Shaping Commission Rules

Hello, everybody!

We’re all getting ramped up for the next site update in the next week or two – this one will be focusing on bugs and other small issues with the commission tool, so there won’t be too many large noticeable changes at that time. After that, though, we’ll be jumping into some major changes.

One problem that we’re aiming to address with the commission system is the wide variety of expectations across the fandom. It’s not uncommon for sellers to write out their terms of service; everyone has expectations, and rules help make the process go much smoother for everyone involved. However, the rules for one seller often are very different for one seller than they are for another. In addition, rules occasionally go on for pages or even have conflicting information in different locations.

Our goal with the terms of service on Furry Network is to unify as many rules as possible. This way, anyone purchasing commissions on the site will know what to expect. At the same time, there are some rules that the artists should control – generally, the acceptable content of a commission is up to the creator.

While we have an idea of what we want to standardized, what do you think? What rules would be good to have in our terms of service for commissions? What would be better to leave up to the creators? Let us know on Twitter!

Thank you all for your excitement as we work on solidifying the commission process.

Digby

Future Fees for Commissions on FN

Happy Friday, everybody!

When Furry Network was first launched as a beta site, quite a few people came forward and asked how they could support its growth, both through volunteer work as well as financially. We’ve had many volunteers for site administration and moderation, and we’ve appreciated all the tremendous help.

For the financial side, our plan has been to cover costs through the commission tool. At this point, no fees have been charged for our testers; they’ve given great information on what to improve. Once the commission tool moves to open beta testing – likely in the next two to three months – we will have fees added to the transactions. These will cover any card or PayPal transaction costs, pay for server costs, and help us continue developing Furry Network.

Below is a breakdown of the fees that will be included.

Furry Network Fee

Furry Network will take 5% of successfully-processed payments. These fees go to support the site, both in development as well as server costs.

Payment Processing Fees

Payment processing fees are the costs that our payment processor charges whenever a payment is made from a buyer. For credit cards, this amounts to 6% of the costs. We have been fortunate enough to work with a processor that understands the commissions being purchased, and we’re happy to know that payments are reliable through this system.

We’re also looking into adding PayPal as a payment method. The fee is considerably lower (generally about 1%), but explicit content can sometimes be an issue. We will continue looking into this option.

As the number of commissions grows, we will continue to look for options to reduce these fees.

Payout Fees

The payment to the seller goes through PayPal. The fees associated are up to 1% of the transaction amount.

What This Means For Sellers

When pricing commissions, be sure to take these fees into consideration. The price that you send to a buyer is the amount that they will pay; up to 12% of that amount will go towards those fees.

We understand that in order for these fees to be fair, the service for the site needs to be worth what you’re getting in return. We have some large feature announcements in the upcoming weeks, and we’re hoping these help change the way commissions are done throughout the fandom.

Thank you all for your support as we work towards open beta testing for commissions. We hope this proves to be a helpful tool for buyers and sellers alike.

Digby

Commission Reviews – Your Ideas

Happy Monday, everyone!

This last week, we asked users what they thought of the review system for commissions on Furry Network. While we have done research into how reviews are done, this hasn’t been formally worked into a commission system in the fandom before. We wanted to help build a system that encourages honest feedback while helping build the community.

Users across social media gave a variety of ideas for how to shape the review system on Furry Network, but we want to take time to discuss some of the biggest issues.

Avoid Popularity Contests

One of the biggest concerns was making sure this was not a popularity contest for ratings. In general, popular users could send waves of followers to use the system, and unhappy people on the internet could potentially create a wave of unjustified negative reviews.

The simplest way to combat this problem is to allow reviews only from users who have purchased a commission from that seller. This is similar to the way Uber works – the user is able to leave a review after receiving a ride. Limiting reviews in this way puts users on an even playing field.

Star Ratings vs. Up and Down Votes

People responding on Twitter seemed to be fairly divided about the way to go. Some backed the simpler up and down votes while others said this would ignore a commission that has some bumps in the road.

Both systems have their benefits and their challenges, but one thing we want to highlight with this is the ability to give an accurate review. This is why we are leaning towards the star ratings – thumbs up or down either rewards or punishes the seller, and there’s no in-between.

One other issue with star ratings, though, is the possibility of review inflation – the community could give such high ratings that a single four- or three-star rating would greatly affect a seller. A solution would be to encourage realistic ratings and have text show what the different stars represent:

  • 1 star – Terrible. Everything went wrong.
  • 2 stars – Bad. There were several things they could do better.
  • 3 stars – Okay. There were some rough patches, but it worked out.
  • 4 stars – Good. Everything went well with the commission.
  • 5 stars – Excellent. They went above and beyond what I expected.

Another option is allowing different ratings for different parts of the commission process. This would allow users to give more detailed feedback.

Generally, users will be more likely to give an honest breakdown when given separate criteria for the review. The only problem, though, is that users might skip the review section – the faster a review can happen, the more likely it will be completed.

Extortion

Some users expressed concern that reviews could be used to extort or blackmail artists to get something in return. We discussed this some in the previous post, but we definitely are against any sort of extortion. We will have rules in place when reviews are launched to prevent this.

Thanks to all who contributed to this conversation on social media! This has given us quite a bit to think about as we shape the commission tool. If you do have more suggestions or feedback, feel free to hit us up on Twitter.

Digby

Commission Reviews

Hello, everybody!

We’re currently working on the commission system for Furry Network, and a large section will be dedicated to reviews. At this point, it’s difficult to find much information about how sellers are doing. Sure, there are sites like Artists Beware that discuss past problems, but those often focus on the worst events that have happened. In addition, few sites have any positive information about previous commissions.

We want to make a standard system to provide and receive feedback. If someone went out of their way to make your commission experience excellent, we want people to know about it! On the other hand, if a seller has multiple difficulties meeting expectations or deadlines, we want buyers to know what they can expect.

Rating System

The most straight forward system is a five-star rating, and that’s what we are planning to use. This allows users to give honest feedback on a scale along with comments. We understand this scale can be a little subjective, but it can also encourage parties to be more diligent and respectful.

We discussed the possibility of a thumbs up / thumbs down system, but that tends to be shallow – users who receive the most commissions, regardless of the quality, will likely have the most thumbs up. We want new users to be able to shine in the system, as well, and having a five-star rating system will help relatively unknown sellers grow their base.

Two-Way Reviews

While there are some sites that talk about how sellers have done, there’s rarely information about buyers. At times, sellers may have a reason to question if they should accept a commission request. Allowing them to check feedback other sellers have left will help them make that decision.

Other websites such as Airbnb and Uber are using similar systems. Our goal is to encourage respect from both buyers and sellers, and if either side causes problems, a review will help others in the future decide if they wish to do business with that party.

Revisions and Transparency

The tricky thing with reviews is that we want them to be honest and representative of the commission process. However, we also recognize that some simple steps can be taken to fix an issue that lead to a negative review.

Revisions will be allowed for reviews up to 48 hours after they are posted, and responses will be allowed for a limited time after that period. While we want small issues resolved, we also want the score to be finalized – scores should represent the commission at that time rather than be an opinion that changes weeks later.

Extortion

One potential problem that we plan to address head-on is with extortion. It’s possible that someone could post a negative review, threatening to leave it unless the seller issues a refund. On the other hand, a seller could offer a refund on the sole condition of the buyer revoking that review.

While we want to encourage users to resolve problems, neither of those is truly honest – rather than being about the problem, the focus is on forcing a deal. We will have specific rules dealing with extortion to prevent this – if you need to post a negative review, you need to feel safe to do so.

Our Goals

Designing the review system has some specific goals in mind:

  • Creating a standard for commission interactions in the furry fandom.
  • Providing a way for unknown artists to receive commissions.
  • Encouraging respectful discussions and exchanges between buyers and sellers.
  • Showing buyers that a seller’s work is worth purchasing.
  • Having meaningful consequences for problematic behavior.

There are many other thoughts that have gone into the design, as well, but what are your thoughts? What would you include in a review system? What could potentially be a problem? Let us know on Twitter!

As always, thank you for all your support. We hope this review system becomes a helpful tool for buyers and sellers alike.

Digby

Searching For Commissions – Your Ideas

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Art by Firequill

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

We had quite a few responses about the previous post where we asked what would help when searching for commissions. Many suggested various filters that could be used – price ranges, key words, content rating, and media types were some of the major ideas brought up. In some form or another, we are planning to include all of those.

A few suggestions that came through are definitely needed, but the way they are implemented can be a little trickier. I wanted to discuss some ideas that we have to fit these suggestions – if you have any other suggestions for how to implement them, feel free to tell us on Twitter!

Highlight what artists love

In many cases, artists’ best work comes out when they’re working on something they love. It could be different species, action poses, paws – there’s a wide variety of interests out there!

In order to get capture that, we’re looking at having three fields: what a creator won’t do, what a creator will do, and the creator’s specialties.

  • Won’t do. Some creators have a limit for the type of content they’d wish to create. If they put a search item in the “won’t do” category, that creator would not appear in the search for that item.
  • Will do. There are two ways to go about this. Either we can have creators list what they will do, or we could simply exclude the “won’t do” creators from this list. Both have some benefits and setbacks, and we’ll listen to feedback as we start working on this.
  • Specialty. A creator who lists items as specialties will appear higher in the search list; in addition, a badge will appear over that creator, showing that it is their specialty. In order to create a fairer market, we’re planning to limit the number of specialties for each seller, potentially unlocking more slots as they receive good reviews or have more successful commissions.

We’re hoping this system allows creators to focus on what they love while also being rewarded for being awesome – the better you do, the more options you have to make yourself visible.

Showcase art

The great majority of commissions in the fandom work with a visual element – we have a flood of art, fursuits, and crafts. Just like window shopping, it’s helpful to be able to see examples quickly.

Right now, the commission section merely shows creators’ icons. This isn’t extremely helpful – many of them aren’t representative of their work.

We’re planning to change the commission section so that art is the primary feature. If an artist is selling different types of commissions (sketches, digital art, etc.), they can select multiple images to show on that page; a simple click will switch from one type to another. We want users to be able to see these examples without navigating to a new page.

However, creators usually have a wealth of past projects uploaded in a gallery. We will be creating a portfolio system for each art type – if you want to sell sketches, it will be a matter of a couple clicks to add an image to your sketch portfolio. These will automatically appear on your commission page, as well.

We are still in the process of adding and refining features for the commission tool. If you do have any other ideas that you feel would help you find a creator you’d like, please let us know!

As always, thank you for all your support.

Digby

Searching For Commissions

Search CommunityOne big development focus that we have over the next couple of months is for commissions. The basic commission tool is mostly finished – it’s relatively easy to start a commission, track its progress and wrap up payments.

However, finding the right seller can be difficult. At this point, we only have an option to search by character – you have to know who is selling before taking a look. Once the site has more sellers, it’ll be difficult to browse and find someone you like.

We’re planning to implement more search options for commissions – media types, artists’ specialties, and price ranges, for example. We want to hear your opinion. What fields would you find helpful when searching for a new artist? Be sure to hit up our support forums or let us know what you think on Twitter!

Thank you again for all your excitement!

Digby

Creating Your Community

 

The furry fandom is unique. Other fandoms revolve around movies, stories, or TV shows; they focus on something was created specifically for an audience. To some degree, our fandom does the same – simply put, most of us talk about Rocket Raccoon on a weekly basis. However, the great majority of the fandom focuses on its members. You are the stars.

A few problems pop up because of that uniqueness, though. For other fandoms, executives come together to create marketing strategies, backing communities with a wealth of content. On our end, though, the great majority of creators start on their own; some begin simply with a pencil drawing in a notebook.

While the furry fandom itself is a giant community, individuals can sometimes feel like they’ll never make their own mark. For me, I originally joined Furtopia; they were extremely welcoming, but as a writer, I didn’t know how I could get my work noticed. Eventually, I found my place and even put out a few publications, but it took a good amount of work to get there.

The best way to get to that point is to work on creating your own community. If you are able to get a group that loves the content you create, you’ll have a much larger drive to finish projects. This may sound intimidating, but odds are, you already have the foundations of a community around you – friends you talk with, creators you follow, and others who follow you. The furry fandom likely brings you together, but your own creativity has a chance to solidify these relationships.

Before joining FN, I was active in the speedrunning community. The only problem is that I had an odd niche – bad video games. There were just a handful of speedrunners who focused on bad video games, and most others didn’t care for them. However, we started to come together. We realized the humor that can come from low-quality media, and we focused on entertainment. Because of that, Games Done Quick started having an awful games block. A tournament began focusing on bad games, and a marathon dedicated to these games will be happening later this year. The community is still growing, but it has no signs of stopping.

I’ve seen the same thing happen with smaller groups in the furry fandom. One of my friends began with very little drawing experience, but because of persistence and love for transformation, he has helped form this smaller community. Jokes and memes spread across the internet to bring others together. Simply put, if there’s something in the fandom that you love, there are others that love it, as well.

Things to Help Build a Community

Sometimes these smaller communities form naturally, but there are several things you can do to help foster these relationships.

Be visible. When you are actively posting online, others will take notice. If you’re a creator, it’s easy to go without posting or talking to others until you have a new finished piece; others online want to see that, yes, but they also want to know more about you. Sharing bits of your life, talking to people, or even posting works in progress can go a long way to bringing people into your community.

Share what others share. You likely have furries around you who are creating, sharing, or commenting about things that matter to you. Taking the time to share will show your appreciation, and it will help your followers see what you love. It’s likely that people who engage with your content want to be involved in some way, whether it’s more casual or more formal.

Create a hub. In order to last for a long time, communities need to revolve around something; without something central to the group, others will often drift away after time. This hub can be as simple as a weekly meetup, an art stream, a Telegram group, or a Discord server. The community could revolve around an event, a competition, or a critique group. No matter what form it takes, if someone asks how to get involved, have a way they can take the step from being a follower to being a member.

Be genuine. Others will see through you if they realize all you’re doing is working to get followers. If complimenting an artist, describe the reasons you like that art. If starting a conversation, reply to others and dig deeper into the topic.

FN’s Role in Building Communities

Furry Network works to help others find like-minded individuals while eliminating the feeling of isolation. Right now, selections from galleries can be shared and commented on, and furries on the site can interact with comments on submissions. In addition, we have a Discord server that’s grown in activity, and we’ve had the chance to start forming some friendships.

However, I realize that there are ways to improve that sense of community as well as encourage others to form their own sub-communities. Some of them are in the works now while others will likely come over the next several months. Here are some of them:

  • Sharing posts to social media. We discussed this last week on Twitter, and it seems like a solid idea. Links can currently be shared with others, but copying and pasting feels like work – it just takes too long for most people to do. Adding a quick share button would increase the amount that content is shared with others.
  • Making promotions more visible. Right now, promoted images are not highly visible on the activity feed. We’re planning to consolidate multiple promotions of single submissions and enlarge the images; this will allow users to quickly see promoted images from people they follow. In addition, we plan on having a section for users’ profiles to show promoted images – if you’re promoting it, we want to make sure it can be seen.
  • Improving the activity feed. Right now, the Activity History tab on Furry Network will show you what people have posted, commented on, and promoted. However, it’s not easy to always see what’s happening there. We want to make this closer to a timeline that you’d see on Twitter or Tumblr – allow you to see submissions, share them, and make a comment all from the same page.
  • Adding announcements. When you have something happening, the easiest way to get that across is through a journal. However, a full journal often isn’t needed. Announcements will allow you to share an event that expires after a certain amount of time; this way, if you have an event or a sale happening, users can quickly know and participate.
  • Adding comments for profiles. Right now, sending a compliment either happens on a submission or in a private message; allowing people to drop a quick comment on a profile would help build some of those relationships essential in a community. We understand that some users would prefer not to have that, though, so we’d likely make this optional.

We have several other ideas that we’re working through, as well, but we’d also like to see what you have to say! What do you think we could change on Furry Network to help you build your community? Shoot us a message on Twitter with your thoughts.

As always, thank you all for your support. We hope to help everyone build the community that they love!

Digby

Brushing Off the Keyboard

Hello, everyone!

As we’ve been working with developers for the upcoming site changes, we’ve let the blog slip to the back burner. Over the next few months, we’re bringing things to a full boil. During this time, we’re planning to have several posts throughout the weeks about a variety of topics, either focusing on future development or things that will help site users:

Possible Site Improvements

While we have some ideas for possible site improvements, there are a few problems that don’t have a cut-and-dry fix. We’ll post about current suggestions, throw out new ideas, and ask for readers’ opinions about the right direction for the site.

Tips and Guides for Users

While we have some things we’re working on to help your work get noticed, there are quite a few things you can do to help get an audience. Throughout posts, we’ll give some information to help you become successful with your work. We’ll also ask for you to chime in if you have any additional tips. As we move along, we’ll compile these posts to give you a solid help database, both specific to the site as well as for success in the wider fandom.

Site Updates

While we have the groundwork for a great website, we have a lot of work during the beta period. Luckily, our development team is digging into the next update, and we’re hoping to have it ready by September.

This upcoming update will focus on honing the commission tool and setting up the groundwork for finding sellers with content you want – for example, it’s a bit hard to find writers in the mix of artists right now. We will be adding an option to receive an email when there’s an update to a commission.

Other updates through the following months will include:

  • Better tools for sharing and discovering artists.
  • Displaying promoted images on users’ profiles.
  • Additional search functions for commissions.
  • Integration with other select furry sites.
  • A WYSIWYG text editor.
  • More bug fixes!

Our goal with the updates is to be able to open the commission tool to public testing; we’re also hoping to have all of the major site features completed at that time. From there, we will work on refining individual features and squashing any remaining bugs.

Thank you again for all your support! We hope these upcoming changes and posts will help make the commission process more enjoyable and easier for everyone in the fandom.

Digby

 

 

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