WildCritters divided by policy changes
What is the nature of a critter? And when the community provides content, who should determine policy – the owner, or the users?
WildCritters is no stranger to upheaval; the site lost its former domain, WildCritters.us, in mid-2010, moving to WildCritters.ws. Changes in ownership have occurred regularly, and each successive leader has left their own impression on the site – for example, the tag alias of 'delicious loli' for lolicon. But the changes became more radical after the latest transfer of ownership.
A key issue was the interpretation of 'critter'. The new owner, Pawsies (recently renamed to Spike) sought to expand the range of art on the site, objecting to a percieved bias for Japanese-style work and against themes like scat and guro. Users expressed a preference for the existing definition. Likewise, Spike disliked the concept of the site as a "proxy for Pixiv" - while ultimately conceding the role of proxy, he wished to diversify its sources.
Yet another bone of contention was access to "privileged" status, granting access to see hidden work, and used by some as a form of do-not-post list. When Spike started giving this status out to almost everyone who asked, other long-term users expressed dismay at the erosion of privilege.
Finally, there was the question of quality. WildCritters administrators typically considered votes as a guide to removal, despite occasional abuse. However, Spike was willing to override community consensus and permit certain images to remain.
Vested contributors, or houseguests?
When challenged, Spike used the houseguest analogy to justify his actions:
I'm also the owner and i get to decide what website I want this to be. Instead of thinking about this like a business where my clients are the viewers (though the posters and taggers should really be my clients), think of this like a house where everyone is my guest. Even though every guest have their own idea on how this place should run, it's still my house.
The furry community uploads pieces of shit and enjoys piece of shit art as a whole. I understand where Pawsie is coming from in that he wants to introduce more pieces of shit in order to accommodate the majority of the furry community - He is of course, very correct. HOWEVER, This place WAS INTENDED to be the ONLY furry site on the internet where every piece of art ISN'T a piece of shit.
IF SOMEONE GIVES YOU GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES GIVES YOU A BUDDHIST TEMPLE AS A GIFT OUT OF FAITH AND YOU AGREE TO PAY FOR IT, YOU CAN'T TURN IT INTO A FUCKING ROLLERSKATING PARK
Separatists also alleged Spike ran the site without regard for the existing community:
It started mildly, with the changing of small policies that had been agreed upon LONG ago. The Pokemon species tag rule, for instance. You started loosening the submission rules, which everyone was moderately aggravated over.
But it quickly got bigger, and you started changing some of the longest-standing rules and functionalities: You changed the Scat and Gore rule, seemingly only for your own personal gain. You stopped allowing us to see Image scores, supposedly to 'protect the artist's feelings'. You stopped allowing privileged users to see deleted posts!
And then you implemented, of all things, a POST LIMIT. If there was anything you could've done to make us hate you, that was it.
Personally I don't want this place run by the community. if the community ran this place, we have discrimination, bias, and unfairness.
No, i want this place run by 'laws'. I don't trust people, I trust principles.
Matters came to a head last month, with WildCritters.net (led by former admins AJ and Asda, hosted by Rick) restarting with a four-month-old copy of the WildCritters database. Spike's pledge of $100 if the site was up by Christmas was not honoured.
For now, WildCritters.ws appears to have the edge traffic-wise, with an Alexa rank of just over 300,000, compared to 2,000,000 for WildCritters.net. Users on each side seem to prefer the separation over continued strife. As put by Spike and Asda respectively:
I changed the purpose of this site because I felt the ideals that evolved from the old was wrong. They believe how the site worked was right. This site has a tolerance for particular pictures that may or may not fall under the idea of critterness, the other site has an intolerance for that. The only way to mend it together is if one side compromise their stance. I refuse to compromise for the sake of the the people who vary in their taste of critter and in a hope to make this community grow
To be honest, I don't think there was a break in the community, but on 'this' version a new community formed. The old members went to WC2 and we're reaping the reward with them gone.
On top of this, we don't necessarily care for popularity [...] By Pawsie's own logic: Don't like it? Don't use it.
We're actually happy to not have you here; this site's for the niche of a niche of a niche group who prefer their cute without diarrhea.