Silver Eagle

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Silver Eagle's fursona, as drawn by Sirod Gonzales.

Silver Eagle is a web developer in the Brony and Furry communities. In the Brony community, he built and directed the Ponyville Live media network from early 2013 to late 2015. He briefly worked with Fur Affinity in late 2015 and early 2016, and his departure and subsequent launch of the short-lived site FurryDigital sparked controversy.

Fursona[edit]

Silver Eagle has most often been seen in pony form, as a bright silver pony with striped yellow and white hair. As a furry, he opts to keep the "eagle" theme, taking the form of a North American bald eagle in a black and blue suit. He is often seen holding a microphone or wearing headphones, as a nod to his time in fandom media as an announcer and host.

Convention Attendance[edit]

2012[edit]

  • Brony Fan Fair / September 8-9 / Austin, TX

2013[edit]

  • Las Pegasus Unicon / February 22-24 / Las Vegas, NV
  • Brony-Fest / March 29-31 / Lewisville, TX
  • Equestria LA / May 10-12 / Anaheim, CA
  • Fiesta Equestria / June 28-30 / Houston, TX
  • BronyCon / August 2-4 / Baltimore, MD
  • BronyCAN / August 23-25 / Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Brony Fan Fair / September 13-15 / Austin, TX
  • Nightmare Nights Dallas / November 8-10 / Dallas, TX

2014[edit]

  • BABSCon / April 18-20 / San Francisco, CA
  • TrotCon / June 20-22 / Columbus, OH
  • Fiesta Equestria / July 11-13 / Houston, TX
  • Brony Fan Fair / September 5-7 / Austin, TX
  • Nightmare Nights Dallas / October 24-26 / Dallas, TX

2015[edit]

  • Texas Furry Fiesta / February 20-22 / Dallas, TX
  • BABSCon / April 3-5 / San Francisco, CA
  • Fiesta Equestria / June 26-28 / Houston, TX
  • Nightmare Nights Dallas / October 23-25 / Dallas, TX

2016[edit]

History[edit]

Ponyville Live![edit]

From February 2013 to December 2015, Silver Eagle served as the webmaster and director of the Ponyville Live! (or "PVL") media network. PVL is a confederacy of independent radio stations and podcasts that work together to share common services (mobile and web apps, APIs, playback data, statistics, web hosting, etc) and provide coverage of Brony conventions.

PVL's first covered convention was the ill-fated "Las Pegasus Unicon" in late February 2013. The network would go on to offer free convention coverage of dozens of MLP conventions in the three years that it invested heavily in convention coverage. As a result of Silver Eagle's dwindling funds, he announced in October 2015 that PVL's last North American convention would be Nightmare Nights Dallas 2015, later in the same month. PVL continues to cover conventions internationally.

After beginning his work with FurAffinity (see below), Silver Eagle announced his retirement from the position of PVL's director, effective at the end of December 2015. The organization changed hands, being transferred to the Poniverse network, with Alex "Dusk" Howard serving as the network's new director.

Ponyville Live's codebase is built as open-source software, licensed under the Apache 2.0 software license. The "PVLive" repository is the current home of the web application. It served as the base of Silver Eagle's proposed rewrite of the FurAffinity backend code.

Fur Affinity Controversy[edit]

Silver Eagle began working with Fur Affinity in October 2015, after approaching site owner Dragoneer and discussing the site's needs for web development. As a member of the brony fandom, he was unaware of previous issues with FA's development and knew only that the site "needed help". Dragoneer added him to FA's tech team.

Silver Eagle encountered issues working alongside the site's lead tech team member, Yak. Silver Eagle stated that Yak's unwillingness to trust new team members or third-party services in operating FA made it nearly impossible for a new developer to get started. Dragoneer agreed to a full rewrite of the FurAffinity application, the latest of many such attempts to rebuild the FA web application. The project was code named "Daedalus" and work began in early November, 2015.

In return for his time spent working on the web site, Dragoneer indicated on multiple occasions that FA, thanks to its recent acquisition by IMVU, could compensate Silver Eagle for his work on the site. Despite this, by late January 2016 no payment had been supplied for any work. On January 26, after e-mailing IMVU and hearing that (contrary to Dragoneer's claims) no contract existed in his name, Silver Eagle published a video titled "The ClusterFur" describing his experience inside FurAffinity and concern about his non-payment. The video sparked a firestorm of criticism towards FurAffinity and IMVU, with many commenters insisting that legal action be pursued against the company; Silver Eagle refused, opting to speak directly with IMVU representatives about the issue. Two days later, on January 28, Silver Eagle posted an update video in which he describes IMVU's quick resolution of the payment issue. Fearing further public backlash, IMVU had acted quickly to begin ACH transfers of the agreed-upon compensation. Silver Eagle announced on Twitter that the funds had been received the following Monday.

As the controversy over his compensation brewed, Silver Eagle chose to release "FAOpen", a repository containing the Daedalus rewrite project that he had been working on since early November, to the public on GitHub. The new project had been licensed under the Apache 2.0 open-source software license and was based heavily on Silver Eagle's previous PVLive codebase.

During the dispute over payment for his time at FA, Silver Eagle stopped working with the organization entirely.

FurryDigital Launch and Shutdown[edit]

Fearing his FA rewrite code would remain unused and abandoned, Silver Eagle forked his FAOpen repository and completed the basic implementation steps needed to operate the site as a standalone entity. He rebranded the entire site, removing FurAffinity's name and graphics and replacing them with a new name, "FurryDigital" (based on the site's domain name, furry.digital). Nevertheless, as the project was based on the FAOpen codebase, the site's user interface bore a strong resemblance to FA's, and some static page content (such as the Terms of Service and Code of Conduct) were left unchanged from the FAOpen code. He launched the new FurryDigital web site into an "early alpha" on February 15, 2016, releasing the code to GitHub alongside the project's launch.

On Friday, February 19 (four days after the site's launch), Silver Eagle was contacted by an IMVU Vice President, who informed him that the company took issue with the resemblance of the site's UI to FurAffinity's beta style, and the direct use of the FA terms and conditions, suggesting that legal may be contacting him as soon as the following Monday. Silver Eagle took the issue to Twitter, where support from the public was mixed. Following a group discussion regarding his conduct in the chat and attitude towards others, members of a Telegram-based "DevFurs" group removed him from their chat that weekend; in response to this, Silver Eagle closed down FurryDigital and removed both its codebase and the "FAOpen" repository from the web.

Over the week that followed, Silver Eagle, frustrated at the lack of communication from IMVU regarding whether his removal of FurryDigital resolved their complaints, repeatedly voiced his anger at the situation and FurAffinity in general on Twitter. On Tuesday, Feb 23, he created another video describing the specifics of his story, including his belief that the open-source nature of the Daedalus code, its strong dependency on his own previous Ponyville Live code, and the lack of any binding contract until late January allowed him to release it without issue. Nevertheless, he says, he removed the site after it became clear that the support from the community and developer peers was dwindling.

By Friday, Silver Eagle had still received no update from IMVU indicating whether his case was resolved. That day, FurAffinity permabanned his account, citing "plagiarism and theft of FurAffinity assets". Believing the tone of the letter to be indicative of a lawyer assisting Dragoneer (and thus pending litigation), Silver Eagle panicked, posting another hastily-composed video titled "The Battle Begins", which was later removed. Shortly afterward, as the panic of the situation led him to become acutely suicidal, he was admitted to a local emergency room for psychiatric supervision. He was released later that morning, after which he deleted a vast majority of his Twitter messages and unpublished the YouTube videos related to both the payment issue and the FurryDigital controversy.

It remains unknown whether IMVU intends to pursue legal action against Silver Eagle at this time. FurAffinity and IMVU's only public comment regarding the issue came in the form of Silver Eagle's permaban message. Additional requests for information continue to go unanswered, and many who have pressed the issue on FurAffinity's journals and forums have been temporarily banned as a result.