Author Topic: Furry news portal Flayrah.com relaunched - what should it cover?  (Read 1462 times)

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Offline GreenReaper

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I recently relaunched furry news portal Flayrah.com (RSS, LiveJournal, Twitter). As a community site with a long history, I'd like to hear your views on how I should run it.

The site was founded in January 2001 by Aureth (chair of Midwest FurFest from 2002-3), and had several years of heavy posting, followed by a slow decline in activity. Control was passed on to Frysco in 2006, but the decline continued, and two months ago they decided to close the site.

I couldn't bear to let that happen given the history it represented, so I stepped in to rewrite it. Frysco gave me access to the database, so I was able to save all the old posts, comments and accounts, plus bring in some news from WikiFur.

Flayrah currently includes news from other news sites, but encourages original content. The site used to allow pure promotion; this is currently not permitted in news posts . . . but posting a valid story with the intention to promote is, on the theory that we'd miss out on a lot of news if only those with no connection to the story could talk about it.

As editor-in-chief, it's my responsibility to get the site going again - so I'm here to ask a few questions:
* What, in general, do you think would help Flayrah succeed as a furry news/information portal?
* What should we write about? Do we focus solely on the fandom, or include topics (like animals) which are not strictly "furry"?
* Are reviews and guides important to you? How do you feel about opinion pieces? Photo-based stories?
* Am I right to include stories initially aired by other news sites, like the BBC, or would you prefer we stick to original content - even if it means less news?
* Lastly, should we reject posts written with a promotional motive, or keep them as long as they're not written like ads?

I'm hoping to build a site that can remain useful for another decade, so your thoughts are greatly appreciated. :)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 11:13:45 pm by GreenReaper »

Offline Arbutus

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Re: Furry news portal Flayrah.com relaunched - what should it cover?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2010, 09:06:10 am »
My first suggestion is to bring back the Flayrah rabbit! That was one of my favorite parts of the old site, no joke, and I am prepared to stage protests until it returns. :D (In all seriousness, though, the site's current theme seems not just "clean," but rather bland, and I think it might be a good idea to use a more distinctive aesthetic - like FA, or like the old Flayrah for that matter. Rabbits should be included, of course. Prominently. Everywhere. You can't have flayrah without a rabbit around.)

Let's see, I guess I'll address your questions one by one:

* What, in general, do you think would help Flayrah succeed as a furry news/information portal?
Ack! Too general! See specific thoughts below. ;)

* What should we write about? Do we focus solely on the fandom, or include topics (like animals) which are not strictly "furry"?
Hmm... personally, I think there should be a very strong focus on the fandom itself, or at least on anthros in general. Articles about animals could be included, I think, but they would need to be carefully selected; just the fact that a story is about an animal that some people have as their fursona shouldn't be a reason in itself to post the link. For example, the only story on Flayrah right now under the "rabbit" tag is an article about the expenses of owning various pets, which doesn't really strike me as something that belongs on Flayrah.

* Are reviews and guides important to you? How do you feel about opinion pieces? Photo-based stories?
Well, none of these things are important to me, per se, but I think they *might* be cool to include. That depends purely, though, on their professionalism. In my view, it would be really cool to include full-fledged reviews of furry novels, links to major fursuit tutorials, considered opinion pieces about ongoing issues in the fandom (i.e. not drama), and/or thoughtful photo essays. I would not be interested in reading AC post-mortems, checklists for what to bring to FC, user-created rants, or someone's blurry pictures of the fursuit parade.

* Am I right to include stories initially aired by other news sites, like the BBC, or would you prefer we stick to original content - even if it means less news?
No, definitely include the outside content - that's quite useful. Furries tend to be very interested in how outsiders and the media portray them, so articles like this form a valuable spark for discussion. Once Flayrah regains its userbase, folks will hopefully see that Flayrah has posted an interesting article and then click through to see what others are saying about it (thus helping to build the site's community). Limiting yourself to original content would be counterproductive, plus it wouldn't really make sense for a site that bills itself as a "furry news portal" (i.e. aggregator).

* Lastly, should we reject posts written with a promotional motive, or keep them as long as they're not written like ads?
I think that promos are broadly okay, as long as they're informational in nature and not blatant advertising. However, I feel that 1) the number of "promos" any one person/event can do should be limited and 2) said promos should be rejected if they're not of potential interest to the whole readerbase. I don't know if Flayrah still does this now, but I remember that years ago, the staff for some of the smaller cons would just post their newsletters directly to Flayrah - which was very annoying, because there's no reason for anyone not attending to care.

Thanks for bringing Flayrah back to life, GreenReaper! :)
"Bunnies are proof that God loves us and wants us to be furries." ~Toonces
Fluttershy and Rarity are possibly both best pony
I was wrong, it was Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash all along

Offline GreenReaper

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Re: Furry news portal Flayrah.com relaunched - what should it cover?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2010, 10:30:45 am »
Heh . . . yes. Theming is not my specialty, nor was it a priority when I was trying to get the site up. I did try to find an existing style that looked good (surprisingly difficult for Drupal), but I agree that the design should communicate Flayrah's topic, and it doesn't right now.

The reason I did not try to preserve the existing theme is that I wanted to make a clean break from the old site. That rabbit got really lazy towards the end - probably 'cause it had that huge cabbage right next to it. You'd probably like the one on our maintenance page, if I ever had cause to use it - I'd love to go with art of that style.

Old articles have not yet been tagged, so if you search for rabbit you'll get a lot more results. :)

If you feel an article does not belong, you are welcome to rate it down (or comment), so the submitter can take that into consideration in the future. I admit adding that one because I enjoy stories about money, and I know some furs have too many pets for their own good, but I was aware it was pushing the topic boundaries.

What I intend to do with newsletters is to limit their number and at least rewrite the summary so people can avoid reading the whole thing - and perhaps reject the whole thing if it's too gung-ho.