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Science fiction fandom, 1970's cosplay photos, and documenting furry origins

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On io9, Ron Miller posted a gallery of his photos of Cosplayers from 1970's science fiction conventions. (NSFW)

This subculture spun off Furries, and it made me wonder if any proto-furry costumes were included. The closest I saw were a bird-woman and insect characters, who could be described as anthropomorphic, but not "furry".

What are the earliest records of organized furry activities? I'd guess these are somewhat underexposed and could be better documented [Yarf #46 (Jan 1997)].

It could be interesting and fun to keep the stories alive, as science fiction fans do. It could better define identity by those using the very loose label "furry", instead of outsiders in less than welcome ways. It could also be timely, after a decade-plus of convention growth that has brought more cons and con-goers than ever.

Out of curiosity, I contacted Ron Miller and asked him to respond to this post, in case he has more photos or comments. I noticed that he just found and commented about this archive of Science Fiction fandom that goes back to 1939. Perhaps some helpful reader may dig into it and find more to add.

Comments

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I have always been in favor of documenting our origins as completely as possible. Since I had my original exposure during the earlier WWW part of this fandom's history, I've been trying to find (not in a systematic way, though) as much old art and writings as possible in the Internet Archive and Usenet archives, but a hell of a lot of it is already lost.

A unified archive of old fandom materials would be really cool. Maybe it could give context to today's fandom.

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There are archives around though. Greenreaper looks after the Yerf archive I think. He had it showing pics here on 1 April. Then when we had the big debate over defining furry someone linked a site which had a list, divided into decades, of various influences on the furry fandom. I think it just falls to the sites to keep their data safe, so FA and SoFurry both have material going back 5-10 years.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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The Yerf Historical Archive is indeed under my care (it was originally gathered by Higgins Dragon). I kept that feature, so if you're interested, just scroll down; we have new images from it every day now.

I also have several hundred strips of T.H.E. Fox that have been translated from the original format. I should contact the creator about putting them online sometime.

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Is this the same as AAE's furry archive and ephemera collection? I only just learned about its existence while speaking with Chairo at this past FC...

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No, that's their own little project that (I think) they haven't done much with recently. A pity; I'm sure they could put on a display or two if they wanted to, and it would support their tax-exempt educational purpose.

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Hey there GR, Whitetail,

AAE and FC have made some major changes recently (as of FC this year). One in particular is that of the new members on the board. Another is the review and augmentation to our policies and practices, amongst them is the AFR.

The AFR will be coming back to life very soon. Candidates with backgrounds in librarian and archiving have been selected for the task. We are working on refreshing all aspects of our visibility and backend and hope to have an improved web presence with new sites which are being worked on with our new IT director and staff. Our goal is to bring this history to the public as soon as possible. We would indeed have quite a display and hope to regain momentum on populating our archive with more recent material.

I personally have been archiving FC related material for the past 15 years. Once we settle in our new home in a year or so I hope to have a nice History of FC set up at the convention. We have been saving everything that is FC branded or custom to our con. Everything from con books, t-shirts, Furly Editions, sponsor/patron schwag, to many of our theming props have been saved. (the huge hieroglyphic wall from FC05 takes up a large portion of my garage, heh).

Additionally, I plan on putting all the FC Related media from the past into one location. This will probably take the longest with all the other projects. It would be great to get more of this cool info out to the fans and general public.

If you have not see them, there were a couple decent write-ups this year.

One specifically on costuming:
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2012/01/lee_strom_chairo_furry_costumes.php

And another general FurCon article:
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2012/01/furries_further_confusion_conven...

You should be seeing more from us soon, including an AFR!

Cheers and Chirrs!

- Chairo

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For someone who's a) a librarian and b) spent a lot of time researching this sort of thing already, contact Dronon. He should also be able to put you in touch with others who have been collecting historical information about the fandom.

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Thanks for the name! We definately should collaborate with others. A broader spectrum of ideas, knowledge, and backgrounds will surely paint a better, more complete picture.

Chirr.

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I had a massive collection (unorganized) of Furry fandom historical materials -- for example, at the 1987 BayCon I grabbed copies of both the original Furry Party flyer and the defaced Skunk Fuckers Party version -- but when I had a stroke in 2005 and was hospitalized, friends boxed everything up and donated it to the University of California, Riverside Library, and I haven't seen it since. I don't know if it's been unboxed, but I assume that it has not been organized. Some knowledgeable fan should, some day.

Fred Patten

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The library has your anime collection in its catalog, with some SF as well, and from the looks of it there's over 3000 items! (Half of it video? Only took a quick glance.) Some libraries get offered a lot of donations, and with the constant threat of budget cuts, donations can languish for years before being made available. Worst case scenario it's in a warehouse somewhere (not as bad as in Indiana Jones, but you get the idea) - best case scenario the library has its own storage space and it's not too challenging to find the boxes.

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Brett says (below) that he was able to find the two 1987 BayCon Furry/Skunk Fuckers Party flyers when he visited the UCR Library in 2010, so apparently the Library has catalogued at least part of my Furry files. I will try to find out how organized and accessible it is when I next visit there, hopefully in May. The University of California at Riverside is about 75 miles from my convalescent hospital, so it is not easy for me to get to; it depends on a day when it is convenient for my sister to spend all day taking me there in my wheelchair.

Fred Patten

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(Wuff gNaws onna cheshire deuce's stray USB mouze cord.) Yeah, agreed there; Dronon's been keeping the Furry Historitactical Research Flame going longer than this pup's been in Furry; and I go back to around 1992. Granted, it's certainly not the longest 'distance' reported, but I'm just a flea. o_o He also passed along one of the 'Wolf Fox Addict' brochures to me many years ago, that he had left from a very long time ago....I know I've still got it, but I'd have to look in the one or two places it'd probably end up being in.

BTW, Happy Whelpday, ami chat!

-2Paw.

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Dude, total T.H.E. Fox fan; first webcomic I stumbled upon, appropriately enough.

Are you willing to at least "circulate the tapes" via email at least?

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Sure. It's not like he actually had the archives taken down, so the files are technically available; it's just that putting up a whole website for a comic archive is a little beyond that.

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If you're looking for really old stuff I tend to see a lot of it on the LJ symphonic_rp.

As far as looking for a "unified" history, such persuits are usually elusive. There are usually at least two versions of history as told per the perspective of those closest to it. If it's a conflict it'll be biased to the two sides. If it's a fandom it'll be biased to the segment of the fandom the person is involved in.

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In the 1939 photo, Forry Ackerman is specifically dressed as John Cabal (Raymond Massey) in the 1936 s-f feature "Things to Come" (which was my Very Favorite Movie for decades).

My "A Chronology of Furry Fandom", published in Yarf! #46 in January 1997, was posted online by Yarf! for over ten years even though the final issue of Yarf! was in September 2003. It was just taken down earlier this year. I have given Cubist permission to reprint it in "Anthro" with illustrations and additions, but he has been busy moving to a new house (he had to be out of his old house by April 1) and it has been delayed. The new printing will include some dates like Ed Zolna's creation of Mailbox Books, and the first use of the word "FurSuit".

Fred Patten

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It seems amazing (yes, even astounding) to me how the Japanese word "cosplay" has completely replaced the English word "costuming" throughout both s-f and Furry fandom almost instantly. "Cosplay" (costume play; an example of the Japanese creating a new English word) is definitely traceable to anime fandom.

Fred Patten

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I found that a little weird because the fandoms have their own internal jargon. Science fiction uses "costuming", furry uses "fursuiting" and anime uses "cosplay", so I wasn't expecting the term to suddenly be used out of context. I wonder if it's just the journalist, or if its use as a term across other fandoms is becoming more widespread.

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Well, practically all of the costuming in Furry fandom has been of FurSuits, so it would make sense for fursuiting to be the term used in Furry fandom. But even here, cosplay seems to have become an at least accepted term, and in s-f fandom it is taking over. Especially among the journalists, but it is being adopted by the fans as well.

Fred Patten

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I would think cosplay applies particularly to characters that are not your own. So dressing up as Mickey Mouse would be cosplay but wearing a suit of your fursona would be fursuiting. In a sense people use the fursona as a representation or extension of themself, not even counting the people that think there's something spiritual about it, so for them it isn't a costume, it's just them as they see themselves or wish to represent themselves.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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My interpretation of "costuming" vs. "cosplay" is that both are valid words with different meanings. Costuming refers to simply wearing a costume, whereas cosplay has the added element of roleplaying the character. (And of course, "fursuiting" is a furry term for either.)

Of course, that's just me. Different words mean different things to different people.

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I'm gonna check back here to see if Dronon responds to this article. He has done a lot of research on fandom history :3

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There was a fairly large collection of early furry stuff (and other sci-fi and fantasy items) given to the UC Riverside library by Fred Patton. I have no idea what was actually in the collection.

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The earliest Furry history I know of dates to the 80's. The late 80's saw the first furry convention ConFURence 0, attendance 42, mostly staff. (I was one of the staff.) The early 80's saw "anthropormorphic" room parties (the term "furry" wasn't in vogue yet) as science fiction cons like San Jose, CA's BayCon, and comic conventions such as San Diego, CA's ComiCon. (I attending 1 BayCon and a couple ComiCons just for the room parties prior to spending a year helping organize ConFURence 0.) Those room parties had been going on prior to my attendance at them, however, I wasn't able to go to them until my late teens in the early 80's.

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In the 1984 Worldcon photo album, Part 3, General Photos 3, the third photo on the left, *I* am the fan being stabbed to death with a Hugo Award trophy rocket, in Marc Schirmeister’s poster for the convention murder mystery, “Fandom is a Way of DEATH!”.

Fred Patten

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It really depends on what you personally define as furry.

If you are talking about people dressing up in anthropomorphic costumes, or even fursuits, it goes way back.

If you are referring to people going to furry conventions at hotels that have a major shopping room (dealers den) as well as workshops, then of course, it's going to be much more recent (as you're limiting the term furry to convention goers).

People were dressing in animal skins and dancing around fires to invoke the spirit of animals before a hunt, tens of thousands of years ago.

I also know an individual who live in my area, who was dressing up in a full bunny costume back starting in the early 60s. For him and the group he would fursuit with, it was mainly a spin off of the "happenings", "be-in"s, "mime troupe", and performance art/acid tests of the time. But hey, he was running around in a fursuit acting alot like modern day furries, just without the hotel and shopping. (You can find info/pics with a google search of his character's name: Astral-Naught Rabb-Eye , and yup, he still has his original fursuit he'll occasionally wear.)

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"I was there" in the late 1970s when Vootie was started by "the Funny Animal Liberation Front" in Minneapolis, and when I tried to join, they said that I didn't qualify for membership because I couldn't draw; it was an APA for cartoonists only. ("Funny animal" turned out to mean "any comic book characters except costumed heroes".) "I was there" at the 1980 Worldcon in Boston when fans were intrigued by the first Erma Felna painting in the Art Show -- an anthropomorphic cat-girl pilot in front of a high-tech realistic fighter plane -- and the artist, Steve Gallacci, said that he had a whole sketchbook filled with Erma Felna drawings for an s-f story that he was writing about a spacegoing race of bioengineered animal-people trying to find out their origins. "I was there" when the group of s-f fans and cartoonists started to discuss other "funny animal" characters in s-f and animated cartoons, and it turned out that almost all of these turned out to be our favorite s-f stories and cartoons. "I was there" when Don Bluth's "The Secret of NIMH" came out in 1982, and Tim Fay & John Cawley started a NIMH fan club to write their own fan-fiction sequels to it. "I was there" when Vootie fell apart in 1983 despite Tim Fay's & Marc Schirmeister's attempts to keep it going, and when Schirm created Rowrbrazzle in February 1984 to be its replacement -- and he made it a real funny animal club, that all funny animal fans could join, not just cartoonists; I was a charter member. "I was there" when the informal funny-animal discussion and "I'll draw in your sketchbook if you'll draw in mine" fan groups around Gallacci at West Coast s-f & comic-book conventions solidified into the first "Furry" room parties organized by Mark Merlino & Rod O'Riley. "I was there" when Merlino tried to formalize the fandom by proposing that funny animal fans should adopt the annual BayCon in San Jose to get together at. "I was there" at the 1987 BayCon when anti-Furry fans graphittied Kris Kreutzman's Furry Party posters into "Skunk-Fuckers' Party" posters, and used them to try to get the Furry fans expelled from the con (it didn't work, but the hostility was enough to convince Merlino that the BayCons would not be a good hangout for funny-animal fans). "I was there" when Merlino & O'Riley started the first convention just for Furry fans, ConFurence 0 in January 1989; I attended all the annual ConFurences (except 1991, when I was in France) until 2004, the last one. Ask me about the early days of Furry fandom. (And I'm sure that Confurence 0 was larger than 42 fans -- I made it as 60+ fans -- even if I was not on its Committee.)

Fred Patten

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Hey Fred! When I was doing research in your archive in 2010 I came across those BayCon poster and made copies of them. So, it was all in good shape at least then, though it wasn't organized.

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Aauugh! I get home really late after a long day to find this huge thread, and being too tired to give a good, long reply. Deuce, Skippyfox, it's kind of you to name-drop, but as Fred describes, he's the real expert (and part of my inspiration) - He was present at most of the major stages of the fandom as it evolved in the 70s and 80s. Me, I came in at the start of the 90s, and while I'm a librarian, I don't have a vast personal library. I don't know if anyone has a huge physical collection of old photos, comics or zines; I think Chairo's group has the most, except I forget what the acronyms mean (and I'm extremely tired right now). Fred was the first person to put effort into making a chronology of the fandom, and there are others who've been looking into the fandom's history too - Ironbadger, Joe Strike - WikiFur, by communal effort - and I listened to an interesting panel about Japan's kemono fandom from a fellow going by the name Imuhata. But none of us have written our stuff down in a form to be easily shared.

My historical interest in the fandom is a little more abstract - not about the hard facts and figures, but instead about its social evolution and changing internal drama and politics. I've done panels at WhatTheFur and FurFright about it, and if I didn't screw up the online form, offered to do a panel at this year's Anthrocon. But I don't know when they finalize their programming, so I don't know if it'll be included (or how much time it'll be given), which is a bit stressful 'cause I need all the advance preparation I can get, and have way too much that I could talk about. And my notes are a mess. :P

I'll try to post other comments for this thread tomorrow, or the day after, when I'm feeling more awake and composed.

(thump - zzzzzzzz)

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Okay, I'm more awake now. :) Returning to the question of the original post, "What are the earliest records of organized furry activities?" - That's really hard to answer, because exactly when enough people started to say, "Hey, we've got a fandom happening!" and to what degree they organized themselves is really subjective. Furry isn't a spin-off of science-fiction fandom - well, ok, partially, but not entirely. It formed out of people from multiple fandoms - SF, anime, animation, tabletop RPGs and comics fandoms. Imagine a sheet of paper with a bunch of little dots all over it, getting closer together and eventually forming small clumps, but very very slowly.

There was a clump of people drawing comics, some of whom had leanings towards funny animals, in a zine called Vootie. There was a clump of anime and animation fans who belonged to a club called the CF/O who realized they liked animals in cartoons. There was a clump of comics, RPGers and SF fans who bumped into each other at SF cons and then started looking forward to meeting up with each other at future SF cons. Someone ran a local computer message forum (BBS) and started a sub-board for furry discussion, and after a while the first dedicated furry BBS was formed. Some people lived in a house together and started attracting a number of furry roommates (the Prancing Skiltaire). Some folks started a publication called Rowrbrazzle. Some folks started to hold furry parties at SF conventions. And with the room parties, that's a sure-fire sign of the fandom becoming organized, but many of the events leading up to that could count too, depending what you think "organized" means.

You see how this all gradually builds up, but is kind of nebulous at the same time? And this is before most folks had Internet access, so growth was extremely constrained by word-of-mouth and geography. The east-coast fandom took a lot longer to clump together than the west-coast fandom. And then all over the place you've got mini-clumps of two or three people who're stuck wherever they're living, and their only way to communicate with the rest of the proto-fandom - if they're even aware of it at all - is by long-distance telephone calls, or by writing letters. Even after the U.S. fandom started becoming more cohesive, you can see this slow-clumping pattern repeating in other countries later on, the slowness of fans finding and connecting with each other, even with the advantage of the Internet. Canada, Great Britain, Europe, Russia, Australia, Japan, etc.

In terms of fursuits, I don't know what the oldest photos are out there. No one had digital cameras, only film, and after getting the snapshots developed, most folks wouldn't own a scanner at home until 1995 or so. The earliest pictures I've seen are of Ed Kline's work, on some of the back covers of the Equine the Uncivilized or Red Shetland comics? - I forget. Late 80s. I managed to see some of his costumes in the early 90s. In person they looked really good. In photos, for some reason, the faces really looked... creepy. They did not photograph well. On the Internet Wayback Machine, there's this low-resolution encounter that was captured at a Renaissance fair.

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Does anyone have photographs of FurSuiters at ConFurence 0 in January 1989? It had a programming track on "Furry Costuming".

Fred Patten

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Awesome!

"You see how this all gradually builds up, but is kind of nebulous at the same time?"

Take these little stories and build them into crazy big ones that might or might not have happened, to make a fictionalized or gonzo mockumentary, possibly including conspiracies and Bigfoot sightings. So much more entertaining than "in 1987, there was this room party..." (The room party is just part of it.) This would be a cool story to tell with creative license, rather than a dry laundry list of clique-ish events. Playing a fursona in a costume is doing that with personal identity, so I could imagine a meta thing being a natural fit. :)

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In terms of archive material, The Megaplex staff started putting not only the photo archives, but also the conbooks, art used with the convention, video of events filmed, samples of the convention badges, as well as the original web site code on its own archive site. So fans and guests can go back and look at what each event looked like, how the web sites were designed, and what kinds of materials were used each year.

We found that our attendees loved this little "wayback machine" and it's served to help give as complete of a documentation of the convention as is possible.

I also have amassed an almost complete collection of Anthrocon conbooks (missing only 1997 now), and have many of the MFF conbooks on file as well. I had proposed creating a single repository for all conbooks in a single site a few years ago, but there was some copyright concern at the time.

I love the idea of documentation of the fandom...since it has evolved, and is far different than it was even 5 years ago. Social media and advances in technology have all changed the way that conventions operate and how our attendees interact with them. Keeping an archive of our history would be a great thing for the future.

KP

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Documenting the fandom's history is important; we should start an encyclopedia about Furry fandom.

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Amended to thumb my nose at the downvoters who don't think the fandom's history is important: We should start an encyclopedia about Furry fandom that doesn't have the chronic problems WikiFur does.

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Flayrah: Where downvoting people who think the fandom's history is important isn't just a job, it's an adventure!

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Please stop with the being an asshole now.

Seriously, read the comments above your inanities, then realize you are actively insulting people for something they aren't doing.

Flayrah cares deeply about the fandom's history. What they don't care about is YOU.

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I don't really care whether "Flayrah" (or self-proclaimed spokespeople for the website such as yourself) care about me. I care about the fandom's history. You should too.

The point is, if the denizens of Flayrah care so deeply about the fandom's history, they should do something about the chronic mismanagement of WikiFur instead of shooting the messenger.

But I suppose it's just easier for you to downvote comments you don't like and call people names than try to come up with a rational rebuttal. Perhaps there isn't one?

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The rational thing to do would probably be address your problems with Wikifur on Wikifur instead of bringing the problem here. It's like complaining about FurAffinity to Inkbunny, it might make you feel better, but it doesn't get anything done.

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The problems have been addressed on Wikifur many times, but GreenReaper claims running an authoritative encyclopedia about Furry fandom is impossible, and in many instances has actively worked against those goals.

The rational thing to do would be for the fans who care about the fandom's history (or claim to) to do something about it, even if GreenReaper doesn't want to. That certainly includes making fans aware of Wikifur's problems in relevant discussions about fandom history such as this one.

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So do you have an issue with this article in how it portrays something or is it fine?

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I think Fred Patten's excellent Furry chronology deserves more exposure and that is the sort of thing people interested in an authoritative history of the fandom should strive for.

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If encyclopedias were about chronicling history would they not be called history books? I don't think Wikifur is trying to make itself "the" source of furry history.

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One, I never downvoted you, suck-n-fuck.

Two, WikiFur is a, you know, WIKI. You know, editable by everyone, which, by extension, includes you, dumbshit. Arguing about the leadership of such a democratic process as wiki editing is kind of stupid.

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WikiFur is editable by everyone, including trolls who have added patent nonsense to the wiki, and the only way to remove it is to engage in an endless war of attrition with them because the WikiFur admins refuse to do anything about it.

It's only stupid to argue about it if you don't care about the fandom's history, and it's pretty obvious you don't.

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I just realized I can sum up the problem with WikiFur pretty easily:

The best thing about WikiFur is it allows anyone to edit articles.
The worst thing about WikiFur is it allows anyone to edit articles.

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If it didn't it wouldn't be called a Wiki...

The whole debate here has been done before, like long before. Let's just put it this way, you're Plato, and the concept of a Wiki is inherently Aristotle in nature.

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Hi, Xydexx. :3

Furry Pariah

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I'm not saying you're right, but I feel less paranoid now myself.

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If it shuffles like a squeaky pony, and squeaks like a squeaky pony, it must be a squeaky pony.

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You haven't provided a single example of mismanagement yet. Perhaps if you had something to support your argument people might pay some attention.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Our critic has had plenty of opportunity to present his views on WikiFur on the site itself, on his own website, and even in the comments of numerous other unrelated articles on Flayrah. I do not think anything more needs to be said in this particular thread.

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Maybe. I don't recognise the name or remember the complaints. Even so he should still provide an overview when he starts something like this for those that aren't familiar with it.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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"GreenReaper gives soapboxes to kooks".

/thread

Furry Pariah

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I will break down the process into the simplest form and maybe you someone suggest what to do about it:

1. Troll posts misinformation on a message board.
2. Troll adds misinformation to WikiFur.
3. When asked for evidence to support his message on the message board, troll cites WikiFur.
4. When asked for evidence to support his WikiFur edits, troll cites misinformation on the message board.
5. When people point out the troll has been kicked off two previous message boards for trolling, is using a sockpuppet account, and none of his evidence supports the claims he's making, the WikiFur admins lecture about assuming good faith and NPOV and how this is just a "content dispute" and people need to work with the troll for "consensus" and do everything in their power to allow the misinformation to remain on WikiFur.

I used to think as old saying goes "never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity", that GreenReaper was just clueless. But when you consider how often he feeds information to the anti-furry site Vivisector and how chummy he is with the Encyclopedia Dramatica crowd, it really makes you wonder if his actions might actually be deliberate. It's no wonder so many fans don't trust him anymore.

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Heh. I'd be worried about downvotes if I wasn't aware we've got a the trifecta of Encyclopedia Dramatica/Vivisector/Burned Fur members in this thread.

Not like that proves my point about who GreenReaper's biggest supporters are these days or anything.

Just some food for thought.

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I think it's safe to say that anyone intentionally doing steps 1-4 as you described is guilty of inserting misinformation into WikiFur, and I'm pretty sure GreenReaper will agree with me. It's already something they have to watch out for on Wikipedia, whether it's done intentionally by a single editor or by accident by multiple editors - that is to say, something incorrect is added to an article, a journalist refers to the Wikipedia article when writing an article for a news publication, the publication then gets cited as a "reliable source" in support of the incorrect information. By the way, if that was going on during the incident being referred to in this discussion, I was not aware of it until now.

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Cool, now can we move further discussion of that 2 year old issue back to the wiki where it belongs? Don't get too into discussing those things in random articles on Flayrah, sets a poor precedent, there's a reason I avoid wikis.

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I think it's safe to say that anyone intentionally doing steps 1-4 as you described is guilty of inserting misinformation into WikiFur, and I'm pretty sure GreenReaper will agree with me.


Well, that's great if you think so, except that GreenReaper doesn't agree with you. Heck, reading your response to Fred Patten, even you don't agree with you.

Even though this was a clear instance of someone inserting misinformation into WikiFur, GreenReaper et al.—like you did below—decided to brand it as a "content dispute" when it was just someone disrupting the wiki with an argument that wasn't even related to Furry fandom. You treated it as two equally valid opinions that needed to reach a middle ground instead of someone who was trolling and someone who was familiar with the problems on the message board giving you evidence on a silver platter that someone was trolling.

The guy who was trolling admitted he was using a sockpuppet and claimed there was a worldwide conspiracy of KGB-funded inflatable-hating ninjas sneaking into his house late at night and damaging his inflatable collection, but he had no evidence because they're super sneaky like that... (he has since gone off the religious deep end and thinks the End Times are coming).

GreenReaper's argument for keeping the misinformation was that it was "interesting" even though it had nothing whatsoever to do with Furry fandom, and it was perfectly acceptable that there was no evidence to support the claims being made because if you believe it's true, that's good enough. Let's reiterate that for the folks who think Furry fandom's history is important: you can add any batshit nonsense you want to WikiFur, as long as you believe it's true.

The arguments against keeping the misinformation was that it had nothing whatsoever to do with Furry fandom, the guy was a known troll using WikiFur as a forum for his non-Furry arguments that had gotten him kicked off two message boards previously, and last but not least, it was complete and utter batshit lunacy.

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The problem is GreenReaper takes NPOV to such an extreme that it allows people to add patent nonsense to WikiFur, which has a deleterious effect on running a credible encyclopedia about Furry fandom. GreenReaper claims it is impossible to do otherwise. "Assume good faith" means an editor's actions outside WikiFur have no bearing on their actions within WikiFur, so even with evidence they're acting in bad faith the admins refuse to do anything about it.

What you end up with is people who are trolling (we can argue semantics about whether they're trolling or genuinely batshit crazy all day, but the net result is the same) who you're supposed to reach consensus with the troll by having endless edit wars with them instead of the WikiFur admins actually doing anything about it. You're not allowed to call a troll a troll, even with solid evidence that they're trolling.

For example, someone can make something up on Encyclopedia Dramatica and then use it as "evidence" to add it to a WikiFur article, and you're expected to argue with them to reach "consensus" even though they're making things up. This means a fandom authority like Fred Patten would have to reach some sort of middle ground with someone who has nothing better to do than make things up in the name of NPOV, and if he tried to get any assistance from the WikiFur admins, they wouldn't do anything.

Reaching consensus with people who are making things up means adding misinformation to WikiFur, and that's not the sort of encyclopedia anyone should want for the fandom's history. So the real question you should be asking yourselves is if GreenReaper is unwilling to fix it, who will?

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I have hardly read everything on WikiFur, but I have read a lot of it, and I have not recognized any false information. What are some of the examples of false information that you are alluding to?

Fred Patten

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http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Talk:Popping

To make a long story short (bear in mind we're condensing six months of futile seeking assistance from WikiFur admins to rollback misinformation): A troll on a non-Furry message board imported his non-Furry arguments onto WikiFur. Without getting into the semantics of trolling vs. batshit insanity:

Why—despite multiple requests for assistance—did top WikiFur admins (GreenReaper, Spirou, et al.) allow misinformation which had nothing to do with Furry fandom remain on WikiFur for more than six months, instead of simply dealing with it like any other instance of trolling or vandalism?

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If I were a inflatable creature I'd probably try and get articles about popping removed too...

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This all apparently grew out of a single incident where DJC (hereatfter referred to as XtSP) got involved in a content dispute affecting about three articles. This happened about three years ago. I'm not aware of any other disputes on WikiFur that he's been party to. Near as I can tell, XtSP has maintained a bitter and sarcastic attitude toward WikiFur ever since, and has brought it up repeatedly here on Flayrah whenever any discussion strays close to it.

XtSP was even at the time dispalying a generally sarcastic and acerbic attitute, not exactly the sort of behavior that would leave anyone with any desire to work with him toward a resolution. In spite of this, being a WikiFur admin I made an effort to do so. Near as I recall, his reactions to whatever I suggested tended to be a combination of "not good enough" and "you're the admin, you figure it out". It didn't take me long to decide he was just too difficult to work with to be worth the trouble. Part of it was that he gave no indication of setting aside his obnoxious and off-putting manner, which as the current discussion indicates is still true. XtSP, didn't your mother ever teach you you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?

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For what it's worth, Xydexx MIGHT have had the better point.

However, the argument boiled down to two weirdos havin a very public slapfight about the correct way to jerk off to balloons, so really, just being there is above and beyond the call of duty for unpaid volunteers.

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Actually, the argument boiled down to a troll spouting paranoid conspiracy theories that the Russian Popper Mafia was out to get him, and a longtime WikiFur editor wondering what the hell it had to do with Furry fandom.

I doubt this would have degenerated into a public slapfight if GreenReaper didn't insist it become one by demanding to reach consensus with a troll.

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This statement would be much more viable if you hadn't been making conspiracy accusations directed upon the members of this community.

There is a book called "Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten", I think the lesson of kindergarten that applies here is a story about a boy who cried wolf.

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Your analogy is invalid, because (unlike the acceptable standard on WikiFur) I can actually back up my statements with facts.

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You left out the part where XtSP brought the problem to the attention of GreenReaper privately in e-mail, stated he didn't want to get involved an edit war, and had WikiFur Admins stonewall and ignore any and all requests for assistance or a speedy resolution.

You also left out the part when GreenReaper allowed the problem to drag on for six months, when negligent WikiFur admins locked down the troll's misinformation-filled version of the article and then went AWOL rather than attempting to mediate the discussion.

Clearly, any "bitter and sarcastic attitude" which resulted from this was uncalled for.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

More like the bitter and sarcastic attitude was what made a troll's case more viable then your own.

Think about that for a moment.

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So what you're saying is GreenReaper would rather cater to trolls than to people who want WikiFur to be an encyclopedia about Furry fandom.

Thank you for proving my point for me.

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What I'm saying is is that if you truly believe someone is a troll then you cannot prove it by being one yourself. It's like how Republicans these days combat big government by being big government themselves, and it's why they are making their way to irrelevancy, acting more delusional and paranoid along the way. They are fighting their enemy upon their terms and acting in their manners.

If there was any trolling behavior done by the party at hand, it was eclipsed by yours. Therefore, is it GreenReaper's fault for the results of the occurance, or your's?

Case in point you made reference to people manipulating posts to "make it truth" in order to troll, and according to the history which you provided you were accused of doing that very same thing to the article in question, an accusation which you did not deny and only used as an excuse to bring up the request for deletion again.

Once again, like a Republican telling people how scary big government is before getting into office and spying on Americans themselves. I guess their problem wasn't with big government, it's just that it's just that there are other individuals in that government getting in the way of doing everything they want. Your problem isn't with people manipulating the wiki for their own agendas, it's that you're not the only one that can do it.

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If there was any trolling behavior done by the party at hand, it was eclipsed by yours.

How exactly is helping the WikiFur admins by pointing out the party at hand's proven history of trolling (when the WikiFur admins themselves admit they don't know the details), and requesting assistance from said WikiFur admins to put a stop to it as they would any other attempt to add misinformation to the wiki considered "trolling behavior"? What sort of Wile E. Coyote strategy is it when a guy who runs a wiki doesn't like when people complain about trolls, so he takes the trolls side and allows misinformation to be incorporated into the wiki instead of, y'know, DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT? Really, how hard can it possibly be?

Sorry, I'm not buying into your little attempt to shift the blame. This was never about a content dispute or "manipulating the wiki" for my so-called agenda. (Seriously, is wanting WikiFur to be an accurate resource about Furry fandom really that threatening a concept these days that you brand any effort to do so as trolling? Wow. Just wow.)

Therefore, is it GreenReaper's fault for the results of the occurance, or your's?

I think the fact that GreenReaper let his personal grudge get in the way of running WikiFur as an encyclopedia about Furry fandom is entirely his responsibility.
Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

Xydexx, why don't you simply make your own wiki about the furry fandom if you don't like the way GreenReaper runs his?

If you start your own, you can ban whoever you want. You can have whatever information you want, and remove any that you don't want.

The only warning I would give is to know that Encyclopedia Dramatica started on a similar basis. One could simply hope that on your path you do not become which you claim to despise (implying you haven't already).

Furry Pariah

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It's a good thing I'm a lot nicer than the Encyclopedia Dramatica crowd.

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This is hilarious on so many levels.

Furry Pariah

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I managed to find the earliest photo I took at a furry convention - which turns out to not have been too early, at CF7. I remember a couple of costumes from the stage presentation (overall meh), but this one as far as I know only wandered into the lobby, and I never saw it again - maybe it was on the fragile side. It's too bad, because it was one of the more realistic-style costumes at the time (pretty rare) - walked digitigrade, and was the best-looking werewolf(?) costume I'd ever seen without looking monstrous or grotesque, like the Verdun stuff. I'm not sure who was wearing this, but I'm guessing Lance Ikegawa. (Image link.) Sorry about the graininess, I had a really crappy camera. The glowing eyes were an unexpected effect from the flash.

I donated most of my old furry stuff to the Anthrocon charity raffle last year. I didn't attend the convention myself, so some friends of mine dropped off my box of stuff for me. Sadly the contents didn't get separated out, which was a disappointment, because I doubt everything in there would have interested a single buyer. I think it raised $54(?), whereas if it had been separated, the items would've raised more money. On the other hand, the Toonseum had donated so much stuff - judging from the con photos, there was limited table space for raffle items! Anyway, whoever got my box ended up with two English Blacksad books, the full run of Fang, Claw & Steel, a good chunk of Yarf! issues, over a dozen convention books, and miscellaneous zines (Furtherance and Centaurs Gatherum), plus other things I've probably forgotten.

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I would call that a good photograph, and it is certainly a FurSuit! Who has older photos?

The Eaton Collection of Science-Fiction & Fantasy at the UCRiverside Library has complete runs of Fang, Claw & Steel, FurryPhile, FURthest North Crew, FurVersion, Mythagoras, North American Fur, PawPrints Fanzine, Rowrbrazzle, Yarf!, and other Furry magazines. It has Richard Chandler's Gallery only up to #33; it is missing #34 to #50. I cannot find any issues of FURtherance or Huzzah! listed, although there were a few in my collection when it was donated in 2005. (Maybe they haven't been catalogued yet.) I think that the Collection is weak on Furry convention books, and anything FurSuit-related.

Fred Patten

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Fred - I have some fursuit photo selections from CF4 and CF2, plus a photo from CF0. I'll be happy to email them to you. I also have a few pics of pre-CF furry costumes. ( I use these in my "History of Fursuiting" panel ) I also have a nice video tape of the CF4 Masquerade.

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Can you post these on Flayrah? I'd love to see them.

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Yes, I definitely want to see them, but why not post them here to share them with all of us?

Fred Patten

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OK, well, if I post them, now I have to worry about hosting them and permissions and/or if those people still want those available to the public. I can still get a hold of a few of them - let me start sifting through and send out some emails...

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I did not realize that it was so legally difficult to post old images for fanhistorical purposes. Does legal permission have to be obtained every time someone wants to post an old photograph of a FurSuiter?

Fred Patten

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This isn't so much for legal reasons as etiquette. Those of us who made and wore fursuits in the mid 90's knew each other fairly well. Some of the creators consider their old works inferior and don't want them seen. Others have distanced themselves from furry and want all traces of their involvement erased. At a bare minimum I need to provide a mechanism for image takedown on creator request.

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I think it might be more a matter of courtesy than legality. If nothing else, these costumes are all going to be very old and not representative of the current state of the art, or the costumers' skills. They may also have been taken under expectations of privacy. (Edit: And there we are.) Personally I put just about everything up, but am willing to take photos down on request.

(Incidentally, whether fursuits are subject to rights such as copyright or design patentability is very murky; they technically count as clothes, from which it can be hard to separate the artistic element.)

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Okay, I can appreciate courtesy, but when it is a matter of fan history -- say, showing the state of the art in FurSuits in 1989 or 1995 or 2000 -- I do not think that whether or not the 1995 image is representative of the FurSuiter's abilities today should be a significant consideration. Also, since FurSuits (as opposed to just a tail) pretty well hide the image of whoever is wearing them, why should the personal privacy of the wearer be an issue?

Fred Patten

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Confurence 4 pictures are already online at timduru's Fursuit Archive:
http://fursuit.timduru.org/view/FurryCon/ConFurence/CF4

There is quite a hodge-podge of early fursuit pics in
http://fursuit.timduru.org/view/Other/Misc

The problem is that most of these are poorly named and identified.

I only have a few which aren't already in this archive. I'll see if I can find the CF0 pic.

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Good. It would be nice if the FurSuiters could be named, and if the pictures could be dated more exactly than "early FurSuits", but if the wearers are unknown, then I don't see any "violation of personal privacy" issues or embarrassing some FurSuiter by posting an image of his old rather than his current work. After all, showing a 2012 FurSuit as an example of 1989 or 1995 FurSuits would be rewriting history.

Fred Patten

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Naming is where you get into privacy issues; if you name the fursuiters in today's online culture, you risk linking them to real people, who may not necessarily want it known outside their circle of friends that they paraded around as a giant bunny dressed in panties, wielding a riding crop.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. (Some of my best friends are bunnies!)

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Though some may believe the only crop a bunny should ever wield is a carrot.

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When I said identify, I meant "Name of character and date of appearance/convention year". But if you look carefully, there are some pics in there that do identify the performers.

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OK - Here's a couple of historical gems (posted with permission):

First up, we have (to my knowledge) the first furry costume worn at a furry convention:

That is Hilda the Bambioid as performed by Robert Hill at CF0 in 1989.
(Bambioid characters were originally created by Jerry Collins.)

Robert Hill also performed furry characters at Comic Con in '87 and '88.

-------

Previous to this, we have a costume that won first place at a Colorado Springs SF convention in 1982:

The character is named Brett Tarci and he was a starfighter piloting fox - Yes - this was essentially "Starfox" before "Starfox" existed. The original costume was a fox in a spacesuit, but the spacesuit was lost or destroyed before this photo was taken.

Brett Tarci was constructed and worn by Grant Hiestand, aka the Georgia Belle, who is still active in Furry costuming today.

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I remember Hilda the Bambioid. "She" appeared at a party when Marc Schirmeister transferred the Official Editorship of ROWRBRAZZLE to me in February 1989. Several photographs were taken; they are probably at the UCRiverside Library's Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy now. If I can, I will try to have the UCR librarians put them online.

Fred Patten

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Oops - for Brett Tarci, I should have said "Colorado Springs SF convention in the SPRING of 1982" . He just can't remember the name of the SF convention. Anyone have a convention calendar from 1982?

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Here are some costumes from Science Fiction fandom in the 70's which include a few that could be called pre-fursuits. A couple of them are rather good.

http://www.lasfsinc.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=448&Itemid=514

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