Personally, I think spam is pretty sodium inducing

It’s now over 12 years since I started running servers and taking administrator/moderation roles in various. It all started after I was playing Garry’s Mod 9 in 2006 when it was still a free mod, then in 2007 with the release of Garry’s Mod 10 on Steam I decided that I wanted to host my own server.

Ah, now that’s the Garry’s Mod 9 that I remember, as well as early 10.

It wasn’t easy, of course, turns out there were several steps in the way, namely port-forwarding failing, dynamic IPS being standard in my country so dedicated servers were difficult and getting people to join “Listen” servers I put up was unstable at best. I remember using LogMeIn Hamachi back in the old days to try and get people to joined. It worked, sometimes.

So I practically begged my father to let me have a dedicated server, he eventually caved on the condition that I forfeit all pocket money that I would normally get, which at the time was £2 per week. I got a 10 slot Garry’s Mod server that I ran as a sandbox server, and got my first taste of dealing with FTP and configuring things for that server.

It went pretty well, though one of the things you learn quickly as a new server owner is just how awful players can be and it soon becomes a lesson in how moderation works.

At the time I was 11 years old, and after dealing with multiple player-caused server crashes, took delight in catching griefers before they could damage anything and subjecting them to being ragdolled, set on fire and nailed to crosses in the game to be ‘crucified’ before being blown up and banned.

It seems a little cringy now, but there’s probably very little more annoying to a griefer than being played around with like some toy by a bunch of kids. It is no coincidence that admin mods at the time had many a variety of punishments to inflict on people who broke the rules.

Over time I branched out into various other things, including forums and blogs of sorts, and one of the major issues that always cropped up on top of dealing with griefers, trolls and edgelords was the topic of spam.

A fine example of what will happen to you too, if you don’t make efforts against it

Simply put, if you put a forum up and didn’t take any precautions to prevent spam, within a month you would have thousands upon thousands of bot accounts posting spam threads to affect google rankings per day. Spam-blockers weren’t so effective neither, as many would still get through and you’d spend a few hours a week having to clean them all up and delete accounts.

This is a problem that has only gotten worse with time, as you can often come across wordpress blogs like this one and observe that the comment sections have been flooded with mass amounts of spam, which disguise themselves as legitimate comments while at the same time including links to other sites to boost page rankings for search engines.

It’s the same kind of mechanism that used to be called “Google Bombing“, which was used to get certain pages to appear to certain searches. For example searching “More evil than Satan Himself” used to result in Microsoft as a top result.

This site alone has hit nearly 4000 spam comments since I put it up. There’s simply no realistic way for me to handle it myself manually, so I allow Akismet to stop incoming comments. Any that make it through akismet I review manually myself. But the problem is getting bigger and more concerning.

In particular, the appearance of authenticity for the technology behind these spam bots has been improving, and soon it will be almost impossible for an automated system to detect who is a human and who is a bot.

Captchas don’t even fix the problem either, getting more and more difficult over time as bots continue to improve, there’s very little left that can be done to prevent the encroaching spam problem. It may even come to a point where I have to de-activate comments, or even a Something Awful setup where if you’d like to post anything, first pay a dystopian fee.

Here we go again…

It won’t be long until it has been two years since I’ve posted my article on Gylala, and after about 6 months of being bothered over even writing that, things seemed to have died down on my end. For the most part, I didn’t really need to worry about him anymore, because the article worked as planned:

  • Gylala brings attention to me via complaints.
  • The people outraged by things he has told them look me up and find the article I wrote on him.
  • This creates backlash when they are presented with large amounts of evidence of harassment, zoophilic behaviour and turning a blind eye to pedophiles he’s quite willing to harbor.

At the time I was actually planning on releasing a part 2 article, with all the extra evidence pulled from his discord server, of which I have a full folder of screencaps from that, but for the most part I settled on the original article doing its job well enough; Gylala’s telegram group had the most egregious material on it in any case.

I figured I had done my bit however, as reports were filing in that Gylala was being driven more than a little bit loopy by the continuous accidental posting of artwork featuring my own character in his server. He can’t really escape it anymore, and now he can’t really complain about me, lest he brings attention to me, my blog and the article written about him that he’s ashamed about.

So weren’t we all finished with this?

With 30,000 subscribers his videos have a strange amount of engagement, usually few views with very large amounts of comments on completely silent, low quality uploads. Myself and a few friends suspect he has been buying subscribers to artificially inflate his statistics, this is in-line with his previous invite-botting behavior of a couple years ago.

With all the dust and threats settled down, I figured that’d be the last of it, but it actually seems that people outside of the furry fandom got hold of my article and brought things back to light again. Curiously the community of a game I’ve never heard of nor played, Age of Civilizations where, in the time since writing my article, he has been uploading videos on his channel about it and making maps for the game.

He even has a Patreon now! For someone with 30,000 subscribers, the same amount as Kothorix when I first mentioned that dude in an article, 3 patrons seems somewhat low. Perhaps more evidence of buying subscribers?

All very well, but some people went googling and found my article, resulting in a mini drama spat starting from this tweet. After this, you can find some rather amusing perspectives on a not-so-vetted wiki about mapping for the game. These articles describe a peculiar series of events, ranging from the aforementioned tweet on Gylala’s page to some “anti-mapper” anon guy on his own page. Curiously they all seem to talk about “fake proof”.

“Fake” proof?

I wonder how it is that people came to the conclusion that what is contained in the article is fake. A dose of skepticism is often healthy, so let’s look at what would need to be done to fake the evidence given in the article:

  • The numerous chatlogs would have had to been all faked, up to a very high standard. This would be a massive undertaking.
  • The dialogue in said chatlogs would have had to been engineered to avoid appearing scripted or ‘fake’. People have different writing styles so simulating so many different people realistically would be difficult.
  • The witnesses who were there and are present in the chatlog would have to be bought out.
  • Gylala and his friends would have had to have protested against the accuracy of the evidence at the time. Instead they reacted by complaining about ‘intrusion’ into his private affairs, an admission of guilt.

To all of those who are curious about the authenticity of my article. Yes, it is possible to falsify evidence, simulate realistic dialogue and buy out witnesses, but the probability of this having been done is highly unlikely.

Of course, being the one who curated and collected all of the evidence in the first place, using searches and reading huge swathes of very vile chatlogs, I can attest that everything I included was representative of what took place there.

How can we fact check such things?

Well, one of the first things you could do is visit the people who are mentioned in the chatlogs. Most of them are quite easy to find and interview on the matter. Many people who were previously friends with Gylala have since come to me with testimonies on things he has done and verification on matters talked about in the article.

You could even interview me, as I have a large resource of additional evidence I had collected at the time, but had not written into the original article, and I have quite a few stories and amusing testimonies.

Not that I think it’s likely, but all the same.

Preface – If I’ve linked you this article, your ID checks can be spoofed in minutes, it’s privacy invading and well beyond your responsibilities in running a server.

About a year ago I went ahead and wrote an article against the common practice on Discord servers to IDs as a form of evidence. In Fort Fennec, we don’t do ID checks, because they’re painfully stupid.

Since then, the problem really hasn’t gone away, in fact it had proliferated and now we are in a situation where many particularly large servers have taken up using it, and it’s becoming a widespread practice. The reason why it’s being picked up so frequently is due to watching other people do it, rather than actually weighing up the merits of the system.

Tom Scott had made a particularly relevant video where he mentions signing up to a bank account, and requiring not only a picture of his ID but also a video of him holding it up and waving at them. To actually achieve the purpose of identifying someone in the current age, you need even more than a picture of an ID.

That’s not particularly news to anyone who had read my previous article, where I make an I.D. that you can use to bypass this trivial barrier. In wake of this, some servers have been requesting timestamps or extra things in the background for the I.D. like writing admin names on a piece of paper.

This doesn’t work either, the process to circumventing it is simple and could take less time than some people would take to do it legitimately:

  • Write the required things on a piece of paper, then place any card on top of it.
  • Take a picture with the same angle as your pre-prepared fake ID
  • Photoshop the fake ID onto the card you have on the piece of paper.
  • (Optional) Doctor the image quickly to simulate a cheaper smartphone camera

This can of course also be done with GIMP, a free program.

As mentioned in the previous article, server owners attempt to justify this by suggesting all data but date of birth be censored out, but this actually just makes it easier to doctor the ID and hide the editing work done to prevent reverse image searches.

This is an ID we created last time in under 5 minutes, that will pass almost all ID checks for discord servers

You could start requesting selfies, but then the ID must then also contain a picture of them, and people are going to object harder. Spoofers will still manage to doctor photos and win this.

Let’s make this perfectly clear. If you have ID checks, your server already has minors in your NSFW channels who used a fake ID.

The truth is that ID checks are the problem and not the solution to the minor issue. Minors who are dead set on hiding are going to bypass your system, particularly if you make it clear that the system is out to get them. In Fort Fennec we allow them to get complacent so that they can be caught and roles restricted, all without having to start collecting up IDs that could be later used for nefarious purposes.

Let’s take this to the nuclear level with a scheme:

  • A minor creates a server with NSFW channels, pretends to be an adult and invites their friends, who are in on the scheme
  • The minor puts in an ID collection policy, and collects ID images to allow access to NSFW channels.
  • All of the minors later use the harvested IDs to bypass future servers. Minors can even get people they are collecting IDs on to put in timestamps and write anything they want as ‘verification’.

If you’re thinking to yourself “Almost nobody will ever do this, we’re safe” remember that providing the ability for schemes like this to work increases their frequency and their effectiveness.

Really, the only people you’re blocking are minors who’ve never seen the system before (and they won’t be fooled twice) and people who genuinely protest to you harvesting IDs from them.

Almost nobody makes this argument anymore, it really takes someone who still believes it’s 2007 or more commonly, a lolicon defender to jump to these levels of assumptions. This is how it usually goes down:

  • Loli Fan: Lolicon is good and everyone who disagrees is an idiot.
  • Furry: I think lolicon/cub porn isn’t good because X, Y & Z.
  • Loli Fan: You are a furry, furry porn is just like bestiality, therefore you are a hypocrite.

So right off the bat you can see that this response doesn’t actually tackle any of the points X, Y and Z. Instead it attacks the person making the comment and then it accuses them of being a hypocrite. So we can immediately see dubious tactics from the Loli Fan.

Cool, but is furry porn like bestiality?

Let’s not stop just there, because also there is a false equivalence between furry porn and lolicon, viz. everything in the Loli Fan’s response has no basis. So why is it a false equivalence? Well, we have to examine why we can even compare bestiality/zoophilia to pedophilia to begin with:

Bestiality/Zoophilia Porn contains:

  • Humans performing sexual acts upon
  • Non-human Animals
  • The Animal participants are not sapient and are considered unable to give consent
  • The Human participants are sapient and can give consent
  • Thus, there is a power dynamic where the Humans cannot get consent from the Animals

Pedophilia Porn contains:

  • Adult Humans performing sexual acts upon
  • Human Children
  • The Children are not fully sapient and are considered unable to give consent
  • The Adults are fully sapient and can give consent.
  • Thus, there is a power dynamic where the Adults cannot get consent from the Children

So the underlying equivalent issue is Power Dynamics. In short, Adult Humans have significantly greater power than both Animals and Children, this means that consent cannot be reasonably given in both cases. Thus bestiality/zoophilia porn and pedophilia porn are comparable. However, let’s have a look at where Furry Porn fits into this:

Furry Porn contains:

  • Non-human Anthropomorphic Animals performing sexual acts upon
  • Humans or other Anthropomorphic Animals
  • The Anthropomorphic Animals are fully sapient
  • The Humans are fully sapient
  • Thus, there is no power dynamic as both parties are able to consent.

If you’re still confused, this can be watered down even further to Nekomimi and catgirls:

Catgirl Porn contains:

  • Non-human Nekomimi/Catgirls performing sexual acts upon
  • Humans or other Nekomimi
  • The Nekomimi are fully sapient
  • The Humans are fully sapient
  • Thus, there is no power dynamic as both parties are able to consent.

So why even try to claim equivalency?

The real reason is that Furry Porn has a certain ‘ick’ factor to it and because Lolicon has too an ‘ick’ factor the false assumption is that they’re equal because they’re ‘icky’. This ignores that Furry Porn doesn’t have the moral power dyamic issues of bestiality, while Lolicon/Cub Porn frequently shows power dynamic abuse.

Additionally, the Anime fandom has held rampant hatred for the Furry Fandom for a long time, and now that they’re under fire with legitimate criticism from all sides including from furries, they’re reverting to old techniques. Furries are long since used to being incorrectly called “dog-fuckers” despite surveys clearly showing disapproval and negative feelings towards Zoophilia in the fandom, with a minority in support.

Current activism in the fandom has placed massive pressure on zoophiles and cub porn fans, and many are being forced out of the fandom and ostracized. The same people falsely called out for ‘basically liking bestiality porn’ are ironically the same people who protested hard against zoophiles in the fandom already.

Follow up non-arguments

After you’ve pointed this out to a Lolicon fan though, expect to get one of these thrown in your face in a desperate attempt to appear relevant:

  • But she’s really a 6000 year old witch!
    • This is a meme, not an argument. Sticking a sign saying “i am 6000 years old” next to a picture of a 8 year old doesn’t change the fact that you just want to jerk off to pictures of 8 year old children.
  • Furries are into horsecock and knots, how is that not bestiality?!
    • Furries are sure into unusual shaped genitalia, including many of mythical creatures, which also many non-furries are coincidentally into. However this has nothing to do with sexually abusing animals or depicting sexual abuse of animals. You just think it’s ‘icky’, while also depicting sexual abuse of children.
  • But it’s animal genitalia, that means you want to have sex with animals!
    • Nah, the majority of furries have zero sexual interest in non-sapient creatures like real animals or even depictions, and this is backed up by data.
  • The statistics are wrong, furries must have lied on the survey!
    • Police don’t pour effort into tracking down zoophiles like they do pedophiles, and it was an anonymous survey, there is zero incentive for any of the participants to lie.
  • Furries literally just had one of their own arrested for raping animals!
    • The evidence against them was collected and filed to the police by furries, and they were publicly shamed and denounced by almost the entire fandom.
  • GTA V doesn’t encourage mass violence, so Lolicon doesn’t encourage pedophilia!
  • Lolicon is only drawn artworks, it’s not pedophilia!
    • You have a sexual preference for porn containing depictions of children, what’s that called?
  • It’s artwork, you just want to ban and censor art!
    • This is like saying the Nazi flag can’t be banned for use as a racist hate symbol because at some point somebody drew it.
  • Are you going to ban 400 year old pictures of naked baby angels, is that what you want?
    • False equivalency of tasteful nudity in classical artwork and pornography marketed towards pedophiles.
  • What about Furry Feral Porn with depicted real animals?

Small note on the data as also mentioned in the source, the rate of zoophilia in the furry fandom may not actually be measurably or meaningfully greater than the rate of zoophilia in the general population. Statistical evidence shows no firm link from the furry fandom to bestiality.

 

Preface

Besides the cute and well-designed mascots, e621 is a staple of the furry community in that it operates as the universal catalog for all furry artwork and unlike the way FurAffinity works, it actually allows you to find what you’re looking for. Unlike FurAffinity, which is effectively a furry form of DeviantArt that is held together with duct tape and wishful thinking, e621 is a pure imageboard. Unlike imageboards like 4chan and the furry spinoffs like ychan, fchan, pawsru and the like, e621 uses the “booru” variant of boards spawned from Danbooru. The difference? While 4chan and derivatives came from 2chan, a board based on discussion, they primarily focused on “discussion, with images”, whereas boorus operate as “images, with discussion”. It’s a subtle difference, but the fact is that with e621, images come first and foremost.

That may seem quite obvious, but take into account that it avoids or mitigates the following things that FurAffinity and other boards are plagued by:

  • Derailment of threads, making it impossible to focus on image posts
  • Censorship of comments by the post author.
  • Environment of fans around posts made by a given author, resulting in a yes-men approach in the comments.
  • Search being inconsistent or non-existent, making finding things a matter of luck.
  • The intentions of the author being equal to or more important than an image.
  • Popularity and reception of pieces being tied to the amount of followers of the poster, rather than the quality.

In effect, e621 is likely to be the only way a furry art host could hope for a neutral, hard to derail and non-toxic environment. Here’s some examples that may make you think about why this is:

  • Kaylier, an artist on FluffArea, makes a politically motivated post. In the comments, those agreeing are allowed to rage, threaten and blast those that disagree, while people that disagree are blocked and mocked in the comments section
    • When Kaylier’s art appears on e621, some commenters follow from her page, and leave toxic political remarks on the page. The comments are downvoted by the e621 community, and eventually a moderator comes in and cleans up the most disruptive comments, while the unpleasant ones remain hidden.
  • Zausage, a furry user on the knotchan image board starts a thread on canine characters, but it is derailed within a matter of minutes when it is swarmed by anonymous people arguing over the midterm elections.
    • On e621 the images have already been uploaded, and there are thousands of images to access, and additional uploads are welcomed, without any chance of derailment happening.
  • N 0 1 D, a furry fan, notices a nazi fur piece that looks like it’s traced, and the style looks awfully like another artist, Malvie. He tries to check their gallery on FA for the picture, but as it is exceptionally long it’s extremely difficult.
  • Ghoul, an artist, uploads a new image to FluffArea. It goes largely unnoticed and while he put a lot of effort in, FluffArea actually works via networking and follower farming, not quality in terms of features for images.
    • On e621, the uploaded image receives similar exposure to everything else. Images are on equal footing to get onto the popular submissions section for that day and keep climbing, allowing even unknown artists to make a hit.

e621 Take-downs

However, despite this e621 has been repeatedly put into a negative light as of late, and it comes as a result of multiple people hitting the site with take-downs. Typically, these take-downs are for trivial reasons that e621 as a site can do nothing about. The people issuing these take-downs will then go on to slag off the site and try to persuade other people to take artwork down off of the site. If e621 ceased to be the best catalog for furry images, FurAffinity would suddenly become the next step down, meaning no equal platform for reception from creators and no functional search system for images. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that people give towards pulling away their artwork from the site:

1. Art theft

Usage of images without permission is a problem all over the furry fandom, and frankly e621 is not to blame for this. It’s more of an attitude problem that isn’t likely to be solved by simply removing images from e621 altogether. Taking down art pieces from e621 reduces their exposure to everyone, so while it may hide the image away from art thieves looking on the site for their next avatar, it also prevents people who aren’t at fault from seeing your works. In the extreme case that includes Strype, where the lack of posting the images on FurAffinity instead has now made it impossible to find his new images.

And while we’re at it, e621 can be used to find the character owner and artist of pictures that are being misused. In this case it gradually becomes easier to steal the artwork of people who aren’t recognized on e621 without being detected.

2. Comments

You’re allowed to comment without having to worry about whether the author of the piece likes your comment or not on e621. So long as you follow the general e621 rules you’re more than welcome to criticize, make jokes and say things about the negative parts of an image that you simply would either never or almost never see on a website like FurAffinity. However, this has the potential to make some creators absolutely, unreasonably mad. Like Jiggy McJigglebones and his waifu. I honestly don’t know what to say to people like this, other than point out they have thin skin and should get out more.

3. Gender… issues?

I’m going to try my best to take this one seriously, because I honestly struggled a great deal to wrap my head around it when I first saw it. At some point several artists started taking down their pieces from e621 because the characters in the pictures were being tagged with the wrong gender. Right, except for the fact that e621 is an image search engine and needs accurate tags based on what you can see in the image only. This is the famous rule that’s called tag what you see. It’s not always implemented perfectly, for instance I still think the ruling on the Reggie animations doesn’t have a lot of backing behind it, but without the rule it would become quickly impossible to search for images correctly.

If you want to see just how bad it gets if people create their own tags, try searching for anything on FurAffinity.

So why does this matter so much? Well, some of the characters were apparently trans, although in the images they were drawn as not fully transitioned, and typically with no scars or otherwise to indicate surgery. This conflicts with the idea that people typically make intersex characters for fun all the time. Visually, without extra hints in the image it is impossible to distinguish an intersex character from a transgender character. So you can’t just tag these images as transgender, so they are tagged with tags to refer to the intersex features, and this is where people started getting really angry about it.

What terms does e621 use to define the genders in this case? Well, it uses male, female, herm, dickgirl, cuntboy. People typically get into a huff about the last two items, although they’re porn terms and simply used because they concisely describe present sexual features. The argument is that these terms are slurs, although they’re predominantly used online to refer to intersex characters in the furry fandom, or among hentai fans to refer to “futanaris”. The issue is context, and the context is that e621 is using the words to assist search only, and not as slurs to insult trans people, and besides, most of the characters they’re being applied to aren’t even claimed to be trans.

If this is you, seriously consider taking your hate out on something that’s actually trying to offend you, and not a tagging system that powers the most powerful furry search engine in existence. Jesus.

4. e621 doesn’t deserve my traffic!

You’re not fooling anyone, Jiggles.

Misdirected anger

I almost feel like these reasons that people have been using for take-downs are ultimately stemmed from them being mad at some other issue, then coming over and taking it out on e621.

You’re mad about anti-trans shit? Why don’t you stand up to people who are actually being shitty to you instead of taking it out on a search engine.

Comments bother you? Then you need to work on that, and realize that muting people is the wrong way of going about it.

Art Theft? It’s inevitable, if you’re famous on e621 someone is just going to report them anyway, and the furry community is not putting up with thieves either.

Do you realize what would happen if e621 actually stopped being used? If you decide you’re going to start pulling take-downs on boorus I would like to see your reaction to a successor to e621 put on a Russian no-DMCA host that just posts everything. Because it would make a fuckton of money from advertising, and no amount of take-downs would be able to harm something like that. So do us all a favor and appreciate the fact that we have a furry image board that respects legal artist requests and has helped carry many artists up to the top already.