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Voting begins as 2013 Ursa Major Awards ballot released

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.

Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.

As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.

The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series

TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos.

Best Anthropomorphic Novel

Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction

Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry and other short written works.

  • Fox in the Hen House, by Mary E. Lowd (in Dancing in the Moonlight: Rainfurrest 2013 Charity Anthology, edited by Rainfurrest; FurPlanet Productions, September 26)
  • In a Cat’s Eyes, by Mary E. Lowd (in Dancing in the Moonlight: Rainfurrest 2013 Charity Anthology, edited by Rainfurrest; FurPlanet Productions, September 26)
  • Indigo Rain, by Watts Martin (FurPlanet Publications, January 17)
  • The Monkeytown Raid, by Roz Gibson (in What Happens Next, edited by Fred Patten; FurPlanet Publications, July 4)

Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and convention program books.

Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story

Includes comic books and serialized online stories.

Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip

For newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

  • Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet, January 1 to December 31)
  • Freefall, by Mark Stanley (Internet, January 2 to December 30)
  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet, January 2 to December 30)
  • Sequential Art, by Phillip M. Jackson (Internet, #820 to #867)
  • The Three Jaguars, by M. C. A. Hogarth (Internet, January 1 to November 25)

Best Anthropomorphic Magazine

Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.

  • ActFur On Air (Internet podcast; Season 5, episode 1 (June 9) to Season 5, episode 6 (December 9))
  • Claw & Quill, edited by Watts Martin (Internet magazine; #1, October 29)
  • Flayrah, edited by Laurence “GreenReaper” Parry (Internet magazine; January 1 to December 31)
  • Fur What It’s Worth (Internet podcast; Season 2, episode 19 (January 6) to Season 3, episode 13 (December 14))
  • Fursday, edited by Stuart Otterson (Internet magazine; October 3 to December 31)
  • In-Fur-Nation, edited by Rod O’Riley (Internet magazine; January 2 to December 31)

Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration

Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee table portfolios.

Best Anthropomorphic Game

Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

Best Anthropomorphic Website

Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works; galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

  • [adjective][species] (furry fandom commentary speciality site; January 2 to December 26)
  • Equestria Daily (My Little Pony speciality site; January 1 to December 31)
  • Fur Affinity (furry art speciality site; January 1 to December 31)
  • Inkbunny (furry art speciality site; January 1 to December 31)
  • WikiFur (general furry information/history; January 1 to December 31)

Also, the 2014 Recommended Anthropomorphic List is now online. You may submit recommendations for the best in anthropomorphic literature and arts first published or released during the 2014 calendar year.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

Can't in good conscious vote for wikifur again :/

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Confidential to Green Reaper: I told you this would happen.

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you replied before I could notice my syntax error and now i cant edit it :/

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Wow, we had a six-nominee list (from a tie, I'm assuming) and Ernest and Celestine still couldn't get in over such super furry nominees as ... Jesus Christ, is there an unqualified furry nominee of the six?

However, two years of recommending Prequel seem to have paid off.

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The English-language dub of "Ernest & Celestine" is eligible this year. I think that the Ursa Major voters are waiting for it rather than voting for the original Franco-Belgian release last year. Of course, this year it's up against "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" and "The Nut Job" which are already out; "Rio 2" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" which will be released soon; and the foreign equivalents of "Ernest et Célestine" like last month's South Korean "The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow" (Eek! I'm a male cow! Transformed by Merlin the Magician disguised as a roll of toilet paper!) which may or may not come to the U.S. Oh, and the Russian sequel to Wizart's 2012 "The Snow Queen", "Snow Queen 2: The Snow King", which is not out yet but may get a theatrical release in the U.S. simultaneous with the Russian theatrical release, since the DVD of "The Snow Queen" is selling unexpectedly well as a Walmart kiddie cartoon feature.

Fred Patten

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I think this year's going to be packed (I at least expect Guardians of the Galaxy to have an impact and won't count out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just yet); it's going to be hard for an early wide release like The Nut Job or Mr. Peabody & Sherman to stick around until the end, never mind an early limited release.

This was Ernest and Celestine's year; if such a weak year couldn't get it on there, I don't see a strong one doing the same. Also, Free Birds, though not a great movie, probably should have been there on actual furry factor over at least four nominees, and I'm still kind of miffed The ABCs of Death didn't even make the recommended list, even though I did recommend it in time (I mean, if you can take my soap recommendation, you can take my horror movie recommendation).

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Ernest & Celestine did receive some nominations (including from me), but not enough to make the cut unfortunately. I think the main problem is just that not enough fur fans SAW it last year. Too many fur fans don't follow things in the world of independent cinema and foreign-language art films. They SHOULD, because there's a lot of great anthropomorphic content there. But they don't. BTW -- ABC's of Death received a couple of nominations as well, but again not a lot of folks saw it.

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It's unlikely that non-English work will succeed in an English-dominated fandom - nor, arguably, should it, since it is not "best" for the audience.

Perhaps the solution would be to have a foreign-language section or juried award (of course, it might be selected as the ALAA’s Choice). An entirely separate award might also work, but I'd suggest the section first, as otherwise the audience will be limited. Presence on the Recommended List helps, of course.

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A discussion on Twitter about the novel selection (click date to expand):

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I think at this point the amount of individuals unbefuddled by choices the participants in the Ursa Majors have made is probably lower than those that have never been.

I mean, I'm surprised to see Dust: An Elysian Tail on here after it was already nominated last year. I guess it was published on a different gaming platform in 2013? Not that it matters, if it lost to a Skyrim expansion based around vampires last year it certainly doesn't stand a chance against Pokemon X/Y (and I certainly wouldn't complain if it did as Pokemon X/Y did a lot of things right to the franchise and was my favorite since Gold/Silver).

As far as the novel choices, well the item that was linked for the last one "The Thin Line" certainly caused upmost confusion for me.

Don't get me I'm all for having things count no matter where they are published and having things being based on the merits of the writing and not necessarily if it's a for profit publication. In fact if one gets nominated I think it'd be foolish of the author not to offer a discount for their work so more people can come to decide if it's good against the competitors lest the freely distributed works get a leg up.

However, when something is "published" I kind of have an expectation of 'ease of consumption'. The link provided brings me to "Part K", so I know this is a serial. So I had to find out what happened to "Part A", to do this I had to go through his gallery manually and find Part A. Luckily I read the description in Part K because he said "I decided to NAME the work" because the earlier parts were not given the title "The Thin Line" but instead the name "Unnamed Fairie story".

http://www.furaffinity.net/gallery/eocostello/5/

At first I was concerned that as a serial there might have been a time where they published outside the year, luckily this wasn't the case. It's also good that they published the parts in rapid succession as it makes it easier to navigate than most FA serials... however, if he knew his friends were going to push for it to be on the Ursas he probably should have put it all into one published item for ease of use.

As I've said FA is worse than the 90s version of FF.net when it comes to ease of use for the reader. Having had to have danced like this to get the whole story doesn't make something seem "published" in my mind. However, what's done is done. Just in the future if one plans on entering or having their friends nominate novel you posted on FA in chapter segments for the love of Frith put them all together in one finished post.

If anything just to avoid this kind of ranting. :)

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Yes, Dust was released for the XBox 360 in 2012, and on Windows, Linux and OSX in 2013. Whether these should result in a separate nomination . . . dubious. It's the same game, just slightly more polished. (Of course, you could say the same for the websites.)

FA has next/previous in gallery, which as you noticed happens to work for The Thin Line because nothing else was published in the author's gallery. You can also put next/prev in the description, but they have to be manually created and do not appear to have been used in this case. Nothing like Inkbunny's pools, alas.

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It wouldn't be the first instance of a work with a dubious release date getting a nomination. A few years ago, Greg Howell's novel The Human Memoirs got nominated based on it becoming available in a print edition, despite the fact that it had been written and posted online some 15 years earlier.

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If I recall correctly, the UMA nomination for Howell's "The Human Memoirs" was due to some revisions made for the print edition, which qualified it as a new work. Of course, this was a technicality; the nominations were for the whole story, which was basically the same as the earlier online version.

Fred Patten

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I admit the novel nominations are a bit... peculiar to me. I'd expect to see Otters in Space 2 there, but I'm frankly surprised not to have seen at least one of Summerhill, God of Clay or Heretic having made the ballot.

There's really a pretty thriving furry writing community I consider myself part of -- but I'm occasionally reminded that actually there are several, and they seem to be virtually disconnected islands. An awful lot of furries still don't know about the Ursas after all this time, I suspect, also. (Or about Flayrah, for that matter.)

- Chipotle

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I get the impression that a lot of Furry writers &/or readers read the Recommend Lists and the final ballots, and discuss what is nominated and what isn't, but never nominate themselves. How often is one of the five finalists something that was never proposed for the Recommended List?

Fred Patten

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In a sense of irony I think there is a good deal of writing communities... but reading communities where furries consume and discuss written content itself is harder to come by.

In essence that can be a problem in a community of creators. Creators need consumers too.

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Some probably still don't know about the Ursas -- but there are also some, particularly writers, who just don't care, having written them off some years ago as a popularity contest that has no real relevance in terms of quality or merit.

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*Sigh* Probably true. Judging by the nominations and voting of the last couple of years, there are a few Furry authors who are very good at getting their fans to nominate and vote for their works, while much better works, especially those not by Furry authors, go practically unnoticed in Furry fandom despite appearing on the annual Recommended List. This is particularly true in the categories dominated by Furry-fan creators such as Best Novel, Best Comic Strip, and Best Published Illustration. The solution is to get more people to vote, not just those fan-authors and -artists' friends. I have been personally frustrated by having my choices for high-quality novels go unknown in the fandom, particularly when they are $20+ hardcovers and $7.99 paperbacks not on Kindle.

Fred Patten

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While I'm not unsympathetic to the view, it's something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the better authors spurn the Ursas because they consider them irrelevant, that contributes to the lack of relevancy.

I have quibbles with some things about the Ursas -- I don't think the distinction between "graphic story," "comic strip" and "other literary work" is pretty ill-defined, and I really think the short fiction category needs to be split into "short story" and "novella" given that furry has a disproportionate number of novellas (with publishers who regularly sell them as standalone works, no less).

But in terms of the actual nomination and voting process, the Ursas function an awful lot like the Hugos. While it doesn't always work perfectly, I think in general the Hugo nomination does a pretty good job of surfacing the best material. If in practice the Ursas don't do as good a job of that -- and I don't think they do -- I'd rather figure out whether there's a way to address that rather than abandon them. My suspicion is that the Ursas' biggest shortcoming is the lack of recognition within the fandom itself; the more people put in nominations and vote on the final ballot, the harder it is to "stuff" either one.

The Ursas should be a terrific marketing tool for authors not only within the fandom but even outside it. If they're not, the fault lies not in our stars.

- Chipotle

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Yes. To use an example from last year, I personally considered the mainstream "Albert of Adelaide" by Howard L. Anderson, set in Australia with a cast of 19th-century anthropomorphized Aussie animals and an immigrant American raccoon bank robber, to be the best anthro novel of the year. But it was a $24.99 hardcover, so despite my recommending it (see my review in Flayrah), I doubt that any other Furry fan read it. If the UMA final nominees or the award itself were selected by a panel of experts instead of by popular vote, "Albert of Adelaide" (he's a gun-using duck-billed platypus) would have had a much better chance of getting onto the final ballot or of being picked by the judges as the winner. But as a $24.99 book, almost no fan would have read it (fans apparently don't believe in public libraries, if the libraries even get experimental fiction -- the Los Angeles Public Library doesn't have it). There would have been almost universal complaints that the UMA judges were elitists out of touch with the majority of Furry fandom.

P.S. "Albert of Adelaide" is in paperback and Kindle today, but the paperback is $15.00 and the Kindle is almost $10.00. Anderson is still working on the sequel starring T. J. Walcott, the whisky-drinking raccoon.

Fred Patten

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There are some interesting tangentially-related questions this brings up -- the big one being whether it might behoove the furry booksellers to work on getting books like that in front of furry audiences. They might tell me the answer is "no," of course, but I'm not sure they've really tried. If nothing else, it might be yet another counterargument to the persistent meme that "furry" and "mainstream" never mix.

(I'd actually like to see a juried furry award with judges who are elitists out of touch with the majority of furry fandom professional writers/editors, as well as see a revived and perhaps streamlined version of the Coyotls modeled more on the Nebulas. Eventually.)

- Chipotle

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There is a furry writers' group (and forgive me, I'm forgetting the name!) that is working on creating a "Furry Nebula Award" by writers, for writers. More power to 'em.

One thing that I think would definitely help the Ursa Majors become more well-known is if former nominees and winners would plug their status louder to their fans -- but I go to many of their web sites and it's not even mentioned! As you mentioned, self-fulfilling prophecy. One big exception of course is Kyell Gold, who has been plugged several places as having won more Ursa Major Awards than any other individual in multiple categories. He, of course, has since asked to be removed from consideration for the foreseeable future to avoid "hogging the spotlight".

I've been floating the idea that we need to expand the ALAA "staff" beyond the rough dozen or so active members (as opposed to "on paper" members) so that we have more "paws on the ground" promoting our existence more places. Hopefully getting us the more nominators and voters we need.

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The plugging is an interesting note, and makes sense. I know Malcolm Cross also lists his recent Ursa for "Dangerous Jade" on the page for that story, but I don't know how many other people go back and do that. Of course, I'm not sure how many of the in-fandom nominees even have their own web sites...

As for the Furry Nebula, you might be thinking of the Coyotls I mentioned above -- that's the Furry Writers' Guild award. I think it's a good idea, although its first and only year suffered from some problems ranging from lack of time/resources to a rather protracted "how to handle explicit material" fight. (I don't think the outcome they ended up with was the right one, either, but that's a whole different can of worms...) I'm pretty sure it could be revived by someone with the time and resources.

- Chipotle

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This kind of debate has been around since Plato and Socrates arguing over whether a specialized handful should lead the masses, or the masses, despite their ability to make mistakes should have more control. At the end of the day, to make a system that works you get some sort of hybrid of the ideas. If you were to do that with a furry award, this would be my suggestion:

For each category have a special individual who consumes the type of content on a regular basis as a hobby. Let them have 5 nominations in the order of their most favorite to least.

Then let the populous do the nominations the way they normally do.

The next phase goes like this:

What was the #1 choice of the hobbyist? Was this also nominated by the populous?

If NO, then the #1 choice gets nominated and the rest of the hobbyist's choices are tossed aside and the final 4 slots are determined by populous as per normal.

If YES then what was then #1 is in agreement between populous and hobbyist it's nominated, so #2 choice of the hobbyist? Was this also nominated by the populous?

If NO, then the #2 choice of the hobbyist gets nominated and the remaining 3 slots are determined by populists as per normal.

If YES then there, again, agreement between populous and hobbyist so it is nominated. Do the same comparison for hobbyist's #3

Repeat this until you get to the end.

Obviously if the populous agrees with all 5 of the hobbyists choices then you have a "pure" nomination where both sides completely agree.

More often then not though, what is going to happen is that 4 out of the 5 nominations are going to be picked by joe public, while the 5th is picked by a designated connoisseur. It should not be known to the voters which one is the "wild card" (at least not until the winners are chosen.)

With this style I think you'll be able to satiate the voters in the fandom who want ownership of the awards, while allowing the experts a chance to give a suggestion without overrunning the masses.

Your rating: None

Hm. That's intriguing, and while I was originally going to write "I'm not sure you'd get a noticeable improvement in practice," I'm kind of talking myself out of that. You'd obviously have the issue of who gets to define the connoisseur, but that's a potentially solvable issue.

Playing devil's advocate, though -- in theory this is what the Recommended Reading List is for, right? The works I would have expected to see nominated that didn't make it were all there. Maybe focusing on how to promote that is worthwhile.

- Chipotle

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So ... the MTV Movie Awards?

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I don't watch reward shows so "maybe".

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The one thing I'm curious about amid all the speculation on why work "x" didn't get nominated-- did the people griping about it actually submit nominations? I will admit to being baffled by the inclusion of the novel posted on FA-- I tried looking at it and found the format confusing and basically unreadable, so I'm surprised enough people managed to make it through to nominate it. On the other hand, only one of the novels I nominated made the final cut, so go figure.

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Well, I certainly submitted nominations. I can't speak for anyone else. :)

I'm aware that that particular novel on FA -- which I confess I haven't tried to read yet (FA doesn't really make long-form reading comfortable even under the best circumstances) -- had a "champion" or two who helped drive its nomination, and it's quite possible the contenders I was surprised not to see really didn't.

- Chipotle

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When there are awards, people will gripe, comes with the territory.

Even when some people win them, there's still a possibility they'll grip. For instance, in my recent studies of such things there is apparently 3 people who refused their Oscars which they had won for some reason or another.

While it does suck that some good works don't get in, the fact is people can still get them and buy them if they want to. Presitige is prestige, but I'm sure if you were to ask an artist the top things they look for as a result of their work:

-That someone got some value and enjoyment from the labor.
-That people TALK about their works with others/critique the piece.
-Maybe make some money off of it (this one varies).

After these things, a reward is just a bonus really. I do think some take it more seriously than others, then again this is coming from the guy who started writing his first fiction novel as a challenge to see if anyone could dethrone Gold. Kind of a silly reason in hindsight, but at least it got me to finish something.

Now it looks like Loyd will be the one to beat, especially since I'll either this year or next have a short fiction published.

Competition is fun, for me anyway, if my work did end up in the short story of that year I know I'd do what I could to be able to read the competition, and then have my heart sink knowing I'm probably going to lose. But loss is fun in its own way because then you learn what style and methods may be more attractive than yours. Winning, then you have to worry about beating yourself... something Gold talked about constantly. Which can anxiety instead of excitement. So then you also worry about winning.

But hey, that's half the fun.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I received my voting key, went to the site and opened the ballot, where I was disappointed to discover that it's not possible to write in votes for works that didn't make the ballot. I know exactly which novel I wanted to vote for, and can think of at least one other I'd like to (both were on the RRL). Since I don't know most of the other categories well enough, I might just not vote at all.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Many of the other categories are on the Flayrah announcement with weblinks to each of the nominees, such as Best Comic Strip and Best Published Illustration. Admittedly, it is time-consuming to look at each of them.

Did you nominate while nominations were open?

While it's too late now to change the 2013 lineup, the 2014 Recommended List is now open. Be sure to recommend any title that you think is worthwhile that is first published this year, and get your friends to check the Recommended List on the UMA website every so often and look at or read the titles that have been recommended by someone else. Then when the 2014 UMA nominations open next year, send in your nominations for the five best in each category.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I sent at least one nomination for the Recommended list during the year, but I don't think I submitted a UMA nomination for the ballot and I probably should have.

As of this morning, I've already submitted one recommendation for 2014.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Great! And I hope that this does not need saying, but even though we may not be happy with all of the finalists, let's hope that we all have voted this year, or will have voted by the April 30 deadline. There is still about a month to check out the last nominees before the voting is closed. Read the novels, short fiction, and other literary works. Look at the comic strips and the published illustrations. Go to the magazines and websites.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Thanks for all the work you have putten into this!
I come to think of the Oscars where you seldom find things that you haven't heard of but that's still entertaining.

I do however feel that it would be very interesting to have an ongoing nomination - voting thing going on. Making it possible to find new good stuff. Do you know of such a thing?

For instance this could be interesting for more than a few : What is a Furry?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

That already exists; its the Recommended List available on the same site as the Ursa Majors.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

What in the world? Ursa Major Awards for those websites? none of them deserves am award Specially IB( pedos nest) or FA...... with the drama it has

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (2 votes)

So, did someone else reach "comments automatically look like they've got five one star votes" phase, or is Anon123 desiring_change's new handle?

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First, FurryDramaCentral thinks I'm Mike Hirtes... now you think I'm this "Anon123"?! At least I punctuate and capitalise properly...

Oh, and the day I vote in the Ursa Major Awards is the day I put boot polish on my mug and sing 'Mammy'.

-- the real Desiring_Change, accept no shitposting substitutes, crossiekins!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Well, you'd better get your nominations in next year! There's no option for "No Award" at the Ursas.

I suspect Equestria Daily will win again, but I let users on WikiFur and Inkbunny know they're up for an award.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Especially since they basically plugged the hell out of themselves I love how they conveniently forget to mention it's a furry award, leaving most of the commenters completely baffled as to what they're voting for. Basically, just tick off anything MLP:FiM related as a win; they usually get more comments for their average article than Flayrah gets pageviews, and bronies love mindlessly voting almost as much as they love My Little Pony (oh, my God, their polls!). They've been antagonistic in the past towards the Ursa Majors as a furry award, but (I've seen EQD commenters angry they've won in the past), as pointed out, EQD has slyly omitted that little tidbit.

Not that I mind; EQD is a great site. I visit it every day, just about, to see if anything interesting is happening. Only Flayrah, Cracked and InContention get that kind of dedication from me. Well, that and IGN's Wii-U channel; if I go there enough, eventually Krystal will be announced for the next SSB game, right?

But, anyway, I've been meaning to ask you, GR; how does it feel to be a full time child pornographer now (there should probably be a winking emoticon here)?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

EQD is indeed a good site and I'm sure they'll do well. Many furries are bronies, too, and as far as I'm concerned, it qualifies. I doubt any of the websites listed will be heartbroken if they lose to it.

Right now I feel like a full-time database administrator! We've got an entirely custom application, and I've been getting a crash course in optimizing queries for PostgreSQL. That's not to say things were slow, but a few edge cases have vastly improved over the past month, and there's more to come.

I was one of the first to join Inkbunny's moderation team back in 2010. I contributed partly because it offered a technical solution to a social problem which FA had years to solve, and didn't; how to get individuals who hate each other's favourite art to co-exist. While imperfect at first, keyword suggestions and workflow improvements have for the most part made this vision a reality.

There are many things on Inkbunny that some people don't want to see – 'scat', 'cub', 'diaper', 'vore', 'gay', 'watersports' and … 'my little pony', judging by the most popular items in our keyword blocklists. The point is, they don't have to. Everyone has their own view. There's a lot going on behind the scenes to make that happen, and it's one reason Inkbunny deserves Best Website.

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)

Okay, if that was you, desiring_change, and if you're still around, get a notebook out or something. Daddy's going to work here; I'm gonna show you how this is done.

Your list of "things people don't want to see" is clearly a list of "things people can't jack off to." Either that, or Inkbunny's user base is surprisingly homophobic. It's not surprising that straight people might not like gay porn. I myself am on record saying I don't like jerking it to ponies; every time I try, it takes like thirty minutes and I really have to stroke it hard and the finish is always disappointing and the chafing, let me tell you ... uh, I got a little off point. Just a second.

My point is, my objection to cub porn has never been "I don't want to jerk off to it;" my objection has always been "this is morally reprehensible." There's a big difference; your attempt to draw a line between "my little pony" or "gay" and "cub" and say it's the same thing is either really, really stupid or actively dishonest.

But, the thing about the cub porn debate is that it's a lesser of two evils discussion; on one hand, cub porn is morally reprehensible. On the other, censoring cub porn is also morally reprehensible; so, you pick a side, and at this point no one's probably changing there mind (though I will point out the two most common arguments in cub porn's favor are "Freedom of Speech must not be impugned EVAR!" and "It's not really real, so it doesn't matter." which is a total contradiction).

And, seriously, I really don't care about any furry porn site's journals; not FurAffinity's, not InkBunny's. You just listed key words for a fetish porn site; whatever your intention, people are using your site as a optimized Google for fetish porn, as they also use FurAffinity. The fact that they also demand the ability to friggin' blog on the same site is really, really, REALLY creepy.

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You know there was a time when half of the posts on e621 didn't contain prismatic ponies... and the younger furs you tell that will never believe you...

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i believe you as i am older than time itself... ive seen lots of things lol... good bad and both

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Anyone here remember when being gay was morally reprehensible? (In some places, it still is.)

Inkbunny's content policies are based on legality, not morality, just like your search engine or email provider. We host material believed to be safely viewable by staff and the vast majority of members. The key issue we face is not children but humans in general, who regularly make laws about depictions of themselves. They tend not to care about animals, unless a human is having sex with them. These laws have led us to forbid all sexual depictions of humans, in part because it's just not worth the hassle when we're a furry site.

If you wish your moral beliefs to factor into what you see, we provide you with tools to do that. We do not provide you with the means to impose your morality on others. If you wish to do that, talk to your legislative representative.

Journals have many uses. Some use them to promote commissions, others for personal expression. Sure, you could do it elsewhere, but you could say that for private-messaging, too. Both features are well-used, and if you don't understand why, you're missing the difference between being an art-centered community and an image archive. Ask the VCL how the latter is working out for them.

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... Or you could ask e621 or fchan while we're talking about image sites that don't have blogging services...

I don't think the lack of conservation is as much a factor in site popularity as you're letting on.

That's not to say CrossAffliction's argument that if there is porn somewhere in the world or site that detracts and makes weird any 'normal' conversation happening elsewhere by others is also equally without merit.

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Sites like e621 and fchan don't support journals, but they do have comments, so there's some level of social aspect to them. At any rate, that's somewhat apples and oranges; the community aspects of FA and friends are arguably their lifeblood. Exploring the extended network of artists followed by artists you follow is the primary discovery mechanism they support. That doesn't require journaling support but it's certainly why the VCL has languished. Sites in the style of fchan are excellent at propagating the same images repeatedly, conveniently stripped of original source, but that's rather a different model.

I confess I kind of tuned out of this thread at the notion that the fact that these sites do have journals is a valid reason to hate them. Christ on a pogo stick, guys.

- Chipotle

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Indeed.

It's equivalent to saying a city should not have a City Hall because it has a red light district. Clearly the city is all about sex.

Heck, even Las Vegas has a community, and it proudly calls itself "Sin City". The people trying to run it like an actual community aren't crazy, in fact they're the reason the tourists have a city to go "sin" at.

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That's a really bad metaphor you got there, Sonious.

City Hall is administrative, not social. Yes, Inkbunny needs administrators; I still don't see why it needs social networking. Even Las Vegas is a bad example; you're talking about tourists; i.e. people who don't live there. In other words, they aren't part of the community. The people running the city want these people to come to Las Vegas, spend their money, and then leave. If they want to attract new members of the community i.e. people they actually have to deal with, they probably use different tactics. Las Vegas advertising itself as "Sin City" is not interested in building a community; it's interested in building an economy. Very different.

And I used a hell of a lot of italics for some reason in that paragraph. Oh, well.

Which brings us to Green Reaper's point about "commissions." Well, honestly, you can't tell me the vast majority of journals posted on any furry site are business related. Green Reaper is not interested in building an economy; he is interested building a community (if past interactions are any indication).

My problem with the journal thing is, as it is primarily a community building based feature, and I have no desire to join a community where built-in child pornography is a feature, Green Reaper bragging to me about how Inkbunny solved some (to me) creepy journal problems (Which, by the way, I am not sure how Chipotle got "I hate Inkbunny BECAUSE IT HAS JOURNALS" out of "I don't care about your creepy journals, Green Reaper".) just kind of pisses me off, for two reasons:

1. By this point, he should darn well know I don't give a shit about any furry community except maybe Flayrah (if I'm feeling good) and am just here for the cartoon animals (I guess I can excuse him not knowing I had strong feelings about cub porn, though, as I have been very, very subtle about my opinions on the matter in the past);

and 2. while he's been solving this (to me insignificant) problem, he has been not solving a (to me significant) problem on Flayrah; i.e. our front page updates are at late Frysco-editorships stages (and on an unfair, irrational, but let's face it, truthfully how part of me feels, level, it looks like GR is prioritizing pedophiles over me).

Furthermore, Green Reaper's defense of the cub porn aspect of Inkbunny has ... not been very good. Drawing an equal sign between "moral objection" and "personal preference" was just silly; it's like saying choosing to not kill someone and choosing to eat a Strawberry PopTart over a Brown Sugar/Cinnamon PopTart are the same thing.

Which is even sillier when you consider that Green Reaper doesn't need to defend his position to me. He's Green Reaper. I trust that, even if I disagree with it, he believes that what he is doing is right. That's why I pointed out that this isn't exactly a case where there is one right answer in my earlier comment (and by the way, who has two thumbs and is the only person in this argument to offer concessions to the other side of the argument? This guy!).

Green Reaper is one of a handful of people (and definitely the only furry) who could take over Inkbunny and say the cub porn stays because freedom of speech and I wouldn't roll my eyes and think to myself, "Yeah, sure. Whatever. Pedophile."

Am I disappointed how things have turned out with Inkbunny and Green Reaper? Yes. Do I really have any right to say anything? Well, yes, because freedom of speech, I guess, but the real question is do I have any ground to complain? Not really.

But in the meantime, GR, work on your defense; currently, it sucks.

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As I see it, all decisions are based on personal preferences and beliefs; the difference between the two is merely a matter of degree. "Moral" topics tend to be ones for which people (sometimes) have particularly strong views. Even if you do not take a strong stand on a particular topic, you may find the actions others take as a result of their views conflicts with your views in another area.

As for Flayrah; yes, I've been slacking, and you deserve to understand: I find it very hard to do one thing (in this case, Flayrah) when I feel I should be doing something else (the aforementioned database updates and related matters). The result is I do a third thing, which doesn't help at all.

I decided to focus on getting what I thought I should do out of the way, even if that took a little time. This work is largely complete. There are other technical matters to be addressed, but they relate to Flayrah (and WikiFur); Timduru is shifting servers, and this is an opportunity to ensure we have an up-to-date technical foundation. Flayrah will be first to move. (The site should not change, just the low-level software.)

If it helps you feel better about my investment of time: consider the possibility that Flayrah's stories will at some point end up linked on Inkbunny's front page.

The problem solved by keyword blocking isn't anything to do with journals - it's that people get squicked by each other's art (some of it not even porn). I linked to a journal in passing because it was evidence of the problem. Journals aren't blockable, but that's OK because you generally only see them if you go out of your way to watch someone. (Though we have considered the ability to just watch a person's art.)

But since we're on the topic of journals . . . the majority are about personal matters, serious or trivial. A significant minority (maybe 10-15%) are related to money-making activity - they typically come from the artists who're good enough to charge, who (surprise!) have the most watches, and so get the most views. From an artist's perspective, the benefit of journals from non-artists is to increase the "stickiness" of the site, which in turn keeps more people looking at and maybe purchasing their work.

They also provides social benefits - and yes, I know how you feel about community, but it's one of the reasons a people stick around long enough to make all that cool art. Artists are social creatures, too. They want a shoulder to lean on when they have a bad day, and who else to talk to but their fans and fellow artists?

In both cases, everyone involved is on the site already, so it makes sense to host the journals there so that people can comment easily. While their database impact is not insignificant, they take a heck of a lot less space on disk than the art.

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I am delighted to see that "The work is largely complete" and that Flayrah will start posting regularly again. I have over twenty posts waiting in the queue.

Fred Patten

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"If it helps you feel better about my investment of time: consider the possibility that Flayrah's stories will at some point end up linked on Inkbunny's front page."

Considering that one of your major contributors has a moral objection to the kind of art that the site is known for, I think that's the last thing you'd want to have him consider...

Quite honestly, I also have my own objections to such an action. And I'm sure Inkbunny users will have more avid objections themselves. The action would not improve Inkbunny as a site. Sure, it might get us more hits, but from a specific subsection of the fandom so in essence it won't help Flayrah either. Espcially when you consider the fact that some current or future contributors will have to condsider that submitting an article will mean having their name pushed onto the front page of Inkbunny. Thereby, by supporting Flayrah you are in effect forcing them to support Inkbunny.

A lot of people are going to see this action as a power grab by yourself and using the properties you obtained to further expand it to serve your own ends to solidify your site empire than anything. Just as a warning.

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I considered that issue, but whatever the site "is known for" by some furry fans, Inkbunny in fact serves fans of all kinds of furry art. I don't run it as an exercise in free speech for cub-lovers. Glance at Latest and, if anything, I suspect you'd be most likely to think it's for Sonic or MLP fans - the latter of which might be keenly interested in several of his reviews.

Flayrah has been linked on WikiFur's front page and portal for the last four years and nobody batted an eyelid. We're also featured by other sites which I don't control, such as Furry 4 Life and FurNation. Inkbunny would be no exception; it's just one where I can make it happen myself.

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So you're saying that should there be articles here critical of a decision made by a furry art site that is not Inkbunny the first thing the powers at be within of that site are going to point out that of course Flayrah isn't going to be as critical of Inkbunny's decisions because now they're tied at the hip.

And they wouldn't be wrong if you went through with that. It would be in Flayrah's best interest to make sure that Inkbunny was the most successful art site at that point. So any criticism towards any other 'social art' site would be mooted.

All the site you list where we're featured right now, there's a reason there was no criticisms are for a multitude of reasons:

1) Furry4life and FurNation are purely social sites, both which rank lower on the web then Flayrah does, so we don't get too much from the 'deal'.

2)Wikifur, while ranking higher, is an encyclopedia of furry places and events. Therefore, having a link to a site dedicated to more current events in the fandom isn't entirely a conflict or of separate interest. When people go to FurAffinity or Inkbunny, I would argue they're more interest in current art than events.

My criticisms have nothing to do with cubs, I'd be just as against us being featured on FA's or Weasyl's front pages. Unless, of course, it was featured on ALL of them: SoFurry, FurAffinity, Weasyl, AND Inkbunny. Otherwise there's a conflict of interest, because you are forcing the staff to get behind one.

"Social Art" sites are from my perspective the political parties of the fandom. They draw a lot of passion from people on which one is better than the other. To have an Editor in Chief say we are going to have our stories posted on the front page of one of these sites would be like if PBS said they would be posting having their stories featured on the GOP or DNC websites. What type of reaction do you think that would have to the people writing articles for PBS? How would the readers then view the articles? Are they serving the individuals or collective groupings?

I mean at this point why don't we request FurFling to feature our articles? We'll delete the article about them and take a cut of the pie. If we're going to go down this rabbit hole, may as well get to the queen as fast as possible.

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They might say that (and they could have before) but everyone should realise that is a distraction, not a defence. If the articles criticisms are true then the affiliation of those involved is irrelevant. And it would be naive to think that just because they are not explicitly supporting a site that contributors have no preferences. I'd recommend this article on objectivity (http://synapses.co.za/journalists-politics/) posted after a journalist was fired for putting himself as a candidate for a political party.

It's strange to say Flayrah won't be as critical of Inkbunny when Greenreaper doesn't write all the articles. If he were to start blocking articles critical of Inkbunny then that would easily come out through other channels. At the moment there's no evidence of that happening though (and he's always been pro-Inkbunny).

"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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While that is a fair point in that just because we're doing this doesn't mean that any editorials critical of decisions at Inkbunny would not be allowed in.

The fact of the matter is that article writers who post here are going to have to consider that their work and name are going to be pasted on the Inkbunny homepage.

Imagine, if you will, if Flayrah allowed "Anti-cub.org" or something along those lines to have our articles pasted on their home page. Would you still be willing to contribute your articles even if they are providing content to a site you would be wholly against posting to in the first place?

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They already have to consider their work will be posted on Wikifur, Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal, Tumblr and Google+ (judging by the links on top). Cross posting to Inkbunny isn't necessarily all that different.

I'd still post to Flayrah in your example, though I wouldn't necessarily be happy with their decision. (Though I also think you're overestimating my affinity for cub content. Personally I'm more neutral to disliking most of it.) It's not even a hypothetical really. My most recent story commission was for Nicobay and he posted it on FA. I wasn't a big fan of FA before and even less since Dragoneer banned me but I didn't write for FA, I wrote for one of its users.

I would have a problem if Flayrah were promoting an ideology I disagreed with but just having their links on a site that did so would not be a problem. I still see Flayrah as permitting whatever content contributors post, even if it doesn't match Greenreaper's views.

"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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Flayrah "allows" any site to republish its RSS feed, including summaries. That's part of its purpose, and we're glad for people to do so.

Also, by default, stories are published under a license which permits the entire article to be reused and modified by anyone - even for commercial purposes - as long as they give credit (you can change this, of course).

What is displayed depends on the site reading the feed. The author's name is typically not shown in a title-only display (for example, WikiFur or Furry 4 Life), and I doubt space can be justified for it on IB. Google News does show the author in Editor's Picks, but not in its main listing, unless they're identified as a G+ user. (It's got this wrong in the past.)

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While GR outlined the technology a bit in another reply, it's important to emphasize that if your site has an RSS feed, you are basically advertising "come here and syndicate our content." That's what RSS means: "Really Simple Syndication." Any site could put up Flayrah headlines. GR could have nothing to do with Inkbunny and they could still choose to syndicate Flayrah content. AFAIK, they could choose to syndicate it in full with their own styling and add their own commentary as long as they gave credit. Because anyone could. And GR would not have been able to stop them from doing so even if he wanted to, unless he wanted to stop everyone from doing so. (And of course, nothing would prevent any site from simply hyperlinking with their own commentary anyway!)

This isn't something that's only made possible because GR owns both sites. Does it represent a conflict of interest? Frankly, I think that's a stretch. GR has little to no financial motivation to suppress stories on Flayrah about any topic (goodness knows the most common criticism of Flayrah is that it allows 'haters" to write news stories); the more likely negative outcome is Inkbunny users getting up in arms about a story they don't like that shows up on the front page. (If they're really concerned about the association between Inkbunny and child porn, for instance, they wouldn't be all that thrilled with the occasional headline here on that subject.) Beyond that, for practical purposes there are no other furry news sites for Inkbunny to syndicate from, and the other archive sites could syndicate from Flayrah if they chose to.

- Chipotle

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It doesn't have to be motivated by financial concerns to be "conflict of interest;" any time a journalist stands to gain anything, he or she is in "conflict" with his or her ability to be unbiased and fair in a story.

Other than that, you're actually pretty much right, and Green Reaper just found the worst way to bring up a nonissue.

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The problem with "art archives as political parties" as an analogy is that an awful lot of people are on more than one site and aren't particularly interested in choosing sides. Actually, that's one of two problems with that right off the bat: the other one is that Inkbunny is arguably the only site people are likely to either support or avoid based on their perception of its ideology. There's a small but vocal number of people who are partisans for other sites based on personality (particularly FA and SoFurry, since their owners are very highly visible), but I'd bet for the vast majority of users and creators, they just go where their audience is. We may argue about whether Fur Affinity or Weasyl is a better web site, but we don't argue about which one is best fit to lead the fandom into the next decade.

Personally I'd avoid syndicating news headlines to Inkbunny because I don't think anyone going there will actually be that interested. But people with political/personality-based opinions on these subjects -- "Inkbunny is for cub porn," "GreenReaper is secretly building an empire," etc. -- by and large aren't going to change their opinion based on anyone's actions. If IB shows Flayrah headlines, then yes, we'll get "see, I told you GR was building an empire!," but if it doesn't, we're not going to get "sorry, my mistake" from anybody.

- Chipotle

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I think the big art sites are not only about art but about being a place for our community, and as such their members are as interested in news as they would be if they encountered it on any other site. I'd be fine with having Flayrah featured on all of them, but I can't make that happen directly. Perhaps Rakuen could reach out to Toumal…

As Rakuen says, it's not like we've been refusing stories detailing extended downtime or mistreatment of artists at Inkbunny. For some reason, there just haven't been any submitted. If anything, it's made me even more careful to stick to the facts when writing about art sites. And "forcing the staff to get behind one"? I'd have thought if staff supported another site, they'd be glad to get stories about them onto a competitor.

There's no "deal" involved in the sense that we've never promised to cover (or not cover) a particular group in return for linking to us. It's always been "as a furry news site, I think we'd be a useful resource for your furry members". The sites concerned are usually in our links already.

I've always been open about my empire-building aspirations. Remember, I'm British – we see empires as a good thing. The fandom is large enough that we're unlikely to achieve a monopoly on the distribution of art or information, especially since Inkbunny excludes under-18s.

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Maybe you should clarify your plans: are we talking "links with headlines," "links with summaries" or are we talking "Flayrah is part of Inkbunny."

Because my reaction is "okay," "I'll have to think about it" and "I'm leaving and deleting everything I ever contributed".

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"Links with headlines" has the least cost to IB and is most beneficial for Flayrah. If people care about a story, better that they read it here.

That said, one thing I've considered on and off for Flayrah is subheaders; our titles are sometimes insufficient to communicate the gist of the story. We'd like people to click through, but they need enough information to have confidence that doing so will be worth their time. For Twitter the site extracts the first paragraph, but sometimes that largely restates the title.

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And I'm an American and believe empires to be a bad thing, because they'll take action without consideration to feelings. Which kind of comes with the whole human cognition territory.

Let's say an article writer left FurAffinity as a political statement to the Project Pheonix debacle. They removed their account, their journals, and everything. Now lets say that Flayrah announces that they are going to be linked up to FurAffinity's front page. Well, geez, now if that article writer doesn't want to provide the site they just GTFO'd with additional content you're giving them but a single choice. They don't write for Flayrah.

Now this is true of any other site as well. And I'll also go back to you "No one bitched when I tied Wikifur with Flayrah." and I'll say that one person actually did. Remember Xxydex? He was a Flayrah user until you took over (well... actually he probably still is, but hey you just needed an example of objection).

Obviously you can't please everyone, and you should try and go forward despite if one or two object. However you really need to WEIGH the size of the objection and from whom in the community it is coming from.

Yes, my political analogy fell short, so I've come up with a more accurate one. The action you're taking here is more akin to Google and Google+. Some people don't want to sign up for it, and are going to object when you keep trying to trick them into doing so. If a person chooses not to have an Inkbunny account for one reason or another, having their name or pseudonym put on the Inkbunny home page via Flayrah may have some more hesitant to contribute.

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"Headlines-only" syndication means just that - an author's name probably wouldn't be included. (Unless they are the news, of course, but in that case they probably aren't the author.)

When a summary is included (e.g. on FNN) it's more appropriate for an author to be credited, as they're responsible for it, while the title is considered the domain of the editor. (Here it gets a little fuzzy, as we allow title submissions, though they may be rewritten entirely.)

Xydexx's issue was that I was running Flayrah, not the links to it from WikiFur.

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Your take on personal preferences is a bit cynical of a viewpoint for someone usually so positive.

If it helps you feel better about my investment of time: consider the possibility that Flayrah's stories will at some point end up linked on Inkbunny's front page.

Oh, boy! Now I get to be directly linked with pedophiles! Sonious nailed it. You're bombing, here, GR.

And Sonious can't make a decent metaphor this thread; his "political party" metaphor for furry "art" sites is every bit as terrible as his "city" metaphor for furry "art" sites, but he's right on target for pointing out conflict of interest. I'm a bit hung up on the whole cub porn thing to have ever noticed it myself, but he's pointed out a major journalistic ethics issue here.

Look, the only one you've got your side on is the pedophile apologist extraordinaire, and he's, if I can type this with a straight face, biased.

and who else to talk to but their fans and fellow artists?

Real life friends? Family? A friggin' therapist? Someone who's entire relationship with the artist isn't "I like jacking off to you"?

the latter of which might be keenly interested in several of his reviews.

You seriously wrote that reply to Sonious thinking I would be excited about these people reading and liking my stories, didn't you?

Chipotle's right; most people just go where the audience is unless they're a partisan. Guess what I am? No, wait, don't; I've basically said "fuck Inkbunny's userbase" without saying "fuck Inkbunny's userbase", and now I've actually said "fuck Inkbunny's userbase", but you still seem to think I'm excited to become a part of the Inkbunny "community", so I'll type it out for you: fuck Inkbunny's userbase.

I know you don't like it when I say "fuck," Green Reaper, but what're you going to do? Censor me?

They stand with the pedophiles; not because they're okay with pedophilia, but because Inkbunny has real nice journals? Oh, that's okay, then ...

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Well I'd say actions that don't affect others are seldom, if ever, questions of morality. Cub porn is not real. No one is harmed and the question of morality doesn't come up. Your position also lacks any consistency, unless you are just as against virtual depictions of rape or murder. Considering those are a staple of movies and series (look at the number in Game of Thrones) without an outcry over how immoral TV stations are for showing that, I struggle to see how your views on morality can be relied on.

"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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You know what, nevermind.

It's a bit pointless at this ... point.

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well uh im not saying all of IB is bad no... just the few into animated child yiff and FA is all bad... experience being there my self a few years.. i know this is furry and all that shis but those sites, none of them deserves any award unless you gave em worst of the worst, that wont happen

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I like the cut of your jib, Anon123: you make Crossie waste time and energy, and that can only be a good thing.

-- Desiring_Change / Michael Hirtes / Anon123 (take your pick)

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i'm just giving my honest opinon on how that FA and the bad kind on IB suck

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About the author

Fred (Fred Patten)read storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics