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Profile: Upcoming art site Weasyl seeks $5000 by July 31

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Weasyl's site mascot, Wesley, drawn by Fay V.A new site is to open this year: Weasyl, for "artists of all kinds". But they need money to do so…and the countdown ends Tuesday.

If funding falls short, the group will still be paid, but must forfeit an additional 5% - up to $250 - as well as the regular fee of up to 7%.

Update (30 Jul): The goal is met; funding is still open until Aug 1.

Update 2: The total raised was $6015.

A variety of artists are offering services to donors, who can also receive paid site access, ad space, and merchandise.

Staff plan to use cloud hosting (Amazon S3 and EC2), rather than purchase their own servers. The site is being organized by a team of eighteen, headed by co-owners Benchilla and Kihari, and lead admin Taw Echo.

Three staff gave an hour-long presentation at Anthrocon 2012. Members also promoted the site at this year's FWA.

Weasyl links: Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook accounts — ScreenshotsForums

A demo site, briefly shown at Anthrocon, was taken down after the site administrator moved. Access to the current site is, for now, restricted. Growth of Weasyl will also be limited at first; beta users can invite up to ten others in a month.

The name "Weasyl" was explained by staff as a portmanteau of weasel, easy and easel. The site was dubbed "Fergal" in early concept mockups.

Weasyl home page
The Weasyl home page promotes recent uploads, but has tabs for random art and other media, as well as sections for stream notifications, news and critique requests

Site features and monetization

Weasyl is to support IE7+ and other major browsers, with HTTP Secure and an Android app. A laundry list of features are promised: folders, journal +faving, a WYSIWYG text editor, user page banners, friends-only posts, commission info pages, stream notifications, and search exclusion. Tags may be used for search, and for blocking or whitelisting.

Work may be submitted under General, Mature (13+) and Adult (18+) ratings; videos, animations and limited photography can be posted in addition to regular visual art. Users may block other users from watching them or commenting on their posts, and disable public tagging.

One unique feature of Weasyl is the collections system. Users are expected not to post art created by an artist who is on the site; instead, they will be invited to put the artist's upload into a collection gallery, separate from their own. Followers may be notified of collection additions. Groups for the public or private posting of journals, submissions and events are also planned.

Future development ideas include the addition of a chatroom and API, the ability to sort/search private messages, and collaboration tools. Artists may also be able to sell prints or digital copies. However, these features are technically challenging and are not expected in the near future.

Weasyl intends to make money through merchandise, link monetization (think VigLink), and adverts. Several additional features will be offered to paid users, who may remove ads, change their site URL, upload larger submissions, filter different forms of notifications, add widgets to their page, get discounts on merchandise, and display more thumbnails (150 vs. 60) per page.

Paid members will also have additional forum features on the site's vBulletin forum, including:

… the ability to change one’s username without needing moderator assistance, the ability to lock your own threads, custom user titles, a larger inbox, access to a premium member forum section, [and] larger avatars.

Premium memberships are estimated to cost $35/year, $20/six months, $10/three, or $5/month.

Competition

While some are reluctant to admit it, Weasyl has claimed to be a FA "competitor", and its rules and feature set appear designed to appeal to Fur Affinity users. Several staff have a history with the site; co-owner and former FA forum moderator Benchilla was banned from Fur Affinity in April after promoting the "huge avatar" exploit, while Fay V went on hiatus from FA adminship days after, citing stress over ticket "chores".

The site has also been considered a competitor to Inkbunny, as several promised features duplicate those existing there; however, its policy against sexual depictions of under-18s or characters with "small child, or infant-like proportions" is likely to repel many in Inkbunny's audience. Weasyl will also initially lack support for pagination or chapter/image grouping, though users will be able to save working drafts and load files.

Staffing

Volunteer "Ferrets" are to patrol recent uploads for community guideline violations (including friends-only posts; usernames will be hidden), receiving premium access to the site in return. Duty as a ferret or forum moderator will be necessary, but not sufficient, for a full staff position.

Staff selection and promotion is subject to a voting process, which also applies to ejection. Moderators have extended site access, while admins gain voting rights and lead admins have authority over disciplinary duties. All staff and Ferrets must be 18 or older, and will be organized into departments for art, writing, multimedia, photography, accounting, PR and HR. Initial plans for Weasyl LLC to pay staff have been dropped.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Hope things go well for them. I'm sure a lot of furries will go "Oh boy another fur site." but in essence that's how the internet works, people make something and some things stick and others fade away.

In the whole Inkbunny Vs FurAffinity thing how would this fit in with relation to SoFurry?

I do like their staffing structure in the least.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

SoFurry is kinda on the side. Their policies are a mix of Weasyl and Inkbunny; more lenient than FA, to be sure. In theory they had a greater focus on stories, but they've been trying hard to erase that from what I can see. Their most critical issue is performance; it's hard to love a site that takes five seconds to load each page.

I only saw SoFurry offered as a Weasyl alternative once, as "a pretty website" (a claim which was quickly contested). It may be more popular in Europe.

Just about any staffing structure will work if you have competent people, especially at the top. We'll see how that goes.

Your rating: None

Toumal is trying to promote all submissions as equally important so that neither art nor stories is given preference. I think that's why on user pages the sections are reordered depending on what was last posted rather than being fixed. Performance has been an issue but recently it seems to be working much better. Talking about policy though I think SoFurry currently has more relaxed rules than any other site, especially since it's now allowed humans into art and stories.

"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 (3 votes)

SoFurry still has the strongest focus on stories, I think. Unlike FA, it really does treat stories as a separate kind of content rather than shoehorning it in with visual art, and SF has a good ability to display stories in a format that's readable and relatively quirk-free now. I'm enough of a typography nerd to still have quibbles but they're head and shoulders above everybody else but InkBunny at this point, and I'd actually put them a nose ahead of IB thanks to SF's ability to drop user formatting and use the site's default styles.

I think SF is fairly pretty now and getting better. Performance is still a major frustration, though.

- Chipotle

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I've been very vaguely following Weasyl, and now I'm trying to decide where I stand on the notion of this Kickstarter-style approach to funding. $5000 isn't a huge amount, but it's not a small amount for a site that's theoretically going to be self-funding and that's making a point of how they're going to "drastically save money" by using Amazon EC2/S3 services. Is there a clear explanation of what the $5K is for that I'm missing somewhere on the Indiegogo page?

- Chipotle

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

They don't break it down (probably because they don't know their load yet), but EC2 isn't exactly cheap either. In practice, the biggest advantage can come from the flexibility, and the time saved on handling server spin-up or recovery (which can be significant - consider the month of downtime FA had when their server died on them).

Promotion also isn't cheap. I ended up spending $1000 on WikiFur, and that was just to get enough flyers for AC, MFF and FC, contributor business cards, and some advertising on Yahoo and Google. (Google AdWords had the best results, though Yahoo gave me an executive corkscrew set at Christmas for some reason.)

You could look on this as a way of getting people to buy memberships in advance. The site may be self-funding eventually, but they're starting from nothing, and I don't know that either of the co-owners could fund the startup themselves.

Your rating: None

That was also something I was thinking about EC2/S3, yes. They have certain definite advantages, but cost effectiveness for large scale sites usually isn't one of them. :)

And, that interpretation of what they're doing makes sense.

- Chipotle

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I'm curious how Weasyl will do. It might be nice having an extra site to use but the no cub rule makes me wonder about the rules, or at least the philosophies underpinning them, and I consider having paid and non-paid accounts kinda tacky. That's not to say it will be a bad site though but I haven't decided whether I'd want to try it immediately or wait and see if it picks up.

Edit: Well I decided to join the forum and see how things go before the actual site launch.

"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)

I wondered about that too--they say they're "a general-purpose site that’s meant to attract artists of all kinds, no matter what they create" (emphasis added) and then they ban cub art. Contradiction much?

Smile! The world could use another happy person.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

We decided not to allow cub art because the law on it is incredibly muddy and unclear, and we wanted to err on the side of caution. I personally felt no qualm with allowing such content, but we unfortunately couldn't.

To be clear though, the reason we put emphasis on that is because we want to stress that our site isn't purely furry-oriented, and we want to cultivate a site where people from all backgrounds feel comfortable joining. We figure that with both our group system and tag filtering (something DeviantART doesn't have), that's very much feasible. So if for any reason, a furry member only wants to see art of animals, they can put their settings to do as much. Pretty convenient, I think.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

As far as the whole tagging system goes, what's the check and balance in place to make sure that things are tagged properly? My guess is that this will be part of the "ferret" responsibilities?

I know I myself don't tag things very often, particularly journals.

Since journals are part of site content will there be particular rules regarding journals as well? I know FA's is like "no 'call outs'", Inkbunny is more lenient and basically have the standard no bigotry/harassment inducing journals. Are there going to be ferrets looking over those as well or just the art?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The search system will be entirely tag-based, each submission has a 3-tag minimum, and there's community tagging (although a user can opt out of that).

Journals that "call people out" are allowed so long as all claims are backed up with factual evidence. Otherwise, it's slander, which is a problem. The call-out rule always bothered me, because it served as a loophole for people who really stepped in it to be able to silence the truth, which is never how anything should operate.

And yes, Ferrets will look at those. However, identities of the people who post things will be hidden (this is especially important on friends-only content) so they can't abuse their position to violate peoples' privacy.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Well, if the journal is talking about the ferret themselves but was supposed to be hidden so that the ferret didn't see it?

I know, unlikely, but one has to think ahead of all possibilities.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Criticism of staff is okay, as long as it isn't slanderous. I should hope no one feels the need to make such journals about our ferret team though, as we intend to pick only the finest people, i.e. preferably people who wouldn't get mixed up in scuffles like that.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Well, my take would be that a good ferret would probably request the journal be looked at by another. People tend to be biased against things that are biased against them, so it'd probably be best if they did.

I'm sure the poster would be asking for a second opinion should the ferret happen to consider the journal a violation. Wouldn't look good on the ferret's part.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

All ferrets do is report things, they don't actually hand out punishment. It would be up to a mod or an admin to reprimand someone. So don't worry, that wouldn't factor in, since they hold no decision-making power, although they may down the line if they perform well enough.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Ah that addresses that then, could be an issue if a ferret does see something related to them in a 'hidden' journal, but if they go after those who posted it in a manner, I'm sure that'd get back to people up top anyway, and the ferret won't be ferreting much more.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Clearly they are looking to go after FA's userbase, not Inkbunny's. The history with the staff and founder is with FA. If you're going to go after FA's userbase, then you have to keep cub porn out of it.

Now would the site have as much of a reputation as Inkbunny for cub porn if they allowed it? I don't think so, cubs are probably quite content at Inkbunny so I don't see a major rush to put their stuff on a second site like they were with Inkbunny. However, it is kind of a unfortunate truth that the reason that Inkbunny won't replace FA is the chunk of the fanbase that will not go on a site where there are cubs. So if they're target is FA, they are probably going to be mostly like FA, minus Dragoneer and staff.

Your rating: None

Weasyl has met its funding target, though you can still participate until August 1. [tip: Higgs Raccoon]

Update: $6015 was raised from 227 individual funders.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Indeed. This is also the way anyone is to get into the beta, so if you want a guaranteed spot, that would be the way to do it.

Your rating: None

It's refreshing to see a forum whose primary language is English instead of Rage and Jaded as I am used to seeing on FA (the few times I dare go into them).

Your rating: None Average: 1 (4 votes)

There is no way this can be good.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Haha! We certainly try our best. Thanks for the implied kind words.

Your rating: None Average: 1.2 (5 votes)

I was serious. All the good artists are on DA already.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Oh. The "Well, I'll be" is a signature. Not really easy to tell that.

Regardless of anything, we intend to compete with dA by providing better services than them, by also offering support for musicians and videomakers, and by allowing tag filtering. There is a fair deal dA either doesn't do or doesn't do correctly, and we hope to improve on that.

Your rating: None Average: 1.4 (5 votes)

I see you heart is in the right place... but I'm just being realistic. Something tells me that is not going to work.

I'll see in 2 years if that is so.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

OMG, Mister Twister logged in and even submitted a story!

I am so proud ... and off topic!

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)

And you did not vote my posts 5 stars.

Cross, I am disappoint.

Your rating: None Average: 1.2 (5 votes)

Comments aren't the same thing as stories.

I don't sweat the comments because whatever; its the story disappearing thing that will cause me to kill you in the face and then hack you into pieces because fuck that shit.

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)

>story disappearing
What.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Story folding, technically. Enough low votes a story or comment folds.

As Green Reaper explained to me, he wants the random Googlers who ramble through articles to feel like they affect the main page that they never even look at because that makes a lot of fucking sense and oh, Jesus Christ, I fucking took a MONTH OFF because of this stupid fucking feature because I knew I would just be a giant dick about it right off the bat, and THAT STILL WASN'T ENOUGH TIME to make me not angry, that feature BLOWS SO FUCKING HARD.

So, uh, that Weasyl site sure looks like ... a thing, huh.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)

Only makes it more challenging to write an article that looks like it was written by a mentally stable person. And write it in an entertaining manner.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

My thoughts on that is that while it'll probably surpass FA in probably about 2 years, the furry roots will keep it from going past DA level. Kind of like the cub roots keeps Inkbunny back.

Isn't anything wrong with it, but people can be persnickety like that.

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)

That, and it will be mostly porn. Mark my words.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

To be fair, not even FA is mostly porn. Porn does get more attention of course, but the vast majority of FA submissions are rated general. Considering just the skill level it takes to draw porn, I would suspect we would continue that trend, if not even improving on it.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

Your example image is not very impressive.

Also, I want to add, when I tried browsing FA a few weeks ago, most of the uploads were:
>fetish porn (25%)
>really crappy art (40%)
>pictures with nothing furry in them (10%)
>photos with nothing furry in them (20%)
>good artwork (5%)

If you want to have a quality site, you need a lot of talented, somewhat... less perverted artists to make accounts. 90% of the best artists currently have DA or FA accounts, or both. What will convince them to make a 2nd, or even a 3rd account? Is there a demand? And what will you do with untalented individuals who produce crap? Those occupy a 40% of DA and FA's userbase. How are you planning to keep those out?

Again, I shall see if your site succeeds in 2 years. End of argument. For 2 years.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Example image? If you mean the image of our mascot, I didn't choose the illustration for this article, so there's not much I can say about that (although there is a fantastic gallery of Wesley art over here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.326748150718505.79065.288513667875287&t...).

There's nothing behind those statistics though. I'm not sure how you expect to have a serious conversation when you're just extrapolating percentages out of thin air. And yes, I would say there's a pretty good deal of demand, considering the issues that have plagued both dA and FA for years (although dA at least addresses some of them), and how we passed our goal with flying colors, not to mention a lot of well-known artists giving donations.

There's no need to keep people out because they produce bad art. Bad art is subjective, and everyone starts somewhere. If someone really hates looking at someone's submissions because they're of poor quality, they'll be able to filter based on the user, something neither FA or dA offers. It's all about giving the user control, without giving them authority.

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)

If you really think that "bad art is subjective", be prepare for Sonic recolors.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

People would be able to filter out "Sonic_the_hedgehog" if they want to though, and we're making sure things are tagged properly by having a 3-tag minimum on submissions, having our search engine be entirely tag based, and having community tagging. The big problem with dA is that users can't customize the viewing experience-- We aim to fix that.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

I should have gone with my word and only replied after 2 years.

I am such a hypocrite.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None

When you say search is "entirely tag based" does that mean you're not allowing to search by user, description, title or story content? Because that sounds like a really bad search function.

"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 (1 vote)

This is how our search engine will function, if you want a detailed look. Screens are obviously from the old UI, but it all still applies. http://weasyl.tumblr.com/post/20186484500/weasyls-search-system

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Here's a searching and tagging feature that should attract some users: a way to search for horse artwork that *isn't* My Little Pony artwork. :)

Your rating: None

It wasn't completely clear whether that would allow full-text searching or by title.

Also if you're having all those extra search features you need to find a way to make users aware of them. That's an issue SoFurry has had both with the search (which is a bit annoying still) and all the extra features (which people just aren't aware of).

"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)

We (the staff) have actually been doing our best to drum up interest in our IRL circles of friends to prevent the whole "furry roots" thing from becoming a problem. So like, high school friends, college friends, coworkers-- Whoever. We want this site to feel accessible to actual people, even with porn being allowed.

Essentially, if someone decides to turn on adult content, they'll be prompted to fill out their tag filters, and actually be able to whitelist tags instead of blacklisting, to deal with the issue of average folks not knowing what all the weird fetishes are. People can even black out furry porn entirely, or humans, or whatever. We want the user to be able to customize their site experience as much as they can, and hopefully that's well appreciated.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

I hope you're successful in this, however, I then wonder if any other hobby sites other then flayrah have covered it, or covered it at any other convention then Anthrocon? Cause while the whole "we're inviting our IRL friends" thing is nice, the real question is are other furries going to be doing that? Or will they be prioritizing their furry friends? And as far as larger audiences goes have you promoted this in a congregation of non-furries rather then just one-offs.

Human beings are naturally cliquey. Furries are certainly no different, and so are non-furries. I mean, people are already asking for "human only/non-furry" forum sections. Getting the ability to customize it so this realization that they are among "others they do not want" vanishes is one thing, promoting so that all sides come on as equals is another. Because if a majority of the work updated is furry, those who have all furry stuff blocked are not going to get as many updates. So they may not come on as often, then not at all (Of course the saving grace on this might be furries who dabble in non-furry things, like those who are livid at Inkbunny's policy).

Going to your non-furry friends is a good thing, from what I've seen though the community has been promoted in furry communities more the non-furry communities. So while the intent may not be create a 'base', it may form anyway.

Unless you somehow are able to promote this at a more general non-furry audience convention or art site.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

In the future, we're intending to hold panels at non-furry conventions to reach out to a more diverse audience. Also keep in mind that all our friends have friends too, and we can continue the growth of the site. Regardless, our planned advertising campaigns in the future will be geared towards everyone, and I'm entirely confident we can be successful. We started with furries because we know the furry community is in desperate need of a better site, but realized as we went on that the entire internet needs something like that, not just this community. Hopefully, we can deliver.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

I guess I better actually comment on the article, or at least the article's illustration.

For some reason, I find the example art to be incredibly creepy.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

Welcome to the club.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None

>benchilla is co-owner

And right there, all credibility the site may have had is gone now and forever.

Your rating: None

We shall see. I admit, he has somewhat of a history, but five years is a long time – especially when it's from 15 to 20.

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.