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|Author(s)||Owners: Alex Vance|
FurRag was a furry fiction archive which caters to all types and genres of furry literature. It was built on the EFiction archiving software and offered multi-chapter story creation, automated word count, and fields for story summaries and authors' notes, per story and per chapter.
FurRag was started in 2005 with the goal of being the definitive furry fiction archive, dedicated to catering to all tastes and all genres. Deployed in Beta form in time for the 2005 National Novel Writing Month, development stalled after the coder who'd assisted FurRag's founder, Alex Vance, had to leave the project.
Toumal, founder of the Yiffstar archive, offered the use of his site's codebase several times, and Alex passed on several of the features he'd originally planned to implement, some of which later appeared in Yiffstar and its successor SoFurry. (such as the availability of an oekaki-board connected to each story, easier chapter navigation, and a more extensive favorites system).
In April 2007, after several months of working on the project solo, Alex announced that FurRag was now out of Beta. Thoroughly redesigned, the site featured a sleeker interface and expanded functionality. Users can choose to receive e-mail notifications when an update has been made to a story, collection or by an author they've marked as 'favorite' and FurRag now features an integrated review system rather than having an automated bridge to the site's forum, as implemented in the Beta version (the code for this bridge had been provided by Toumal).
FurRag was the first furry site to offer "series" or "collections." A collection is a set created by a user which can contain any story available on the site, and stories can be part of an unlimited number of collections. Anyone who found a collection they were interested in could mark it as a 'favorite' and receive notification whenever a new story is added to it.
Collections could also be made "open," in which case any reader could add stories to the collection, or "moderated," which offered the same freedom but which required the collection's creator to approve a story's addition to the collection. The notion was that readers with a particular set of interests would start groups for those interests, and add any story they encounter that's relevant to those collections.
FurRag's collections can be seen in very similar form on SoFurry (as "groups") and in a somewhat similar form on Weasyl.
FurRag and SoFurry
During the development of SoFurry, plans had been made to merge FurRag's user base into the new site. FurRag would have then been slowly shut down. After considerable outcry from the FurRag user community over perceived differences in focus--FurRag being seen as more of a writers' community than a reader-focused archive site--these plans were shelved. FurRag continued as an independent site. While Alex continued to provide hosting for FurRag, he withdrew from day-to-day operations, joining SoFurry's staff as a designer.
Data breach and shutdown
In September 13, Alex posted a message to FurRag's forum:
I've been made aware of a list of usernames, e-mail addresses and MD5 hashes that has been leaked and determined that it was stolen from FurRag on 2 September.
For the security of our users I'm putting the site in Maintenance Mode until further notice, while I seek help in investigating the source of the security breach, the nature and extent of it, and what solutions there can be.
In the meantime, I advise you all to change the password on any accounts you have that use the same e-mail and password combination as you use for FurRag. Note that this is precautionary advice: there's currently no evidence that anyone has access to your password.
Alex believed that the list contained usernames from multiple sites that used the EFiction software. A follow-up post on September 29th announced FurRag would not re-open:
I've had only limited success in securing information about why the list of usernames, e-mail addresses, and password hashes was able to be retrieved. (...) I've reached out to a few nerd acquaintances, none of whom are available to review and overhaul the codebase. This is understandable; it's a massive amount of work and it's a serious responsibility.
(...) All this means that, as it currently looks, FurRag is destined for the knacker's yard. We can't in good conscience keep the site up, knowing that our users' information is at risk due to unknown and unfixed security flaws in the codebase. We don't have the resources to fix it ourselves.
FurRag will be shut down, but I'm currently investigating how to best do that. On the one hand, it would be good to leave the site on in a read-only fashion so that folks can get at their stories and comments and archive them somehow; on the other hand, doing so would prevent folks from being able to delete stories, or their own profiles, should they not wish them to be available anymore. Further, it does not currently appear that the eFiction codebase even has a facility for a read-only mode.
In February 2014, Chipotle was given access by Alex to the source code and database in order to create a static version of the site, allowing existing content to be read but not added to. FurRag's forums remain open.
When the site was first created, Alex Vance commissioned artist Kamui to design four characters to represent the four user types originally devised in FurRag's functionality scheme. With the April 2007 update, the number was reduced to three. The mascots were Jack Rad, a fox who represented the reader; Nick Brilliant, a solitary wolf who represented the writer; and Dick McCritic, a raccoon who represented the editor.