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Fledgling furry communities spread their wings at Eurofurence

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With so many of the furry fandom's largest conventions originating in the USA, it tends to dominate global discussions of furry culture. In Europe, Germany stands as a major centre of the furry fandom with multiple conventions and events being held within its borders. But, for many other countries, the furry fandom is much smaller, or may just be starting out and is consequentially less visible.

Zik wrote a series on "foreign" furry fandoms for [adjective][species] in 2012 and 2013, covering Japan, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, but many others were not discussed.

Last August, furs from all over Europe and beyond gathered in Berlin for Eurofurence, the largest furry convention outside of North America. Between all the furpiles and yiffing fursuit walks, art shows and other activities, some furs took the opportunity to speak about their own furry communities and the challenges faced with starting up the furry fandom in a country where it previously didn't exist.

Tarkan on Turkey furry fandom

The first talk was given by Tarkan the Wolf, a UK-born Turkish fur who has spent the last five or six years trying to establish the furry community in Turkey. As described in the Eurofurence programme:

Tarkan the Wolf has invested time in building up a furry community in Turkey. He wants to show the audience what he achieved so far and what is planned for this start-up community in the future. The project started around 5 years ago and was promoted to the Anime fandom first as well as to "geeky/nerdy" young people in the country. Future plans include local furmeets beginning next year and the very first Turkish furry convention in 2020 taking place in Istanbul. Hear every interesting fact about it in this talk!

Part 2 and Part 3 are also available through his Youtube channel.

The following month, Tarkan was also interviewed on the South Afrifur podcast.

Rakuen on South African furry fandom

I gave the second talk, covering my own experiences in the furry fandom and covering the growth of the furry fandom in South Africa. It was actually the second time I gave the talk as I had presented a draft version at Lakeside Furs 10 after Unci offered me an event slot. Although there were only about 40 furs at LSF, three had been to South Africa, not counting myself, and one was dating a South African!

The official description of the talk was:

Have you ever wondered how other people have joined the furry fandom? Or what it is like in different countries? Although [adjective][species] covered a number of "foreign" furry fandoms in a series of articles, it did not include South Africa. This talk is an opportunity to learn about how the furry fandom developed in an isolated corner of the world.

We will follow the fandom's history through two perspectives. First, following Rakuen Growlithe's discovery of the furry fandom and growing involvement and, second, the formation and growth of ZA Furries, the South African furry forum. You will learn what you have in common with furs from South Africa, what's different, the challenges of holding a furry convention, what causes problems for websites and how the fandom is starting to influence the rest of the furry world.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Funny thing, we have requested a written invitation from EF since 2015 in order to present a proposal for government grants in Colombia without a satisfactory response from the former. We have limited our focus focus on Latin America for the foreseeable time, due to the lack of support. Brasil FurFest has been way more welcoming and willing to cooperate.

We at Colombiafur have had similar proposals to the ones from Turkey and South Africa for them and we have just received a cold treatment from the contact at Eurofurence.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Con organizing is a very busy thing. I'm guessing they have hands full with assisting more local attendees.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

South Africa is far from local.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The fur presenting on it was actually living in Europe at the time. But I suspect the key issue is that they weren't asking for anything more than booking a one-hour slot in a function room.

Authorizing events and booking rooms is within the normal duties of programming staff. Conversely, sending formal invitation letters is common for scientific or cultural conferences, but not for a furry convention. That doesn't mean they can't do it, but it does mean it would have to go up the chain, and apparently it got lost along the way.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

"Trying to establish the furry community in Turkey" hmmm, I don't have time to look at the vid but something about the words makes it sound like proselytizing. I hope it's about organizing fans that already are wanting to rather than trying to invent something top-down.

How about Russia? Is it counted as closer to Euro furs than asian? And since the 2012 "foreign" furry articles mentioned, there has been a lot more going on with China and Southeast Asia. (See http://dogpatch.press/2016/10/25/furry-fandom-southeast-asia/ )

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

I don't really understand this comment. What has this got to do with government grants? And why would you need an invitation? EF asks if anyone wants to do a presentation and then people say yes. That's all there is to it. These are not proposals about anything, we are describing what we have been doing. No one is funding it (apart from people involved), no one was invited and there is no government involvement.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

In 2015, we at Colombiafur chose Eurofurence as the convention to attend in order to share our experiences and expand our perspective on the furry fandom abroad. We started approaching the Eurofurence staff in order to make plans and prepare a budget for this project. Responses were very delayed and we decided to put the project on hold until the Schengen visa requirement was removed and we could secure enough funds.

In order to secure funds, we tried to apply for a grant from the Colombian government to attend Eurofurence last year to perform at a panel with a similar format to the one shown in the article. To achieve this, we needed to file a proposal before the Colombian government and this proposal required an invitation letter from the event hosting entity, that is, Eurofurence.

We reached Eurofurence once more on the matter and prepared a letter for them and informed them of the deadlines; we would take care of any costs and paperwork needed to move this project forward. However, responses were even slower than the year prior, taking weeks, rude even, I couldn't reach them by phone, and we ultimately missed the deadline to file the proposal.

We even considered sending our proposal to the Goethe Insititut at the German Embassy in Colombia but, due to the letter requirement and the treatment received from the EF staff, we ultimately decided to shift our focus towards Brasil FurFest. We presented a new proposal before the Colombian Ministry of Culture, and explained our project to the Brasil FurFest staff. They took just two days to send the required letter.

We are now making preparations to attend Brasil FurFest this year, an may even forgo the grants to do so.

All in all, it was an unpleasant experience, and disappointing since we had high hopes in providing our time and resources in supporting EF, of which we kept in high regard.

Hope to have that clarified for you.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Imagine you choose a girlfriend/boyfriend but they don't reciprocate. Onlookers hear you call them cold, unsatisfactory, unpleasant, disappointing and show bitterness towards Turkey and South Africa for having better luck. Don't be that fur...

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I don't know if it's all that.

I can't say for sure if Rauken or Tarken petitioned their governments for funds to attend Eurofrence. I don't think they did, I'm thinking they went off their own dime? They'd have to correct me if I'm wrong o that.

Not sure if it's a request a convention is used to getting, so they may have not have known how to respond.

But I'm just speculating of course.

Your rating: None

Government entities and embassies have funds to support national and international activities related to the promotion of the arts and culture. They often go underused, and as GreenReaper explained, income in Colombia is not enough to cover for the expenses and while some may be able to forgo this assistance, we just couldn't.

I believe invitation letters are commonplace at academic and artistic gatherings (furry conventions being one of these), otherwise the aforementioned entities would not have enough evidence for the proposed participation.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Why can't people spell my name correctly? Here. Post below. It's not that difficult.

And no, I did not get any funds. Everything was paid for by me.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

At a guess, it isn't a common English name or word, and doesn't sound like it's spelt. If it was spelt like it sounds it should be "Rackewan". Meanwhile, "rau-ken" works - those are common syllables - so people shift it to that. The Growlithe part is fine.

Your rating: None

I'm on mobile and the due to the font size and style I confused the a with an o. My apologies, I've fixed it now.

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I'm actually glad Tarkan and Rakuen have gotten their chance to share their experiences. We've moved onto other projects as explained. I wasn't even aware of their participation until yesterday. I wanted to bring this matter as a personal experience in order to show the other side of the story.

Running a convention is hard and I acknowledge that most of the work is voluntary, but in such organizations communication is key. Timely responses and a bit of politeness would have saved us time and effort and left a better impression despite declining. That didn't happen and I hope no one else goes through this again.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

When furs put out GoFundMe appeals for donations so they can afford a costly personal fursuit, it's considered absurd at best.

Government funding for a trip to a fur con? Nice work if you can get it... it would be clever if you can make a compelling case of cultural exchange, and you should go for it, but come on... there's a lot of personal enjoyment in getting paid to visit a con.

A con not having time/interest to assist isn't doing anything wrong. And the best way to get support is to get to know people first. If you are really into sharing what furs are doing in Columbia, that would be interesting to hear about - (I have written up furry stuff in South America before - Brazil and Peru.) Why not write up an article for here (or one of the other furry news sites) and tell it to a worldwide audience? It could help for next time you want a con to make a formal invitation, and you could point to that for cred, but it's worthwhile just to share.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

These proposals are pretty serious and have very specific requirements we have to meet before even drafting the proposal. Colombiafur is a registered trademark in Colombia held by the Furry Fandom de Colombia foundation. We have legal status and have to report accounting before Colombian tax authorities. The community has existed for 8 years now. We are not a bunch of guys panhandling for a leisure trip.

First of all, the proposal must detail timelines and costs for every item, with supporting documents for every claim made.

Second, only a fraction of the costs are provided prior to the activity, meaning that we will still be using funds from our pockets to start the project.

Third, we have to produce audiovisual material that we have to present before the government regarding what we have done and prepare a public event for that matter.

Please refrain on commenting without checking sources, or at least asking for them.

There is nothing wrong in declining a request, it is wrong to keep people in the dark and not answering to a matter that was clearly defined with a deadline, it is wrong to be rude when trying to reach them through other means. As I said before, this experience with EF has caused a shift in our scope and we are taking the necessary measures to avoid further inconveniences.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

IMO, part of success with a project is a realistic appraisal of the gap between seriousness with which you take your own endeavors, and how important it is to strangers you want to impress. Thrusting your super-serious project at strangers who are loaded up with all kinds of their own duties is a good time for that. Your deadline isn't their emergency, so commenting about being kept in the dark makes a passive-aggressive impression to a random stranger, who advises growing cred so that saying to check sources becomes more like knowing your good reputation in advance.

I try to pay attention to worldwide furry stuff and make effort to translate non-english media to find out, and I've never heard of Colombiafur. Anyone else know it before? It's a nice opportunity to share your group (and change that first impression of complaining about another group that has good cred.) Share your audiovisual material in an article here after you visit Brazil.

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Surprising, given that we've been featured in this very site at least three times since 2010. If you have not found about Colombiafur maybe you've been misspelling Colombia.

However, I appreciate your suggestion and we are already taking action.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Twice in first half of 2010 and once now. I don't recall ever hearing about it either.

"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~

Your rating: None

There was a Newsbyte from last year as well: http://thebogotapost.com/2016/05/23/seven-years-fluff-city/

We are just second to Brazil (on this site), which have stories about the now defunct Abando, and Fauna Urbana, for Latin American countries.

The Latin American fandom is very sparse. I'm even surprised some of you are even aware of the Peruvian furs, of which I only know from El Comercio's article (or rather, a parody of it). There are no active national conventions except for Brasil FurFest, though I am aware that aside from Brazil and us, Venezuela has a strong community as well and we have collaborated in projects through the years.

We had taken a local approach until recent years and most of our content is Spanish only, but we are easily searchable if you Google many of the variants of furries in Colombia.

Our website contains a summary of our activities, mission statement, vision and key people (as of late 2013, going to work on updating that). Our Facebook and Twitter profiles are up to date and keep record of every meet we make.

I guess it has to do with the language barrier more than anything else. We have not had a high need of producing English content, but I will commit to work on some as Patch (and others) have suggested.

No Spanish needed for this one, though: https://youtu.be/yYCZNCSn7F0

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I am still puzzled by that article on furmeets in South America in Lima, Peru’s “El Comercio” on May 19, 2015: “en latinoamérica, Chile es un pais privilegiado para el ‘furry fandom’”. What privileged status for furry fandom in Chile? That “Franko” book that Sofawolf Press reprinted was first published there, but I haven’t heard of any furry activities at all in Chile.

Fred Patten

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When I started in the fandom in 2008, FurryChile was going strong and was my go-to place to meet furs and it was where I begun to receive input to start Colombiafur a year later.

However, the leadership couldn't focus on the community, activities became sparse and their forum was mostly abandoned by 2011. Aside from Franko, I'm afraid that the furry community in Chile is very inactive, there is no leadership per se, only small groups without a strong vision.

Sadly, one of the FurryChile founders passed away last week, it's sad to see current affairs of the Chilean fandom.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Sorry for your loss, a lot of furries have passed on the first three months of this year, I can't go a week it seems without hearing of another lost life.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

They wish to obtain government support to fund a trip. The minimum wage in Colombia is ~‎€240/month. The average is maybe 60% higher, but furries may not earn that (or may be students). A summer round-trip flight for one person might cost four times this. Then there's hotel costs - even the 2A Hostel is ~€100 - and food, etc. It's just not feasible.

Colombia may be keen to support citizens exhibiting culture on the global stage, as long as they're asked to present. But if EF doesn't understand the need to do that in a specific form, isn't willing to do so, or can't get it together in time, Colombian furs definitely won't get a grant. Compare the forms needed to fund a paper presentation at a conference.

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Ahhhh This makes things much more clear!
I can understand now why they would need a grant from the government to be able to afford going if pay is so low compared to Europe.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Good, it's up. Only about six months after I first submitted it and five months after the event I wanted this to at least partially promote. It even had misspellings of both presenter's names being introduced...

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I don't think we need to go into too many details as to why that was. Needless to say I wasn't brought on board for editing until mid-Janruary.

Dronon and I were working the backlog from both ends, this one just happened to be the one square in the middle. Obviously your Tweet put it higher on the list. Feel free to message us directly next time.

By the time I was on board it was already 2 months after the even in question, unfortunately, so not much we can do there. Sorry for the delays, working to minimize them. Taking on a bit too many tasks this year in work and personal life doesn't help.

Then by the time I get around to having more time to things I get a Jury Duty summons... bah.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

"Dronon and I were working the backlog from both ends, this one just happened to be the one square in the middle. Obviously your Tweet put it higher on the list. Feel free to message us directly next time."

I don't know when everyone got involved but I sent GreenReaper three messages about it over Twitter in September then tweeted about it in October (https://twitter.com/RakuenGrowlithe/status/782186152963018753) and January (https://twitter.com/RakuenGrowlithe/status/825641317917159425). I also replied to a Flayrah tweet and complained in October (https://twitter.com/RakuenGrowlithe/status/782169395325960192). There's only so much someone can do.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Well, exactly. As I said back in October, that's the problem I faced - since late 2013, I'd increasingly spent my limited time on Inkbunny, where there's lots to do, both technically and on an administrative level. Another editor stepped up to cover for me at the end of 2014, but he left last May, and publication fell apart again.

Other contributors tried to draw attention to this back in August, but you didn't want to watch. I agree that videos are an inefficient means of communicating (especially if you take five minutes to get to the point), but the description gives the gist, and it would probably have helped your understanding of the situation.

Relatively few fans are qualified in terms of skills and temperament to edit a furry news site; and of those I've asked to help out, even fewer have accepted. I don't blame those who turned me down; editing is a separate skill, and many find writing more interesting – but the reality is that if nobody sees it as their priority, then few stories are likely to be published in a timely fashion.

As it is, efforts to resolve this situation got started around December. There were months of backlogged stories to work through, while also trying to stay on top of current events. This piece was not seen as time-critical – why it was still viable to publish now – and it was behind others in the backlog, so they came first. I appreciate that is frustrating, but it's the truth.

As Tantroo hinted, tweets and other public comments usually aren't the best way to provide feedback to colleagues; and if it does prompt them to rush, there is the risk of mistakes, which you may not like either. We're all volunteers, and sometimes we slip up. Fortunately you could fix it yourself, in this instance. We're trying to use revisions now; the story editor will normally be listed there to contact. (There is however a bug where it overwrites the editor name if a further edit is made without making a new revision.)

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Working on lowering the rambling for sure.

Writing certainly is a quicker way to acquire information, but it does take more time to create it on the other end, especially with formatting and such.

To be fair, I did start making videos around the time where the content updates here slowed down. Given I'm up to 70 subs, kind of obligated to keep things going at least once a week.

I think combining the two types is probably the best way at the end of the day. My ultimate goal is to have 1 story up here, and edit one story from an other per week here.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The day after your video I sent a long email, it had painstaking links to sources showing big mischaracterization about that drama. (Not your fault though.) I left it private for you to do what you want with it, because it's a non issue to me besides saying that's the case.

FYI to Rakuen... you can also submit guest posts to other furry news sites that make healthy overlap of coverage. Maybe Adjective Species could help you if you want faster turnaround. I seem to recall there's some other site somewhere too!

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Have been considering that. Can't hurt to broaden sites a bit. Just this really sapped my motivation to actually write something.

"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~

Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

We still have some backlog to go through, heck I posted an article on July 2016 that is still in pre-publish mode. This one took a back seat though as more urgant stories came to light after I came aboard in Janruray.

I know it's easy for Crossaffliction to spread pessimism about Flayrah, because he left it, and he probably found some joy in the fact that his departure caused disruption because it proves the work he did here was important. I think recently that pessimism has been pronounced again, but I think more because we are starting to recover from basically six months without any real editorial staff. There's probably fear in him now that Flayrah, a site he put a lot of work into, could actually move on without him.

Frustration from the situation is warranted, particularly when it wasn't well communicated that there was an issue in the first place to the general public.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

You should link what you're talking about – I'm guessing it's this? (HTML works here as in stories.)
As far as I know, nobody who's spent significant time on Flayrah is hoping for it to fall over.

I see that tweet as a restatement of the need for someone to be doing editorial work (which often involves rewriting stories in a non-trivial fashion, beyond formatting), combined with the facts that its writer was doing the vast majority of it at the time and that we're still only at ⅓ productivity.

FNN was affected in a similar way when its editor became ill. But Flayrah has suffered from prior periods of inactivity, and come back again stronger than ever, so I'm reasonably confident that it will endure.

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About the author

Rakuen Growlitheread storiescontact (login required)

a student and Growlithe from South Africa/Austria, interested in science, anime and power metal

I'm a fur from South Africa, now living in Austria, who got into the fandom through my interest in pokemon and writing fanfiction. Outside of furry, I have spend a lot of my time in gaming (particularly Dota 2) and science.