As proclaimed by Pooka and Wolf, with editing assistance by Midnight Blaze
As leader of #AltFurry I have taken a very hands-off approach. I do not tell people what their jobs are. I don’t delegate duties. I don’t even tell the various community moderators how I think it is best to run things. I refuse to take a side in the various internecine conflicts. And I certainly don’t try to police people’s speech. However, I WILL provide direction when it is needed, like it is now.
People have often asked us what our goals for Alt-Furry are, so I’ve decided to lay them out for you. These are not what the goals have always been, and they are not what the goals will always be, but these are the explicit goals that we have right now. These can be summarized as three objectives: Expansion, Decentralization, and Creation. I’ll expand upon all three.
The term Alt-Right ended up as a containment label to keep those with politically incorrect views out of the public discourse. Many other labels were tried before — such as neoreactionary, MRA or GamerGator — but none of them really caught on before now. The way containment labels work is quite insidious.
Suppose you make a tweet along the lines of “ethno-nationalism a good and natural thing which should be encouraged” or “Women are biologically predisposed to the role of wife and mother” or whatever uncomfortable truth you feel needs to be said. Someone who disagrees with your tweet would have two options then: formulate a logical response to your post, which is hard, or just say some variant of “smh look at this altright shitlord.” By doing the latter, your are immediately lumped in with clowns like Richard Spencer and his butt buddies. It doesn’t matter how much your views may differ from his, you will still be tarred with the same brush.
Now, despite what the original creator of the #AltFurry hashtag — who wishes to remain nameless — may say after the fact, Alt-Furry was never intended to serve as a containment label. However, that does not stop anyone opposing us and our views to use it as such. Even innocuous terms, like Sad Puppy, can be used as containment labels by those who oppose them.
Of course, there are a couple of things we can do to combat this. First, we must treat the #AltFurry hashtag as just that; one of a multitude of hashtags on Twitter dot com. The point of hashtags is to help Twitter users begin to build an interested audience. Once you’re already followed by all the users who routinely search the hashtag, it is no longer needed. This is not to say that I think we ought to abandon the hashtag–posting in it still has value for purposes beyond audience-building–but an admonition that it ought not serve as your sole identity.
What’s even more important is to expand our reach into other spaces. Though I’ve touched on this before, I feel that it needs reiterating. Talk to other people; not even just other furries, but also people in circles outside the fandom. Follow and interact with those outside of our community. If you feel up to the challenge of live interaction, you might appear on podcasts and livestreams run by those willing to host you. Play first edition Gamma World with other gamers.
The point of this is to not solely break free of containment within the Alt-Furry label, but also to exceed the containment of the furry fandom itself. Consider that medieval weaponry and super powers are ubiquitous in modern entertainment. Talking animals could easily be just as commonplace in books, movies, and video games. There’s no reason why they have to be relegated to children’s entertainment or a niche subculture, though they are also far from the only element of the fantastic to have been swept away in such a manner.
To put it bluntly, the current framing is a strategic disaster. Our opponents have framed it such that they are the “furry fandom”, even though they are a small fringe of narcissists, sociopaths, and irrational leftist extremists. In their framing, “#AltFurry” is not included as a part of this fandom. Instead, it is portrayed as the tiny political fringe in opposition to mainstream furry, or even seeking to divide the fandom. Once containment is breached, it will be a trivial matter to turn this narrative on its head. We will be the dominant culture, and these narcissists will be the tiny political fringe seeking to oppose and divide us.
Shortly after the Alt-Furry hashtag was started, a Twitter DM group was created, followed rapidly by a second DM group after the first one grew so big we couldn’t add anyone new. Then a few like-minded allies created Discord servers to help provide additional meeting spots. At present, there are many furry-centric groups out there, each with their own rules and customs, all rooted in the same basic principle: that those with politically incorrect views should still be accepted within the furry fandom.
This breadth of choice is a good thing. Giving many different options will mean people are more likely to join our circles than if it was centrally located on one specific group on one platform. People who don’t like using Discord can join one of the Twitter cells, and vice versa.
The problem, however, comes with the potential that some people might imagine Alt-Furry as their personal fiefdom to gate-keep. Allow me to state this unequivocally: There is no “official” Alt-Furry group or server. We have not had major problems with this yet — in fact, many server operators have been pleasantly forthcoming in pointing out that their part does not represent the whole. As a corollary, I do not wish to disparage any moderator’s hard work — the sense of community that many of them have fostered is very respectable. However, the topic does come up again and again during internecine conflict, either implied or explicitly, so it is important that we settle it once and for all.
While anyone can run their platform however they wish, no one can claim that theirs is the One True Alt-Furry™ group.
This also means that the only people responsible for what goes on in any particular server are those that are running it. If someone says or does something which does not break any of the server’s rules, and said server’s rules do not violate local or federal laws, then responsibility for their actions falls on the speaker alone — not everyone else on the server nor other platforms allied with it. To do so would be to blame parties for actions for which they could not be responsible.
True decentralization means being on every platform. It means having many communities, all self-managed and sovereign, but with alliances between them. People can choose to participate in the communities that are most comfortable for them, whether it is due to the rules, moderation, environment, population, or even the platform and infrastructure. It is much like a series of nation-states with allegiances between them set up on their own terms. And this will be a strength that aids in the first goal of Expansion.
You’ve got to have fun. Keeping morale high isn’t about scoring internet points or prancing about declaring victory to any who will listen. Do what is genuinely fun for you. Create content which people find genuinely entertaining; when those in our circles are enjoying themselves, that’s how we know that we’re succeeding.
A lot of online movements in the past fell into the trap of doing busywork for no real purpose. Sure, it felt as though progress was being made, but often no measurable effects actually occurred. Beyond that, it just wasn’t fun. No one really enjoyed running an awareness campaign for the ethical improvement of journalism, but everyone thought making fun of Ben Kuchera was hilarious.
What made it work was the content behind it. It wasn’t just a handful of accounts screencapping his articles and tweets and saying some variant of “this is stupid” on social media. People made pictures and videos picking apart what these clickbait bloggers said and mocking them — and everyone loved it. There’s a reason why IA’s original Quinnspiracy Theory video got almost a million views in just a couple months.
It must be genuine, though; if you’re just making content for the attention or to earn some ad money, the viewers will inevitably sense your duplicity. Everyone can sniff a poser out a mile away.
In short, we must create.
If we are to see the change we demand, we must start over and do what the founders of the furry fandom did and produce content. The years of our history — the many drawings, comics, and books — all were made by individual people who invested their time and their will to create. Wherever your skills lie, whatever amuses you, create that. So long as we’re enjoying what we do and the culture we create, we will accomplish all of our goals and more.