WikiFur:This week's featured article/Week 4, 2006
Yerf was probably the world's best known all-ages furry art archive from 1996 to the mid-2000s. From December 2004 to mid-January 2006 it was down as a result of a disk crash, and it is now preserved only as an archive.
Yerf was founded in 1996 by Rat as the Squeeky Clean Furry Archive, hosted on Rat.org. At that time it was little more than an FTP server. By 1998 Rat wanted the site to have it's own domain. He chose Yerf because being (at that time) a generic term for "the sound that foxes make", the name could stay the same no matter what direction the site took.
When Rat moved to California, he was no longer able to keep his server up, and so it moved to Tugrik's purrsia.com server in late September 1998. On 10 July 1998, Rat handed over front end administration of the site to Scotty Arsenault - it had previously been run in part by Jedd Marten. In late 2001 Scotty handed administration and the server over to Dingofox.
The SCFA was always distinguished by a strong focus on art for all ages. Around the time it was rebranded as Yerf, new policies were introduced concerning the quality of artwork. Over time, these quality standards for new accounts got stricter, to a point where even reasonably good artists might face several rejections. This resulted in many frustrated artists, and a few competing sites, but also increased Yerf's popularity with fans of quality art.
Previous members were grandfathered in, which became a cause of complaint for applicants who felt that artwork by these members was worse than theirs. A more valid complaint was the speed of application processing, due in part to the time required to review and the limited pool of reviewers.
On 27 December 2004, Yerf's hard disk signalled a failure. Initial hopes for a quick fix were soon dashed, and eventually it became clear that all of the data had been lost. Worse, the hard disk contained the only copy of the Yerf archive software.
As of 11 November 2005, most of the art from the original archive was reposted in a "read only" database. As of 24 November 2005 the new gallery was placed online. On 20 January 2006, the site was declared officially open, if not complete; but as of 2012, only the Yerf Historical Archive remains online.