History of Yiffy.net
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2002 – Inception
Yiffy.net – or Yiffy.info as it was then known - was founded in mid-2002 by Sniper Fox, with the aim of being a "100% user-maintained portal site for everything in the yiffy part of the furry fandom". The site was run on Sniper Fox’s home PC using phpBB 2RC-4 software and by February 2003 the site had fifty registered users.
2003 – Take off
In April 2003, Sniper Fox switched the site over to Chatterbox Forum, a more visually appealing forum that had guest-books on the user profiles. Within a couple of months, site membership had again hit double figures. The site then contained over 50 links to furry and furry-related websites, including furry artists and fursuiters, and was a forum for role-playing.
In October, a Yiffy.net store opened to sell site-branded merchandise, with all profits being put back into the site. In that month, membership also hit 500 users, and by the end of the year there were over 900 members.
2004 – Hitting the big time
In January 2004 the site changed software again, moving back to the more advanced and moddable phpBB. It also broke the 1,000 user mark, 200 of whom visited every single day with up to 50 members online at any given time. The site now had a live chat program to go with its forums (or “furums” as they were called), user-selectable themes, polls, a “shout-box” and a gallery for user-submitted pictures. “Yiffy dollars”, earned by posting, could be used to purchase profile effects such as having one’s username highlighted in a colour of the users choice, changing usernames, expanding forum signatures and so on. There was also an on-site lottery where members could buy tickets, using their Yiffy dollars, in the hope of winning the jackpot.
By Summer 2004, the site had doubled its user count since the beginning of the year, with 80,000 posts in around 1,700 topics. Micah Coon was added to the site’s moderation team, and later became one of the site's three administrators. However, not everything was going well – the site had always been user-supported but a combination of a lack of donations or store purchases and a lack of income through the site’s single banner advert meant that the site was struggling financially. This, coupled with the fact that the site’s Paypal account had been frozen due to Paypal finally realising that Yiffy.net was an adult site (something the site’s administrators had not known was an issue) meant that things were tough for Yiffy.net. In September, Magdalena and Tatyana joined the moderator team to help run the site; and in December, both Sinergy and Arundel joined as well.
2005 – Peak before a fall
Half a year later and the site had fully recovered and now had 3,700 users and 150,000 posts in nearly 4,000 threads. After also upgrading to version 2.0.11 of phpBB, which introduced various new features, Sniper Fox also added Flash games to the site – over 100 simple arcade games with high scores, announcements of scoreboard leaders and medals to the highest scorers; something that proved to be a strain on the server’s resources but very popular with a lot of the site’s members.
Over the course of 2005 things continued to move onwards and upwards for Yiffy.net, new games were added and unpopular ones removed, the site changed servers twice to accommodate the continuing growth, Silver Griffin joined the moderator team in August and in November of that year Yiffy.net climbed to the top of Google’s search results for “Yiffy”. In three years Sniper Fox and his hard-working moderators had helped to turn Yiffy.net from a small board with just a handful of members to the largest and most well-known all-yiffy community on the web, with close to 5,000 members and 200,000 posts.
2006 – The beginning of the end?
The beginning of 2006 saw yet another server move as the site continued to grow and prove to be too big a strain on the previous server, and also the addition of a voice-chat to Yiffy.net. The site’s moderator team also continued to grow, with two further members – Martin Settra and Lunara Copperhair - being promoted to help with the running of the thousands strong website that now had up to 827 users accessing it every day. By June, Martin had to step down from his post due to a lack of available time to spend working on the site and was replaced by Talija and Jinn, the former something of a surprise promotion to many – she was a long-standing member but not one known for her patience or easy-going nature; this reputation did, however, mean that chat arguments and fights tended to end quickly when she logged in.
In July 2006, the biggest and most significant event in Yiffy.net’s history thus far occurred – Sniper Fox stood down as head administrator and owner of the site for personal reasons. The reins were handed over to Micah Coon, back with the moderator team after a while out, and Taryn. The news was received by the site’s members with very mixed feelings – a lot of people felt that Yiffy.net had been stagnating of late and that a new leader was what the place needed to take it forward; but on the other hand, Micah Coon had a fairly colourful history with the site to say the least and there were a number of users who left the site as soon as the news broke. Micah Coon quickly stamped his authority on the site, removing a few bans that he felt had been given by the previous site owner for personal reasons rather than any breach of the rules, and also sacked two moderators – Chazz Wolf and Zantari – who had been largely inactive for some time. This new appointment did, however, bring an end to the fighting between members of Yiffy.net and the only other site able to be called a rival – Furgasmic.com, run until its recent closure by Rhianna Ravenclaw, herself an active member of Yiffy.net. A few days later, another moderator joined the team, someone else who would a few months later go on to become a site admin – LadyDarkSphynx. Not long after this change in ownership, Talija stepped down as a moderator and left the site, due to personal differences with Micah Coon and the way the site was now being run.
By the end of the year, Yiffy.net switched from phpBB to SMF and replaced the resource-intensive Flash Chat with the much more streamlined and simpler x7 Chat, moved to a new server, installed TigerPaw as the site’s Technical Administrator, and one of the greatest sources of contention and conflict the site’s had came into place – the ban on leetspeak and netspeak. Under the new rules, using such acronyms as lol, rofl, bbs or wtf could earn users a warning at first, then a day-long ban and then gradually longer bans with each offense. The move to SMF was another source of disquiet amongst the members of Yiffy.net – it may have been cheaper to run, less of a drain on resources, easier to use and a lot more stable and bug-free than its predecessor software but many on the site felt that it was a step backwards for such a famous site and that Yiffy.net had lost some of its individuality by adopting a format that was so prevalent throughout the web, especially on first-timer forums. Another point of contention was that the move to SMF took away a great number of features, such as user blogs, user image galleries, voice chat, flash games, "Yiff Dollars", a links section, and much more. After the move to SMF, Yiffy.net basically went from being a portal site with multiple features to just being a forum with chat.
On the whole, 2006 was not a good year for Yiffy.net – activity levels were dropping to lower than any in the previous two years, post rates were also low and there was a growing sense of discontent amongst the members of the site, something that would continue into 2007...
2007 – Under new management
2007 for Yiffy.net started with several changes in staff – Taryn had earlier stepped down from his position and left the site entirely due to time constraints, with LadyDarkSphynx being promoted in his wake in what was initially an interim position but later became permanent; and Alex Cross and Vulpes Proeliator were promoted to the moderator team to replace the three moderators who had left in the latter half of the preceding year.
At the end of February and partially on the insistence of outward-bound moderator Sinergy/Cynergi, Micah Coon asked Talija back to the site, promoting her to the position of administrator. Within days and after considerable discussion between Micah Coon and Talija, indeed it had been something she had demanded as a condition of her coming back to the site, the unpopular Netspeak Rule was relaxed considerably. The use of such acronyms and abbreviations in excess was still discouraged but members would no longer be in trouble for a simple “lol” or “brb”, though the stress was very much that such terms were fine in out-of-character areas of the forums and chat but still had no place in role-plays and in-character discussion. The site’s rules were also re-posted, having been absent from the boards for some time, and extensively re-written by the new addition to the admin team, along with a separate set of rules for the x7 Chat.
The summer of 2007 saw the start of the staff of Yiffy.net opening up to their members – in a bid to dispel the inevitable rumours that surrounded anyone’s suspension, all suspensions and bans were publicly posted by the admin, detailing who, why and how long. There was also a crack-down on underage users, initiated by Alex Cross and heavily supported by the whole team. Now, anyone with even a whiff of suspicion could be asked to provide proof of age to the staff, with a reasonable notice period, and a thread was set-up to detail what was accepted, the easiest way to submit it and, importantly, which parts needed to be obscured so as to protect the submitter’s identity from potential fraud – all the staff needed to know was that the member was old enough to be there; nothing else. Furthermore, anyone serving a suspension of greater than a week was also required to prove their age before they would be allowed back. During the same period, there was also much cause for concern after Yiffy.net was one of several large furry sites targeted by Anonymous raiders of 4chan (among others). Quick thinking and keen observation by the site’s staff prevented any issues and successfully avoided the attack. Later in that year, and after a number of clashes with the rest of the Yiffy.net staff, Alex Cross would step down from his position and leave the site to spend more time on his own, budding website.
2008 – On the mend
The first half of 2008 saw considerable change at Yiffy.net. Both Jinn and Silver Griffin left the moderator team and site as a whole to spend more time on real life concerns, while Ranix, Azhtek and Steph Ravenblood were promoted to moderator to replace the three recent leavers. This influx of new blood and a determination amongst the existing staff to drag the site out of its stagnation resulted in almost constant work on the site in terms of improvements.
Firstly, Yiffy.net switched from the somewhat unpopular SMF to adopt vBulletin in late January, which was a move that caused some confusion and concern at the time but since smoothed out for the most part. And, after months of discussion and hard work, the staff unveiled a new section on the site – Yiffy.net Social. This new area was to be centred around more social, out of character aspects of furry life, such as meets and conventions, as well as more diverse non-RP discussion and sections for artists of every variety to post and talk about their works. There was also the less significant but still popular introduction of a much wider variety of visual themes for the site.
The site's administrators also continued their work to open the site up more to the members and created a forum purely for members to give their feedback and suggestions on what they'd like done with the site or what they don't like about existing features.
Further changes that were still in progress prior to the site’s closure include RP nights in the site's chat, whereby users would play tabletop role-playing games online with other furs on the site. Numerous other changes were also in the pipeline, with the site's staff working hard to help restore the once proud site to its former glory and re-establish it as the first name in furry communities.
2008 – Three sites become Yiffy International
In late Spring of 2008, two staff members left their posts – Ranix left the site and fandom altogether temporarily for personal reasons and Talija stepped down as administrator and left the site, citing "Failure to fulfil personal goals and failure to breathe new life into the site" as her reasons for doing so.
Shortly afterwards, it was announced by one of the site's two remaining admin – Micah Coon - that Yiffy.net would be undergoing a merger with the portal site Yiffy.tk. The new, combined site was planned to have all the features of its component parts - forums, chat, art and reviewed links - as well as the advantage that the owner of Yiffy.tk would also own the dedicated server that the new site would be running on, meaning free, dedicated hosting and almost 24/7 tech support. It was also announced at this time that Micah Coon would not hold a staff position at the new site. Shortly after this, Furrum was also announced to be joining the new Yiffy International site.
The plan was for Sniper Fox and Karma to run the non-forum side of the new combined site and for an admin team comprising LadyDarkSphynx, Azhtek and Talija to take care of the forum and chat side of things, as well as the general day-to-day issues. The plan was initially communicated to just the site’s staff and then later to the general user population after further details were solidified.
In early August, things came to a head when Sniper Fox publicly announced on Yiffy.net that the merger would be going ahead within the next few days. A snag was hit shortly before the merger went live, however, when it was discovered and announced that the threads on the current Yiffy.net forum would not be transferred across but that the old site would be left in a read-only format so that furs could save any threads they wanted to keep. This announcement was met with a large amount of complaint but the site's staff did what they could to assure users and to make saving of old threads as easily as possible.
Soon after the announcement that the site would debut with Flash Chat, and that it wasn't feasible to port the threads over, there was a falling out between the proposed new administrators. All three proposed administrators of the merged site's forums and chats announced that they would not be returning to the site after the merger due to a breakdown in the working relationship between themselves and the two site owners, the exact details of which were not revealed. No moderators were brought over from Yiffy.Net or Furrum.com, but prior staff were encouraged to re-apply after the merger was completed.
May 14, 2014
Yiffy International closes, yiffy.net's URL points to a "goodbye" splash page.
August 27, 2014
Yiffy.NET reopens as an independent site after Yiffy International's closing.
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