Flayrah from 2001 to 2012 - a statistical perspective
Flayrah has been around since 2001. It has had three editors-in-chief (Aureth, Frysco and GreenReaper) who between them have published 3529 stories from 279 unique contributors (plus another 341 anonymous contributors), including both news and opinion pieces.
What follows is a statistical breakdown of Flayrah in various ways.
What isn’t included
The stories surveyed include only those originally published by Flayrah. Not included are stories that were brought over from WikiFur News or The Furtean Times, as well as stories syndicated from In-Fur-Nation (which do not even appear in the archives).
Polls were also not counted, as they are a sidebar and do not appear in the main story space (though they do appear in the archives), and they do not appear in contributors’ story list. They also, obviously, are not really stories.
Lastly, Flayrah's Newsbytes are only covered as archives. Introduced in September 2010, these have largely obviated simple link-based stories.
Flayrah by year
523 stories were published in Flayrah’s first year; the second largest number of stories published in a single year. It was surpassed by 2002’s count of 597. 2003 saw 507 stories, which would be the last year over 500 stories were published, and the last year an average of at least one story a day would be published until 2012.
2004 saw a greatly reduced amount of stories published, with only 291 stories published, while 2005 saw the downward trend continue with 176 stories published. In 2006 and 2007, both years ended with exactly 99 stories being published, making 2006 the first year to not reach triple digits. After holding steady in 2007, the downward trend once again continued, with 2008 hitting 54 and 2009 reaching the lowest story total with 35. Former editor Frysco called the game, saying Flayrah would not continue.
In 2010, there was a large upswing when GreenReaper took over, with 301 stories. This trend continued in 2011, with 359 stories published. 2012 saw 491.
Dividing contributors up into three categories (one-story wonders, multiple posters below a hundred, and the triple-digits club), the largest category (by number of contributors and number of stories contributed) is the second category, with 148 contributors authoring 1673 stories. The highest number reached by a contributor without reaching a hundred stories by the end of 2012 is 85, by Cordite.
Six contributors had reached 100 stories before 2013, including all three of Flayrah's editors; GeneBreshears with 109, Frysco with 116, Aureth with 204, MelSkunk with 222, Fred with 367 and GreenReaper with 383. Together, these six account for 1378 stories. (Earlier this year, I also passed the hundred story mark).
125 contributors posted only one story before disappearing into the night, and a further 341 stories were posted anonymously before GreenReaper took over and made registration a requirement of posting stories. (Many anonymous stories were in fact signed by their unregistered posters, and therefore not strictly anonymous, but all stories marked “Anon” were counted as “Anon” whether signed or not.)
Types of stories
I divided all stories between opinion pieces and news pieces; news counts for 3091 stories, vastly more than opinion’s 246.
There have also been 106 videos submitted since GreenReaper took over; these were separated out from news and opinion as they could often be considered either. A story was considered a video if the video was shown in the preview; videos that were embedded in the story after the preview, or stories that only linked to a video, even if marked “video” in the headline or with tags, were not counted as videos.
The final category, other, included the nine April Fools articles (specifically, joke articles; articles about April Fools were counted as news) plus 65 site news pieces (including the Newsbytes archives); that’s where this article would be placed.
The largest group of news pieces were “press releases”; defined in this case as either news pieces about the submitter, or articles that took a substantial amount of writing verbatim from another source (the Previews list are prime examples of the second type, while newsletters are often both).
The second largest group of news pieces was, unsurprising for a furry news site, furry news; in this case, any news about either a furry, the furry fandom as a group, or news about a work containing anthropomorphic animals.
Animal stories were the next largest group, with 794 stories involving real animals. Stories of real animals acting in a human fashion were counted as animal stories rather than furry. Also, stories about unreal non-anthropomorphic animals were also placed here.
28 interviews have been published by Flayrah, and seven retrospectives, which were separated from the other news pieces by format, rather than content. 162 articles featured subjects neither furry or animal related; most involved subjects close to furry, such as science fiction or animation, but major real world events, such as 9/11, were covered, as well as such off-topic events as the death of Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s.
Pure opinion pieces (including the Furry Movie Award Watch column) account for 49 stories, with reviews accounting for the rest of the opinion pieces. The exception would be the 12 con reports, which it may not be fair to call reviews.
The most popular medium reviewed, by far, is written prose works, with 122 reviews. Film and television reviews account for 29 reviews, with comic book reviews right behind with 25. Eight video games were reviewed before 2013. Finally, Flayrah’s archives include exactly one music review, which was categorized as “other.” (Higgs Raccoon’s review of a stage play this year would be the second to gain that distinction if it was in the time period covered.)
About the authorcrossaffliction (Brendan Kachel) — read stories — contact (login required)
a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy
Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.
OK this is cool. So I wonder,
Who has stuck around the longest?
In the yearly breakdown of story types... how did they change by year, and did more stories = more original content, or more fluffy stuff? (Only 12 con reports? ) It would be neat to see an infographic showing type changes over time. Get on that Crossie ;) Also: breakdowns of reader traffic by time, sources, story subjects. (Get on that too ;)
Now after looking back, here is the biggest area for future growth I could imagine: actually assigning stories rather than being a catch-basket for whatever falls in. And that could call for:
- "news bureaus": (like, local contributions recruited from active mailing lists/forums)
- "channels": International, local, media and internet news. Arts and entertainment (con reports, reviews, sports and *fursuiting*! :) Society, personality and interviews. Opinion and politics (of fandom). Crime, yes, furry crime. Furry business. Syndicated blogs and whatnot.
- Regular polls of stories needing to be assigned... what do people want to read? Who is interested in writing it? Who wants comments about a personal list of stories to try? (I keep a casual list)
- Crazy dream: crowd-sourcing a budget to assign a feature each month. Like this: contributors pay $2 for a chance to cast a vote. Writers pitch a story and it goes to a poll. The top-voted story in the poll gets the budget. Then readers get whatever feature came on top of the poll they paid to vote on.
- I would donate some sort of money to implement any of these.
- tl;dr: Let's ruin Greenreaper's life and make him be THE furry media mogul, as if this place isn't already a chore.
Furry is serious business!
I also wonder if a special-edition "Best of Flayrah" compilation could be assembled, featuring:
This could be sold primarily in ePub/Kindle format to save the trees (and to allow for video/audio embeds), with printed copies being made available for purchase if enough demand exists; Creative Commons license applies, of course. I think such a compilation could present Flayrah (and its best or most controversial content) as a news site of record for the fandom.
Fabulous idea :) Crowdsource that! I'd pay for it.
I fear such an endeavour would not generate sufficient returns, at least if I did it. My time is better spent elsewhere. I had considered a promotional brochure drawing from the best of 2012, 2011 and 2010. This is still a possibility.
Of course, since the content is CC-licensed, there is nothing to stop anyone else giving it a go.
Best of Flayrah is very specific and I think is a super fun idea but not marketable/worth the effort, besides to handfuls of Flayrah readers or as a promotional brochure...
but for a large chunk of some sort of furry coffee table bible, cool idea :)
I'd consider such a thing worthwhile towards people interested in geeky subculture in general... other content I'd hope for would be fursuit making (updating the Critter Costuming book I deal), performance and dance, fursuit photography (especially street fursuiting), samples (not too heavy) of fiction and comics and gaming, a history chapter, some whos who, and a chapter on cons.
I'd invest to publish... i'm doing a first publication of a notable animation artists book later this year.
"Who has stuck around the longest?"
Active contributors who have been active during all three editorships are basically just Fred (though he didn't last long in the Frysco era, just like everybody else) and Treesong, who took over the Previews fairly quickly (in fact, the reproducing of Previews comics lists started on alt.fan.furry; they are older than Flayrah) and lasted early last year (and he also still apparently is going to post a yearly Anthrocon con report); during the grim year of 2009, it was basically 10 months of Frysco's FurCon newsletter and Treesong's Previews list until the "cancellation" of Flayrah.
"In the yearly breakdown of story types... how did they change by year, and did more stories = more original content, or more fluffy stuff?"
Well, the first year was the only year where what I judged "furry" news outnumbered both press releases and "animal" news; only recently has furry outstripped animal news (basically, Newsbytes; it has to be a pretty interesting animal story for someone to actually write it up these days). Press releases are also down, though mostly of the "con newsletter" type (did Green Reaper actively discourage them with con-runners, or did that early gun story rub all the cons wrong, not just Anthrocon? If it's the first, Green Reaper will be reporting shortly, I'm sure; if it's the second or something else, I guess we'll all have our own pet theories). People are still pimping their own comics/books/what-have-you, which is mostly fine.
I know everyone complains when Fred posts one of his "is this anthro?" stories (and he is, admittedly, kind of asking for it by, well, asking), but "other" news was fairly common early on; that Dave Thomas story is actually weird for MelSkunk, not in that she didn't post a lot of off the wall stuff (because she totally did), but in that it was one of the few times she felt like apologizing. Astronomy was a common off-topic topic; I think Aureth was an amateur astronomy hobbyist was the explanation. They seemed to disappear during the Frysco era, because, well, everything did. Also, most of the recent "other" stories were videos, so they didn't actually count towards the "other" news total.
Before 2011, reviews were barely heard of (there was a separate page for them at the beginning, but after a smattering at the beginning they never really took off; this is one of the reason I'm against the "review/news" divide. Didn't work then.); I started reviewing movies around that time, and Fred started reviewing books, and now it's a weird front page without a review somewhere. Also, reviews got furrier; movies reviewed before the Green Reaper era included such instant furry classics as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, A.I. and Shaolin Soccer. Pure opinion pieces have held steady; never a lot, but always some.
I also mentioned that there wasn't a single video before Green Reaper; heck, there wasn't a single picture before. I don't know if the site even allowed for such things before.
More or less stories seemed to have no impact on original content versus "fluff"; in the heady half a thousand days, there were plenty of press releases, cute animal stories, off topic ramblings and "here's a link, kthx bye!" stories, while I've already mentioned that the low points were also pretty much nothing but press releases.
What I'm saying is, obvious bias aside, now is pretty much the golden age.
I don't think it's possible to get reader traffic from before Green Reaper's time; heck, for all I know, even the Google stats aren't saved, so anything older than a month is kaput. I was thinking about listing tags in future updates (don't get too excited for anything soon; this is way over a year old project); sources cited is also a good area to explore.
Oh, and for those of you interested, Higgs Raccoon is at 97 stories; for all I know, he's got three in the queue. Anyway, he'll be in the "hundred club" soon.
Flayrah's submission guidelines discourage promotional newsletters. I have edited and posted them if submitted. A convention news tracker similar to our podcast tracker might be a better way to present such content.
The dump I got from Frysco included hit counter statistics from 2002 onwards, though I'm not sure if they're sitewide (probably) or just the front page. It shows about 2000-4000 views per day, dwindling below 1000 in 2008-9. I suspect they include crawlers, and spam-bots (which were a persistent problem then, as now).
For comparison, Analytics suggests we currently get about 600-1200 visitors and 1000-2000 hits a day. This does not include most bots and crawlers, nor readers of syndicated summaries. Traffic through CloudFlare (including syndicated use of images) is over 1GB a day - almost as high as WikiFur.
I think our increasing levels of traffic, stories and commentary reflect that, though there is always room for improvement. In particular, we have only begun to tap social news channels. One obvious possibility is to expand to Fur Affinity, Inkbunny and SoFurry.
Well, we've had far fewer pure press releases since I took over. I want Flayrah to be pushing out original content.
If we hadn't introduced newsbytes, we'd have broken the high-story count; we post as many as regular stories, or more.
There are many more things that could be done; unfortunately, running such an endeavour would be close to a full-time job. While I might be willing to give it a go, I'd have to move back to the UK to do it, as I don't have a green card yet.
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