Last Journal on Fur Affinity by Renashe

(If this journal violates any of Weasyl's rules, please notify me and I will amend as needed.)

TLDR; I joined FA staff and was removed. I don’t think they can be helped. I tried.
Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well. There is a lot I'd like to share with you. Over the past several months I have become more aware of the inner workings of the administration of this website. This community has grown to be a major part of my life on both a professional and personal level, as I'm sure it has for most. This place allows for talented individuals to develop a fanbase and support themselves through the desire to create. Nothing compares to the uniqueness of the furry community and it's a fandom that I'm proud to represent. Despite the happiness and positives regarding Fur Affinity, I can respectfully say that I've tried everything I could to help steer the decisions made from upper management into the direction of the community's best interests. I was unable to do so and the actions I took resulted in my forced removal from site staff.
I was a member of Fur Affinity's staff from February to June of this year. I was not permitted to disclose my involvement despite my resistance to the concept of keeping staff members anonymous from the community. I signed onto the team under the impression that I'd be working for Ferrox LLC, and was hopeful to contribute my efforts to making the website a better place. I was proven wrong in both instances.
I had always been interested in changing the pace of things here, and I started by drawing [url=http://www.furaffinity.net/view/15172933/]this image[/url]. It is a statement intended to raise awareness of the neglect of the community from the website's directors. I was moved to this action due to previous experiences interacting with staff, the most notable instance was when I’d paid for an advertisement banner on Fur Affinity. I'd endured smaller issues previously, but what resonated most was when I clicked on my own banner to find myself directed to a 404 page containing my full legal name. Other users confirmed that my name was visible. I was disgusted with the unprofessionalism and expressed these feelings to Dragoneer. I was given a month of free ad time and some reassurances, but it was the third instance that my banner had been extended due to issues on the site's end. At that point I just wanted it to work. I was simply met with instance after instance of neglectful actions that appeared to grow worse. The incident faded and hadn't heavily concerned me at the time, and I was content to continue posting my artwork here.
Time had passed, it was then around January 2015 when the site was advertising for new staff members. I was excited for the opportunity to ensure that no other user was to be treated in the same way I had been, and to gain an honest understanding of how management was run. I put in an application and hoped for the best. I was later contacted by Dragoneer directly via note where he asked that I no longer bring up the release of my legal name incident, because he would feel uncomfortable with bringing someone on staff that he felt would "drag out" the scenario and thus hold a grudge. This had taken me aback, as I had been discussing the event with another artist on her journal where she specifically asked what other's experiences were in regards to advertising on the website, and I gave my answer to her. I told Neer that I'd only be looking forward and it would not be a problem. I was accepted and brought on the team, but I was not permitted to tell anybody about my work for the website, which would be limited to answering trouble tickets. Additionally, I was convinced that I would be working directly for the community and not a corporate non-furry entity when I first stepped on. I was devastated to hear about the merger that had occurred with IMVU, which was revealed well after I was already on staff. Despite this, I accepted my tasks and performed to the best of my abilities, but not without some resistance to various policies and practices. I particularly was against keeping the identities of staff members a secret from the community and although I provided evidence from the userbase specifically asking for such transparency, the attitudes of the administration maintained that they knew what they were doing and would not change.
I continued to work on trouble tickets, and I really enjoyed it. It gave me a way to directly help the users that I wanted so badly to speak with during a time when I wanted to take action to make things better. I had completed 500+ trouble tickets by the time I was forcibly removed from staff; it was not my performance as a moderator that got me removed. Several events led to my personal frustrations and dismissal, those of which included the late but eventual completion of the staff page. The page said it would return in "early April" up until late May after much pestering from myself, but was not without the continuous stream of excuses that followed each inquiry. Another instance was the abandonment of the monthly banner, which remained a winter theme up until an artist simply posted their contribution on Dragoneer's wall in June. I'd been asking for it to change for all too long by the time he was finally compelled to do it, but only after somebody had simply put it in front of him on the same day. Also came the new implementations of IMVU's advertisements, starting with the sidebar placed next to each and every art submission on the site. I voiced my disapproval, as did you users, and it was thankfully removed. I was publicly vocal about my misgivings, and each time I was instructed to refrain from disclosing how I felt, both in and out of the staff room. I was always told that I needed to speak with the upper admins directly and not voice concerns in any other manner. I had been doing this initially, but as time went on, I began to understand what was worth bringing to them. Each time I'd spoken to any of them directly as they insisted, I was met with disregard and defensiveness.
When it came time for the next IMVU implementation, namely the explicit pornographic ads, I voiced my concerns publicly on my artist account on the Fender journal. I did not go to site staff due to past experiences proving to be fruitless, and I wanted to encourage other users to ask questions and be involved. Dragoneer saw my comments and recoiled defensively; multiple times telling me that I'd insulted, attacked, and berated him publicly. He accused me of working out of self interest and promoting drama; I've only strived to help the community. I was promptly removed like so many staff members before me.
This story is nothing new. Throughout my experiences I did encounter other staff members with good intentions, but with voices that were never heard by upper management. Through tolerance and hard work, I watched as frustration grew between those who pushed for change and the administrators who did nothing to collaborate between them.
I saw every opportunity for professionalism pass over us, and the attitudes remained indifferent and cold. Conflict is ignored and any negativity, even constructive criticism is received as hateful. They do not walk towards conflict as leaders do; they run from it and remove any memory of there being an issue in the first place. My attachment to FA shifted rather quickly once I understood just how much the users mattered to those claiming to want to help them. The perpetual silence of “transparency” between the community and staff has stagnated for too long and I welcome any questions you have, because you deserve to be answered. That said, more information is available here, as well as the true attitudes of those who claim to lead us. I invite you to read and evaluate what I've given and for you to make your own conclusions on the direction of this art community website.
As for myself, I cannot stay here. I cannot support this website. I cannot remain here to build my artistic identity where I am not respected or listened to, a place where I know for a fact that my concerns carry no weight, staff member or not. The only reason this site survives is from the content produced by the hard working and talented creators that make this community what it is. The relationship between the producers and consumers is what binds everyone together. The power lies there and it belongs with us. The passion to create that resonates within us will never be lost, and I look forward to whatever future waits for me, because I'm not waiting on Fur Affinity any longer.

Last Journal on Fur Affinity

Renashe

16 August 2015 at 11:53:06 MDT

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  • Link

    Renashe, do you think that FA will continue to deteriorate now that there is so much private money behind it? Were you privy to any inner workings that you can disclose not protected by an NDA to give users an idea of where it is heading? Remember when the IMVU thing hit, it was worrying to say the least and shared a sentiment with someone I know that the fact that FA should be something community focused and free of influences outside that community. Seems like it will only get worse from here on out.

    • Link

      What I've said is what I feel; that I am not convinced that things can improve.

      • Link

        And you're right. It has been going to crap. FurAffinity is now attacking the less popular artists when it comes to reminders for adopts, auctions, and YCH! They have threatened a whole bunch of artists to suspend them and even go so much as to ban them. A whole lot of people have been complaining about it to the point where Dragoneer said "He would see what to do about it."

        It's a mess and it really has destroyed my hopes in becoming a successful artist, even during my time of need. College has been hell for me. It took me a while to even raise a small amount of money for books and art supplies. The admins at FA took down all my notifications for adopts and I felt so awful because I was asking myself, "How the hell am I supposed to pay for my books now?" My relatives found about my financial struggles and they ended up sending me money to help. A dear friend from Australia sent me 50 bucks to even try to buy one cheap book.

        It was sad to see that I had to go through that amount of crap to even get anywhere thanks to FA being so shameful and harsh.

        (TL;DR I was venting out my frustration about FA and how they have treated artists like me.)

        So yeah. What you are saying is true. That site will never get better.

  • Link

    Ah, Renashe...I know how much love and effort you've tried to put into that site--and I am so sad to hear that it has finally driven you to looking at other places to center your art and business. hugs

    You can't fix what is irrevocably broken...I know you really tried to do what you could, I know how much you've involved yourself and spoken with people about improving and making the site truly for the community it is supposed to serve. And I say you are amazingly brave to make a choice to leave...since I know what the site (as a personal haven and business center) meant to you. I hope that you can make your way on new sites and get all the support that you and your art deserve.

    Mostly I don't hear much about FA anymore...and when I do, it's something that sounds crazy. I wish people would realize how bad the site is and join others in abandoning it and making another site just as social and as worthy as a business community. But people seem set in their ways and won't go no matter what. A few people I've tried keeping in touch with that I knew from the site have chosen to ignore me since I left...and I admit it makes me sad to think people were only friends with me simply because I talked to them on FA. I hope you will take care of yourself and keep working on your art and your business with all the joy and enthusiasm as you have always had.

    • Link

      I did love the site. I'm still heartbroken; but I'm ready to move on. I'm not waiting for them anymore.

      • Link

        Good for you! You can do it...hang in there! hugs

    • Link

      I don't ignore you D: Or at least I don't try ;a; I actually try and keep in contact :p

      • Link

        It's other people! hugs

        You always talk to me when you can or if I reach out to you! :D

  • Link

    Kudos for what you've done.

    I was an admin on FA from 2007 to 2008, and it became very clear Dragoneer did not have the qualities needed to run the site and would never change or improve himself, and looking at this most recent stuff it's clear that he's still the same old 'neer, who can't take criticism, who lashes out at people telling the truth, who cannot bear to delegate etc etc etc.

    Dragoneer was talking about how he was going to implement NDAs back in 2007. Took him a long time to get around to them, and even then it was cack handed. That's our 'neer!

    • Link

      Thanks very much for speaking up, it's assuring to know that I am not alone in this. He has not shown qualities demonstrative of a leader, as much as I hoped he had them.

  • Link

    Just wanted to say im sorry they did this to you and banning others as well, stay strong tho

    • Link

      Thanks a ton! Much appreciated.

  • Link

    Thanks for doing what you did, and good to see you being vocal over here as well.

  • Link

    Thank you for speaking up. I appreciate your transparancy and your concerns. It's one of many sad stories with FA that make me simply shake my head and sigh.

    These are the types of things I kept hearing over and over about the site that deeply worried me, and combining with IMVU was the last straw for me. I'm glad to be following you here, and I hope that weasyl proves to be all it seems cracked up to be - a better home for our art than FA will, unfortunately, ever be at this rate.

    • Link

      And thanks very much for commenting here. It took a lot for me to want to leave FA.. but here we are.

  • Link

    Hay dear, (since you did took out transparency, you get me over here <.< wow normally lazy woof) I've seen the last news already, a permanent bann from furaffinity, since you tried to help them and did a lot of things for them on the side. That what I've seen is just fucked up, to bann someone with the reason of showing off what exactly is going on up there isn't nice. But you got here and i totally happy to see you on here~ sparkle fluffy woof is also here now so no more to worry about ^.^ snuggles you with his plushy and make you all compfy

    • Link

      Good to see you here Dune, thanks for the support :]

  • Link

    It is such a shame that a hard worker, and an amazing artist was banned. Im very grateful for the time and effort you put into the site, and how passionate, and dedicated you were. It only opens up my eyes to see the issues that were at fault. I still have hope for FA to be making positive changes, but i will not be waiting. Thank you so much for clearing some of my own personal concerns, and that i can still follow you here =]

    • Link

      Hello! I really appreciate your kindness and response. I hope that one way or another, my story will push for changes for FA. Hope to see you around :]

  • Link

    Thank you for speaking up. It's just more evidence Dragoneer is not a fit leader, neither is the entourage of friends/partners he has working 'with' him. Granted this is adding more proof to the almost decade of his failure as a leader.

    • Link

      I had heard stories like these but never imagined writing my own.. How many more ex-staff will it take? Especially now that all forum moderators have stepped down.

      • Link

        It will take him getting forcibly removed from FurAffinity before he realizes how wrong and tyrannical he is.

  • Link

    A great read and a real eye-opener. Thank you for this.

    • Link

      I'm glad it is appreciated, thank you for caring.

  • Link

    -GIVES A MILLION PATS AND SNUGS-
    It's so sad to see yet another person have the will to fight broken by the admins over at FA. :/ It's really disheartening.

    • Link

      I hate to say it, but they behave exactly like children. They are immature, sensitive and rash.

      • Link

        Exactly this. So impulsive too. They don't think about their actions at all.

        • Link

          -nodsnods- u_u I'm sure half of them wouldn't be so bad if they at least had a proper leader. Especially since a lot of them wouldn't be in power.

  • Link

    Do you intend to repost your gallery here at some point? You should probably demand that they delete it from your FA before they give it to IMVU for free commercial use or other things that could possibly even come back to hurt you.

    I've known FA has been dying for a while. But artists are too stupid, lazy, or ignorant to leave. So I'm forced against my will to stay there.

    • Link

      " But artists are too stupid, lazy, or ignorant to leave"

      This I unfortunately have to disagree with. While that demographic does exist per say, I think a decent majority of artists have no choice BUT to stay. Due to the overwhelming fact that, unfortunately, FA is the "rite of passage" in becoming a furry, /almost everyone/ has a FurAffinity account, or did at one time. Simply put, a majority of the customer base is on FurAffinity, and are reluctant to move unless a hugely popular artist [Wolfy-nail, Zaush. etc] make the 100% move from FurAffinity and set an example. Therefor, smaller name/Medium name artists are unable to leave and take a large userbase with them. It's a neverending battle. However calling those people who are literally forced to stay "stupid", "Ignorant", or "Lazy", is a bit immature without due course.

      • Link

        I do not believe that FA has to be the "right of passage". Just because it's popular now doesn't mean it can't fall. The artists stay, because the watchers/commissioners stay. The commissioners/watchers stay, because the artists stay. It's a loop. If the artists were to leave, more and more artists were to start moving their gallories, even duplicating them like some do (and I did till this recent event), the watchers and commissioners would start leaving too.

        I think that Dragoneer is convincing/forcing some of the high end massive top of the line artists to stay, so that he knows he is secure so long as he can keep them there. I still call those artists (the top ones that stay for no real reason) idiots, regardless of their reason. They know damn well that if they were to take a stance and leave, others would follow and soon the site would die and then EVERYONE, would be on Weasyl or SF. They stay because they don't want to move, it's too much hassle moving thousands of pictures. Or because Dragoneer might have given them something like sex, money, or even blackmailed. Or because they just don't believe the rumors of how bad FA is getting. I don't know. I just know that I got sick of being forced to stay.

  • Link

    I don't know why people think FA can be saved. It's dead, Jim.

  • Link

    I'm glad that you gave it your all for the site! Thank you.

  • Link

    so thats what happened im sorry this happened to you >.=.<