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Insular lawmaking leads e621, Pornhub to block North Carolinians

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Just before the new year chimed in, furries in North Carolina - and a few others nearby - found themselves blocked from accessing well-known fandom imageboard e621, which indicated that they would no longer be serving the state without further discussions with legal experts:

Due to the current legal situation in North Carolina and the uncertainty surrounding it, we will be blocking access to e621.net from North Carolina until we can consult with our legal counsel on this matter. We did not come to this decision lightly and we will do what we can, as we can, to rectify and remedy this situation so that we can restore access to those users that are affected by this matter. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and will have an update as soon as possible. - e621 news updates - 2023-12-31

e621 is not alone in this action, as Pornhub has also blocked access to its page in North Carolina.

Tagging and filtering as an alternative to content bans

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A meme picture about tagging shielding people from annoying interests.It was one of those strange coincidences that makes one think that, if there were a god, he must have a strange sense of humour. Salman Rushdie, who was the target of a 1989 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini that called for his death due to his novel The Satanic Verses and who lost sight in one of his eyes after being stabbed on stage in the US last year, warned that never in his lifetime had freedom of expression been under such a threat in the West. Less than a week later, Fur Affinity announced a new rule banning adult artwork of characters with childlike proportions, later calling out specific pokémon and digimon. I have already written about the importance of free speech for the furry fandom, so here I would like to discuss how increasing authoritarianism is restricting free expression and a simple way to help safeguard it.

Bear Out Of Nowhere

Driving around Southern California, we saw this on a billboard, of all things. Bearific.com. Knowing nothing about it, we had to investigate! Here’s what we found out about Bearific Books: “Katelyn Lonas is 16 years old and the CEO of her company, Bearific. Currently, she has over 60 published books, which are sold worldwide and available on Barnes & Noble and Walmart. Katelyn has also published five apps on the Google Play Store and has a YouTube channel called Bearific Studios, where she posts drawing videos and cartoons based on her books. She published her first book when she was 9 years old, and it was called Bearific Adventure.” And yes, it’s all about bears. Check out her web site!


image c. 2023 Bearific Books

Flayrah moves to faster server, software; WikiFur to follow

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khyot's 'Of Inle' Flayrah has migrated to new North American hosting, with WikiFur planned to join it by the end of the year.

The 'new' server is based on a quad-core Xeon-D 1521 with 32GB RAM and four 2TB HDDs - 2015-era hardware, but double the capacity of prior hosting provided by Timduru. Base software has been upgraded from PHP 5.6 (first released in 2014) to PHP 8.1, resulting in major performance improvements, along with recent releases of nginx, Debian and MariaDB.

These features may be more important for WikiFur, which will be upgraded to a newer and more complex version of the MediaWiki software; with the intent to add Wikibase to process and visualize data about convention instances, as well as better-documenting "furspeech" words used within the fandom and languages such as Foxish, Lapine and Primal.

Dragoneer buys back Fur Affinity from IMVU

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FA Logo Fur Affinity is now independent once again after five years under the management of social gaming company IMVU. This comes as IMVU is looking to restructure their company to be called Together Labs, and take on major investment from Chinese company NetEase. Dragoneer repurchased Fur Affinity, for more than he originally sold it for, and now owns it under his own company (Frost Dragon Art LLC) once again.

They also made a new logo for the occasion.

Gone in a Flash

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As the world still deals with the Coronavirus pandemic, political turmoil, and the uncertainty of the future, we did come into the year knowing that a major change was coming to the fandom, which has since been overshadowed by these other events. Flash is going the way of the dodo, due to Adobe dropping support for their Flash Player plugin and browsers withdrawing support in turn; and with it a substantial piece of furry history will no longer function in most browsers as of 2021.

Luckily, some of the most famous, or infamous, pieces of Flash history are preserved as videos. Remember Foxy Fluffs are Everything? Someone did “port” it to YouTube (adult language/situations warning in case you haven’t seen it). But despite the animation being saved in video format, foxy fluffs being motion tweens may not amount for much in a post-Flash world.

Time is running out for those animations that are only playable with Flash on their original sites. They can however be downloaded as an SWF file to run on software that supports them. On SoFurry, Flash files already download directly as a file instead of playing in the browser itself. Soon enough it will probably be the only way to enjoy many classic pieces of furry animation from the earlier days of the fandom in their original format – if you can find a working player.

Furry art piracy website yiff.party closes

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Since it began in 2015, yiff.party has been a source of ire for artists whose income has been affected by it. The website uses web scraping software to extract files from Patreon, including those meant to be restricted to paid subscribers only, and made them publicly available, for free.

Kotaku interviewed Kadath and other artists about it in 2018. Although DMCA notices were sent, legal action was threatened by publishers like InkedFur, and Patreon promised to go to bat for its users, the site remained unassailed. Now, it’s closed, but not due to pressure from these sources.

Fur Affinity prepares day-long move to new monster hosting

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King Ghidorah by theBeta-Soldier on DeviantArt
King Ghidorah by theBeta-Soldier

Furry art site Fur Affinity has announced its migration to new hosting on Wednesday, September 9. Previously set for August, then Monday, the final migration "may take" 18 hours; during which content modification will be disabled, but interactions will work.

The new hardware was announced in April: a "cluster-based server platform" named after a kaiju with 112 CPU cores, 1536GB of RAM and 153.6TB of "enterprise SSD".

If composed of four 28-core Xeon CPUs, 24x 6.4TB SSDs and 48x 32GB DDR4-2666 ECC DIMMs, the components alone have a retail value of ~US$100,000 – not including servers or switches.

Another furry website joins the scene - FurryLife Online

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FurryLife Online A new furry social media site has come forth called FurryLife Online. It seems it’s an annual occurrence these days when a new furry site comes forth with dreams of taking the title of the main furry hub.

FLO is trying to be as broad as its predecessors; and with art galleries, written works, music, clubs, and streaming, there appears to be a lot to offer. But given how many of these sites exist now, can this new one stand out? If so, how? We’ll review the site’s layout and its strengths and weaknesses for each of the main classes of art they support.

This review was published September 2 and is written about the site at this time. Site features are malleable, so may have changed after publication.

Furry Writers' Guild establishes new forum after technical difficulties

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FWG_IMAGE.jpgOn 26 June, the Furry Writers' Guild (FWG) announced that the FWG forums were no longer functional due to technical issues. The problem appears to have been that anyone who accessed the FWG forum main page and saw the shoutbox had their IPs blocked by the host firewall. This disturbance, coupled with the age of the forums and the question of its future hosting, led to the closure of the forums.

However, the loss of the forum had negative repercussions. While some functions were able to be transferred to a Google Calendar, Slack or Telegram, many members had come to rely on the forum. The various stories about how the forum had helped FWG members led current FWG president Dwale, to comment on Telegram:

As time goes by, it becomes more and more apparent how much utility the forums had. I really hope we're able to get them up and running. Sooner the better.

FurBuy down for 'months' after spat with security researcher

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FurBuy pack-rat mascot by FurryVenus Furry auction site FurBuy remains offline, a month after it was abruptly taken down, leading to severe corruption of the 19-year-old site's database.

Site owners say May 23's emergency shutdown was intended to recover from a freeze triggered by a self-styled security researcher's access, and announced a months-long renovation.

The researcher revealed their involvement, claiming to have been blocked by FurBuy after contacting them on Twitter. They said they did not access the database, but that someone using the vulnerability they found would be able to do so - which is disputed by the site owners.

Modern database systems and server hardware are meant to cope with unanticipated downtime by writing to disk in such a way that the data can always be recovered to a consistent state; however, this requires appropriate configuration, and tends to decrease overall performance. It is also possible for hardware to fail under stress.

The last successful backup of the site was made in October 2017, but this remained unnoticed after the death of long-time system administrator Mordrul last August, from thyroid cancer.

Announcing Good Fur News!

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The Good Fur News logo.This news has already spread in the last few days, and bears repeating here - Haven T. Fusky has started new furry website called Good Fur News! As described in their opening post:

For awhile now I've seen quite a few folks say "We need a place where people can call out the good in the fandom and not just the bad. Some place that highlights all the awesomeness that is furry". And I nodded and agreed, but nothing came.

I waited and waited and thought maybe some of the sites out there would step up and change things up a bit from the "norm" of call out culture and extreme reporting that only showed how awful people can be some times.

I personally have had the privilege of meeting some really great, talented, inspiring people through this fandom. And those people often go unrecognized or are drowned out by the more scandalous things that occur every so often. And it's truly a shame. And so that is why I created a news site where we can allow those that bring their best to be seen, heard, and remembered.

High Tail Hall data breach revealed; owners say new site "MUCH more advanced"

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HTH Studios The BBC reports the theft of user data relating to decade-old furry adult game High Tail Hall and its successors.

HaveIBeenPwned lists the disclosure of 411,755 HTH Studios accounts from August 24, including data such as:

Browser user agent details, dates of birth, email addresses, IP addresses, names, phone numbers, physical addresses, purchases, usernames

Passwords were stored as "salted" SHA-1 and MD5 hashes, which may decrease the impact of their being compromised - however, such protections are no longer considered sufficient to protect original passwords, due to the speed at which these types of hashes may be computed.

High Tail Hall, originally released on Newgrounds in July 2004, is described by its creators as:

a puzzle game where you can have erotic encounters with the surrounding characters, and work out your frustrations if you come across a particularly complex puzzle.