(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.