Happy Halloween!

Hello, everyone!

Hopefully you’re done hanging up webs and carving pumpkins – it’s time for Halloween! As furries, we often have the chance to put on our own personas online, and this can lead to a wealth of entertainment. At the same time, we have individuals full of love behind those masks.

I recently went back to some of the social media posts I made years ago. I tend to have a more professional persona online these days, and those posts made me gasp – there I was, a young adult openly flirting with others, laughing as we all shared excitement for the next time we’d meet. It was a bit embarrassing, but as I read, I realized that online carelessness – the joy I had with others – could only be found in the creation of these characters.

In the fandom, we have constant praise for these characters, the digital masks we wear. They allow us to laugh, to love, and to live the extreme thrills of creativity.

Thank you all for your passion, and we hope Halloween continues to be a time where you embrace the joys that come through artistic expression.

Digby

Advertisements

Featured Review

Hello, everybody!

We’re currently working on hammering out the visual aspects of the commission page. A large focus is on artwork, but we also wanted to give space to reviews. While each seller will have space to show all reviews, we wanted to use the commission page as a sales space – buyers should want to commission you there.

windowshopping review popup

Because of this, we are planning to have a space for a featured review to popup when hovering over the overall rating on the commission page. The specific review will be chosen by the seller – that way, they have a chance to put their best paw forward and draw in new buyers.

The overall rating will still be visible; if there’s a big difference between the rating and the featured reviews, potential buyers can take a look at the full list of reviews to see if there were previously issues.

Thank you for all your excitement, and we hope we can make this a useful tool for the whole fandom!

Digby

Potential Review Difficulties

Hello, everybody!

We’ve been discussing the commission review system that we’re developing, and there are a few potential difficulties with a review system. Most of these deal with the politics of a review – simply put, giving someone a rating for their work carries weight, especially when certain benefits may be given to users who have a history of great reviews.

Here are a few of the issues that we’re focused on when developing this system.

Consistency

Reviews are often highly subjective – one person may give five stars to an average experience while another may give three stars for an excellent commission. While this can’t always be avoided, we hope to help move reviews towards a standard.

One way we may do this is by having wording appear that reflects what the user feels about that commission. The wording isn’t set in stone, but here’s what we’re throwing around:

☆☆☆☆☆ – Amazing. The user did what they could to make the commission go well.
☆☆☆☆ – Great. There may have been a few problems, but we managed to get through them.
☆☆☆ – Okay. More could have been done to make the commission process go smoothly.
☆☆ – Bad. There were quite a few problems throughout the commission process.
– Terrible. Everything went wrong.

With this scale, we’d expect for good commission experiences to be rated either four or five stars, and users granted benefits for strong great reviews would be expected to maintain an average of at least four stars. This could be changed, but we do want to reward any users doing an excellent job.

Fairness

While reviews can be a great way to help people find products they want, there’s also the potential for slander or lies to be posted. We don’t want outside rumors or drama to affect reviews, so we’ll have some guidelines to ensure this fairness while remaining factual.

Reviews must be about the commission – We have a long-standing policy about keeping outside drama off Furry Network, and this will be true with reviews on the site, as well. Reviews that focus on things outside of the commission can be flagged for review by staff.
Reviews only happen after a commission – Users won’t be able to come en masse to give positive reviews to a popular artist. We expect everyone to start with a clean slate, and reviews will only be available for those who participated in the commission process.
Rules against extortion – We discussed the issue of extortion in an older blog post, and we will have clear policies to prevent this. Because some users’ livelihood can be affected by reviews, we will ensure that reviews are not being used to get favors in return.

As a buyer or a seller, what do you worry about with a review system? What problems do you think could arise? Let us know on Twitter!

Thank you all for your enthusiasm with the upcoming additions to the commission system.

Digby

Browsing Commissions

Hello, everyone!

As we’re working on improving the commission system, a lot of our focus is on the way people will find what you’re selling. While we’re going to include search functions, we also know that the wow factor of visual arts and crafts can convert a browser into a buyer.

Window Shopping

We are working on what we’re calling a window-shopping system – basically, a list of commissions that you can scroll through and get a quick idea of a seller’s style, the media they use, and the past reviews they’ve had. We have a unique advantage as a gallery site, as well; because many sellers already upload their creations to the site, it’s quick and easy for buyers to look through their galleries.

In addition, we’re planning to create a portfolio system for the site. For each category that you use (for example, “Full Color” and “Sketch” on the image above), you will be able to create an individual portfolio containing pieces representative of that category. It will be as simple as adding a submission to a folder – just a couple clicks when uploading, and done. We’ll also plan to allow adding multiple submissions to a portfolio at the same time.

When the portfolio is created, it will automatically appear on the seller’s price sheet, similar to a folder appearing on someone’s profile page. Because it’s using the gallery interface, any mature content will only be seen by users with mature content enabled. For you creators, focus on creating – we’ll handle the rest.

Thank you all for your excitement as we continue moving forward. We hope we’re able to simplify the commission process for everyone throughout the fandom!

Digby

Finding Commissions – Social Media

Hello, everyone!

We’re currently working with our development team on timelines for future updates. At this point, we’re hoping to have the rest of the major site features in place by the end of the year. This will include a revamped commission page, a review system, commission search functions, a WYSIWYG text editor across the site, an announcement category, increased visibility for promoted submissions, increased visibility for users open for commissions, additional moderation tools, and a wealth of bug fixes.

Understandably, this is a lot, and we want to make sure things work right before launching them. We’ll have regular updates about the release schedule as time goes on, and if we have any delays, we will let you know.

This week, we discussed the issue of finding commissions with users on social media. Surprise – the most common way for them to shop is through social media.

Social Media is Crucial to Sellers

Simply put, almost all furries use some sort of social media. We’re a fandom that’s largely based on the internet, and we use these tools to communicate with our friends. The easiest way for sellers to find a buyer is going to where the people are.

Twitter, Tumblr, and Telegram groups are some of the most common, though Discord groups are currently on the rise. The great thing about these tools is that they can create sub-communities for individual sellers – if you have followers who love your work, they’re likely to jump at the chance for a commission.

We’re currently looking at ways to take advantage of these already existing communities. When a seller opens for commissions in the future, for example, they may have an option to make a post on Twitter or Tumblr announcing commissions. This would make spreading the news easier for sellers, and posting on social media would help target likely buyers. Having a specific combination of words or a hashtag may even make it easier for users to search.

We’ll discuss some of the other common strategies of looking through sellers’ galleries or – as it sometimes happens – just getting lucky. We’ll also talk about ways FN may be able to help with those strategies. Thank you again for all your support!

Digby

Buyers Ghosting

Happy October, everyone!

While I didn’t plan on having a spooky theme for our first post this month, I wanted to talk about an issue that has popped up with commissions – ghosting. Basically, ghosting is when someone requests a commission then disappears without sending payment or indicating that they are cancelling. In essence, they vanish without a trace.

We’ve had some mixed opinions from furries on social media about this issue. Some sellers have said that getting requests for commissions then neverghosting takes up a good amount of time:

Understandably, many content creators want to give business to people who love their creations. Someone who requests a commission then ghosts can take up those precious slots.

However, some creators view this as part of business:

Someone asking for more information on commissions can be seen as a future business prospect; a buyer ghosting a creator may eventually return and purchase something.

With either view, though, ghosting can still create problems if not taken into consideration. Creators have a few strategies that can help, and we at Furry Network are taking some ideas into consideration for future development.

Strategies for Creators

If you do find that you’re spending a large portion of your time dealing with ghosting customers, there are a few things you can do that will make things easier for you.

Create a schedule for buyers. This can either be made public or private, but consider making a schedule for when you’ll open for commissions, how often you’ll send reminders to buyers, and when you’ll drop an unresponsive buyer. Having a standard schedule will make it easier to decide when to end the commission process with someone ghosting.

Have some backup buyers. In some cases, you may receive more requests than planned slots. Because of that, you may consider informing some that requests have been filled but, in case one of the buyers disappears, you may let them have that slot. This isn’t always practical, but giving a slot to someone who initially didn’t get one will often make them happy.

Possible Strategies for FN

At the moment, we’re still discussing whether or not we should step in to help avoid or resolve ghosting – this is generally a personal issue, and sellers may have different ways they combat this themselves. Here are a few things we are considering:

Limit the number of open commissions for new buyers. Most new users will purchase a commission or two at a time; someone signing up and sending out multiple requests may end up ghosting several of those. Limiting the number of commissions until the buyer is established on the site may help avoid that issue.

Track buyer history with reviews. We will be implementing a review system where both buyers and sellers can leave reviews for each other. As a part of that, we may include the ratio of purchased commissions to the number of requests sent. This way, the seller can quickly see if this user has a history of disappearing after requesting a commission.

Include a custom message for requests. Right now, when a person clicks the button to request a commission, they are shown a generic box to include information. We may allow sellers to include custom text for buyers, especially for critical information for those specific commissions. Having that information in front of the buyer would likely lead to more serious customers.

Thank you to everyone who discussed some of these problems on social media; we hope the upcoming commission features will help resolve some of the common problems currently seen in commissions.

Digby