As I sit here waiting for my laptop to finish updating--mostly after trying to get Python (bleh) working in Visual Studio and killing my previous install of Windows 7--I wandered over to one of the furry communities I'm part of, and...well... Let's just say I've never been impressed with how this particular community handles itself. I wasn't impressed tonight, either.
That made me want to say something very clearly: The furry fandom has been very accepting of writers in general. While not as widely viewed as art, stories are often well-received by furs of all walks. And new writers are often aided by others, either with proofreading or tips, though not always to the welcoming arms of the author.
Then you have certain communities where the elitism tends to run rampant. SoFurry, at least in my eyes, is one of those communities. Spurred by a small collection of professional and semi-professional writers, I've noticed that that particular site tends to be far from welcoming. Whether it's the degrading star rating system that's easily abused, the lack of eyes on all but the most well-known authors, or the general lack of positive feedback from many of the more well-respected members, the site tends to anchor itself low on my list of acceptable risks in regards to upload locations.
And yet, I don't see that anywhere else. I know SoFurry used to be known as YiffStar, a site that featured stories above all else, but this seems more like something that grew from SoFurry's willingness to bend over backwards for its most prolific writers.
This is saddening, because SoFurry has the best features for writers, and yet, they're mocked or disliked by professional authors on the site: the ability to give downloadable ePub files to visitors (PDF would be better, but ePub is nice), professional formatting through the web interface (many professional writers prefer to typeset their own works), tagging system to make the story show up for the right categories (with some tag clouds being larger than the stories themselves), and threaded comments to interact with the audience. There's quite a bit more, but these features are very helpful for writers just starting out.
Instead, FurAffinity and Weasyl tend to be the best for newcomers. FurAffinity has support for various file formats and a large userbase, while Weasyl has a relatively large userbase of its own, and the ability to display PDFs and Google Docs uploads directly on the submission page. They also support thumbnails for marking stories with custom artwork or, better yet, small tag groups to let people know what to expect.
Above all else, FA and Weasyl tend to have the best communities for newcomers. Yeah, they have their bad seeds, but nowhere near the elitism I see from SoFurry's community.Just a thought.