The Anthropomorphics Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2015 Anthropomorphics Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through August 8. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year’s Awards.
All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2015, if they are not already on the list. Send in your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org, and read the List to see what other fans have recommended.
Nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, in the same eleven categories, will open on 14 January 2016 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and will be accepted until 28 February. Don’t miss this opportunity to nominate the titles that you felt have been the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips and books, websites, games, etc. of 2015 for the Awards. And don’t forget to vote when the polls open on 15 March.
FurrTrax is a mobile app, social networking site and collaboration system to help members of the furry fandom organize, plan events, make friends and find other furries in their local areas or with simular interests.
Key features include public and private chatrooms, including video chatrooms, a public shoutbox, webmail hosting, heavily customizable user profiles, with user manageable comments walls and user image gallery and file sharing, GPS distances of members (but not actual pinpoints), event posting and planning, singles and dating, private messaging, image galleries, a section for authors and their stories, including fiction and non-fiction, user forums, a classified section, a user to user store, groups pages with group walls and status updates and notification. Instant messaging is not yet available but is coming soon.
FurrTrax is not a paysite, or a subscription site, and does not require any purchase of any kind to use all of the sites sections. There is however a Donator Rank which offers some basic bonuses including choice of name color, colored chat text, the ability to add background images to profiles, attach extra profile pictures over the default of 10, embed YouTube videos on profile and access the rich profile editor tool. The minimum donation is one dollar. All features not listed here are given to basic members by default.
The FurrTrax mobile site is also in transition to a new Jquery mobile theme, so some pages may not match the look of others. This is temporary.
While the attack was "the final straw", health issues had limited the efforts of FNN founder Markos for some time, as he explained April 1:
Due to health issues, and a recent hacking attack, I have decided to end this version of Furry News Network. The site and its content has been archived. I've been considering this for several months, and the hack attempt that took the site off line March 30, 2015 was the final straw. I've really enjoyed working with members of the Furry community to bring the content to you. For those of you who don't know my history, I've had health issues for the past 14 years. I lost a kidney in 2001, had heart issues start in 2007 and was hospitalized with an auto-immune disorder in 2009. In 2014, I fell and broke my hip and have never fully recovered. I am now fighting stage 3 kidney disease and anemia. I need to deal with my health. I will sorely miss many of you and look forward to the day I can bring Furry News Network back. Thank you!
The site, dedicated to "works containing furry or cartoon characters under the ages of puberty for their species", was founded in April 2000 by Nicol Firefox. His death in November led to the site's demise, announced by Nipper:
Sadly Nicol is no longer with us to run this site. I believe that most activity has since moved to other sites, and CC was no longer under active development.
I will leave the site up for a couple of weeks in case artists want to retreive their art, after that it will be decomissioned.
Cub Central once hosted over 5500 pictures and almost 900 stories in its public and private galleries, but activity tailed off with the rise of Fur Affinity. When FA banned cub porn in 2010, most fans of it chose to move to sites such as Inkbunny and SoFurry instead of Cub Central.
3D chat service IMVU has bought furry art community Fur Affinity for an undisclosed sum. According to the announcement, "FA will continue to operate independently", and former owner Dragoneer says he remains "in charge of the site, direction and improvements".
IMVU, which bills itself as "the world's largest 3D Chat and Dress-Up community", has marketed its service to furry fans since at least 2009. The company proposes to monetize their January 2015 purchase through "added advertising" presented via "an improved experience", rather than "taking FA content, redistributing it, reposting it, using it in-game".
It has been about three weeks since the biggest FurAffinity controversy of recent years happened. For those unaware, every single piece of art that was ever uploaded there has been archived, and preserved. Now you can see all the galleries that has been wiped from FurAffinity, presumably forever, in just a few clicks.
In other words, what is put on the Internet, stays there forever, as the great Anonymous warned us.
That made me think: how should we feel about embarrassing old art and dirty laundry? For the longest time in history, artists could hide their more controversial and poor quality drawings form the public, put them in a safe, or throw into the fire. That time is apparently gone forever. Since there is nothing we can do about it, should we change the way we feel? I think this is a worthy subject to talk about. What do you think?
Security is necessary for one's own protection, both offline (to protect one's physical safety and possessions) and online (protecting identity, money and, as the our digital and real lives become more integrated, even physical possessions). Our own behaviours and security systems need to work together to be effective. It's no good having the latest burglar alarm, strong locks on your doors and a security gate if one leaves the door wide open. Similarly, it's great to lock the door each time one goes out - but if that door is secured solely by a latch, it won't be effective. As I've given some basic guidelines on how to stay safe online, I'm now comparing how furry sites are helping their users stay safe.
Update (Jan 28): All Weasyl servers now receive an A grade, however the server configuration is still not consistent.
One must wonder whether it's time Dragoneer stepped down as head of Fur Affinity, as he continues to make poor leadership decisions. Earlier this year, he stirred controversy by announcing Zaush, who'd been accused of rape, as development lead for Project Phoenix. This time he has made sure there are no lingering doubts over the suitability of his appointments by choosing a fur with a history of maladministration.
StarryKitten was recently announced as the new head of the FA tech team, tasked in part with “bringing more transparency” to FA. Some noticed that StarryKitten had only joined FA about a week before the announcement was made. As it transpires, StarryKitten was an alternate account created by the infamous Zidonuke, the real head of the FA tech team.
With the concept of irony easily going right over Dragoneer's head, it was further revealed that the tech lead with a puppet account has been a secret member of staff since 2013:
Online furry communities are reeling after a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks now entering their second day, which not only knocked out Fur Affinity, but have impacted a variety of less-well-visited art and chat sites.
[…] enough motivation collected to bring VCL back to stability, and perhaps some level of functionality to keep it a useful and enjoyable place to play around with. Certainly not to it's former "splendour", but that's not the goal.
Signaling a slow crawl back to stability, if not relevance :) More information to follow soon.
Furry art community Fur Affinity has announced restrictions on the use of automated watching scripts, which they termed "watchbots".
While staff had been "addressing botters on a one-on-one basis for several weeks", to the tune of "roughly two dozen" accounts, they faced a growing number of users who were unaware of their position. Some also became concerned upon being watched by "TheNSA".
The trend appears to have been started by Mishka Burr, who claims to have watched over 160,000 users using a script on a Raspberry Pi. Several other accounts running a published watch script inspired by Mishka's work had over 40,000 on their watchlists prior to clearing.
It's a hard life for search engines, and sites like Flayrah with varying page layout don't help. But thanks to a few hours with Google's data highlighter, it'll be easier for one of them to identify who wrote what, what a story is about, and how well it was received.
What does this mean? Well, more comprehensive search results, hopefully – but perhaps the most noticeable change will be the visibility of ratings when those results are displayed:
The rating displayed for users depends on the ratings received on their story submissions. This change will roll out incrementally as Google reindexes the site.
Also, Califur 2014 is hosting the Ursa Major Awards presentation next Saturday at 5PM. Flayrah's up for Best Magazine again for the stories we published in 2013 – join me there to celebrate if we win… and to commiserate if the ponies win Best Website again.
When we're young the day stands still, but as we age time begins to speed us by until it seems there is never enough. We're proud of how far the community has come in the 11 years since we opened our doors, but sadly we no longer have the time to make this the site that you deserve. We'll miss you and the fun we've had together deeply - but remember that in every ending is a new beginning. We wish you the best in all your new beginnings to come!
Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.
Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.
As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.
The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.