Ahmar Wolf’s profile pic
I have an impression that “Furry News” sources are limited to a very select handful of ones with general focus (Flayrah, Adjective Species, or Dogpatch Press). There’s also a few specialized ones (Furstarter, Gaming Furever, Furry.today for videos, or some literary ones with inconsistent presence.)
Furry Times only recently came across my radar. It was by direct outreach from Ahmar Wolf (the founder who may work with a contributor from time to time). It escaped my notice because I had never seen it linked on social media, and it didn’t easily come up in searches for general furry topics. But it’s been steadily active since 2009.
There’s good content at Furry Times, and the furry world needs more of this. Briefly, I’ll say that finding it takes a lot of wading through random and non-furry filler that could benefit from much more focused curation. I’ll give a little critique about that after a few good examples you should see.
- My Interview with Fred Patten – by Ahmar Wolf and Greyflank
- Furries You Should Know: Kiba Wolf
- Anthro (magazine) and Quention Long
- Furries you should know: Kevin Hile
If the blog was focused on stuff with this approach, it could be a real contender for another furry news source beyond just a personal blog. If that doesn’t matter and it’s just a place to put personal thoughts, OK – but if the original content is meant to be seen, it could use focus.
Let’s look at why this blog may be underexposed. (Views are one thing, engagement and recognizable presence are another.)
It’s not obvious what the blog is for. The “about” says almost nothing. The title implies news. The content has multiple personalities – between timely furry information and videos, social media memes best for Facebook, copies of non-furry clickbait, and art/comics.
There’s a huge amount of filler. Even more complicated, it’s mixed with porn art/erotic stories. Now, furries and porn have a special relationship of duality and personal expression. Unlike many other topics/communities, I think that this mix could work well if done carefully. Let’s set the “gray area” of unauthorized sharing aside, and say that at least carefully curating the porn is a Must. Give people a reason to see it here, rather than going to a porn-specific blog. I think that unpredictable sharing of adult stuff can fight against attracting regular viewers interested in informative content (especially if they read at work), or presenting Furry as it’s own legitimate thing (whether the reader is in or out of the fandom.)
I see many posts with comments off. Others have very little if any engagement, a good sign of need for improvement with curation. I would go as far as to say that the amount of posting should discard about 85% of what’s there and consolidate some of the rest with a little added commentary.
The original or timely furry “newsworthy” content seems not to pay enough attention to “new and informative” or at least Voice. Often it’s only mildly interesting stuff you could see anywhere, without consistent timeliness, category, or original information/opinions about it. Random videos and comics without date or credit could at least have a reason for why they’re worth your time.
It’s well known that formal copyright is rarely respected by casual blogs using “internet rules”. I won’t lecture about etiquette. But at the very least, try to consistently credit and link creators and artists, or share it to them directly so they know. For reposting entire pieces, try instead to use an excerpt with link to the original. Doing anything else splits the content between legit and pirate. If it’s meant to share pirate content, take care. Celebrating older stuff that isn’t maintained elsewhere is different from maybe competing directly with creators.
The layout isn’t very appealing for reading long-form stories. It’s kinda cramped in width without much image layout among the words, and it’s lacking bolding etc. to break up the text. It is interesting to see some categories in the links in the side (add a News section?) and especially the “downloads” page.
The very best thing here is when Ahmar comment on the Downloads page: “I have a passion for old furry publications, enough so I decided to make them available for free download.” A focus on that passion could make an extremely interesting curated blog. (I’ll avoid discussing etiquette, and just say that sharing old stuff could be especially welcome if there are some original thoughts or links to more info, every time it’s shared.)
There’s potential here. The above interview articles show it. A lot of trimming is in order to bring it out. Try commenting to Ahmar and see if it helps to aim his work towards what you might want to see. Hearing from readers can be very important to bring out the best.
It seems like Ahmar Wolf really likes running Furry Times. If these suggestions don’t suit, instead of just changing the blog, consider splitting it into several. Having ones for furry news, adult art, and personal stuff could bring more enjoyment for everyone.