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Fur Affinity changes thumbnails; more updates promised

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (13 votes)

Fur Affinity has just released a new thumbnail system and promised further updates for the site over the coming week. As I've criticised FA for not providing updates, I can't very well ignore this development. So, first off, congratulations to FA for doing basic site maintenance. However, the promised updates appear little more than a coat of paint to distract from the real problems.

The current change is the new thumbnail system, which has provided bigger thumbnails, rounded corners, colour-coded borders and centering. It's hard to see what real benefit any of this has provided, considering the actual images themselves don't have rounded corners. Centering the images is not to my taste, but is hardly hurting anything either.

The increased size is the only feature with a real benefit, making it easier to see the content of the picture. However, I'm not aware of any notable demand for larger thumbnails. The new system has also strained FA, with some people reporting slower load times and no one reporting better performance. That will probably be fixed as more thumbnails are cached and the complaints of increased bandwidth usage will be dealt with with the promised ability to choose thumbnail sizes.

More serious issues are the loss of custom thumbnails and problems using AdBlock on the new thumbnail URLs (as a means of per-user blocking). Both features could be used to hide content that others might find offensive, which is needed due to FA's failure to provide tag filtering, despite requests dating from 2006.

Other promised updates are a mixed bag ranging from good (increased privacy options and a more streamlined banner system) to pointless (disabling notes). While it's good to see development happening, it's disappointing that it seems to be focussed on inconsequential features that already worked fine, instead of the bigger issues like tag filters and gallery folders.

We're listening to feedback as it comes in, fret not!

They might be listening, but they still aren't addressing the biggest concerns.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

I think the point of being able to disable notes is that the system is seen as insecure and/or inconvenient by many users – yet they may be expected to communicate through notes, even if they rarely visit the site or wish to use another method for records purposes. I've heard artists complain that notices requesting users not to send notes are ignored; this helps them.

I hadn't heard of that AdBlock-based "feature". Reminds me of the VCL Sieve (originally a user creation).

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I would've thought they should then try fix the security holes instead of just hiding vulnerabilities. A commission system would help artists but FA had that, it had security issues and they just disabled it instead of attempting to secure it. I'm not sure that cutting off that means of communication is the most constructive way of solving the problem though. It's easy enough to just ignore any messages.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Well, any site-hosted private message system is insecure in the sense that it gives privileged users on the site the ability to read the message. Admin-level users will have the ability to look at them to see what's going on. In all likelihood, so will anyone who has access to an admin user's logged-in machine, unless they are protected by on-access password input (which is a good idea, but I'm not aware of any site that's implemented it yet).

Your rating: None

Ah. That sort of security problem. That would always be a problem but I'd just impose stronger security standards on admins or perhaps even require at least admins permission to access private data.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks of the updates this way.

New icons: Pointless
BIGGER icons: Well now I can't browse my submissions at work anymore, thanks (bosses approve of this change)
Disable notes: So, optionally disable the only useful communication feature of the site
Hide from favorites: Marginally useful, though pretty pointless without just replacing "Favorites" with support for multiple, customizable albums.

Still baffles me that FA is "the" furry social networking site when it lacks anything social-networking-like other than a Shout page. How about the ability to follow someone's journals as a friend, without having to subscribe to their art? Or a centralized inbox instead of SIX DIFFERENT inboxes? Or the ability to mark incoming messages as read, instead of having to delete the notification? They claim they listen but they have a reputation of insulting users with noteworthy suggestions or legitimate security concerns.

Every time one of these updates comes I think of all the features, intuitiveness and security FA still lacks, and I wonder if I should just get off my feet and design yet another furry art site instead.

Your rating: None Average: 1.7 (3 votes)

If you were to get off your feet and design another furry site, I think a good starting point is to gather together all the highlights of each individual furry art site present and combine their awesome together, captain planet style. Each site has their perks and weaknesses, just focus on avoiding the weaknesses and capitalize off of that by focusing on their successes. The biggest weakness of Sofurry and Inkbunny, for example however, is that they didn't succeed enough (and that 'FA was already big and has the most users/submissions, so may as well keep it that way mentality' in an effect) to garner more users than FA.

Essentially, if you were to do this, it would have to be the furry art site to end all furry art sites, cause I think we can all agree somewhat that there's quite enough of them already.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Just a note, the color-coded borders have been there at least as long as I've been on a site and were not, as the article implies, introduced with the new update. The only thing Dragoneer's new CSS did in that area was make the borders skinnier on two side so they're harder to make out.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

I thought they had been like that earlier but I was going with FA's own announcement.
"Bigger, more consistent thumbnails and gallery views (with color-coding image rating and rounded corners)."
I guess we could then say that FA was being deceptive by acting as though it were new when it wasn't.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Or just stating something partially related to the new element that was introduced; in other words, they just added useless text that shouldn't have been there. Some people forget to make their writing concise. >.>;

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I think I couldn't put it any better then I already did on my Twitter:

"The irony of FA making a legitimate update on April 1st when on all other days an announced update is a farce isn't lost on me."

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

It was a bad move by FA to repair something that not only worked but worked well.
In fact they've made the site worse with this little upgrade, probably more of a downgrade at this point.

They have wasted time and effort on something that wasn't broken. I would much rather have seen the story part of FA given a new lick of paint and the issues with it resolved. Or the security upgraded and the commissions feature make a comeback.
All they have done is lower themselves to the standards of other poorly ran sites.

Your rating: None

If anyone's watching it's now been just over a week since the original announcement. Of the features that were "coming later this week" (My emphasis) I can see 0/4. What are the chances of them being released this week?

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

4/1/2013

Your rating: None

Now two weeks later, no further updates and no feedback on the delay. That's the problem with FA.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

The thumbnails are bigger? How am I going to "don't like it, then ignore it"?!

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About the author

Rakuen Growlitheread storiescontact (login required)

a student and Growlithe from South Africa/Austria, interested in science, anime and power metal

I'm a fur from South Africa, now living in Austria, who got into the fandom through my interest in pokemon and writing fanfiction. Outside of furry, I have spend a lot of my time in gaming (particularly Dota 2) and science.