Creative Commons license icon

Fur Affinity

Fur Affinity, launched in 2005, quickly grew to become furry fandom's largest art website, and has struggled to deal with the impact. Updates are regularly announced, but rarely arrive, and it has trouble retaining staff. Given its position, downtime and security issues are a major event; the latter were once so frequent as to be parodied. Nevertheless, it remains popular – in part, because everyone's there, but also because it has outlasted competitors. Similar sites: Inkbunny, SoFurry, Weasyl, the VCL.

Fur Affinity restoring from six-day-old backups after server compromised; site source code distributed at BLFC

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (8 votes)

Fur Affinity has been "pulled offline temporarily" after users' accounts and submissions went missing.

Update (21 May): FA returned for a day, but is now in read-only mode. Passwords were said to be hashed and salted, but if you've used the same one elsewhere, now is the time to change it to be unique per-site.

Update 2 (23 May): Fur Affinity has returned; however, all passwords have been reset, which is causing problems for those with an old/invalid email address.

It has been confirmed that an exploit was used to copy Fur Affinity's source code, later distributed at Biggest Little Fur Con. A subsequent attack deleted user profiles, submissions, and watches.

FA users took to Twitter and the Fur Affinity Forums looking for answers – which appeared to have been preemptively provided by a post asking "What would you do if you found an exploit on FA?", posted last Sunday on the Phoenixed Forums. However, more recent posts by the original poster disclaim responsibility.

The recent "ImageTragick" vulnerability in widely-used processing library ImageMagick was soon turned into an exploit and has been identified by FA as the original attack vector.

Fur Affinity community manager Dragoneer reports that backups exist, but are six days old:

The majority [of the site's data is secure], yes. The backup we have is 6 days old. We're still going through and trying to determine the extent of the issue, and once we have more information, we'll post it publicly and give a full, transparent run down of what happened.

Fur Affinity loses developer after stalls in promised compensation

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (8 votes)

On January 26th Silver Eagle, who was brought on as a web developer for Fur Affinity, released a video posting his resignation. In it he talks about his experiences as a developer there, and all the troubles it has caused him emotionally and financially. Thousands of views later the video set off a firestorm of criticism in the direction of leadership at the fandom's most popular website.

Similar controversies have been played out many times before for Fur Affinity, but let's take a look at why this one has perhaps stirred more ire than others and why it has many furs talking about the impact our most popular website has on the lives of others. To do this, we must take a look at the background of the developer who came forward.

Fur Affinity - Users responsible for the actions of commenters

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (11 votes)

On Janurary 21st, Fur Affinity staff had removed a user's journal based upon the comments within the journal for violating Code of Conduct rule 1.6, colloquially referred to as the "call out" rule. This decision will impact users by placing the responsibility of comments on the user hosting those comments on their journal or submission pages as much as the user making the comment. The user whose journal was removed, Validuz, was told that any comments found violating such rules are subject to removal of the journal hosting the comments.

Fur Affinity forum staff abandon their posts, future of forum uncertain

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (20 votes)

Fur Affinity is suffering from another round of staff resignations. This time the damage mostly occurred in the forums after one of the art site's disgruntled moderators, Renashe, left and leaked conversations and information which revealed a tool which moderators could use to search for their names in comment sections on the website, among other items.

Following the suspension of Renashe, Kalmor, a moderator on the Fur Affinity Forum followed suit. They wrote a resignation journal which was promptly removed by staff. Afterwords Kalmor posted about the incident on the forums and linked to his twitter at which time he was permanently suspended from the forums and main site for violating the 'privacy' or Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). An agreement that most of the Forum staff never signed in the first place, according to Kalmor.

Following Kalmor's suspension three other staffers left in rapid succession, bringing the staff page down from 10 to 6. The remaining six, according to sources, are mostly not involved it the operations of moderation of the forums. It is certainly a far cry from the site leader page in April this year.

Update (Aug 28) - Fur Affinity Forums host Carenath comes forth to talk about plans for the future.

Update 2 (Aug 31) - The staff page for the Fur Affinity Forums is down from 6 to 1. Carenath replaces the six originally listed.

Update 3 (Sep 5) - A poll has been posted with new name proposals.

Update 4 (Sep 13) - Fur Affinity no longer has a forum, the newly-named Phoenix Forums are now fully independent. Links have been updated.

Update 5 (Sep 22) - IMVU has allegedly issued a cease-and-desist order against Phoenix Forums, which was taken offline for several days.

Update 6 (Sep 24) - Former host Carenath claims FA, IMVU staff pressed for database transfer, deletion on data protection grounds.

IMVU buys Fur Affinity; furry fans respond

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

3D chat service IMVU has bought furry art community Fur Affinity for an undisclosed sum. According to the announcement, "FA will continue to operate independently", and former owner Dragoneer says he remains "in charge of the site, direction and improvements".

IMVU, which bills itself as "the world's largest 3D Chat and Dress-Up community", has marketed its service to furry fans since at least 2009. The company proposes to monetize their January 2015 purchase through "added advertising" presented via "an improved experience", rather than "taking FA content, redistributing it, reposting it, using it in-game".

Discussion: How to feel about old shame?

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (7 votes)

rf Freckle panic.pngIt has been about three weeks since the biggest Fur Affinity controversy of recent years happened. For those unaware, every single piece of art that was ever uploaded there has been archived, and preserved. Now you can see all the galleries that has been wiped from Fur Affinity, presumably forever, in just a few clicks.

In other words, what is put on the Internet, stays there forever, as the great Anonymous warned us.

That made me think: how should we feel about embarrassing old art and dirty laundry? For the longest time in history, artists could hide their more controversial and poor quality drawings form the public, put them in a safe, or throw into the fire. That time is apparently gone forever. Since there is nothing we can do about it, should we change the way we feel? I think this is a worthy subject to talk about. What do you think?

Comparison of furry website HTTPS configurations

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Security is necessary for one's own protection, both offline (to protect one's physical safety and possessions) and online (protecting identity, money and, as the our digital and real lives become more integrated, even physical possessions). Our own behaviours and security systems need to work together to be effective. It's no good having the latest burglar alarm, strong locks on your doors and a security gate if one leaves the door wide open. Similarly, it's great to lock the door each time one goes out - but if that door is secured solely by a latch, it won't be effective. As I've given some basic guidelines on how to stay safe online, I'm now comparing how furry sites are helping their users stay safe.

Update (Jan 28): All Weasyl servers now receive an A grade, however the server configuration is still not consistent.

Which furry art/story community improved the most over 2014?

Fur Affinity
18% (17 votes)
Inkbunny
24% (22 votes)
SoFurry
16% (15 votes)
VCL
4% (4 votes)
Weasyl
37% (34 votes)
Votes: 92

Doing the FA tango; one step forward, two steps back

Your rating: None Average: 3.9 (16 votes)

One must wonder whether it's time Dragoneer stepped down as head of Fur Affinity, as he continues to make poor leadership decisions. Earlier this year, he stirred controversy by announcing Zaush, who'd been accused of rape, as development lead for Project Phoenix. This time he has made sure there are no lingering doubts over the suitability of his appointments by choosing a fur with a history of maladministration.

StarryKitten was recently announced as the new head of the FA tech team, tasked in part with “bringing more transparency” to FA. Some noticed that StarryKitten had only joined FA about a week before the announcement was made. As it transpires, StarryKitten was an alternate account created by the infamous Zidonuke, the real head of the FA tech team.

StarryKitten: I am Zidonuke (Fur Affinity)

With the concept of irony easily going right over Dragoneer's head, it was further revealed that the tech lead with a puppet account has been a secret member of staff since 2013:

I've actually been a hidden admin on the FA staff for over a year now.

Furry websites face broad denial-of-service attacks

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (18 votes)

Fur Affinity connection timeout Online furry communities are reeling after a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks now entering their second day, which not only knocked out Fur Affinity, but have impacted a variety of less-well-visited art and chat sites.

Fur Affinity has been practically unavailable since the disruption started, at 10PM EDT on Tuesday. Its forums, which initially remained up, went offline Wednesday afternoon.

SoFurry was the next-worst hit, with almost complete downtime since their attack started, also late on Wednesday, while Inkbunny, Weasyl, e621 and F-list have all suffered attacks.

Reactions to the attacks have been mixed, with Weasyl upgrading servers, while Inkbunny advised users to "take the opportunity to spend time with the important people in your life".

Fur Affinity cracks down on 'watchbot' accounts

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Furry art community Fur Affinity has announced restrictions on the use of automated watching scripts, which they termed "watchbots".

While staff had been "addressing botters on a one-on-one basis for several weeks", to the tune of "roughly two dozen" accounts, they faced a growing number of users who were unaware of their position. Some also became concerned upon being watched by "TheNSA".

The trend appears to have been started by Mishka Burr, who claims to have watched over 160,000 users using a script on a Raspberry Pi. Several other accounts running a published watch script inspired by Mishka's work had over 40,000 on their watchlists prior to clearing.

Fur Affinity announces Project Phoenix; Weasyl traffic spikes

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

On January 15, Fur Affinity made its latest announcement of its intention to revamp their site. This new effort, code named Project Pheonix, is intended to bring massive updated to the site's interface to make it more user friendly, as well as incorporate a simplification of rules and decrease response time to trouble tickets.

However, the news caused a stir as it was stated that Adam Wan, known in the fandom as Zaush, would be leading the user interface development. Major controversy has shadowed Mr. Wan following the note leaks back in late 2010 revealed a private correspondence where an individual went to Dragoneer to discuss the possibility of going public with their experiences of sexual abuses committed against them by Mr. Wan. In that correspondence Dragoneer told the alleged victim they believed taking this action was not a good idea as making such public accusations would lead to public backlash against both the accused and the accuser. The victim took that advise and did not go public. Only after the security leak did the public get a hold of these accusations.

Fans fret as Fur Affinity nears fifth day of read-only mode

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (6 votes)

Nearly five days have passed since Fur Affinity entered read-only mode, and despite ongoing staff efforts, the interruption has led many users to mull alternatives.

The unheralded change, initiated in an attempt to resolve slowdowns during peak hours, caused consternation among artists, many of whom rely on the site for their income:

The problem is, this was unplanned downtime. […] If it was planned […] people would have had time to get things together. Such as commissioners, contests, bids, etc. and where to get in contact or if the bids/auctions are postponed while the site is down.

[…] at first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make any money for christmas, but now I'm starting to worry that FA will be down so long that I won't be able to make enough for rent. […] it's so very disheartening when it was supposed to be a nice holiday season...

Operations team lead yak began an attempt to clear backlogged database transactions on Monday afternoon "as fast as the RAID10 array of 15k drives allow". A day later, FA status forum poster Raptros reported that the database would be transferred to a different server.

Staff then reported "waiting on two new hard drives to come in" to replace failed hardware, which they did on Friday afternoon. Advertisers were given ten extra days in compensation.

Update (15 Dec): An announcement posted on Sunday morning:

The last of the data is importing, and we'll be standing by to finish the upgrades. ETA should be tonight.

Update 2 (16 Dec): Oversized notification tables were cited by FA coder net-cat as both the source of delays and a reason for the slowdowns:

[The current method of notification handling] is not scalable and quickly becomes unsustainable for sites with 10^5 and 10^6 users.

Staff have rewritten queries, tweaked database settings, and intend to prune notifications older than 90 days soon after the site returns.

Update 3 (17 Dec): Fur Affinity came online for a few minutes before stalling and returning to read-only mode, "unable to handle a flood of users while rebuilding the RAID arrays". The site returned eight hours later, with mass notification clearing options disabled.

Users flooded social networks to complain about the disruption and compare alternate sites; primarily Inkbunny, SoFurry and Weasyl. On FA's forums, a 20-page thread was locked after discussion degenerated; it was soon replaced, while fans clamoured for software upgrades.

Fur Affinity bans 'Spam to Win' journals, reposted promos

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (11 votes)

Furries are pretty creative. Where conventional companies will pay advertising companies, we find new way to promote our products and selves to others. Independent artists in the fandom have to use less conventional means of promotion. Two such staples that have become popular in the fandom over the past year are "Your Character Here" auctions and "Repost a Link" schemes. However, with their increased popularity, users began to criticize abuse of these methods and expressed annoyance at their side effects.

On November 21, after a link-reposting "giveaway" promising the winner $1,111 had saturated the site, Fur Affinity staff decided that what once started as a small advertising scheme had entered the realm of the intolerable, calling the methodology "Spam to Win". They also re-addressed an issue where artists would repost YCH auction template pictures, annoying watches and browsers alike.

In this Flayrah exclusive we will focus on the new journal rules, explain their implications to average furs and furry organizations, and how these type of prize giveaways could evolve under these new regulations and maintain a level of effectiveness.

How to switch art sites without losing customers

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

As someone who has been in a community of artists, I hear a common conundrum arise:

I really want to leave this art site, but it’s too popular and leaving would mean losing out on a valuable resource to gain/keep customers.

This article presents ways you can use your control over your own works to influence your customers to view them where you wish them to, while also maintaining a presence so that others may find you.

This is written as a neutral piece and the methods can be used on any free art posting site. To that end, we'll call the site you wish to vacate “BadVibeArt”, and the place you want to go “NewBeginningDoodles”. Both are general-use sites for stories and art alike, comparable to sites such as deviantART, Fur Affinity, Inkbunny, SoFurry or Weasyl.