Furry Writers' Guild Forum

SoFurry/FA (etc.) engagement

Ocean suggested I should write this up and pose it to the FWG at large. It stems originally from a discussion of what used to be maintained at Yiffstar as the “recommended reading” lists (first by Bahumat and Toumal, and then later by Jeeves and Toumal). I think it’s conceivable that they were supposed to be replaced by the Groups functionality at that site.

The FWG has a SoFurry group, but I don’t know who maintains it or what the mandate was intended to be — is it intended to be a private group for discussing Guild news? It collects a few stories, but the news is private and I can’t read it so I don’t know what the history is.

Irrespective, it seems to me that there is a chance to use a (or more than one?) FWG group here, in two ways —

[ul][li]Using an FWG group to highlight submissions from FWG members when they post there. That lets readers quickly find good stories (or, where it’s used to post excerpts from print stories, to find what anthologies and novels they should be buying) and gives FWG members a signal boost since discoverability remains an issue.[/li]
[li]Using an FWG group to curate the next generation of recommended reading lists, which at this point have fallen into the domain of word-of-mouth. But what if, in the capacity of a organisation intended to “Support, inform, elevate and promote quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators” we published a monthly or quarterly list of recommended reading? Surely that’s in our mandate.[/li][/ul]

I use SoFurry here as a proxy for FA/InkBunny/Weasyl/etc., since I assume that similar functionality exists there. But I also mention it because I know the numbers for SF, and where anthropomorphic fiction is concerned I think we should take a moment to appreciate the scope of how much furry writing there is. Because the answer is really cool:

In 2014 alone, around 16,500 stories (that is, not journals or images, just content tagged as “Stories”) were added to SoFurry. At an average length of 4100 words, adds up to 67.7 million words of new furry content. Amazon says the median novel length is 64kwds, so that’s about 3 novels a day. From one site!

This is fantastic! And it’s both an opportunity, and a problem. It’s an opportunity because it’s a massive audience, because it’s a potential market, and because the thousands of writers there are our comrades-in-arms, or at least comrades-in-words. It’s a problem because with that much content, finding the best of the best is tricky. Which would be where the FWG could be a light in the darkness!

Have we ever considered doing that?

Using an FWG group to curate the next generation of recommended reading lists, which at this point have [b]fallen into the domain of word-of-mouth.[/b]
Is this second group a recommended-reading list for those sites, or for all furry lit (thus there will be books and stuff there)? The Ursas maintain a "recommended reading list" for each year (but that's the Ursas, so YMMV as to their usefulness).

The reason I bolded that bit is because there is no word of mouth for online-only stories. I mean, occasionally an author will post a link to their own story they put online, but that’s it. I never see “woah this story I read online is great, here read this” unless it’s up for an Ursa/Coyotl award.

Either way, I think it’s a great idea.

This isn’t the same thing at all, but I’ve recently sent Dogpatch Press a list with weblinks to over 600 reviews of furry books, “What the Well-Read Furry Fan Should Read”. Once DP posts it, it should go far toward providing a comprehensive (but by no means complete) list of books for furry fans to read. Many of these should be available free in public libraries.

And those 600+ are all hardbound and paperback books; no Kindle or other electronic books. Someone should still do a list of them plus what’s available online.

I’m not sure who created the SoFurry group or what the original intent was – Sean, was that something you added? I know Duroc made the FWG account on FA, and then I made regular accounts on Weasyl and SoFurry. The regular accounts are just meant to be signposts and free advertising, leading people to the forums and website, but also as another place to put crucial news (Coyotl announcements, things like that) when possible.

At this point, I don’t think anyone is maintaining the SoFurry group. I think I have access to that, but if I recall, all I did was just clean up the profile so it was up to date, and then left it. I don’t use SoFurry myself, so I’m not familiar with how things work there.

Rob, if you or someone else wants to take over the SoFurry group and do those types of things, you’re more than welcome to. It sounds like an interesting idea and could be very useful (especially the first point you mentioned), if someone will step up to do it and commit to it.

At this point, though, just FYI for everyone (since I know the website doesn’t go into who does what), with the exception of the Coyotls and the other admins here on the forums, the guild right now is a one-person show with me doing literally everything else (Twitter, blog, monitoring the email account, updating the website pages, and checking in at FA/SF/Weasyl when I have time). I don’t say that to sound like a martyr or a control freak, but just to make clear that since I don’t have time to take anything else on personally, we’ve reached a critical mass where other members need to volunteer and follow through (or perhaps in the future we need other official positions) if the guild is going to continue to grow in what services we offer.

I did indeed create the SoFurry group, with a very confused original intention as I don’t use SoFurry myself. It was an idea from one of the members to create a group on there. You do indeed have access to that (I had Toumal give admin control to the FWG SoFurry account, I believe).

That makes sense. SoFurry groups, because they’re relatively poorly defined, have several purposes. A lot of them are, basically like the current FWG group, closed circles with the option to post private updates, forums, chatrooms, etc. Others are mostly ways of organizing content (e.g. there’s a generic science fiction and fantasy group but also a military SF group). The “SoFurry group” is currently used to flag recommended content, but it’s somewhat scattershot.

I’m happy to take that on, since I think I may be the resident SoFurry booster, anyway. It certainly wasn’t my intent to suggest more work — only in the sense of clarifying what the goal is. I know there’s a lot on your plate already, and I do know how SF works so I’m more than willing to help if I can. At the very least if FWG members want a group where any content that they post to SoFurry gets tracked, that’s something that would allow followers to have one place to stay abreast of content from FWG writers which ought to signal-boost at least a bit.

My initial inclination was the first, e.g. as you not addressing the lack of word of mouth for stories that don’t see publication in regular venues. With closing on 70 million words being written a year at SoFurry, there’s a lot to choose from which also feeds into the problem that I’ve seen noted here in terms of discoverability and readership. Solving that seems like a potential FWG remit, but it isn’t clear to me (hence the desire on my part for discussion) whether the FWG’s remit ends at boosting the circulation of Guild member works, or whether it extends to having a perspective on furry writing as a whole.

Oh wow, blast from the past there. That was so long ago. O_O

I think that SoFurry suffers from the same ratings problem that many other amateur writing sites, especially those that feature pornography, have. We’ll politely call it the ah, pornographic equivalent to boxing’s Must-10 rule, which is that the default score is the highest, and only suffers from penalties and in comparison to others.

Meaning you get a TON of sub-par stuff enjoying ridiculously high ratings.

On the flipside, I’m pretty grateful to see that a lot of the authors I respected way back in those early days went on to have good writing careers, inside and outside of ‘furry’.

Sent you an email. In short, you now have access to our SoFurry account. Take the ball and run. :slight_smile:

He’ll only bring it back to you. #canids

Yeah, I should have seen that coming. XD