Thoughts on Weasyl by GuNMouTH

OK so all of the stuff I am about to write is heavily OPINIONATED, so bear with me...

I notice that not many people have been leaving comments, and many wonder WHY. Weasyl has an AWESOME LAYOUT, so WHY are things so slow?

The following are a couple theories of mine, concerning this matter:

  • MOSTLY ARTISTS - Most of the folks here are other artists. Let's face it, many artists are too busy trying to make their work SEEN before they're trying to comment on other peoples' works. Maybe it's because this site started as invite only in its beta stage? Who knows.

  • HALF FA... HALF DA - Correct me if you can change this... but the top of the pages start a dark blue, then it transitions into the boring "Deviantart grey" that many of us have come to subconsciously avoid. Like DA, Weasyl does not have the "dynamic scrollover preview" that FA has with their recents and favorites -- which would REALLY help, since the THUMBNAILS feature makes this a site littered with HEADSHOTS-- , so maybe THAT is also an issue.

  • SOME INFO CLUTTERED - I notice that FA and DA have each segment separated into boxes, while Weasyl sorta has a column with sections separated by BIG TEXT. The owner's journal is somewhat lost in the mix.

To be honest, I am wondering if most of the issues are subconscious issues that are associated with the overall look of each page. People get anxious and confused really easily. Gotta make it easy on them, I guess.

Anyway, those were my thoughts.

Thoughts on Weasyl

GuNMouTH

2 May 2014 at 03:16:27 MDT

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  • Link

    Personally I don't tend to use this site, so rarely ever comment or see much on it. it runs alright, but the lack of an ability to disable custom icons so I can, y'know, see what the image is going to be and not just a micro portion of it (like you can do on FA and DA) makes me unwanting to browse for art. More than once gone to click something that had a nice icon; content that made me retch.

  • Link

    I agree, especially with the first point. All most people ever do on here is post art and not bother to look at anyone else's. All they talk about are their open commisons and "NEED MONEY TO GET A BED COMMISSIONS OPEN" in journals. There isn't that sense of community because many artists just come here to post art and leave.

  • Link

    Have you by chance brought this up to some of the devs here? Input like this could potentially help to change things for the better here.

  • Link

    I totally agree with you. I barely use this site even as a commissioner because most of the time, you can't even contact the artist anyways since they on,y come here to post a journal, or post art, and even if I comment most of the time it goes unanswered even when I make journal about seeking an artist...

  • Link

    It's dead for the simple fact that only people have stopped being bull-headed and started accepting the fact that Weasyl might just be a good choice. x__x;; It keeps taking FA crashing for a few weeks and Artists that have been banned/otherwise dropped from visibility showing up here to make people pay attention to it.

    Weasyl used to have a scroll-over thing when it first started-- but then everyone but me hated it or something??? So they just put the text/username underneath the preview thingy instead.

    • Link

      I believe the removal of the scroll-over thing because it was buggy for those on mobile devices. I liked it also, thought it was a cool addition, but understand that having to click someing multiple times just to see it on something other than a computer can be a hassle of sorts. Maybe they could bring it back as an option for the users to decide?

      • Link

        Yeah I always liked it-- tho a week or two before they took it down for good it would be a hit and miss and sometimes not work for me??? So I guess even on computers it would choke on itself occasionally

        I'm always in vote for things to be an option. It makes everyone happy in the end.

  • Link

    Maybe you can point this out to the site devs so they can work on those features?

    Plus the site is still, relatively new, as the site says it's still in beta. So far from what I've seen many of the artists here are from FA after the latest, FA drama. Hopefully this site won't suffer that kind of problem in the future.

    Honestly, I think the site is off to a good start. It has some interesting features like cropping a thumbnail off your post and adding art work into your personal collection. Which is separate from your favorites.

    I'm all for being patient, talking with the devs about what you just mentioned and give the site time to grow.

    • Link

      I sent a link to one of the admins about this a few hours ago. :U

  • Link

    Oh and least I forget, the alert when an artist is streaming. It beats having to shuffle through my journals

  • Link

    Definitely bring up some of these things with the developers! The site is still a WIP and folks are very open to suggestions and the admins are very quick to act on issues!

  • Link

    I think you hit the nail on the head for these observations, though I suspect most art sites start out primarily with artists as members and then it grows from there.

    Regarding the colours, I'd probably replace the grey with something warmer that compliments the dark blue. Maybe a reddish orange. I'd still keep it light, mind you, just an off-white orange instead of an off-white grey. Maybe a bit more red for highlights.

    I'd love to see them play with the arrangement of content and features on the artist page. I'm also still waiting for them to add some features discussed months ago in the forum, like a "Comics" tag. Weasyl is the only site where I have to use a generic "Digital Art" tag instead of a "Comics" tag. This also makes it impossible to go searching for comic pages among art submissions.

    In addition, I've read that Weasyl's goal is to be a general art site, rather than a "furry" art site, but they have certainly sabotaged themselves in that regard. Having an anthro weasel as the mascot, one which appears throughout the site, tells me, as an artist, that this is a furry art site. I'd have made the mascot way more iconic and stylized, like the Firefox fox.

    If the Weasyl staff wants the site to continue to grow it will depend highly on them recognizing issues and acting on them. They'll also have to avoid the all-too common trap of putting programmers in charge of site design. You need to pair up a designer with the programmers. They think differently. You can't just be concerned with the code, you need to develop the features that will draw people in and make the site more interesting for both artists and art watchers.

    Still, there's also a lot that I really like and I agree with those who say the site is off to a good start. Overall, I think Weasyl looks more slick than either FA or DA. FA in particular looks pretty drab and utilitarian and DA is way too cluttered with noise. The upload process is a lot smoother and I love the way folders work. If they ever get around to adding the "sequential submissions" features discussed in the forums that will be fantastic as well. Oh man, I've wanted an art site, any art site, to add that for ages now.

    • Link

      I will readily confess that I think the site is kind of deluding itself about the whole "not just a furry archive" business. It's got an animal-themed name, a fuzzy mascot, was conceived within the fandom, and primarily marketed/promoted within it. I think its identity is all but set in stone at this point.

      And I don't think that's a bad thing.

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      Regarding the comics tag, I feel like those are currently too much of a mis-mash. E.g. you can have a "sketch" but also have it be "digital" or "traditional". Why not have a separate "medium" selection, then another for "comic", "sketch", "technical", and so on.

      In the mean time, you can always add "comic" as a keyword. Of course the problem is a lot of artists have some weird phobia about filling in keywords, but it's a start.

      • Link

        I initially brought up the idea of making "Comics" a category like "Characters", but they said that complicated the programming end of the site and that they plan to phase out the "Character" category eventually because of the problems it creates for the site devs. The essence is that there be some way to organize comics, as well as various other types of art, in a way that is easy for creators to sort, and viewers to browse. How they reach that goal is far less important to me than the fact that they achieve the goal.

        As for keywords (aka: tags) I'm not sure it's so much a phobia so much as most sites don't really promote their importance, and worse yet a lot of sites make adding tags far more of a hassle than they ought to be. For instance, why can I not apply a base set of common tags to each of my comic pages? I'm forced to manually add every single tag, even the ones that I apply to every single page. One by one. Every single page. Every single tag. Weasyl is by no means the worst about this (I'm looking at you, Inkbunny) but it could be so much easier on artists.

        That's one reason I get the strong impression that a lot of these sites are designed by programmers without a designer on staff thinking, "How do we make our site easy and fun to use?"

        • Link

          There's always copy-and-paste, but yeah, I get what you mean.

          • Link

            You can copy and paste easy on FurAffinity and DA, not on Weasyl or InkBunny.

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              You can paste into Weasyl, just not edit afterwards. Also I can paste just fine on InkBunny. They've changed it not too long ago.

    • Link

      With regards to a "comics" view sort of thing, currently you can simulate this with folders.

      Let's say you have a comic, titled "My Grand Epic." My Grand Epic is roughly 20 pages or so. You don't want the continuity of the comic to be messed up by your regular submissions, so you create a folder with a title of the same name and submit the pages to it. By doing this, a few things happen:

      • The thumbnail previews at the bottom right-hand side of each image act as a "next" and "previous" tab for the comics.
      • Said thumbnanil previews at the bottom right-hand side will only contain other submissions within that folder.
      • That folder can be modified to not notify your followers on submission, giving you control over how you notify your fans and followers of said comics-- assuming you want to. Perhaps you want them to be notified as each comic page is uploaded to instill the thrill of expectation.

      There is a desire to formalize this in the future. For now, though, as non-obvious as it is, this use of folders can function as the "comics" feature we've discussed on the site. :)

      • Link

        I'd move the "newer/older" thumbnails up to the centre bar which separates the submission from the submission information. The artist avatar image is already on that line, so the submission thumbnails wouldn't look out of place so long as they were aligned with that.

        As it is, the newer/older thumbnails are shoved way down at the very bottom of the page. I'd wager most visitors never even realize they're there.

        Here's a quick mockup I knocked out. http://www.steampowered.net/temp/weasyl%20older-newer%20mockup.jpg

        • Link

          I've been wanting to do that myself. Seems like a much more logical place for it, no? I'll make sure it happens eventually. :)

  • Link

    The lack of dynamic scrollover previews is the main reason why I rarely ever check submissions on Weasyl. When I'm getting dozens of submissions every few hours, I honestly can't be bothered to click on every last one of them to see the whole picture. Instead I have to go by a small, limited thumbnail that probably tells me nothing about the picture as a whole, and so I just delete it without ever checking.

    And yeah, journals are completely lost in this massive column full of text, and when I'm just quickly skimming it's really easy to miss over what actually matters since none of it actually pops out.

  • Link

    if you comment you should win a point, this would help to make users comments on each others works :/
    TBH I don't enjoy Weasyl, don't get me wrong site's lovely, but I don't see anyone here right now

    • Link

      I've often thought point incentives could be a fun way to keep the community active, but I don't think I've ever suggested it to anybody!

      • Link

        that would be nice to see!

  • Link

    the problem is the same for every furry site, people refuse to make things work.

    You get more comments than 90% of artists here because you are "popufur" its not that people dont actively comment they just want to gain attention from "big people" so they get free things

  • Link

    I really suggest, like many others on here, to bring it up to the devs/admins. One thing I like about here is that they actually listen to the userbase and impliment what they can through it. Many of the recent changes and additions to the site have been things that users have brought up and discussed with the staff about.

  • Link

    It's that first one which is, I think, the biggest problem. And I think it will remain a problem until the Collection system gets a serious revamp. More and more, that seems to be one of the bigger objections to this site that I hear from non-artists.

  • Link

    People
    Hate
    Change

    • Link

      ^^^ THIS

    • Link

      Don't they? I'd be mother fucking proud if I made this site. But ok.

  • Link

    True about the artist thing, very few "pure watcher/follower" seem to be underway here, that's at least what I observed from my time here. But like Naoki also said, to change that, more people would be needed here and people hate change and instead stay true to old and maybe-working things if they aren't forcecd to change or there is some significant thing that makes them themselve to change.

    • Link

      yeah, pretty much until the day that FA finally screws itself over entirely and/or kicks the bucket, people aren't going to budge unfortunately =/

      • Link

        Another problem would also be the fundamental incentive for watchers/commissioners coming over but held back because of Weasyls Collections system (which isn't enforced as of now), since one of the things a commissioner wants to do is post "his" commissioned piece and have at least a bit of "control" over it instead of none like here. If the collections system will be enforced fully, then even I'm not sure if I stay here, since I do not have any pictures to post safe for my photography xD

        • Link

          I really doubt they'd re-enforce the collections like they did at the beginning. It was something they were testing to see if it'd work and also used as a way to keep duplicate posts clogging up their brand new servers. When they found out how well the servers were holding up, let alone the communities bums about the system, they got rid of the requirement of using them. It's still preferred/recommended because it does still keep memory usage down and gives a bit better recognition to artists (Ive seen people that for reason dont tell what artist did the commission or dont use a link when giving credit), but is completely optional now.

  • Link

    MOSTLY ARTISTS - Most of the folks here are other artists. Let's face it, many artists are too busy trying to make their work SEEN before they're trying to comment on other peoples' works.

    This is really the big problem. People expect a community to be handed to them without themselves being willing to put in the work to network. Weasyl hasn't been around for nearly as long as FA, DA, and other art gallery websites, so we all have to take the initiative and lead by example. I have faith that this mindset will catch on, eventually, and we will continue to look at ways in which we can improve user layout, site functionality/design, and incentives for people to become and stay more active.

  • Link

    I would loooove to have the thumbnails just smaller versions of the original pix, without the cropping or with the whole cropping thing being optional. I know its likely been said over and over. Staff certainly seems receptive to listening so I'm wondering it something about how the layout is written just won't allow for it. Hoping something will happen down the road to make this better though.

    • Link

      I believe the cropping IS optional when you upload the file. You just continue without cropping the thumbnail.

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        I mean the forced-square shape. It cuts off parts of the image no matter what, unless you have a perfectly square shaped piece.

        • Link

          I just noticed that with my recent upload. That IS kinda weird...

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      Cropping in general needs to die. I get it, it looks all artsy and fancy, but sometimes functionality comes first. Show me the whole picture, right there in the thumbnail, so I can decide if I want to check it out or not. Yes, it's optional, but there shouldn't even be the option. It just ends up making the site that much harder to use.

      Other than that, it just takes people time to migrate over. Despite the staff at FA being unbelievably incompetent, unprofessional and deeply unethical the momentum is there right now, and the sheer inertia of the site is enough to perpetuate its existence. The watchers are all there because the artists are all there, and the artist are all there because the watchers are all there and how will they get commissions if there's no audience etc. It may keep slowly shifting, but it will take time.