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.
You can narrow down to Pokémon reviews, work of the Furtean Times/WikiFur News era, Flayrah retrospectives, Fred Patten's 18 stories mentioning the word 'anthropomorphic' in September 2012, or fox stories by crossaffliction and his mild-mannered doppelgänger.
Did you know that while Flayrah provides furry news to the fandom on a volunteer basis, that anyone can submit an article to be looked over and edited? There is more information on what we look to publish on the site here.
However, one may feel it intimidating to share their works with an editor review board, or with the fandom in general, especially given how free range the comment section can get. Or perhaps you don’t have anything you feel you can contribute on a regular basis to assist your fandom.
There may be one solution to this age old problem of not knowing what kind of content to provide, and that is in the transcribing of furry non-fiction videos on YouTube for readers to consume here on Flayrah. I have started doing this for the monthly show “Digging Up Positivity”, which you can see here as an example.
In 2015, Flayrah published 140 stories from 20 contributors, including crossaffliction (with 64 stories), Fred (34), Sonious (9), GreenReaper (6), GreyFlank and Rakuen Growlithe (4 each), Huskyteer and RingtailedFox (3 each), DarkXander, earthfurst and georgesquares (2 each), and A C. Fox, CassidyTheCivet, Diamond Man, Isiah Jacobs, jm, M'aiq the Liar, Micah, Mister Twister and Quinn Yellowfox (one each).
In 2014, Flayrah published 189 stories from 36 contributors, including Fred (72 stories), crossaffliction (54 stories), GreenReaper (17 stories), Higgs Raccoon (5 stories), Rakuen Growlithe (4 stories), dronon, Isiah Jacobs and Sonious (each with 3 stories), Diamond Man, Voice and wyrmkeep (2 stories each) and AC_Fox, aquariusotter, Cubist, draconis, earthfurst, equivamp, Feli, fenrislorsai, Grisli, hi-jera, Huskyteer, jasper-bear, JoJoJoshua, Lightsen, Martes, Mister Twister, NeonBunny, AC_Fox, oldhans117, Patch Packrat, Pimlico, Potoroo, RingtailedFox and Snow (with one story each).
Update (March 23): Now with the most viewed stories of 2014.
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.
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.
So how did Flayrah do compared to 2012? At first glance, activity fell, with 536 stories from 33 contributors. But the year's 914 Newsbytes replaced many short stories, especially after auto-posting to Twitter and Facebook began.
High ratings accrued to a profile of horse-worshipping Turkmenistan, news of the proposed feline mayor of Xalapa, survey results suggesting that furries 'think differently', a review of Blue Sky's Epic, surrogate monkey mothers, and Mike Rugnetta's comments on fan communities.
News of the death of Lemonade Coyote attracted almost 10,000 unique visitors, while an exposé of FurFling and FurryMate remains active, with over 1000 views this past month. Many also followed the search for a missing fur.
Stories go through several editing steps before publication on Flayrah. Image thumbnailing, layout, copyediting, linking, fact-checking, tagging – these take over half an hour for all but the most trivial stories, and that's assuming no substantive editing is required.
Flayrah's editors have limited time, and few are both qualified and willing to become one. Stories have often languished in the queue because we don't want to risk work which may not yet meet our standards. But not publishing work in a timely fashion is a problem, too.
As such, we're releasing contribution guidelines for Flayrah, in an attempt to decrease the work required by editors prior to publication.
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.
I detest unnecessary wordiness, but keeping it short just doesn't work.
Before I begin, I would like to present an apology of sorts to Patch Packrat. I very much dislike to be misunderstood, but also cannot stand to be the source of said misunderstanding. I guess I should have been more clear with my choice of words.
Now, with that out of the way, today's topic.
Throughout the years, I have been around the various reaches of the web, and met a ton of really good artists. Many really liked to draw humanized animals (for fun and profit). For some, the subject made up most of their galleries; some drew furries exclusively. As we conversed, the topic of furries inevitably arose. Aside from the occasional "yep, I'm a furry", most replies went something like this:
- I like drawing talking animals, but I don't have a fursona/fursuit, so I'm not a furry.
- I like drawing talking animals, but to me it's not a "lifestyle", so I'm not a furry.
- Furries are creepy, and I don't want to be associated with them.
Answer #3 was the most prevalent.
Once, Flayrah was the the only place to find information on the Furry fandom. You might see a comment on a board or on IRC, perhaps LiveJournal, but there were not a lot of options. The few conventions out there would make a post here, perhaps some themed newsletter, but that was about it. You knew you could find Flayrah with news on it.
Now, over the years the fandom has developed, but the news mediums really have not. There are more diverse sources out there, but many are self-seeking. I won't go into that. More power to them is all. Yes, you can say Furry News Network, but it never really got going. A year? Maybe two. It copied a lot of the stories here, and occasionally something new would pop up. But that died out soon enough.
The fandom is constantly growing and furries want news, but do they know where to find it? I don't think so. I looked at the visitor stats below. They represent what a meet might have, and are not a good representation of the fandom's numbers.
So what was popular, well-rated, or highly-commented? The answers may surprise you . . .