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Is Yerf all it claims to be?

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I spent the better part of the weekend surfing around some of the best known artist archives on the World Wide Web. My trip ended with the Yerf archive, which is considered by some to be the premiere archive on the Internet due to its selective nature and supposedly rigid quality control standards. But after spending some time examining the Recent Uploads section on Yerf, I found myself wondering:
What makes Yerf so great? It's like a refrigerator for developing furry artists.

Just to make sure I wasn't having a knee-jerk reaction to a slow weekend of uploads I took the time to go back several weeks. The more I perused this archive the more my sense of dismay and disappointment grew. This didn't seem like an elite archive where the "best of the best" came to show us what hard work and dedication can do. This seems like a place that is very loosely administered and often used for bragging rights. I found frequent, flagrant violations of the much-touted Uploading Guidelines and a general atmosphere of "we're better than you." Not to mention artwork that, to me, falls far below the caliber the site purports to host.

Read on to see Feren's take on the Yerf Art Archive!

The Great Yerf Hype


Yerf likes to boast that it has "checks and balances" that an artist must go through to display art:

We try to be unique by having strict guidelines on content, quality and no porn (don't laugh, there's a lot of people into furry porn). By providing a place that wants to promote these things, you have to say no to the things we don't want, so it ends up being the center of controversy. But many feel it's worth it, so the site stays. It used to be known as the Squeeky Clean Furry Archive.

If you follow the link about the SCFA, you're brought to a treatsie about why the name was changed. Taken from the SCFA Becomes Yerf page:

  • Why the change?
  • The idea to change the name came about when people were suggesting the site be called a "gallery" because the intention was not to collect everything, but rather just the best.
  • Why Yerf?
  • To be purposefully vague. It doesn't say it's a gallery, archive, nor does it say furry or funny animal. It is simply "Yerf". Yerf seems to be known as a noise foxes make (like a bark), without the sexual connotations Yiff has.
  • Okay, so what have we learned? Yerf wants to collect the "best" Furry artwork by enforcing policies on the content and quality of the art that is displayed as well as keeping "porn" (Which never is defined, so for all we know can be anything the administrator classifies as dirty - this is a dangerous, glaring omission but is beyond the scope of this rant) out of the equation. An admirable goal, to be certain. It seems to have been started with good intentions at first glance.

    So, what does it take to get one's art shown on Yerf? Well, to have art posted, one must first apply and then be accepted by the administrative staff. Second, one's submissions to the archive must pass guidelines that compose "acceptable content" for material uploaded for display on the archive. Sounds like this would assure that quality artists from the fandom -- those well-known and those who are "undiscovered" alike-- would get their chance to shine, doesn't it? The admins at Yerf seem to think so. In fact, they're so confident of this they take the time to give their personal reviews of the other archives under "Furry Links" in their Information about Yerf! section:

    Orlando Furry Archives - Similar to Yerf, only a lot less restrictive. Not uncommon to find bad adult stuff beside great g-rated stuff. Also has a news server with tons of furry newsgroups.

    Another review is even more brash:

    Avatar -The oldest of the furry sites. They take most anything. If you're interested in my opinion, I'd recommend trying Avatar last. It's the least talked about site, and because they are so unrestrictive, 90% of the stuff there is crap. Just look and make your own decision. And good luck figuring out how to sign up. I think it's somewhere in /pub/furry/misc

    With statements like that I definately found myself questioning the motives of the people who administer Yerf. It seemed to me that they were more interested in stroking their own ego than providing any service to their companion sites on the Web. If they're going to slam them, why bother even linking to them? But wait - there seem to be some serious chinks in Yerf's own armor these days.

    The Problems


    The first problem that I see with Yerf is the artist application: Currently there is none. When you click on the Artist Application link on Yerf's main page, you're treated to a barren web page that hasn't been updated in two months. There are two paragraphs on the page. The first is dated September 17th, 2000, and states that the archive is not currently taking applications. (It would seem because they are not taking applications they're not allowing anybody to download the application form. It is due to this unfortunate circumstance that I cannot give a better report on this aspect of the quality control of the Yerf site. I'd like to know what information they request on the application. Do they ask for samples of the artist's works, for example? Do they give quantified expectations for the artwork that will be submitted? What criteria must be passed to be accepted? You're left to wonder). The second statement, dated December 18th, 2000 informs the reader that since "Art-Admin gets so many questions about apps, I thought it'd be nice to provide an update. This is where we are at the moment... yes, it's up to date. All applications have been reviewed. New accounts and e-mails to the applicants will be sent out soon." And that's it. If a potential hopeful were curious what sort of criteria they have to pass they'll have to ask the generic art-admin email account. When will applications be taken again? It appears that it is too soon to tell.

    As I mentioned, assuming that the artist DOES get accepted each piece of artwork must pass several guidelines that are posted on the Uploading Guidelines page. A few that spring to the front for me are:

  • Descriptions - Descriptions are mandatory and should describe the image. Also remember that descriptions are searchable, so try being descriptive! Please do not use the descriptions as a message board.
  • Sketches - Sketches are okay, but please clean them up before posting them. This includes removing lines from notebook paper. We will not accept images with lined notebook paper, unless it's specifically part of the image.
  • No Fan Art - This is partly from problems we've had in the past, and partly for potential legal reasons. Fan art is better left for a home page.
  • Again, these are all admirable guidelines. They're just not enforced.

    In browsing the last few days' worth of submissions I found quality descriptions such as:

    • "frank's butt itches. and there's nothing i can do about it"
    • "I have no clue,"
    • "Hi, everyfur! I am kind of new to posting at online archives, so please be patient with me ;) My name is Chris; I am (currently) 23 years old, from Duesseldorf/Germany. Glad to be with you now! Special greetings and a big rat-hug to BigBlueFox and Jedd for making this all possible. THANKS!! Chris <:3__)--------"
    • "Si se puede! si se puede!. Chars © Nicole Trujillo and Me n.n ... mmm heh, yeah, Gab © Melissa Spencer"

    and "No, really." All very witty and clever to the author and the in groups these messages are addressed to, I'm sure, but not terribly helpful to the casual browser - not to mention downright dumb in some cases. This wouldn't stick in my craw, so to speak, if it were a casual, occasional thing. However, it isn't... and it's in direct violation of the rules that Yerf claims to enforce. Oh, does anybody there know how to approximate English grammar and punctuation anymore? I don't claim to be an English major by any means, but if I were to try to pass something like "Ciseal Cattis...the wings on this one look pretty nifty...no neeto BG for this one, tho...I did this while I wuz still Eye Candy-less(after my hard drive crashed and i wuz re-installing crap)" off as a description I'd have to slap myself.

    When it comes to the "quality" I find myself wondering again, are the admins asleep at the switch? Granted, Yerf is a collection and as such there is a wide variety of material that is uploaded. But we have material that goes from sketches to comics, blatant anime-ripoffs, fan art ("Fan-art you say? well, i AM Ko-chan's biggest fan afterall n.n Kasumi Yuugata and Kompy © my beloved Ko-chan, Nicole Trujillo") to running gags that apparently are posted there solely for the amusement of the artist, leaving the people perusing the site to wonder just what exactly is going on. At one point, in the beginning of January, there was a stint of "Pepto" drawings that seemed to be a craze - Everyone was drawing this one character, spoofing it or commenting on it. One would hope that in "filtering for quality" the admins would look for a little more in the deliverables department than "everyone else is drawing it."

    Occasionally works by artists such as Xian Jaguar and Andre Heinonen are shown, and one would expect that this is exactly the sort of material that Yerf is trying to collect and present. But it is, in my opinion, far and few between. Now, granted, everyone is entitled to their own particular style, and I, as an art afficianado will be the first to say that every person's art style has strong points and weak points. Yet when did it become acceptable to the Yerf administration to accept every piece of Photoshop-colored, anime-derived art? This cookie-cutter art has become so prevalent that it seems like everyone is expected to praise this. It all looks the same. A controversy was stirred up last year when Kim Liu wrote the article Is There Intelligent Life Beyond Photoshop?. The line that stands out in my mind was "Wow, the (insert name here) plug-in is neat! Want to see the same image through each of the different plug-ins I've got?" Did nobody take a moment to reflect on this? Is Yerf really the place to post every random scribble that you've thrown the Fill Tool and Lens Flare plugin at? What happened to posting just your best works? It seems like these days Yerf will accept any random scratchings that the artist comes up with so long as they've already been accepted. Why has this "premier archive" become the refrigerator where people hang their every fingerpainting? Do we really want to see the self-described unfinished character designs? No! Finish it and then show it to us! When I see an image that is entirely in Photoshop, filled in with blue from the Fill Tool, and has a random donkey face with three colors on Recent Uploads I have to wonder, Is this the best that Yerf! can find these days? This is the same sort of material I can find on FurNation. At least while I'm there I know that what I see is what I get, to expect the unexpected and be ready for disappointments. When I come to Yerf I expect something a little better. Does anybody, aside from a brave few, dare to draw something different from what everyone else is drawing these days? I would hope diversity would fall under the quality that Yerf likes to boast of.

    Now, none of this is to slam any artist in particular. I do not have a vendetta to settle against anybody. I have nothing but respect for artists of any caliber - I can't draw worth a lick. I don't expect everybody to be producing "flawless art" the moment they join - not by any means. But what I'm seeing on Yerf worries me a great deal, and it should worry you, too -- especially if you're an artist, because these are the people you're going to be keeping company with and appearing alongside.

    The Solutions


    There are five main things the administrators at Yerf can do to pull the site out of the tail spin that it is in now:
    • Post the Artist Application again. Keep it up, even when applications aren't being accepted. Let people know what they're being judged by so they can tell if they even want to bother applying.
    • Lose the egotism. Saying that another archive is "90% crap" or consists "mostly of bad adult art" really doesn't do much for your own image. Not to mention it puts you under scrutinity like this to see if you can "put your money where your mouth is."
    • Start enforcing the rules again. If this doesn't start happening quick they're going to become nothing but a laughing stock and they'll never be enforcable again.
    • Accept applications more often. Better yet, go out and actively solicit applications. This'll do wonders for the site's image and bring fresh blood and fresh, exciting new material in.
    • Encourage diversity amongst artists and on a per-artist basis. There are only so many cut-and-paste Photoshop jobs a person can look at a day by the same artist.

    With some work and a re-awakening on the part of the Administrators, Yerf can rise above the problems that are currently being faced. I think a "controlled" archive or gallery is a fine idea -- but as of right now I don't think that this site has a great deal to boast about. I'll go to Furnation or VCL for my artist fix. These sites seem to have learned lessons that Yerf has yet to come to terms with: Controlling content is a difficult proposition at best. Because of this lesson they're a more open, friendly atmosphere and when I go there I know that I'm getting a more honest, more realistic cross-section of the art in the fandom -- without all the hype and egoboo. Granted, that freedom to post anything comes at a cost - objectionable material can be posted, and lesser quality works will be displayed. But that is a tradeoff I'm willing to see taken in the long term.

    Other sites hoping to gain popularity as a refuge for the "best Furry has to offer" can stand to take a few lessons from the things Yerf has done, both good and bad. If you set out to do something, you'd best ensure you stay true to your goals.

    -Feren
    ~
    ~

    Comments

    Your rating: None

    STACI SQUID REFUSES TO BE CATEGORIZED AS A "CUTE" ANIMAL !!! LOL....

    http://www.yerf.com/dianbren/stacybea.jpg

    - XianJaguar

    Your rating: None

    Sorry... I forgot all about Staci. I love Staci. :)

    Some of the other stuff seems kind of generic, though, that's all.

    Apologietically,

    Singing Circus Dog

    Your rating: None

    I know...a lot of my stuff IS generic (most are commissions.) Plus, I am not the most imaginative person on the planet. I will say this though...whoever wrote the article didn't pick the best cross-section of furry talent on Yerf. (though I was surprised and flattered when Meg told me abot this article) I personally am amazed by Cara Mitten, Synnabar, Sinyx, oCeLot, Megan Giles (Darn you Meg! :), Brian Edwards, Rebecca Kemp, etc. In other words, I tend to like artists who put finished pics up with backgrounds that are visually amazing to look at. Personally I don't get a lot of the humor files posted...I never get the jokes in Rebecca Marsh's stuff :(, and Kobus, though artistically brilliant, has taken to only posting pic slams against fandom, which can get depressing after a while. But, to each his own, everyone is entitled to their opinion and feelings, and differences can be the spice of life! ;)

    Your rating: None

    For all the discussion this has generated on the semi-private yerf newsgroups, not a single one of them has bothered to comment directly on the article, here. Interesting...

    Any Yerf artists/admins want to have a shot at defending the archive? Anyone? You're just as welcome to post a comment or submit a full-blown rebuttal as Feren was to post this article.

    Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

    It will be fun going to the Yerf newsgroups to look!

    Feren's comments are a good critique if Yerf were a "Best of" furry cartoonists archive. It's not. It does kind of look like one on the outside, with all the people lined up to get in, and someone checking IDs at the head of the line. Everybody in line thinks they are going into a Broadway production of Riverfurrydance at the town operahouse. The web page looks smooth & slick, and it has a lot of lively activity.

    Once inside, if you look around at the messages, you discover that Yerf!s run as a hobby by one or 2 overworked people in their spare time from their regular lives. It's someone's Uncle's barn. Someone's Uncle is trying to run an All Ages danceperformance--there's a Chaparone checking the line for contraband and making sure the people on the barn dance floor are really there to dance. The Uncle probably pays for the server computer and all the access connections. Traditionally these Uncles and Chaparones are allowed to be opinionated and grumpy. Especially at an All Ages dance.

    It's not a Broadway theater--it's some Uncle's barn, all gussied up--or a Cartooner College gymnasium at best. It is the best Sock Hop, All Ages, Grouchy Uncle's Mixer Dance in our small furry town. It's fun to sit up in the balcony and watch the dance, even if very few of the dancers do Broadway moves.

    Feren has many of the right ideas of how a "Best of" furry art archive should be run. We all have to wait for a different Uncle before it will happen.

    Ken Fletcher

    Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

    > For all the discussion this has generated on the

    > semi-private yerf newsgroups, not a single one of

    > them has bothered to comment directly on the

    > article, here.

    So, all you have to do is write a scathing article about a person or oranization and it will suddenly bring publicity to your little slashdot-esque furry site? Sorry, we'll stick to the yerf newsgroups.

    Your rating: None

    I'd like to take a moment to state that I wrote this article and submitted it to Flayrah entirely on my own initiative. I could just as easily have submitted it to Furdom.com if they had a "Commentaries" area.

    -Feren

    -Feren
    "We use them for divine retribution."

    Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

    Here's the problem I see. Most people are confusing the idea of quality control with the idea of content control. Yerf isn't very careful with its terminology; what it should be saying is that it is restricting based on content, not on quality.

    The problem Feren has with Yerf is probably one a lot of people had until they did the double-take. When people say they're aiming for quality, when what they're really doing is making sure no R-rated (sex only; violence is allowed) stuff gets posted, then yes, you're going to get confusion.

    So think of Yerf as a content-control archive, mostly for sex. Quality-control will have to go to some other poor guy or girl brave enough to defend his or her idea of quality. :)

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    In my humble opinion, if they are going to claim to be a quality archive, then yes, someone should step up to the plate and enforce some quality standards.

    There are a number of us who have been brave enough to defend our definitions of quality when we publish paper publications. It takes time and effort in addition to a spine, and I think that that's really what the problem is.

    Back in the old "Squeaky Clean" days I griped about the violent content being included in a so-called squeaky clean archive. I have had to defend my decision to relegate violent content submitted to the 'zine I edit to "adult supplements." I personally find our society's squeamishness about sex while being completely indifferent to violence and other mature content a rather amusing paradox to contemplate.

    But that will have to be a topic for another day...

    Your rating: None

    I already remarked in part on my idea of quality in the article. I'm being called "high handed" and "egotistical" on Yerf for daring to have my own opinions about what "quality" art is and isn't. The reaction people are having to my having unique likes and dislikes is amazing.

    Actually, it'd make an interesting socialogical study.

    -Feren

    -Feren
    "We use them for divine retribution."

    Your rating: None

    Listen, whether it's scribbles or other, it takes time and effort to make art. You can critique writers because they can always change words. You can always critique sports players because they are trying to be the best. But to critique art is an entirely different matter. We thought it up, we applied it to paper, we colored/penned/sketched it or what have you, and...then we're finished. Any comments after that are purely for future use. All I know is that when somebody is talking out of their ass when they critique my art, i.e. "I don't like it," and doesn't say what I did and didn't do right, I get annoyed. I'm sure that goes for alot of other artists. So when a person who is not an artist goes up and says "I don't like it," "I think the quality is poor," and then compares it to other artists (that was a cheap shot, by the way! Big no-no!*L*)...artists get annoyed. I would get annoyed myself, if my art was on Yerf. To each his own. I personally am not awed by the two artists you chose. I think theirs are the typical types of art you mentioned trying to get away from. (no offense to those artists. I do appreciate their art!)

    I guess the minorly annoying factor for the Yerf artists is that you are not an artist, and do not fully understand the process of creating art only to have someone come up, point at it, laugh, say the quality is low, and then compare it to their neighbor/best friend's art. "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say nothin' at all." Constructive criticism is nice. The article was good and helpful in areas. Save for the parts where you delivered low blows to the egos (however big or small) of the artists of Yerf. It is art. I don't care how low in your eyes or how high. They put minutes, hours, days of their existance into it. Appreciate it for that, if nothing else. :)

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    Unless you're creating art solely for other artists, you're going to have to expect your audience is going to include the non-artist... and the non-artist has as much a right to his or her opinion.

    If art can only be appreciated, understood, liked, enjoyed by those who can make it, then it has missed its richest return, its greatest value. Art is not by nature elitist. It speaks to everyone, regardless of his or her talent for its creation. That's one of its beauties.

    So yeah, it's annoying to be compared to other artists. It's annoying to not turn someone on. It's annoying when people don't like it, don't get it, whatever. But you can't deny them their right to dislike it, or why. That comes with the territory.

    Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

    Some people, both artists and writers, are only interested in hearing how great their work is, how much you liked it. If you offer them anything else, however well phrased, they bite back with something like that's the way I write/draw, and if you don't like it, screw you.

    Most aren't that bad. Most who have any desire to improve are aware to some degree or another that in order to do so they need to know what they're doing wrong and what they're doing write so they can improve their weaknesses and build on their strengths. I like to help people improve who want to, but having run into a couple of those described in the previous paragraph I am often hesitant to do so if I don't know the person.

    Am I getting off the topic here? This could be worth a thread of its own, though I'm reminding myself that Flayrah wasn't really intended to be a medium for extended discussions.

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    As someone with published art and stories (as Micah is also) I believe it takes more effort and thought to create excellent stories, and once it's submitted to an editor, there is no taking it back. More often than not, writers receive only a 'Does not meet our needs at this time' form letter. (though Gordon Van Gelder of F&SF did give me an 'Interesting but didn't quite grab me, alas' response.)

    Artists do not have the monopoly on 'I spent all this time on my work and someone just comes up and says they don't like it!' Welcome to the club! };)

    Look at it this way, you have a support group for your art in the form of the active Yerf community, what do writers in this genre get? A mailing list perused more by authors than by readers, maybe a mention in Miavir's archive. Writers in the anthropomorphic vein would kill for the kind of support, acceptance, and community that Yerf artists get. ('gryn)

    I won't, however, defend the original critique from Feren on the subject of Yerf as an archive, as I think that the admin have been doing a reasonable job and that they do try to do better all the time. It's an archive for developing artists, and run by volunteers moreover. They do deserve to be cut some slack.

    Your rating: None

    I appreciate your candid response on what you didn't like and the overall civil tone you kept.

    However, I do have to take the moment to address what you said. Yes, I'm not an artist. Never have been. Never have applied to Yerf. Don't have anything to apply to it with. ;) However, that doesn't stop me from having the right to my opinions. As a public site, the artist is taking that chance by making their works available to the general public. If they don't want to take critiques or simple "This works for me, and this doesn't, even though I cannot explain why" then they shouldn't post to the web. That's part of my "Refrigerator" simile. If you're proud enough to put your work on the web, you should be ready for people to embrace it as well as reject it and have enough personal strength to tolerate the good/useful criticism with the lesser-quality ones. It's a mixed bag, just like it's a mixed world. If the art of the world weren't meant for the consumption of the common man, museums would have you take art tests to get in and view the exhibits.

    "All I know is that when somebody is talking out of their ass when they critique my art, i.e. "I don't like it," and doesn't say what I did and didn't do right, I get annoyed." Well, in the defense of the common man, some people simply don't KNOW why one piece works for them and another doesn't. Why did they choose a cool blue for the walls in their child's room rather than a forest green? Why did they choose brick instead of aluminum siding? Because they're individuals, with individual tastes that just are. I do have some training in art, thanks to a fairly decent high school program. So I can sometimes make remarks on composition, tone, body structure and the like. But sometimes I simply can't. That's part of what makes art art, in my sometimes-not-so-humble opinion. I think art sometimes is at its best when it simply grabs you on some deeper, unfathomable level. When it appeals to you, or upsets you, or just punches you in the gut on that level where, if you analyze it (or attempt to) you just end up cheapening the work -- that is when art can be it's most powerful. So don't always expect people to have good answers for you, because maybe you hit them on that primal level. If you do, be proud. The general public is sometimes a fickle thing. Sometimes upsetting it is just as good as garnering praise... I for one, when I receive vague criticism, turn it in on itself and internalize it, and use it to go back and look at my work again, trying to just see it from their angle, from a different pair of eyes to see why they might have liked or disliked it but been unable to pinpoint it. Like this article it can sometimes have its benefits.

    Have patience with us boring folk if you can. I know it's hard. :)

    I don't ask people to be awed by the two artists I chose as examples. For the sake of brevity I chose two who came to mind right away. I never made the statement that they're gods in the art world, not by any means. I don't think that my liking them makes them so, either. ;) The comparing to other artists was a bad move on my part, I do admit that. Sometimes in the heat of the moment (which is what this article was. I'll say it again, for the benefit of those who are so greatly peeved - this article was not solicited by Aureth or any of the other staff) I don't make the best decisions when it comes to watching out for toes while I'm stepping. Hence my knowledge I'll never be in management - I don't do politics well. I sincerely apologize for that, but still hold firm to my stance on simply not liking their art for the brief reasons I listed (I can go into a full discussion on that in email, if you're interested).

    Again, as for the fact about me not being an artist, you're correct. But that shouldn't make my opinion any less valid, especially since it is posted on a public site -- although you would seem to believe otherwise. "If you can't stand the smoke, get out of the kitchen," as they say. Also for the sake of brevity I didn't spend a great amount of time analyzing why I did like some artists' works, and not those of others. It was outside the scope of the editorial, which was supposed to be about Yerf in general, even if I strayed at times.

    -Feren

    -Feren
    "We use them for divine retribution."

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    Actually I agree with him. He's right, Yerf does hold some funny double standards sometimes when they talk about quality art, there is an egotistical air going on around there, and Yerf artists can be the most nasty when it comes to "critiquing" (notice the quotes) other Yerf artists they don't feel meet these as yet defined (and I know cause I asked once) standards.

    I mean, just what DO you have to do to meet the standards when applying anyway?

    And I have no problem with someone who doesn't do art gives their opinion cause often they can see with unclouded eyes, especially when the writer of the article gave clear thought out reasons why he felt the way he did.

    Yerf is a good place for good art, but its not the best and everyone on it isn't the best. Personally I feel it could stand to loosen up a little.

    EL (An Yerf artist)

    Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

    After reading though all the responses to Feren's commentary on the Yerf art archive, I am somewhat disheartened by what a few of the posters here had to say.

    As an appreciator of art in general and furry art in particular (although I admit that I've only been interested in the latter for about 5 years now), I do occasionally contact artists directly and comment on what I've seen of their work. Being the sort of person who can't even draw a simple stick-figure, I do not offer any critiques on the construction of the works, since that would be an act of total hypocrisy on my part. Instead, I try to keep my commentaries focused on things like what I felt emotionally or even what memories came to my mind when I first saw their paintings, drawings, etc. I really don't do this very often, but sometimes a particular piece of art will really grab my attention and I just want to tell the artist something about that. Nothing more.

    Now - after reading some of the remarks made here - I wonder: Are messages like the ones I've been sending out considered a nuisance by artists in the furry community? Is constructive criticism all that is wanted? I'm not an artist, so I simply can't give advice on designing backgrounds, coloring, perspective, inking, and so on. So does this fact banish me to a "no-contact zone" of sorts, far removed from the furry art-world?

    Discouraging as these thoughts may be, I am not about to discontinue my brief communications with furry artists anytime soon. I'm just stubborn that way, I guess. However, I probably will think long and hard before starting the next ones.

    If anyone cares to reply to what I've written, I would prefer that you send your response to orinoco_flow@usa.net instead of the Flayrah message-boards. Thanks.

    Your rating: None

    Hoo-ah! I leave for a few days and I get so many responses! Didn't even expect anybody to read that. =)

    To start off, all of the above opinions are correct. I don't know if I appropriately expressed my views through words, which I apologize for (I am a rather horribly big communicative ostrich. ;p). I never meant to impose the thought that artists cannot take the heat, absolutely despise all criticism, or expect everyone to praise their art. Lord, if I gave that impression, I apologize again! =) I simply meant to imply that the comparison of the two artists posted as to the other artists was a bit harsh and entirely based on your opinion(as you have yourself stated. :] ). That could have been left out entirely and still kept the quality of the article. I also just wanted to imply that whether it's bad art or good, everybody should enjoy the art of Yerf because the artists are basically posting their souls for everyone to look at. Art is a personal thing. To critique it is to critique the manner in which the artist bared their soul. So be gentle when you do. That by no way means you not being honest, it just means you putting it in pleasant terms. i.e., "That's the ugliest damn interpretation of a banana I've ever seen," can be gracefully covered up with, "I think that banana could be a bit more...banana-ish. I mean, if you wanted it as is, that's fine! But I personally cannot feel the banana-zen in it." ...Okay so it's a bad example but an example none-the-less. ;p

    I didn't mean to offend, and if I did, or if I gave the wrong impression, many apologies! =) And to the one who posted about writers getting the same problem...that is true. Art is a very vague, um, art. But when you give the final draft of writing to editors...they edit it! You cannot give art to someone and have them edit it. (which is where the graceful critiquing comes into play. Graceful=you better damn well be nice about it!) The art's already done. It's penned/ painted/ charcoaled/ glued/ penciled/ seared onto the paper. Which mayhaps downs the quality of final pro-art and ups the quality of pro-written art, but all in all...you get my point. I think? Let's hope. =)

    Your rating: None

    You're absolutely right when you say "I also just wanted to imply that whether it's bad art or good, everybody should enjoy the art of Yerf because the artists are basically posting their souls for everyone to look at. Art is a personal thing. To critique it is to critique the manner in which the artist bared their soul."

    I think the problem I have with Yerf isn't the archive itself, but the newsgroups that are joined to it. There you'll find perhaps either the largest fan club of a small number of participants or the beings bashing of an artists you could imagine. Personal, I think its fine to offer a critque of a person's artwork you find not as well done as others or you just don't like. But when you do so you have to include some suggestions on what the artist can do to make it better. Harsh yet constructive is always more useful to an up and coming artist rather than "That sucks, why are they still here" type of comments I've read in the past.

    Yerf would be more productive if they were a better artists commumnity that helped build up an artist's artistic abilities more than they do to knock down those they don't feel are up to par. Yerf artists and what not sometimes take themeselves too seriously sometimes and forget that behind a picture there was a human being that was trying to share themselves with others they feel are their peer and feel 'safe' with.

    Heck so long a person is trying their best I'm happy even if its not great. But if I don't think its great, isn't it more productive to tell the artist what you think they could do to improve (heck, if you're an artist, then SHOW them what you think they could do do improve) rather than bash the heck out of them to the point where they don't want to bother anymore? How productive is that.

    EL (a Yerf artist)

    Your rating: None

    Hi. Yerf isn't spelled with an exclaimation point.

    -scotty

    Your rating: None

    I'll go through and fix this.

    Your rating: None

    My apologies on that.

    -Feren
    "We use them for divine retribution."

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    At Anthrocon '99, Scotty and the Yerf staff held a forum. Inside, they said that they had *alot* of growing pains, and that they were virtually acting on reports of abuse due to the workload.

    Abuse reports work well with Internet Network abuse in general (spam, DOS, etc). There are instances which can only be called in to be stopped, even though there's a bit of preventive measures you can do.

    With Yerf, and it's rather strict guidelines, it's harder to police them -- you have to send in abuse reports. I bet 1000 quatloos that noone's sent in abuse reports.

    Your rating: None

    Very true. Honestly, out of 10 images that break the rules that go by, we only get one email about them.

    I never really thought of this. I'm going to place a note up about it, that should help a bit.

    -Dingo, dingo@yerf.com

    Your rating: None

    Okay, so this is off-topic... but I never thought I'd see anyone betting quatloos. Hee! Hooray for old Star Trek re-runs!

    Your rating: None

    Heh, ever read alt.yerf.recents? That's all the 'abuse' or what others think are abuses you need.

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    Yerf does need an overhaul. We're working on it.

    About egotism. The current admins are honestly not really like that. Those notes have been around since Yerf was the SCFA, and yes, some of them have an egotistic sound to them. I'll go through and fix this. The SCFA was originally created because the person who wrote it didn't like the alternatives at the time.. Avatar. It was an FTP site, and that was it. So the SCFA was created. Originally, the SCFA allowed anybody in.

    About the admins being "asleep at the switch." Very true. We have been. We've all been busy with our real jobs, especially more recently. Heck, there are two major admins right now. One has been very busy with work lately, and I just had a major surgery and have been gone for two weeks.

    So yes, we have been "asleep at the switch," if you want to call it that.

    We're working on it. Sorry guys, for now, it's just a place where people on it can post their art. We're not the best.

    -Dingo, dingo@yerf.com

    Your rating: None

    Quote: About the admins being "asleep at the switch." Very true. We have been. We've all been busy with our real jobs, especially more recently. Heck, there are two major admins right now. One has been very busy with work lately, and I just had a major surgery and have been gone for two weeks.

    I can certainly understand you being overloaded when it's a "hobby" bit of work.

    Swiftfoot Cheetah brought up an interesting point on yerf.yap, which I went and looked at due to the remark made earlier in this thread. Have you thought about bringing on additional staff, maybe some artists you trust who might be up to the task?

    And best wishes to the staffer who had surgery for a quick recovery!

    -Feren

    -Feren
    "We use them for divine retribution."

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    Rat here..

    I'm not really active in Yerf anymore, but I do help now and then.

    I just wanted to get sucked into this little slamfest and give my input, given that I started Yerf, I think I have a right. I can take critisism, but not when it's obviously just someone wanting to laugh and and look down at someone else's creation, and pick on definitions of things, and inconsistancies in the documentation. Condesending tones do not put me in a good mood as you're about to see, as I slip into bitter-bastard mode. :)

    When I started SCFA, I only knew about Avatar. I created it out of digust when my offers to help the Avatar staff were flat out rejected, I offered to make a thumbnail site for them, to which they replied "if we added a web server, we wouldnt be able to handle the traffic". I did explain that it would in fact be less traffic due to the fact that people could see the thumbnails and not have to download the entire image, but it became clear I was dealing with total idiots, so I started doing it just to see if I could do it.

    So yeah, Avatar does suck, it sucks a lot. I dont take back those statements. :)

    VCL, back then was run by a guy who copied art off newsgroups and put it on his site, NO JOKE!

    He didn't ask permission from anyone.

    When I confronted him about those tactics, his explanation was "if they dont put DO NOT DISTRIBUTE all over it, that makes it ok". He actually thought that. Several artists threatened him when they found out he was hosting their artwork, but overall people didn't care. Kinda sucked, when I was real adiment about getting 100% permission from the artists before doing a thing, yet I get all the flames. I hear the current VCL staff is pretty cool, so none of this applies to now a days, but just know VCL's shady roots. :P

    So yeah, when I bash other sites, I back it up. I dont apologize, but at least I back it up with facts.

    Apps are closed, cause when we open them, the flood begins. Last time we had them open for a week, and there were 135 applications. The policy is they must upload 3 pics, and the admins go through and vote on them all. What sucks is a lot (most?) are re-applicants, ones we looked over, and rejected. The really good ones are definitly the minority. Tt's the artists that you were making fun of that cause so much work, that apps have to pretty much stay down most of the year. If they just got a clue and WENT AWAY, apps would be open. We should start a prescreening process of somekind, but no matter what you do, it's gonna take a person to do the work, unless you just let everything in.

    I never really claimed to have the elite best of the best of art on the site, reality is that I was trying to make it "not the worst". I would by default let it on "unless" it broke a rule, or just hurt my eyes, or made people actually complain to me about it.

    That's all I ended up trying. You mean you're gonna quote a frigging notice to people about the name change in 1998 where I used the word "best"? Maybe I should have been more careful for people like you and said "not the worst". Or "stuff that isn't terrible". WTF?! Talk about reading what you want to read and making it mean what you want!

    So seriously, there's other furry sites out there, there were long before I made Yerf, if it just let everything on unrestricted, it may as well not exist cause it would be a redundant thing.

    Your rating: None

    Yes, I have been considering doing this, but due to the way Yerf works on the backend, it would be difficult to train people for it. Quality control would be fine to have a few extras helping with, but applications are a bit more complex. It is being fixed, though. dingo@yerf.com. <:o)

    -Dingo, dingo@yerf.com

    Your rating: None

    Hmmm. I typed a lot more than this, but it didn't come out right and I've already closed the window. <:o(

    Oh well, I pretty much said that I'm the guy who hosts Yerf, maintains the code, hosts the newsgroups, etc.. There's another person behind it currently, Leonid, who has been taking care of applications and doing a great job, but every time we open up applications, we get 100+ within a week. <:o(

    I had been busy at work for a while (my company merged with another, lots of work for admin-types), but things have been slowing down lately.

    I love Yerf. I like working on it, I think it's fun. I'm extatic that I'll have more time now. I never thought we claimed to be any more than a little non-professional site where people can post furry art. <:o(

    Over the next week, I want to go through and remove all the stale info and egotism in the static pages and such. I was wondering, if anybody wants to, they can point me to stuff I may miss. Just email me at dingo@yerf.com. I'd really appreciate it. I want Yerf to be friendly again. I feel it's kinda going downhill, and I blame myself. <:o(

    I'm the one who had the surgery, thanks. I've been recovering well. <:o)

    Thanks everybody. <:o)

    -Dingo, dingo@yerf.com

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    You mention receiving over 100 apps every time you open up apps for even a few days, but it's not likely apps would come in at that rate if you kept them open all the time. How many of those 100+ apps do you suppose are from people who have been watching and waiting for you to reopen them?

    It sounds like a large part of the problem is people who keep resubmitting apps, and that if you could rein them in it would be easier to give first-time applicants and those that haven't applied in a while the consideration they deserve. Have you considered establishing guidelines that would give the latter higher priority, or imposing a mandatory waiting period on repeat applications?

    Mwalimu

    Your rating: None

    Already done. We ask applicants to wait six months before applying again.

    Yes, I know if we left them open that they would slow down, eventually. But even at that rate, we would need somebody dedicated to processing applications, and the current way that Yerf works, it would be quite difficult to. <:o(

    -Dingo

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    Yo, Dingo:

    In light of what you said, I think small-timers like me are better off making our own websites without bothering you. Even though I was turned down by Yerf.com this year, I made my own decision to establish my own site later on, with the help of the VCL and Side7.com. This move was made so I can grow into a professional webtoonist.

    I'm not dissin' you... I just feel that small-timers like me are better off like a number of small stores instead of one big retail outlet.

    Everyone wants a place in the sun. I think the beach IS big enough for EVERYONE.

    -Wallaroo_Blacke

    The wallaroo turns and bounds away into the darkness.

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

    I am not a part of Yerf, though I will be trying out for application whenever I can in the future. But, I have been going to it for the past year or two and have watched all the members grow as artists. This is my opinion...

    I don't care. So, yeah, what if the explanations of the pictures are pointless and non-explanatory? What if they are full of inside-jokes? I personally find it amusing and entertaining to get a glimpse of what these people are really like behind those pencils and paintbrushes. Yerf is not a company, it is an on-line archive of artists. And artists sometimes cannot bring themselves to finish sketches or do anything but doodle. So they share what they could, or wanted, to do. It also, in my opinion, gives a glimpse at how the artists make their work from start to finish.

    Actually, if one were to read the newsgroups, alot of the rules are enforced. I've seen many a small comment about this picture getting taken down, that picture getting taken down, etc., whether it be for inappropriate content or some other reason. One cannot expect the creators of Yerf to sacrifice their soul to the workings of the page; it is a non-profit organization run entirely through volunteers. Again, as I stated before, it is not a company. The people in charge have lives to attend to, and if that means the world has to patiently wait for applications or what-have-you...then so be it!

    I have seen, nowhere, them claiming to be the best. Their comments on the other archives were truthful and honest opinions. I have seen the other furry archives, and more often than not the opinions were correct. Are not they entitled to opinions?

    So, yeah, I guess I don't care. Sure, it's a bit dysfunctional, and the rules get bent...but, I like it that way. It gives Yerf a more personal, human feeling. I cannot stand the cold pages where everything is business, yaddayaddayadda, and there is no humor nor dysfunctionality apparent. Makes the makers of the pages to seem like robots. I like Yerf's dysfunctionalness. It helps me realize that there are people doing all of this, and that they have lives and feelings just like the rest of us.

    To make a long story short: I like it as it is. FurNation is too big and too open, I can never find anything. True with all the others. Yerf is a straight-forward, to the point, honest and excellent archive. I have seen the Application form. It's standards are considerably high, which I think is a good thing.

    Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

    I don't feel like I should be defending Yerf, having *quit* from it, but out of fairness, I will directly comment on a few things... these might have been already pointed out, but I want to be clear.

    • Post the Artist Application again. Keep it up, even when applications aren't being accepted. Let people know what they're being judged by so they can tell if they even want to bother applying.

    The problem with that is that people will try to apply ANYWAY when they aren't being accepted. People have. The removal of the application was a last resort. For what they're looking for, Scotty does have a list of items of what he does and does not like to see. Maybe he should be more specific? Then, as inspiration, perhaps you could provide him with a list of things YOU look for that make a piece of artwork "good"... this goes for everyone.

    • Lose the egotism. Saying that another archive is "90% crap" or consists "mostly of bad adult art" really doesn't do much for your own image. Not to mention it puts you under scrutinity like this to see if you can "put your money where your mouth is."

    I missed that... but then, as Dingo says, that was old code. If there's signs of egotism outside of just the links page, then where's the "elitism" besides what other people have perceived themselves (i.e. not Yerf's doing)?

    • Start enforcing the rules again. If this doesn't start happening quick they're going to become nothing but a laughing stock and they'll never be enforcable again.

    Yerf sort of works on a community basis. Honor system, as it were. If one of the admins doesn't happen to pop in and catch something, someone else will speak up. If someone doesn't... that's why YOU can mail the admins and say something.

    • Accept applications more often. Better yet, go out and actively solicit applications. This'll do wonders for the site's image and bring fresh blood and fresh, exciting new material in.

    If you're drowning in the pool, do you swim to the deep end? If the admins are flooded with applications, why would they solicit others? At any rate, the types I suspect you would want solicited would be the artists that are already established and wouldn't need another art suppository. The exceptions would be if an artist is not allowed to store some types of art in one archive which another would allow. I find redundant archives, where an artist merely duplicates all of his/her artwork, to be annoying, not browse-worthy.

    On top of that, most Yerf applicants are the younger generations who don't want to or can't manage the setups that FurNation and VCL have to offer. And should they? A better solution might be to offer a subset, an open forum where "quality" control doesn't matter (except for things like sex and violence, especially) but new talent can show a limited number of their pictures for critiquing, etc.

    • Encourage diversity amongst artists and on a per-artist basis. There are only so many cut-and-paste Photoshop jobs a person can look at a day by the same artist.

    As a non-artist, do you know how to do this, really? Encourage diversity? Many artists, especially the older generations who unfortunately have JOBS to contend with, are only able to post once in a blue moon, and often those of the "cut-and-paste" variety, as you say. The better artists will realize they shouldn't be limited in their content and will create art that does not fit Yerf's guidelines, so ultimately diversity can be counterproductive to the goal. However, that is true, that the younger artists, especially, should be encouraged to break out of the "character in a pose, no background" phase.

    Your rating: None

    And since when were they the deciding voice on what is furry and what isn't? Centaurs aren't furry, they say - but other taurs are (chakats, etc). What is the threshold of furriness? It makes no sense.

    Nightspore

    Your rating: None

    If you call centaurs furry, more power to you. We just don't allow them on Yerf, is all. Our guidelines are for our contributors sake, not for our visitors to consider the definitive guide to 'furry'.

    -Scotty Arsenault

    Your rating: None

    Since when were they the deciding vote on what is furry and what isn't?

    Yerf doesn't claim to be the end all of art sites.

    Be that as it may, you have to draw the line somewhere if you're a content controlled site. Little to the left, those on the right are left out.. Little to the right, those on the left are left out.

    Your rating: None

    Let me be the first to say that this article is fair and objective. Yerf has problems and needs fixing. So what/who doesn't? Yerf is still the top site for posting furry art due to the traffic and lack of clutter. Yiffnet attic is quickly taking up the reigns, however, and could replace Yerf as the most popular furry archive.

    Your rating: None

    I would like to know if and when Yerf will be accepting and posting the application forum.

    HollyAnn,
    Furry Artist since 1997
    http://www.ki-tera.com/hollyann/

    Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

    Yerf's biggest problem right now is that many of the people who joined back when it was the SCFA, when anyone could join, do crap art. This crap art posting of people who wouldn't have a chance of being accepted into Yerf these days ruins any sort of credibility Yerf has as a haven for good art. 90% of Velan or Orlando is crap. 90% of Yerf is crap too, unfortunately— it's just clean crap.

    Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

    "Quality" and "style" are two different things. You can dislike the style of a piece of work, but still agree that it is well drawn -for the style-. Same, you can adore a certain style, but see it poorly executed.

    I say leave Yerf to fester in it's own pool of filth, but that's just me. ;)

    -Bat
    http://www.livejournal.com/~chaedyn

    Your rating: None

    www.yerf.com appears to be down.

    according to $ whois yerf.com:

    Domain Name: YERF.COM
    Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
    Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
    Referral URL: http://www.networksolutions.com/en_US/
    Name Server: NS89.WORLDNIC.COM
    Name Server: NS90.WORLDNIC.COM
    Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Updated Date: 28-mar-2009
    Creation Date: 07-apr-1998
    Expiration Date: 06-apr-2016

    Registrant:
    [REDACTED]
    437 Dry Meadow Ln.
    Bakersfield, CA 93308
    US

    Domain Name: YERF.COM

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Promote your business to millions of viewers for only $1 a month
    Learn how you can get an Enhanced Business Listing here for your domain name.
    Learn more at http://www.NetworkSolutions.com/
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
    [REDACTED] [REDACTED]
    826 So. Kern St.
    Bakersfield, CA 93307-1155
    US
    661-330-3116

    (I decided to redact some of this information, but it's honestly a matter of public record, don't believe me, open ANY linux or unix terminal, most of them come with a "whois" command built-in)

    I'm tempted to send an email to [REDACTED] (if that email is even still active/valid) and ask if he intends to do anything with the yerf.com domain name.

    Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

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    About the author

    Feren (Jason Olsen)read storiescontact (login required)

      a network engineer and Black panther from Chicago, Illinois, interested in furry literature, art, and camaros

      Sometimes network engineer. Sometimes coder. Sometimes ranting editorial writer.