Just a little while ago, my mate Calyo mentioned about the attack on FA, and that FurryNetwork had taken advantage to make a little push for others to join their site. She didn’t seem too enthusiastic when I mentioned that it rubbed me the wrong way, and brought up the whole competition standpoint. That’s what sparked this blog post to be written.
For those not aware, FurAffinity was hit by vulnerabilities in ImageMagick, a popular open source library for creating tools to manipulate images, and ported to many programming languages. As a result, the attacker reportedly downloaded the source code of the site and distributed it on flash drives at Biggest Little Fur Con, as well as supposedly doing some damage to user content. FurAffinity is considered the biggest furry-oriented art site out there, and one of the biggest targets for such attacks due to drama and such regarding site administration.
I’m not happy that so many people are cheering about this happening—in fact, it actually worries the hell out of me. I’m also not all that amused that so many people are telling everyone to jump ship—just like everyone seems to do to every service when something bad happens. I’m rather jaded about such issues at this point, because I know that any website with scripting and actual programming will have problems. Just like a desktop application, there is no such thing as bug free code.
With that said, I’m not too enthusiastic about sites that take advantage of another site’s problems to push their own. My mate chalks it to being a competitive field, but there’s a difference between being competitive, and rubbing salt in an opponent’s wounds. The later is just dickish behavior, and despite the fact that people are usually called out for such behaviour, no one calls out companies and such for it.
I’m not one to be competitive—something which my dislike for competitive games has shown me multiple times. However, I do know that competition is necessary in certain fields, including art sites. That still doesn’t excuse bad behaviour in my book.
I called SoFurry and Weasyl out for the same actions long ago, alongside companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others. I have no problem doing the same to FurryNetwork, or any others. In fact, a real competitor doesn’t need their competition to suffer to pull ahead. They can draw customers of their own volition, so long as they have what those people want.
FurryNetwork is drawing more users—especially well known artists—much more easily than Weasyl and SoFurry, and it’s because of their features and crew. They don’t need to pounce on FurAffinity’s suffering to prop themselves up…and they didn’t. FurryNetwork handled it tactfully and with courtesy, rather than taking the piss out of FurAffinity like others tend to do.
So, why the big wind-up? Because of how my mate phrased the incident, I was worried FurryNetwork used Weasyl’s tactics from a while back: rubbing FurAffinity’s problems in their face while trying to draw users in. I’ve been actively avoiding Twitter as much as possible (the site is nothing more than pure depression for me, and I can’t give two shits what goes on there these days), so I had to actively look up how FurryNetwork handled the situation before I said anything here.
The people who are handling the issue in a tactless manner are, as always, the users who are angry about FurAffinity’s downtime and handling of the situation (“Of course!”). I have no problem with people trying to encourage users to move away from FurAffinity, but some of the reactions actually make me glad that I no longer put the “furry” tag on myself. I won’t link to any of it, but if you go searching around Twitter, you’ll find it rather easily.
That said, I’m done with this rant.