A survey of furry story sites
Way back in May 2006, I wrote a little piece called “The State of the Furry Zine.” This is a somewhat informal update to that survey.
No matter what kind of work you create, thought needs to go into where you’ll publish it. Writers have more to consider; each site handles text differently. Print publications still carry a different weight for writing, as do e-books; there’s a quantifiable difference between having your story read as a Fur Affinity post versus on a Kindle. But has the web won?
Has the web won?
This was something I mused on back then, writing:
Whether we like it or not, print periodicals are in decline, and this trend isn’t likely to reverse. This is true for even professional magazines. Fan and “semi-pro” publications have even more motivation to move online: production cost. A 48-page photocopied fanzine with tape or comb binding will run close to $1.50 a copy just for toner and paper alone. A typical fan-level print run of 100 copies would cost more than a year’s worth of web hosting.
For small presses this is still basically true, though it’s an ongoing debate in commercial print media, where the revenue stream tends to be heavily skewed toward advertiser support rather than subscribers. Still, it turns out the print world isn’t dead quite yet, even in furry fandom. Not only is Sofawolf still around, we’ve seen FurPlanet become a little publishing empire, Will Sanborn has published short story anthologies of his own, Bad Dog Books is still producing their Fang and Roar titles, and there are even the occasional new entrants, like Pink Fox.
Pink Fox’s Allasso is worth noting not just for being new but for being something of a hybrid: its content is available online for free, but you can support the endeavor by buying the printed version. If I’m reading their guidelines correctly, they’re not a paying market, but award prizes every issue, “one work per category for a $50 cash prize” between poetry, fiction, essay, art, and “experimental/other.” Personally I’d rather they pay everyone a small amount, but that can end up getting very expensive quickly.
But really, I’m thinking about the all-important question,
Where should I get my stuff published?
First and foremost: don’t expect to make a lot of money, but you can potentially make some money. In fact, I think the market is closer now to being an actual market, tiny though it may be, than it has at any point in the fandom’s history.
If you’ve written a novel-length piece of work (or even novella-length), getting it out through FurPlanet is viable, and Sofawolf and Bad Dog are worth considering. Sofawolf has the highest quality standards of the three, and also the highest production values. FurPlanet may be the lowest of the three in that regard; the quality of the printing itself is on par with the others, but from all appearances they do very little editing and layout design work. I think of FurPlanet as a hybrid of self-publishing and a normal press. They are selective about what they put out and, all-importantly, they’re not charging authors for the privilege of publishing with them—but you may end up doing a lot of the production/design work yourself. Bad Dog likewise has good print quality and very nice art direction, but their proofing and copy-editing seems to be sub-par.
Speaking of self-publishing, the options are better now than they ever have been; thanks to companies like Smashwords you don’t need much more than a word processor to make e-books, albeit often ugly ones. I’ve had a few friends and acquaintances who’ve had great success with this route—and a few who’ve had virtually no success at all. Authors who’ve built up an audience first seem to be most successful with them, whether or not it’s through traditional publishing means. The big problem right now with e-books, particularly in “niche” markets like furrydom, tends to be one of discoverability. I didn’t find out that Will Sanborn had any e-books out there until starting this article, for instance!
One other e-caveat: conventional wisdom holds that the traditional agent-editor-publisher system, for all its faults, tends to keep the truly unpublishable crap from hitting bookstore shelves, and that one bypasses the gatekeeper at one’s peril. While it’s easy to dismiss this based on the crap that does make it to the shelves, anyone who has read even a small press publisher’s “slush pile” of unsolicited manuscripts will back me up when I say that we’re talking about suck at a different order of magnitude.
Really, if you want to make even a modest amount of money you must either choose one of the print publishers or take your chances with e-books, and your chances with the latter will be improved if you’ve gotten some name recognition beforehand.
If you don’t really care about making money—if you’d just like to get your stuff out there, that brings us to:
The archive sites
Here's the obvious mea culpa: I’ve been noodling around with my own attempt at an archive site, Claw & Quill, for years. The inestimable Balinares provided some actual coding help, and a few others expressed active interest, but my own enthusiasm has flagged considerably. While I haven’t given up, I suspect it’s going to have to be different from what I was originally proposing for it to move forward.1
I knew in my heart that I was trying to create a story-focused version of ArtSpots, a terrific art archive site which has very few of the issues that people complain about all the time with FA and a lot of spiffy new features—but which doesn’t accept writing. We need something like that for writing, right? Right! But frankly, the art-focused version of ArtSpots—i.e., ArtSpots—is a site that you are not regularly using. I don’t need to know who you are to say that with statistical certainty.
The problem here is the network effect, something that Fur Affinity has done a great job building and maintaining. For a while I was of the opinion that FA was simply in the right place at the right time, but the site arguably makes it easier than other sites to use the people on your watchlist as recommendation engines. That’s by far the best way to find new art/writing that you’re going to be interested in: go to somebody’s user page and you can see the last few things they’ve favorited without another click. For all that’s worth bitching about on FA, its design—even if it may be entirely accidental—has affordances for serendipitous discovery that its competitors are missing.
So. Without further ado, an overview of archive sites for writers:
FA is often thought of as a slow hunk of crap we all keep using only because everybody else is. This is partially true, although it’s not nearly as slow in reality as we imagine–on average, it was the second fastest of the four sites I’m reviewing (behind FurRag, which is almost entirely text-only). Beyond that, FA’s biggest issue is the perception that its administrative staff is so dysfunctional they make the Kardashians look like the Brady Bunch.
Let’s be frank: for writers, FA is abysmal. Browsers only see thumbnail images, so you must make such an image if you don’t want a generic icon. To add insult to injury, while FA displays the thumbnails at up to 300×300px size if it’s your most recent submission, it will resize your upload to 75×75px and then upscale that to 4× size. Thanks for making me provide cover art and then butchering it for me, Fender!
You can’t edit a story on the site, you can only upload it directly, yet it can only display an uploaded story if it’s in plain text (.txt) format. As it turns out, FA will interpret BBCode blocks in such a story, so you can still mark passages as [I]italic[/I] and [B]bold[/B] as long as you know that. Which you probably didn’t: it’s not documented. If you upload a story in any other format, then readers get the option to download it. That’s it.
Beyond that, your control over formatting either as a reader or an author is pretty much bupkis. Readers can switch between dark grey text on a pale blue background or pale grey text on a dark blue background, but in both cases you’re stuck with 10px (about 8 point) Verdana text with borders, borders everywhere. FA’s designer never met a white space he didn’t want to trap. 10px is irrationally small for large blocks of text—viewers can always bump up the browser magnification, but they should have chosen a sane default.
Having said that: we all keep using Fur Affinity because everybody else is using it. If you want your stories to have a chance of being found by the great horde of unshampooed furries, you want them here. There’s no way around it.
During my 2006 survey SoFurry was called Yiffstar, and I snarkily wrote:
It’s about porn. In your face, unabashed porn. Stories are categorized by the genders of the leads and tagged with keywords for fetishes for easy searching. At risk of standing on a soapbox momentarily: Yiffstar is the #1 hit on Google for “furry stories.” Don’t blame the mainstream media for the “furry = fetish” image; they’re getting it from us.
At the time I wasn’t sure who ran Yiffstar, either. Now I know it was Toumal. While we don’t really know one another, I like him, and the ambition that I see in SoFurry. While I found the original SoFurry to have a confused user experience, the 2.0 version—still in beta—fixes most of that. (Most of this survey is based on the 2.0 beta, so keep in mind that some quirks may be gone in the final version.) The site can be weirdly slow; I’ve seen pages that don’t look any “heavier” than their FA counterparts take 15+ seconds of loading time. One topped out at over two minutes.
Unlike FA, the new SoFurry has no way to upload stories, but instead has a rich text editor you can cut and paste into. This is both good and bad. It’s good because if you type directly into that editor you can do anything you want; I can convert my beloved nerdy Markdown to HTML and paste it directly into the “raw HTML” window of that editor. You can see the results with “The Narrow Road in Morning Light”; it comes out quite well—although it looks like re-opening the file in the WYSIWYG editor after saving it once turned all my em dashes into hyphens. (Yay.)
The bad is that, well, you can do anything you want. I’ve seen stories that wreak havoc with the site’s standard style sheets by overriding them with their own hard-coded CSS styles, are full of strange Unicode errors, and frequently have random amounts of spacing between paragraphs; sometimes even words. While I think “Narrow Road” looks pretty good—or will once I go back and fix the damn dashes—I’m a web developer. Typical authors may find it difficult to preserve important formatting in their story without screwing up the site styles.
The beta site uses a sensible 15px font size. While I’m not sure I’d have chosen Trebuchet as a body typeface, for screen reading it’s effective.
You can only browse stories by keywords, not descriptions. If you search for “samurai” you’ll find “Narrow Road,” but not if you search for “hisae” (the main character’s name). That search for “samurai” will inform you that my story is “Wolf, No- Yiff, Plot Development, Fantasy, Fighting, Character Development, Medieval, , …” (exactly like that, with the comma space comma space ellipsis at the end); all true as far as it goes, but it isn’t exactly enticing marketing copy. So far as I can tell, you can’t see the description I wrote without actually opening the story.
Intentionally or not, the emphasis on keywords sends a message: just like its predecessor, SoFurry assumes your primary interest in stories is, ah… keyword matching. Yes. Good euphemism. You can filter new submissions on your watchlist by adult/clean rating, sexual orientation, and gender; creator profiles include sexual preference and relationship status, and you can elect to turn on the hardly euphemistic “CumCounter” to “let viewers tell you if they’ve been naughty.” Although the Yiffstar-to-SoFurry name change was made explicitly (ha!) to reduce the adults-only air, the assumption that you’re there to be titillated is woven deeply into the site’s design, even with the new 2.0 release.
Bottom line: SoFurry has definite strengths compared to the competition, but be aware of its quirks. More of your potential furry readers are still on FA whether you like it or not, and without user experience changes, SoFurry is likely to keep its “go-to place to get off” reputation.
Also, the name gives me hives. Sorry.
(Incidentally, SoFurry is the #1 hit on Google for “furry stories.”)
Opening in 2010, Inkbunny was born surrounded by controversy, as its owner ran a now-defunct “cub porn” fanzine. Combined with FA’s crackdown on that particular fetish, Inkbunny has quickly become the archive to go to if you want to draw or view underage furries in ways that would likely be illegal were they humans.
Inkbunny is accepting of all furries with different interests, fetishes, and philias and it does not allow discrimination against others for those interests. The site has a built in keyword blocker that allows filtering of specific types of art, in order to suit each user’s tastes.
This is part of “The Inkbunny Philosophy,” which takes the tone of a revolutionary manifesto. “People want to buy your work even if they can get it free elsewhere, and that you should not worry too much about piracy of your work,” they proclaim, with the admonition that “making a spectacle out of legal action relating to piracy is not welcome here.”
Everything is welcome except for value judgements—and humans having sex with non-humans. “Human characters are permitted in stories,” their Acceptable Content Policy reads, “only so long as they are not involved in sexual situations of any kind.” 2
Inkbunny requires you to opt-in to “adult” content viewing, and you can block certain keywords from showing up in your results. While it has a concept of assigning content star ratings, they’re on a per-user, per-favorite basis: when you favorite something you can assign it one to three stars. But one star is still a favorite, and stars don’t affect how popular an image is. You can fairly easily find a user’s favorites, though, which gives it some of Fur Affinity’s “old-school” advantage.
On a technical level, Inkbunny has the most unusual presentation for stories that I’ve seen. It uses a fixed-width display, and stories are displayed in a 640×640px box with page-like margins, making them look a lot like e-books, complete with next/previous page buttons—although the story is loaded completely, so the buttons respond instantly for paging, and you can also scroll if you prefer. The formatting of the story is entirely under your control, as far as I can tell, but its default typeface seems to be the stalwart Times New Roman at a readable size.
You can upload a Word or RTF file from your desktop and it will let users download that, but you have to create a separate BBCode version of the story in IB’s editor for the paging display—however, if you upload a Word version of the story, it will create the BBCode version initially from that. (Peculiarly, it won’t do that for an RTF version of the story.)
Browsing stories on Inkbunny, though, is poor: you get the thumbnail image, story title and author, and a few icons indicating rating (general/mature/adult), type (always “Writing - Document”) and whether a digital version is available—I presume for sale as an e-book, although I’m not sure. And that’s it. Again, we don’t seem to be able to see story descriptions until we actually click on the story.
Beyond that, Inkbunny’s interface is probably the best of the sites I’ve seen; it’s pretty easy to figure out how to do what you want to do and it can actually (gasp) search story text, not just keywords and titles. It’s very fast. The site defaults to having background art behind its main content area, which strikes me as absolutely bonkers on a site whose main content is going to be other art, but you can turn that off.
The downsides to Inkbunny are the smaller audience and, of course, the politics of porn. There will always be drama associated with this site as long as there’s a substantial perception of it as The One Stop Shop For Cub Sex.
FurRag is much the same site as it was in 2006 on the technical side. Like SoFurry 2, it uses Trebuchet as its body type, although on FurRag it’s a little smaller and has leading a little too tight for my tastes.
Unlike any of the other sites, FurRag understands that blurbs (story descriptions) are important as well as the concepts of chapters and “collections," which can link books or stories into series. FurRag also displays aggregate star ratings for stories. They use TinyMCE now for editing (I don’t think they did back then). Their story entry form is ugly—I do not understand the site’s obsession with centering everything in a sea of white space—but serviceable.
Since my initial review, they’ve changed the ratings to “PG–13”, “Mature,” “Erotica” and “Private,” so I no longer have to carp about them having “X”, “XXX” and “NC–17” like they used to—just that there’s no “General.”
While FurRag comes in behind Inkbunny and SoFurry (but well ahead of Fur Affinity) in presentation aesthetics, in many ways it’s the best site in the list for authors. Writing is their primary focus, not an afterthought, and while you can list a story with multiple genres, they don’t have the obsessiveness over categories that the other sites do. Bluntly, FurRag doesn’t make you feel like non-fetish stories are kind of out of place.
FurRag’s big knock is that it’s like ArtSpots: it’s a really good archive site that you still aren’t using, are you? Right. Having said that, it’s not uncommon for stories there to get several hundred views, which is frankly nothing to sneeze at. Its big advantage over the other sites is that because it is focused on writing, the community that’s developed—while small—is willing to read.
Along with Pink Fox’s Allasso, this is the only magazine-style web site that I know of doing specifically furry things. Basically, re-read my original piece; it still applies. Anthro is still interesting in many respects—Fred Patten’s reviews and Phil Geusz’s column are nearly always favorites, and they’re currently serializing Michael Bergey’s New Coyote.
Sadly, Anthro still looks like a web site from 1995. (Fun for web nerds: run this site through the W3C validator and watch it break down sobbing.) I’ve also never been able to shake the sense that Anthro has a fairly static set of contributors and readers; while it isn’t formally a continuation of the Transformation Story Archive’s e-zine, TSAT, in practice it’s pretty similar.
The Pink Fox publication mentioned way back at the start. I want to acknowledge it here, but I haven’t read much of it yet. Like Anthro, it’s an edited magazine, not an archive. From what little I’ve seen the quality is terrific, and it takes a slightly more literary take on anthropomorphics than a lot of furry fandom does. I consider that a fantastic thing, but if you’re looking for (ahem) keyword matching, it is not your kind of place.
Regardless of what site or sites you use, take a few minutes to learn how to do the best formatting you can without overriding the native styles. My suggestion? Upload plain text with BBCode on Fur Affinity and Inkbunny, and clean, unstyled HTML on FurRag and SoFurry.3
Presentation matters. None of these sites are great at it, but most are serviceable. My ranking from best to worst:
- Inkbunny (albeit with quirks)
- SoFurry 2.0
- SoFurry 1.0
- Magenta crayon on toilet paper
- Fur Affinity
Presentation isn’t all that matters. For all of the mostly-deserved guff Fur Affinity gets, it’s got an awful lot of users, and if you’re trying to build a furry audience that’s important.
On all of these sites, your visibility—and the discoverability of your content—is directly tied to your participation.4 If you want more page views, there’s a straightforward formula:
- regularly add new people to your watchlist
- regularly add things to your favorites
- regularly leave comments
- regularly add things to your gallery
While all of these sites accommodate erotic material, there’s a noticeable division between FurRag on one side and SoFurry and Inkbunny on the other. FurRag treats erotica as both a rating category and a genre, but there’s no implicit suggestion that erotica is the norm. The entire user experience on SoFurry and Inkbunny, from setting the metadata of uploaded material through browsing and searching, implicitly sends the message that if you’re not there looking for (or creating) fetish material, you’re kind of a weirdo.
If you’re a site designer, a bit of purely technical advice. Story descriptions—“Blurbs”—are to stories what thumbnails are to images: they’re what makes you want to see the whole thing. A thumbnail of an image is the image, scaled down. That’s all you need to know whether you want to click on the image to see the full version, right? But a “thumbnail” image isn’t a thumbnail. It’s a cover image. On a paperback (remember those?), you turn it over to read the back cover blurb to see if it sounds interesting, right? So give us the goddamn blurbs, site designers.
Also: dating site or archive? Just pick one, guys.
What’s my final recommendation? I think having a presence on Fur Affinity is important, whether you like the site or not. Beyond that, it’s murkier. My favorite of the other three—despite the fact that I have no presence at all there (yet)—is FurRag. It’s the smallest, but it’s the most dedicated to writing, which means that everyone using the site is potentially in your audience: nobody is there just to look at the pretty pictures.
While SoFurry and Inkbunny are both pretty good at displaying text stories, they’re not so good for browsing. They both come across as more canted toward erotica than either of the other two. Inkbunny in particular comes across as more art-focused, despite having the best text upload conversion. (SoFurry is experimenting with automatic ePub creation and Readability integration, a clear sign that they are taking writing seriously, for which you can probably credit Alex Vance.)
An earlier version of this piece was published on the author’s LiveJournal; you can read more comments there.
- Explaining how a new conception for Claw & Quill will be different is, as Alton Brown would say, another show—in part because I’m still working it out myself. ?
- Inkbunny is taking the position that if everyone is a furry, that’s safe harbor against even the strictest anti-pornography statutes, but if you throw in a human you’re suddenly in bestiality territory. I’m told this is based on their own legal research, but I can’t help be bemused at how my story “Travelling Music,” which caused no stir twenty years ago and is less explicit than some YA stories are these days, is too hot for Inkbunny to handle. ?
- If you’re pasting in HTML generated by Microsoft Word, use the special “paste from Word” button on SoFurry’s editor toolbar. ?
- I do not practice what I preach, which is why my “chipotle” FA account is essentially invisible. ?
About the authorChipotle (Watts Martin) — read stories — contact (login required)
a writer, web developer and Coyote from Silicon Valley, CA, interested in writing and cocktails
Coyotl-award winning author of Kismet, Indigo Rain, and other furry stories. Former president of the Furry Writers' Guild. Greymuzzle. Pronouns: he/they.
I think the simplest and most significant reason that ArtSpots isn't as popular among furry fans is that it doesn't allow porn. They have "you might also like"; it wasn't enough. It's the same issue Inkbunny faces with humans, only with everything.
It turns out many furs do want to be titillated, at least some of the time. This in turn caused many artists to treat ArtSpots as a secondary gallery, at best - something to show to your non-furry friends and family, or to prospective employers.
ArtSpots also shifted towards a stream-oriented design which decreased its usability as a gallery. As I understand it, the administration wants to focus on helping artists improve themselves, rather than being "the Yerf of the 21st century". Naturally, this turned those who did want that away. (Where then do these people go? Often deviantART, though some just rely on FA, Inkbunny or SoFurry.)
Content restrictions aside, the qualitatively 'better' sites pose a long-term threat to FA. As Friendster and MySpace found out, you can't rely on the network effect; once your competitors get good enough for people to start switching, they're so far ahead that you can't catch up.
As for dating, furries apparently like a side order of social interaction with their porn. It's a great way for owners to make their sites stickier.
I certainly don't mind titillation, as far as such goes; in some ways it may be more about how the site presents itself more than anything else. It's hardly as if Fur Affinity or FurRag are erotica-free or conversely as if SoFurry is nothing but a sea of spooge in all directions, right? But SoFurry has fashioned its user experience in a way that spotlights the fetish/porn side considerably more strongly than FA or FurRag. (I'm aware this is subjective, and there will be people popping up to explain how it's all over FA and you can't get away from it and aaaaah!, but I'm gonna stand by that assertion. The things that make FA a little iffy to show to non-furry fans, presuming your personal gallery is not full of one-click-away smut, are probably having the word "fur" in the name to start with... and the less tasteful banner ads. Such is life.)
I haven't been following ArtSpots' various travails for a while; I know for a while it was moderated and JaxPad was unmoderated, then they merged, and there was an adult site using ArtSpots' codebase but that's not around anymore etc. etc. I thought the idea of being the Yerf of the 21st Century was kind of noble, really, although certainly not a route to world domination.
As for the qualitatively better sites and long-term threats, well, how much I agree depends on how I'm feeling when you ask me. :) Seriously, I think the problem is that being a little better isn't good enough. Facebook wasn't just a little better than MySpace, it did stuff that MySpace just wasn't built to do at all. The Facebook "feed" was the magic bullet in that case, I think. Being a little better than FA isn't that tough, but at least for right now I don't see any competitor having a magic bullet. The network effect isn't a guarantee of perpetual domination, by any stretch, but incremental improvements on what everybody else is doing are unlikely to be enough, unless there are just so many the accumulated weight has the same effect. And FA can catch up with stuff that's incremental. ("Can" and "will" are two different things, granted...)
Being "the new Yerf" might have been noble, but it's not what ArtSpots' owner wanted. It's hard to argue with that. Perhaps something can be arranged in the future; for now, I have my hands busy enough taking on the old one.
I agree that SoFurry has positioned itself towards the lowest common denominator - though I think the new beta is a step towards a more "professional" appearance. Whether the content will follow is another question.
In five years I expect FA to be the VCL of today - still-present, but irrelevant for new fans. I could be wrong, but I just don't see the leadership or coding expertise necessary to keep it at the top of the pile.
When it comes to ads, I'm doing my part; you can now place tasteful text ads on Flayrah! Now we just need other sites to follow.
(Of course, many furs have ad-blocking, but it doesn't cost anything if they don't click it.)
From my side (as a furry author) I'd rank the sites I use as:
Yeah, SoFurry 2.0 is in beta still so not everything is working perfectly. The slow loading is a known issue and something they are planning to fix. The plus side of this is that they are actively looking for bugs and suggestions so it's the perfect time to ask for the features you want. It's good for stories, best I've used, because Yiffstar was about stories. Yiffstar = Yiffy Story Archive. My only issue I've had has been some weird things happening when I pasted text because of sections being in different formats that didn't display differently in my word processor.
I don't like the Inkbunny story display and I'm not happy with the upload process either. They do let you paste text later in the upload though so a workaround that I've tried out now is to just upload a blank .txt (with some text inside) and then paste your story when you get the option. That seems to make things easier for me, particularly because uploading story files can be annoying particularly because Inkbunny doesn't have support for .odt and .pdf, both of which I think are open source formats and should therefore be easy to support.
Only positive here is the number of users. However the focus is art so stories don't really get read anyway. You can also use the blank .txt workaround here and paste into the author comments box. It will display the whole story on the page without needing people to download files.
"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~
Interestingly, I've found that FA works quite well to get stories read provided you take the time to make sensible thumbnails. (A solid color box with a few keywords written on it will be a good start!) It's been quite some time since I last had time to touch up a story for publishing, but stories would get at least as many views as the most popular pieces of art posted around the same time.
SoFurry I gave up on when it switched over from Yiffstar and none of the beta testers not only never tested the site in IE but at least one of them directed insults at users who preferred it, but even that had been coming due to the shift over towards being an art gallery with stories stuck on.
Bottom line, though, I don't think there's any 100% good solution for story archives (FurRag would be excellent, but suffered from a broken implementation of age filtering last I used it, at least), which is why I've elected to post my written work on a self-hosted Wordpress blog instead.
We had way too few betatesters and a too short beta period on 1.0 - that's why we spend a lot of time refining things in 2.0 now before the switchover.
Stories are still our mainstay with SoFurry, and we put a lot of emphasis in giving stories the spotlight they deserve. It would be cool if you'd give 2.0 a try, it's really a bit step forward from both Yiffstar and SF 1.0.
I'm not sure what you'd consider giving 2.0 a fair try, but having a browse around, logging in for a bit, and generally having a look at it I'm no more impressed than I was with 1.0. Since the beta is apparently slated for full release in "not long", here's a mix of issues your beta testers really should've caught by now, and stuff that I feel runs contrary to your assertation that SF is primarily about the writing:
1) A huge header image on the front page that takes up most of my screen real estate. Yes, it can be minimized when logged in. That doesn't make it less stupid. Especially not since part of the header text disappears behind the "switch to full header" box in the compact view, and the text sitting over the image in the full header can't be read with all the header backgrounds I've seen there. (And the "switch header" link doesn't even work in compatibility mode far as I can tell.)
1b) The "latest uploads all categories" type feature at least is a neat idea, though it scrolling sideways if you move the mouse cursor over it is disorientating.
1c) Clicking on the headers in that gradient top bar thing should do something. If I click on SoFurry, I expect to go to the home page, not to get a set of links that includes "home" below it.
2) Stories are apparently as important as forum posts, judging by positioning on the front page. Not a message I, as a writer, like.
3) Default ordering on profiles seems to be Favorites, Art, Stories. Yes, stories are TOTALLY your mainstay.
4) Story listings on profiles are, to say the least, not working right in IE8. For the four stories it shows (FOUR? I can see more than four image thumbnails!), the first, third and fourth are vertically aligned, with a gap between #1 and 3, and #2 is off to the right doing its own thing. Turning on compatibility mode fixes this but instead makes the top navigation bar be nothing but a decorative box of gradient brown.
5) No matter what view I use, shouts on my profile page are a super-tall narrow column below all the rest of the content. Results in HUGE whitespace and text lines short enough to start harming readability after a single indent.
6) Stories on the FA account where I post my webcomic generally get more views than comic pages or stand-alone art posted to that same account - some of the most popular ones 2-3 times as many. Stories on my SoFurry account, last I checked, had around half as many views as the art. This, too, makes me question your perception of your own service.
Note that I don't even particularly like FA. It's a tool and it's ridden with flaws. But experience and numbers are telling me it's a significantly more effective tool, comparing the visibility of art to writing, than one that's supposedly more focused on writing. I am disappointed in SF and have been since the beginning, as I feel it continued to take Yiffstar (which was a pretty good tool with a comparatively low number of flaws) further in a direction I don't think it should ever have gone in.
Just want to address a few points.
1c) That makes sense here because the heading contains links to the different parts of SoFurry and uses less space than having a home button visible the entire time.
2) Stories, art and forum posts all stand next to each other and so would be ranked equally. Another way of looking at it would have been to say, "stories are apparently equally as important as artwork" which I'd consider good.
3) I'm not sure but I saw a different order on my page and someone else's so it may be that the favourites are constant but the position of art and stories changes place depending on the most recent submission. (In any case that does seem like an odd thing to worry about)
5) True, but not really related to stories.
"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~
1c) "Makes sense in context if you think about it" unfortunately isn't "makes sense" in web design. I'd expect "SoFurry" to take me to the home page, "Watchlist" to take me to my watchlist, "Groups" to take me to whatever would make sense for a group landing page (probably 'my groups'), and "Market" to take me to the market - there's plenty of established examples for this sort of behavior around the web already. That there are submenus doesn't change this expectation - it took me clicking on another header I had no interest in to realize that the list of links below them was even context-sensitive. Hover sensitivity has issues, but would quite possibly have been a better solution.
2) Stories and forums have very similar display modes, and the art does its own thing. Since the story and forum posts look so similar there's a user expectation for them to be equal, and a reflex to compare them. This is not the case for the art column which has a strong contrast in design. Also, regardless of whether art and stories being equal is a good thing or not (mileage can vary on that score), them being equal goes against Toumal's claim that SF's focus is the stories, which was the point I was making both here and in 3).
5) And I noted that I was making both comments regarding the importance of writing on SF and UI issues that should not be present if 2.0 is close to release. This would be one of the latter.
SF puts heavy emphasis on writing, but we actually try to balance things: We're a site for all forms of furry creativity, including art, photography, music and writing. Writing is very important to us, that's why to date SF is the largest furry community where stories are not just thumbnails in a gallery of art.
But let me respond to your individual points:
1) I dunno what browser you use, but on any modern browser this is not a problem, especially not the readability of the personal stats. We use this large header for a multitude of reasons, first it's a good spotlight for artists, it serves as a good starting area that shows the essential stats and new notifications you've received, and it is a counterpoint to the bright and light design. And as you've said it can be turned off. There may be layout issues with your browser, or maybe something else was wrong, so I'd appreciate if you could PM me on the site with a screenshot and we'll fix what's wrong.
1b) The scrolling is not optimal at the moment, we'll get to that in the future.
1c) We have a lot more functionality to cover up there than other sites. Forum, Chat, Groups, Market... It simply can't fit in a single menu I'm afraid. I'm open for suggestions though!
2) As I said we try to treat things equally. Alas, since stories are listed FIRST from left to right, one might say we're actually giving stories the prime spot.
3) Not entirely correct. In fact, what you last uploaded determines what's first. So if you're an author then your latest stories will be on top. Faves are always second, the remaining content types third.
4) IE8 is not sufficiently standards compliant. That said, PM me with a screenshot and I'll see what I can do. I really urge you to upgrade to Chrome or Firefox (or IE9 if must use IE) though. Note that you get the best experience with a html5-compliant browser, for example the nifty uploaders use html5. If you use IE you get a fallback solution that works but is not as user friendly.
5) Hmm good point. I'll talk to Pale about this, we'll see what we can do.
6) I have countless people telling me their story generated thousands of views in a single month whereas on FA they got a few hundred. No doubt this doesn't happen to everyone, YMMV. All I can say is this: We've been around since 2002 and we're going to be around in another 10 years from now. We try to find the right balance between the arts and the stories, and we'll never abandon stories in favor of another form of creativity. On SoFurry, stories will never be degraded to second-grade citizens or shown as mere thumbnails that do little to convey what your story is about.
In fact, just today we updated the story listings to support an alternate "detailed view". Check it out!
SoFurry is a work in progress. We're constantly developing the site. Yiffstar was a workable solution for adult stories, but it failed to gain the attention of people creating and consuming CLEAN stories and art. And look here, now clean submissions actually outweigh adult content: http://beta.sofurry.com/statistics/submissions
I'm not too worried about only being the second-biggest site after FA, nor should IB be too worried about being third. This is not a running contest. If you don't like the way things are going on one of the three sites, you have a choice. And in the final analysis, isn't that what's important?
Let me know if there's more things that you think we could improve, I welcome your (and indeed any) feedback!
I think quoting_mungo is talking about the splash header, which occupies all the page on my netbook screen. You don't see any content above the fold when you are not logged in and visit the front page.
Why not switch the submenu on mouseover, rather than on click? Mousing over "Groups" indicates that clicking it goes to the groups overview page, and it should actually do so.
Mouseovers can be quite fiddly. They also make sites unsuitable for smaller browsers, such as on phones. There is the Android app, of course, but let's say if someone is using an iPhone or Blackberry to access the site then they need to use a browser that can't do a mouseover. That just becomes really frustrating for people.
Personally I like the way the menu works. I think it should also include the submit command though because otherwise you're loading a whole new page just to select what you want to upload. Mass uploads could then be enabled in the relevant category instead of earlier. I don't think too many people need mass uploads that they need to be so prominent.
"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~
Mouseovers are finnicky, but I'm not against rearranging the top menu and/or maybe even getting rid of the submenu if possible. What I don't want is that it takes an interim pageload to get to the forum for example, and I don't want more than 6 items up there. Kinda difficult to do without a submenu.
But mouseovers are a possibility if used carefully.
Like GR said, submenu on mouseover in combination with intermittent pageload of the "most obvious" sub-item on click is the behavior I would expect of that kind of menu. I've had two bad work days and will have another bad one tomorrow ("bad" being defined as "not getting in as many hours as I ought") so I can't promise when but I'll try to toss you a few screenshots and possibly quick mocked-up suggestions for arranging things differently.
Another possibility for the menu, if you want to keep the current functionality, is adding a tab background to the "active" supermenu item to make it more clear that they control the submenu.
(And he was right about me referring to the splash header, too. I'll try to remember to toss you screenshots when I can to show what I have issue with.)
Awesome! I'm curious to see what you have in mind!
I've done the "paste into the comment box" trick on FA, but I found that marking up the files with BBCode and uploading as .txt is better for me, in that it lets me still write a description.
Inkbunny's file format support is a little weird, but part of it comes from "what libraries can we get for this in PHP," from what I've heard. PDF is a documented format but it's actually insanely difficult to get formatted text out of, because it really isn't storing text as marked-up paragraphs the way every other format is. (The line breaks become fixed, it doesn't store italics/bold but actually stores pointers to the true typefaces, there can be mysterious breaks between words and even *in* words to account for kerning, on and on.)
I should note that despite my complaints, I like SoFurry. The pasting text and getting different formats back out problem is an issue, but it's not a trivial one to fix. (I have a terrific library for cleaning up the kind of HTML you get from pasting like that which would do at least 90% of the trick... but SoFurry is written in PHP, too, and my library is in Python.)
The uploading of TXT files marked with BBcode is something we support in SoFurry 1.0, and we will support it in 2.0 very shortly too. You poking me about it may very well drastically accelerate this :)
Heya, I'd like to address some of the points you made about SoFurry. First of all, I've been running Yiffstar since day one. Am I hiding it that well? ;)
I'm curious about the many things you apparently missed when you looked at SoFurry 2.0.
For example, we integrate with readability.com, which allows you to put your favorite stories onto your ipad or android tablet with a single click. We also offer full epub export of stories right on the site, without requiring the author to upload an extra epub file.
Our bookmark system allows you to place a marker within a story so you can continue reading where you left off!
Lastly, SoFurry is the only site where browsing stories gives you more than a more or less enigmatic thumbnail that says nothing about the story you're about to read. I believe that's an important distinction, and while it does not display the description itself, the tags are at least a sensible indicator of what you're about to get into.
It would've been nice if you had included at least some of these points in your review.
We are in the process of performance tuning - of all the sites you mentioned we have the second biggest userbase, but the smallest budget. We are also the only site with both sophisticated tag filtering, species hierarchy aware search and a group and friend system, so our pages are inherently more complex because they simply display more information than, say, inkbunny or FA. But I won't deny that we have some homework to do, after all it's still a beta.
We're going to include a textfile upload method in the near future, where you can upload BB-code and HTML-enriched stories in text format, just like on SF 1.0
Currently our search is based on tags, which has several benefits you might not be aware of: For example, searching for "cetacean" will hit all the dolphins, orcas, etc. even if the story was not tagged with the "cetacean" tag. Same for "dog", which will give you all domestic canines, while "canine" gives you all canines, and yet again searching for "doberman" allows you to drill down to that specific subspecies. We have hundreds of manually-approved tags that are part of this hierarchy and make searching very easy. It's a full subspecies-aware keyword search, which I believe is extra important for a furry site.
However, we also plan to offer description search pretty soon. It's not hard to add, just one of the many many things on our table. Descriptions are already part of stories, and it is a trivial matter to display them, for example as a hover, on the listing page too. In fact I can make that a priority if people tell me it's important to them.
SoFurry 2.0 does not have a "cumcounter". If we do port that feature, it'll be renamed to "appreciation counter" - you may or may not associated naughty intents with that, that's up to you ;)
It's strange for you to mention that feature though, since you said this was about the 2.0 beta earlier.
We've grown from just over 70.000 members to over 185.000 in a relatively short time. But growth is not our end-all goal, I simply want to be around 10 years from now. And since we'll celebrate the 10th birthday of the site next year, I think changes are good this will happen ^_^
So yeah, let me know what you think. We're working hard on improving the story support for SoFurry 2.0 so if you or anyone else has any suggestions to make, I'd be more than happy to listen! As I said already, description search is coming, don't worry about that ;)
For the record, both ePub and Readability integration were mentioned in the survey (if right at the end).
What is SoFurry's budget? I know Inkbunny's costs are around $200/month. FA's costs were once reported to be around $1650, although I don't know if that includes the hardware they've splashed out on every so often.
Edit: Also, hierarchical keywords is a cool feature - makes it easy to ensure search coverage without overloading on tags.
Oh I didn't see that o.O Weird. I stand corrected then I guess, even though I think it's more than a gimmick because it's a quite popular feature on SF. We're not just experimenting with epub btw., it's part of our firm commitment to furry literature as a whole.
Our current monthly cost is around $550-600, but when I speak about budget I mean donations and ad revenue. We get between $50 and $100 per month in donations and ad payments total, sometimes even less.
But again, this should not be an excuse - While viewing submissions, forums, etc are pretty fast now, I know the page load times on the frontpage is slow at times. This is being worked on right now, just like the watchlist browsing and several other parts that need optimization. Things will also go smoother once 1.0 is shut down, because that will greatly increase our cache effectiveness.
Speaking of which, donations are always welcome!
One more thing I wanted to mention is that SoFurry 2.0 already shows the story description for the topmost story list entry, and always showing the description in the listing would not yield much in terms of seeing what a story is about. I'd also like to dispel with the myth that the emphasis on tags means that a site is somehow more geared towards porn, that's just not true. Tags are a perfectly fine tool for search as well as to convey the topic of a story, regardless of its nature. But again, description search is coming. What you type into the description box on SoFurry 2.0 is not in vain! :)
But again, for browsing, the description simply would take up a lot of space and there's no guarantee it would fit, and not cut of vital parts. I can offer a hover-display of the description though. Just for listing, tags win hands-down however. Sometimes I am just not in the mood for a story set in the medieval age and the tags are a very good way of telling right from the browse page whether a particular story might be interesting for me.
And as for the age rating of content on SoFurry, I'm happy to say that the renaming of the site was definitely successful in bringing in more high-quality stories that are clean in nature. In fact, it's easy to see by just setting the browse filter to clean-only that there's no shortage of non-adult content.
GreenReaper: I have a big amount of respect for what Starling is doing with Inkbunny. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that "[SoFurry] has positioned itself towards the lowest common denominator". If that means porn, then I respectfully disagree with you there ;) Porn is nice and all, but we would not have grown to that size had we continued with Yiffstar, where clean stuff was merely an afterthought.
I meant that, yes. I admit my thinking was coloured more by SoFurry 1.0 (and its trademark CumCounter); I've not used the beta as much yet. I think Inkbunny also implicitly promotes adult content through its promotion of the most popular works, which are almost always of an adult nature. (It helps that it doesn't show them to guests by default; I'm at work now so I can't see SoFurry, but I think it does the same.)
Optimization can be a pain; often I find I solve one issue only to reveal another. Good luck with it!
Hi there! I have no idea why I didn't know who ran YiffStar back in 2006. It seems like you're a lot more visible on SoFurry, but I didn't really poke at YiffStar very much.
As GreenReaper mentioned, I did mention Readability and ePub, although your missing that is probably my fault because they got squeezed in at the end. I didn't say they were gimmicks, though! I said they were "a clear sign that they are taking writing seriously." Give me credit for giving you credit. :)
I could have sworn that there was still an option to turn the cum counter on and off in the 2.0 beta when I looked at it last week, but I don't see it now, so will have to assume it was a brain fart on my part. Sorry about that.
As for keywords-vs.-description, well, I honestly think there's a perception difference. Suppose I describe the story I'm working on now with a blurb:
And now suppose I'm confronted with a keyword box and start just tagging everything I can think of that applies:
I could keep going for a while with that, but you can immediately see the problem: piling on the keywords doesn't tell you anything about the story, and actually leads to some weird dilemmas. The story has a bit of sex but it's neither erotica nor even romance, so I am misleading people if I put those last four keywords in?
The keywords are good to have but the description is really important. I'd really want to get at least the start of that description text, up to 50 words or so, in the results page for searches when they hit stories. I'm aware that means a redesign of those pages, but for a story that blurb is the equivalent of the thumbnail. Putting the description in a floating tooltip like FA does is a possibility, but there might be a more Ajaxy way to do that. (Sorry that's not very descriptive, but I haven't had coffee yet. This may be why I imagine non-existent settings for cum counters.)
Oh sure, I just thought it's weird that you drop that in at the very end, instead of mentioning it in the respective section. But eh, details ;)
Yes that description is nice and all, but think about it: We show 30 stories per page in listings. Some descriptions may well be longer, so they have to be cut off at some point. And tags provide a more terse overview of the content than a description that is a whole sentence, filler words and all.
But here's an idea: How about we make this a preference? Let you decide whether you wanna see tags, or the start of the story description?
Or do you think the hover thingy would help? That way you could read the story description of those stories that you think might interest you without clicking.
It was weird that I dropped it in at the very end. I sort of thought of it as a "look, a promise of things to come," but in retrospect I should have gone back and stuck it in the actual site description where, uh, everything else about the site was.
I think you could probably show a truncated view of the description, just a few dozen words, that expand on hover or click. I don't know if I'd make it an either/or with tags, though; my example description was kind of crafted with "here is something I hope will make you click on this" in mind, but not everybody's is going to be. While I don't think keywords alone are ideal, they're better than a truncated description which doesn't actually tell you about the story. :)
Yeah, that was why I was against showing the description instead of the tags myself.
Nothing is more infuriating than sentences that never- ;)
Well at the very least we can show the description on hover. I think I can sneak that in once I get back from France later this week. Anything else you want to throw at me, let me know. I'm always open for suggestions and anything that gives furry writing on SoFurry more attention is fair game in my view!
For example, did you know that you can rearrange the search results and just "drag" the story section header to the top? It'll even remember your setting so next time you search, whatever ordering you set before will be used again!
SoFurry: we know how a piece of work should be displayed better than its author does!
That would be funnier if it were actually true, but it isn't at all. As far as I know, SoFurry and InkBunny both will be perfectly willing to let you write and post your story in 18-point fuchsia Comic Sans; neither one strips imported formatting. IB simply puts the story in a box to provide visual separation from the rest of the site, as if to let you know that anything horribly unreadable in there is the author's fault, not InkBunny's.
Speaking as both an author and a once-professional typesetter: most authors are not typesetters, once-professional or otherwise. I actually think story sites should do everything they can to (a) create a very sensible layout/typesetting default look and (b) encourage authors to stick with it. Were it entirely up to me, I'd strip all the formatting other than paragraph breaks, italics, bold, and possibly centering and right-justification on story upload. This is, in fact, exactly what reading applications like Instapaper, Readability (which SoFurry 2.0 integrates with), and Safari Reader do.
Having said that, if you *do* stick to SoFurry's defaults and *don't* come in with the attitude that you know more about how stories should be displayed than it does, it will generally display your story pretty well. InkBunny is the only site that competes with it for readability, and IB's page display, while very clever, is eclectic and a little fiddly.
If you have that attitude then why do you run down FA's crappy formatting so much?
You're suggesting doing pretty much exactly what they've done for years.
You've answered your own question. I run down FA's crappy formatting because it's crappy. A story site should provide *good* default formatting for stories, not *crappy* default formatting for stories.
If you're going to do b), you have to do a) first. Trying to read a story on FA with the default settings is not fun.
Yeah, heavens help you if you forget to tag your story "No-Yiff" if it doesn't contain any, I learned that the hard way :)
Re:cumcounter. My 2.0 profile settings include options for disabling and enabling the cumcounter, as well as to render my usage of it anonymous, so it does seem to be lurking in places. Either that or I'm seeing things - certainly not impossible.
Ah-HA! I just found it again, too. So it wasn't my imagination. :)
But, I suspect those are vestiges of the first version and are really supposed to be going away, since I don't think that's exposed anywhere else on the site.
That's about what I was thinking. Personally Sofurry's the one I'm focusing most on, as it seems to have the most potential. If they could add another content rating between clean and adult I'd be laughing.
We're thinking of rebranding the counter as "appreciation counter" - since there are many ways to appreciate a good story ;)
as for content level... possible, but not planned at the moment.
So, get the mechanics and infrastructure solid as can be, then think about finessing it? Or is it too complicated to take on when you're dealing with so much at once? Just curious, as you sound a little...reticent about the idea.
It's a matter of priorities really. We have a ton of stuff to do, a new chat to launch, the switchover to 2.0 as a whole... There's a LOT we want to do, but we have to prioritize.
I'm not against adding a "mature" content level between clean and adult, but not right away ;)
Fully understood. :-)
Good things come to those who...
...pound on the counter until they get their beer!!! ;)
In the face cos the bartender's stressed out from trying to serve fifteen other customers at once. :-p
It's also worth mentioning that Will Sanborn's press, Anthropomorphic Dreams, puts out the Anthro Dreams fiction podcast, which is another good (and paying) market for furry writers. As far as print offerings go, in addition to the short story anthologies and his own works, he's also published the novel Bait and Switch by Austen Crowder and -- incidentally :) -- will publish my furry novel By Sword and Star in the coming months.
More info on Anthro Dreams and its publications: http://www.anthrodreams.com/
As far as Allasso's awards system, I admit I felt the same way at first, as far as 'isn't it better to pay everybody a little than give a few works larger prizes?' That said, though (and with full disclosure that I was the winner of two of those awards for issue #1), my husband pointed out that one advantage of offering an award versus paying a token amount for everything is that it might encourage contributors to truly turn in their best work, not just what they think might be decent enough to be accepted. So that's an aspect to consider as well.
I can see your point about the Allasso awards possibly leading to positive competition. On the other hand, I'm having a hard time justifying the idea of giving up the first rights on another piece of fiction without even a token payment to show for it. Most of the sci-fi/fantasy writers I know are extremely tuned into the amount of money that different markets pay -- and the difference between non-paying and even a token payment is a huge deal in terms of how much respect a market gets from them. So, if Allasso paid even a token amount, I'd definitely submit something to them before the end of this submission period. As it stands... I'm not sure.
I'm having a hard time justifying the idea of giving up the first rights on another piece of fiction without even a token payment to show for it.
I can totally understand that. I'd always rather be paid anything than nothing, especially for first rights. I'd just never happened to think before that there might be any advantage (other than simpler bookkeeping for the publisher) to offering a prize instead of a payment.
Really, though, this is just as big an issue outside the fandom as in it. As I've seen recently, there are plenty of nonpaying or next-to-nothing-paying sf/f markets out there that still somehow expect first rights to a piece and won't consider reprints, and those would probably get a writer far less exposure than a niche-based furry market. *shrug*
I was thinking about making a statement along the lines of this article. Recently posted a story on FA and SoFurry, and even though FA has more people, the story posted on SoFurry got around 3 to 4 times the views as the FA counterpart. There is a history of writing there, however there is also a history of erotica. I do think that it's good there's a site for that, and even though my story is clean I figured when I started posting it on Fanfiction.net all those years ago, at that time erotica was allowed there too (not anymore).
I'm terrible at tagging things though, so it's no surprised I messed that up.
Well I have some good news for you: SoFurry 2.0 allows readers to help supplement your story tags, AND you can even control and change tags they added. So even if you made mistakes or forgot some tags, changes are our readers will help fix it.
And if you need help with anything, just poke me.
I'd just like to mention a couple of other sites that the author might like to look at.
- Playmouse is still up and fairly stable. It has forums especially for stories. http://www.playmouse.com/
- Yiffy International is meant especially for erotic stories, although it hardly blocks G-rated tales. http://yiffy.tk/
These might prove useful despite being erotically oriented, like FA, IB and SF.
Yes, but apparently furries don't like yiffy.tk, because of who runs it.
Honestly, the main gripe I had with Yiffstar back in the day (I was more displeased with it closer to the SoFurry launch and onward, but that's another matter) was the very use of "yiff" in its name. I'd be even more leery of yiffy.tk for that reason alone. I know nothing about who runs it...
While I've heard of both of those sites, I've never looked at them more than in passing; among the various writers I talk to and read, they seem to have pretty negligible mindshare. (And yes, those various writers do include some names pretty well-known for erotica.) They're certainly worth mentioning, though. Thanks for the pointers.
Great kudos and thanx to you; very good article, took work, saved.
Small bag of tricks has been piling up re. formatting of stories on FA. You mentioned Verdana body font. < Ping! > I'm one step closer to posting full-justified text. Major thanxs.
I just wanted to mention that Legion Printing is also printing, selling, and Kindling furry fiction. To the best of my knowledge I'm the only author on board to date, but more are being sought. As an author, I'm happy so far. My stuff doesn't make it to as many cons as the novel I've published with FurPlanet, but the turnaround from submission to "on the shelf" is quick and it took almost no time before the works were marketed as e-books. That's important to me.
Melange Books-- a small second- or maybe even third-line mainstream publisher-- has also bought some definitively furry fiction from me, as well as some of my non-furry stuff. They're open-minded about furry fiction, the first mainstream outfit I know of that's been willing to give it a chance. In the past they've mostly published woman's romance novels, but are trying to expand into more markets. They've also bought straight SF, horror and literary fiction from me. The staff is professional and the checks arrive on time.
I like this review, as I didn't know that there were better alternatives to SoFurry as far as fiction publishing is concerned. Also, I agree with what Chipotle said about the usefulness of taxonomy for pr0nz.
(1) Only on FurRag can you subscribe to series ("Add Series to Favorites"), and I've sent a request for this functionality to SoFurry staff. There are quite a few opportunities for serialization, at least in the way that Fanfiction.net does it.
(2) Search for collections is available in FurRag and InkBunny. That's definitely another means by which serial works can be promoted.
P.S.: If you got my request for folder subscriptions, Toumal, I understand if you have plenty of others to go through, but it would be awesome if that were implemented for folders.
Well I have some good news for you:
We're going to add a "subscribe to folder/series" feature. Check out http://beta.sofurry.com/report/progress for our current short-term TODO list!
I have another update for you, the ability to subscribe to folders is now live! Just click the subscribe button below any part of a story series, or a comic page, and you will be notified when a new part is posted!
Let me know how that works for you!
Is this in the beta? I'm looking, but it's not showing up in story pages under the series lists. I'll shoot you a screenshot of what a story page looks like right now.
Ack, see my reply below. It is below story text on 2.0 atm.
It is on beta, below the actual story text atm., though i am open for suggestions.
Nice! It's a start in a good direction. I'd suggest that it also be placed both on the folder page as well as under the story page's folder list on the list. That way, the option is more prevalent.
Also, subscription notifications to authors, just like fave and watch notifications.
Explain how this should work please :)
http://beta.sofurry.com/view/312701 (Full screen it for better view)
Hope those help!
Haha, i planned to do this as soon as i am done with my workout :) i agree, males sense. Expect to see it in a couple hours!
Alrighty, how is this? ^^
YESYESYES. That's perfect!
Sidebar: Perfect. Keep it like that.
Folder page: Definitely there. I later edited my mockup to include a Subscriber list (http://beta.sofurry.com/view/312703 ), but it's good the way it is right now.
Finally, (Uncle Chan voice) "one MO' thing!": http://beta.sofurry.com/view/312731
I've added a subscriber count for the author on the folder browser.
Folders on top bar: Not really, sorry. Maybe someplace else in a different form, but not up there.
Looks out of place? Or out of space?
Kinda both actually :)
I concede that :-)
Still, a visible and prominent link to a folder portal (maybe under the SOFURRY dropdown, but that's *way* out of space).
Plus, I'm trying to visualize what a folders portal would look like. It can either be presented in a table-ish list or the current view of a list of folders with folder icons (and perhaps a custom thumbnail or a thumb from the most recent image uploaded to the folder).
FurRag has a collections portal, but I don't know if that design would fit SF2.0's theme constraints.
Thank you, btw, for working folder subscriptions into SF2.0. I've updated this comparison sheet.
Thank you ^_^
Worth noting, if not a practical option, is Alexandria II, an attempt at a quality-controlled archive by Kilsoura (Alex Osaki).
The project appears to have stalled a year ago, and I'm uncertain if/when it will resume, but its manifesto is still of interest.
Full membership is subject to review. Formatting appears restricted to bold and italic (in a medium-large Arial font).