easier to mute and block them right from the character page, too – these aren’t live yet, but will likely make it into our next update:

Screenshot 2016-05-04 23.00.57

 

By very popular request (a whopping 106 people made their voice heard), we’ve also added privacy options for your account – letting you block unregistered guests and search engines from viewing your profile or content.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 5.21.58 PM

These tools round out our Privacy and users control features – combined with our blacklisting  and blocking tools, all users now have the ability to take control of what they wish to see on Furry Network – and to handle a wide variety of issues on their own!

Zooming and Panning

Another popular feature request with 88 votes on our support center, zooming in was added to the “view full image” page. Simply pinch your touchscreen or use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out:

zooming_in3.gif

Delete a Character

You can now delete characters in the Your Characters section. This has been a much-requested feature, garnering a whopping 58 votes in our support center. It may seem simple, but correctly deleting a character is quite involved. Nevertheless, here it is!

deletecharacter

Importer Improvements

We know that being able to easily import all your data is very important to many users – and are committed to making it as easy and magical (eg it ‘just works’ – like magic) as possible. As such, we’re working on some significant improvements to the tool.

Improvement 1: You can now reimport deleted items

Previously, if you imported an image and subsequently deleted it (Say, you decided that it wasn’t up to your standards and didn’t want to show it), you couldn’t change your mind and re-import it again. We’ve added the ability to ignore this constraint via a check box on the importer – so if you want to empty out your FN gallery and reimport everything (including deleted items), you can now do just that!

Screenshot 2016-05-07 11.31.50.png

Improvement 2: Importer now more reliable

The importer for Furry Network was one of the first features of the site which we built, and a lot has changed since it was first built! As such, we felt it was time for a full rebuild of it – to make it more reliable, as well as to operate in a more sensible way, as the site nears launch.

Most of the importer has been rewritten and updated, and will now automatically order your submissions correctly in chronological order. No more images slightly out of order, with no way to change them!

Of course, we have plans for further improvements – the reliability and user friendliness of the importer is not where we want it to be, and we want it to be quick and easy for anyone to join Furry Network and bring a body of work along with them. As always, if you have issues with using the importer (or any other site feature, really) – please don’t hesitate to ask your question in our Support System! We also support private reports (which work a little like support tickets), if you don’t want to expose your usernames or would just prefer to get support in private.

 

Uploads over 100MB working again

There was a bug where file uploads of more than 100MB in size were not working correctly, stalling out during upload. This has now been fixed – and you can now submit images up to 32MB in size, and multimedia of up to 200MB per file. Of course, we’re looking to increase these limits (especially the multimedia limit) in the future; we’ve tested uploads of  up to 2GB in our testing environment and know that the system can do it!

 

 Full changelog

  • Can now delete characters in Your Characters section.
  • Muting of other characters in Content Settings
  • Zoom feature for viewing submissions by scrolling mouse or pinching touchpad
  • Privacy tools on edit character profile. Block guests so only logged in users can view your profile and content. Block search engines so search engines cannot index your profile and content.
  • Now allow deleted items to be reimported
  • Admin tools improvements
  • Block users from deleting their own content that has been flagged until the ticket has been resolved
  • Fixed bug with files over 100MB not uploading

 

What we’re working on

  • HSTS Implementation (a security thing)
  • Tags that are copied/pasted for submissions no longer string together as one word
  • Admin can change submission rating
  • Admin can temporarily block profile from public view
  • Making home page more relevant for site’s launch
  • Site Announcements user and admin interface
  • Reworking the activity feed to split notifications out from content, add grid view for content, and generally make things more content-centric
  • Reworking character profile page to incorporate ‘shouts’, along with other polish
  • Reworking the home page user interface, to add a sidebar with commonly used categories/pages
  • Block and mute buttons on character page
  • Multiple account import support / ability to change username on import tool
  • Preparing convention plans for Biggest Little Fur Con in Reno, Nevada (May 12-15 – more info on the event here; we’ll be making a full announcement shortly)
  • Testing & trialling commissions system with real payments; building list of improvements & preparing for a limited feature launch
  • Final improvements and polish to the site’s design prior to official launch!

 

Plans for the future

This is the most exciting month of Furry Network’s development for us – as it’s this month that we are nearing the point where we could launch the site for real, and open the floodgates with general availability – to sign up, without needing a beta key. Things have come so far in the last year, and we’re really stoked to make the most of the opportunity and to have a site everyone can enjoy!

As such, we will be making some big announcements over the coming weeks – we recommend following us on Twitter to ensure you get to see them first, though we will of course be posting regularly on this development blog, too.

Thanks to everyone for your support in making Furry Network awesome. We are stoked to see the level of enthusiasm you’ve all shown with this project, and we can’t wait to launch the site for real, and see what you do with it!

Thanks all – and enjoy the update!

– Varka and the Furry Network team