|Date(s):||Dec 18, 1990|
|Type:||Message Board, Newsgroup|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
alt.fan.furry ("a.f.f" or "AFF") was a newsgroup created by Tzoq on December 18, 1990. It was a gathering place for all furry discussion, but later became known for extensive flamewars. Flamewars were in part blamed on the Burned Fur movement. However, Burned Fur cannot be blamed for flamewars alone, considering their relatively short lifespan next to the newsgroup.
The newsgroup is for readers and fans of a subgenre of fiction dealing with anthropomorphic characters. Publications which publish appropriate articles and fiction include THE CENTAURS GATHERUM NEWSLETTER, ALBEDO anthropomorphics, CRITTERS, YARF!, BIRTHRIGHT, and many other professional and amateur publications too numerous to mention here. This newsgroup is in part a replacement for alt.fan.albedo and alt.birthright (although I do not know if rmgroups will be issued for those or not; I didn't start them or this group either, for that matter) as traffic was too low in those two groups, and they were too specialized as well. So perhaps in some ways, you're right; it is for people who are fans of furry things. (Also feathery. Birds count. :-) ) However, you didn't get the point, probably because you're not aware of any of these publications. (Sort of like rec.radio.ham would be confusing to anyone not familiar with the term "ham" for amateur radio broadcaster... 'is it radio made of ham, or people who ham it up on the radio?') - R'ykandar.
R'ykandar Korra'ti, Dec 20, 1990 
While alt.fan.furry may be one of the most well known of the furry newsgroups, it was not the first, having been preceded by alt.fan.albedo which released a month earlier circa November 1, 1990.
Flamewars and differing opinions on what constituted as furry would cause at least one spinoff newsgroup seven years later, alt.lifestyle.furry, which was a furry lifestyler group. It opened in the beginning of January, 1997.
As of April 2022 alt.fan.furry is mostly inactive, it's front page filled with spam, bots, and advertisements. However, the occasional relevant post about furries is still made, such as with the Apr 1, 2022 thread "Re: State Senator Calls for Investigation Into 'Furries'." New threads rarely receive the same attention as they once did, with posts only getting a small handful of replies compared to the fifty-plus replies old threads could get.
Definition of "Furry"
What defines a furry was a discussion that appeared very early on in furry fandom history, with alt.fan.furry members attempting to put words to what they considered to be or not to be furry as early as 1996. A post titled "History of the Furry Part 1" was one such alt.fan.furry thread on the topic. In this thread multiple media-based characters are given credit as being some of the earliest content, such as Gertie the dinosaur as being the first "scalie," and both Felix the cat and Mickey Mouse being seen as furries. However, a few others questioned whether or not such characters counted as furry, especially Gertie. More extremely, some comments actually credited works of art and gods of ancient history as being furry, such as Anubis and a carved lion statue from 28,000 B.C.
I think the oldest known furry is the carved lion-morph ivory figure
described in the July/August 1995 issue of _Archaeology_ magazine, and dated to 28,000 B.C.!
Is Gertie the Dinosaur furry? If not, then I suppose Mickey Mouse (going all the way back to Steamboat Willie) would be among the earliest. I remember there was a thread last year on the subject of what was the earliest *furry film*, but I don't remember if it covered the oldest*animation furry* (not necessarily the same thing).
Herman Miller, 1996
I thought that one of the first appearances of a Furry was "Tawny, the Civilized Tiger" in the early issues of SHAZAM?
...The first test transmission of Farnsworth's mechanical television system in 1926 was of the 3D sculture of Felix, so yes, the first TV image was of Felix, but it wasn't the all-electronic version of TV (introduced in 1928 or '29)....
BTW, Farnsworth's demo of TV lead to the first official TV station in 1927 (!), run by the BBC.... The first American TV station (all electronic) was in 1929; first on the U.S. west coast was in 1931. (That station still exists today, currently under the call letters "KTLA"...)
Until 1946, all American TV broadcasting was officially experimental, at which time, there were 250,000 TV sets in use throughout the country...
(Prior to WW2, what is now KTLA had 15,000 viewers, yet the station onlyhad 4 hours of programming per day, three times a week....)
D.M. Quozl Falk, 1996
Furry Lifestylers and alt.lifestyle.furry
"Furry Lifestylers" may have seen themselves born out of alt.fan.furry, and would go on to split from the newsgroup into their own. Lifestylers were furries who believed in order to be a furry certain practices had to take place, such as making/wearing fursuits and art, or having certain spiritual beliefs such as therians. This is in opposition to many other furrys' opinions, as many furries saw lifestylers as gatekeeping the community, and eventually lead to the split between alt.fan.furry and alt.lifestyle.furry. Overall, furry lifestylers were a sect that aimed at defining furry under stricter terms than a large majority of other furries. Discussion and debate surrounding liftestylers as common on alt.fan.furry, such as in the Apr 14, 2002 thread titled ""Furry Lifestyle" (Was the Gallery tread)"
(I don't know what you guys are talking about in this tread, honestly), but
I just can't figure out how someone could have a "furry lifestyle". I mean, what does that mean exactly. I now I asked that question before, but how does one live like a furry? What, walk around in a fur coat all day, with very strong aroma's coming from you (hey, a real furry would be very, well, smelly since they'd depend on scent communication alot). I've heard somesay that 'furry lifestylers' don't necessarily collect anthro comics, art, and what not, so just what is their 'furriness' based on that makes it qualified to be called a lifestyle? The longer and longer I become involved and observe certain things in this fandom, the cornier in RL terms things seem to get when you really stop tothink about it.
: So furry lifestyle is a sorta cultish religious "one with nature" thingie?
No, this is a misconception willfully spread by a few certain people.
A "furry lifestyler" is anyone in a loosely connected set of categories of people whose tastes were sufficiently "unacceptable" to a handful of loud rude people on alt.fan.furry who kept complaining about them and flaming them so much that they decided it would be a good idea to start another newsgroup where the policy was officially "You can talk about all this stuff or any other stuff, and everyone's supposed to be accepting and tolerant and not flame anyone for what they want to talk about".
These interests "chased out" of here by the bitter and cynical furry pornographers include but are not limited to: animal totemism, various specific sexual fetishes that are less acceptable to the aforementioned pornographers as their own sexual fetishes are, thinking you really are an animal trapped in a human body, liking the fandom "too much" and not having enough of a "life outside furry stuff"... Or just simply the common crime of "not denouncing those furry fetishes disapproved by the pornographers and generally tolerating them even though you're not into them yourself", or "not believing said fetishes are destroying the fandom and saying the hobby is still fun in spite of whatever problems it has, or generally saying those problems are minor", or "being willing to say that your hobby is a 'lifestyle' of some sort and not just a hobby".[Snipped for brevity]
Dr. Cat, 2002
A "furry lifestyler" is ...
Close but not quite.
What you just gave is a remarkably good and accurate characterization of a typical ALF reader/poster circa 1997. However "furry lifestyler" means something different from that.
"Furry lifestyler" is a bullshit word. There's basically only two kinds of people who use the term "lifestyler". The first is people like Chuck Melville, who use it as a slur, and have no more comprehension of what they're talking about than Eric Cartman does when he uses the word "hippie". The second group consists of a small subset of the people who more-or-less meet the description you gave, but who also have the added characteristic that they suffer from the Furry Fan Disease, of always having to turn the fact of having shared interests with someone into affiliation with some organized entity. There are lots of people who meet the description you gave, who reject the label "furry lifestyler" just as forcefully as they rejectthe label "Furry Fan".
Brad Austin, 2002
The topic of furries and sexuality, especially of homosexuality, started early in furry fandom. In 1993, some furries on alt.fan.furry discussed the nature of being furry and gay. The original poster shared their opinion that "Being furry has the characteristics of being gay." They defined the act of being furry as being similar to being born a certain race and sex; as being something that could not be changed.
Later in another conversation from 1998 a member named Daphne Lage discussed what she felt was an abundance of men in the furry fandom, particularly at conventions. She shared a story that came from another "femme" furry, who had felt that it had been difficult to find furry art to buy or be interested in, because she felt it was all too focused on homosexual men.
I guess to kill 2 topics with one post, this whole thing reminded me of something one fan had complained to me once concerning furry fandom in general. She was complaining that she found it hard to purchase prints and fanzines because "everything looked gay" and she felt there was nothing available for female fans to get interested in. She felt most, if not all furry stuff was catering to oversexed hetero males or oversexed homosexuals.
Daphne Lage, Apr 21, 1998
In another conversation from 2004, Dan Skunk said: "On the topic of sex, most furries are male and the most common sexual preferences are gay and bi," and then also saying "Quite possibly the perception of the gay/straight balance is skewed by the gay side being more vocal."
Zoophilia was another major topic of debate on alt.fan.furry between the 1990s and 2010s, with some users of the group comparing homosexuality to zoophilia in both a positive and negative light. As of 2022, zoophilia is still a hot point of debate among furries, as throughout furry history insults such as "skunk fucker" created the assumption that all furries were zoophiles, though many abhor zoophilia. In discussion about zoophilia from Dec 15, 2004, user Cephalophage compared homophobia to disliking zoophilia.
What exactly are you insisting on that makes you say that the person knows it's wrong? Because they have to be secretive about it? Homosexuals had to be secretive about their sexuality up until fairly recently. Did that mean that they knew their behavior was revolting, disgusting and irrevocably wrong? No, it means that they knew that they stood to be physically harmed by bigots who took it upon themselves to label their harmless desires as revolting, disgusting and irrevocably wrong.
[snipped]I will remind you also that, by analogy, just as homophobia is primarily a disease that afflicts closeted homosexuals and (males) with sexual identity issues (whether they turn out to be gay or straight), that the powerful reaction against zoo that you are evincing suggests that you have a secret desire for it, but are revolted and appalled by the idea, and consequently have to "bash" it in public with intemperate and incongruous vehemence.
Cephalophage, Dec 2004 
Despite the presence of some furries on alt.fan.furry being in favor of zoophilia or defending it, others were loudly against zoophilia, such as user Michael Hirtes saying in 2003: "Any REAL furry would be in favor of animals being protected from heartless pervert scumbags." Hirtes would continue speaking on zoophilia further in the thread, expressing upset that zoophilia was often compared to homosexuality, an opinion that held real world consequences within politics.
Well, after looking through those case files, browse on over to the various zoophile and furry-apologist sites out there, and you start to understand the sense of disgust I have towards them. Zoophilia is not love. It's animal abuse. It's an act of ultimate selfishness & cruelty against an innocent, helpless creature. It's so repellant that their behavior almost cost the Texas gays their Supreme Court case (the conservatives screamed that legalizing sodomy would fling open the doors to all sorts of depravity being made legal, such as bestiality). No surprise that gays were outraged that they would be lumped in with animal abusers (whom they too would beat the crap out of if they had the chance).
Michael Hirtes, 2003
Burned Fur, a furry movement that started in 1998, was not well received on alt.fan.furry. Though Burned Fur held many beliefs that did align with other furries, such as being against zoophilia and speaking out against furry hate, they were also heavily criticized for comments made by some of their members, as well as for considering kinks like plushophilia to be lumped in with zoophilia. See more under Burned Furs, Criticism and Controversies.
Below is an early discussion of Burned Fur from alt.fan.furry in 1999.
I was talking with some of my friends on TimeScape (mserv1.wizvax.net 6300)
about where Furrydom was going. It had started off on their railing on an alleged pedophile who had made himself pet to an adolescent tramp. I saw a log of the whole event at http://www.radiks.net/~spencer/whitestripe.html and just kind of went - "Gah. Strike up another win for Dragonoix." We chatted this up a bit, and eventually Burned Fur came up. Now, I've been wanting to know exactly what Burned Fur is, and what it stands for for some time now. For many, the first exposure to Burned Fur they had was when the allegations were running hot and strong that Burned Fur was responsible for the pornography crackdown at Confurence this year. Somebody had called the regional alcohol bureau and indicated that pornography would be present at the event, which was in a hotel where alcohol was being served, which apparently violates a local ordinance.
From the group, I finally got a pointer to what seems to be an authoritative page on Burned Fur, this at http://members.tripod.com/~burnedfur. After reviewing the group's manifesto, the mission statement, and many of the messages in which the group is discussed, I'm genuinely scared. The group claims over and over not to be a hate group. And yet, at the same time, there seems to be little planning or structure to the movement. About all that holds the group together is a common dislike for many aspects of the fandom. And the degree or extent of this, or the aims of the group, are terribly unclear.
The group talks about wanting to "throw a monkey wrench into the fandom." The exact meaning of this is unclear. The group focuses against "acts such as bestiality, plushophilia, fursuit sex and other things seen as 'wrong' by non-fandom individuals." This could easily be construed to include homosexuality, BDSM play, the collection of pornography, cybersex, wearing tails, wearing ears, attending conventions, collecting comics, meeting people over the internet, role play, any number of other things. Where is the line drawn? What exactly is this monkey wrench that the group hopes to throw, and what's the target?
The Ku Klux Klan focuses on trying to abstract Negroes from our society. The group is similarly unfocussed - some members hope to kill Negroes, some hope to export them, some want to reinstate slavery. Some believe Indians and Hispanics are included. Some even don't like members of non-Protestant religions. There isn't a forward goal, and the Klan's official line is that they want to preserve white heritage, and that they don't condone acts against other races. The only thing that formally ties the group together is a dislike, and the wish that the group should grow. This is the definition of a hate group, and until Burned Fur learns to define itself better, this is what Burned Fur is as well.
This is the feedback I left on the Burned Fur site:
"Burned Fur" is a terrible name for this movement. The name and the angry in-your-face logos share the same motif as many hate groups. Hell, the silhouette of the fur with the hammer looks pretty much like some of the Stalin era communist government propaganda. That's certainly the wrong first impression to make.
What I see of your goals doesn't jibe with your image. I understand the group is largely (entirely?) motivated by the indignation of its members. But the feelings motivating you should not be confused with the goal. This image is the WRONG recruiting tool, as anger and hatred are the worst possible images to associate with your "distilled fandom."
Okay. This points to calling for established goals. Where ARE you going? How far have you gotten? If you can't actively quantify the movement's success, it's probably because you don't have a destination in mind. Without that, you're nothing but a little social clique running on feelings and individual interpretations.
Who are you trying to reach? What is the base message for each group you want to reach? How are you reaching these groups?
What are you trying to eliminate? Where are you trying to eliminate it from - fandom or just 'burned fur approved' fandom?
What are you trying to create? What specifically are you encouraging? By what means?
Again - there is NO room for vagary in enumerating the movement's goals in any of the above areas.
Who are your leaders - who speaks for you? Like it or not, you're not going to get far without officers. You need people capable of orchestrating the group when it needs to be called to action. You need definitive approval or rejection for actions such as the one which lead to the CF fiasco. Whether or not it was BF that did this has apparently NOT been established and it isn't important to my point, which is that you should have had someone who could say "we did/did not condone this action." And you need a mature and amicable face for the group when dealing with media and Furrydom PR.
Right now, everyone's seeing a crowd with torches. Change the name. Define your image and your goals. Tell us you're leading us to a nicer future and give us a reason to believe it.For now, I'm a furry, not a burned fur.
Analogizing BF to the KKK is an insult to the truely oppresed everywhere. Actually, that was the spirit behind Godwin's law, since supposed attrocities real or imagined by most folks on the net (and especially in this case) come absolutely nowhere close! So you can't enjoy dirty pics of funny animals anymore. Boo-hoo. Here's a quarter. Call someone who gives a damn. Frankly I kind of enjoyed myself this time around. CF10 was a lot more tame. It needed more variety though. I'm certainly willing to give it a chance.
> Analogizing BF to the KKK is an insult to the truely oppresed
I don't know, in the purely online arena the analogy holds well, in that the BF site has the same graphic design, layout, and incoherert "we dont like this" content as a "real" hate site.
A pale echo, but real anyway.
There are multiple references to flamewars occurring on alt.fan.furry, usually in reference to either alt.furry.lifestyle or Burned Fur. Political and religious discussions on the newsgroup may have also caused some tension between furries who disagreed with one another.
The below discussion from 2004 had members seeking to figure out whether alt.furry.lifestyle members flammed alt.fan.furry, or whether they peacefully moved to their new newsgroup amicably.
I never see anything crossposted to both alt.fan.furry and alt.lifestyle.furry. What's with that?
I've seen articles relating to both groups being posted seperately to each one, but never to both.
There some kind of hard feelings between the subscribers of both groupswhere they don't want to talk with each other?
> > There some kind of hard feelings between the subscribers of both groups
> > where they don't want to talk with each other?
> I'm a newbie, so I'll just say what little I know. I like to tell stories > of the Old Times, even though I didn't actually live through them!
> A long time ago, before the Big Bang of the WWW, there were millions(!) of
> people posting on USENET. It was the largest functioning anarchy in the
> world. Alt.fan.furry was getting 75 or more posts on an average day.
> Many of these posters were on USENET only because there was no other
> way to find other furry fans. They weren't übernerds, just nerdy enough
> to use computers for recreation before everyone else did and to like
> anthro-animal cartoons. These people were offended by the lifestylers,
> who seemed to be taking things more than a bit too far. (Animal souls???
> Get real!) So the lifestylers chartered their own group to escape from
> the complaints of the other AFFers, eventually forming the Homestead,
> which was perhaps a kind of shared dream-world.
Not quite, ALF was created by the people who hated anyone who had any more interest in furry matters then just the art, and then theyproceeded to flame the 'lifestylers' off of aff.
[Kimba W. Lion]
>Not quite, ALF was created by the people who hated anyone who had
>any more interest in furry matters then just the art, and then they
>proceeded to flame the 'lifestylers' off of aff.
Not true at all. ALF was created as a peacemaking move, to allow the AFF flamers to have their group without the lifestyle stuff they hated.
In 2003, a member stated that while furries should be able to freely discuss what they'd like in the newsgroup, political and religious topics tended to cause flaming.
Thank you. I do appreciate it. This should be a place to discuss many things... To the betterment of furry and anthro. Ancient concepts learned in a bitter school, with Experience the teacher whacking knuckles with her ruler. Religion and Politics are the two subjects guarenenteed to start a flamewar fastest... Oh... and from the bottom line human side. I do hope Ms. Curtis is doing well. Thanks again.Paul
Paul R. Bennett, 2003
An example of Burned Fur and politics being used as a spring board for flaming or trolling is a 2002 thread started by a self acclaimed Burned Fur member saying that, after a recent political turn, pedophiles were to be accepted by Burned Fur. Per Poe's Law, it's unclear if this was sarcasm or satire. However, the topic spurred a long discussion. Some members talked about the legality of drawing underaged furries, and how one would even verify the age of the drawn furry, while others discussed or argued about recent politics. Some comments from the thread are below.
> Shon Howell wrote:
>> >> As a member (Hell, I'm the titular leader) of BURNED FUR
> We don't have a leader! We're more of a syndicalist commune...
We take it in turns, to act as a sort of executive piece of flamebait for the week...
((Picks up his old decoder ring and puts it back on his finger. Beafraid...))
Flamewar? Guy, this is one of the most study talks I've seen in a long
time. Usually by this time the personal insults have been flying likecrazy. I see VERY little of that, yet, here.
> Flamewar? Guy, this is one of the most study talks I've seen in a long
> time. Usually by this time the personal insults have been flying like
> crazy. I see VERY little of that, yet, here.
By gadfrey, you're completely correct.
Um, you're ugly and your mommy dresses you funny.
Okay, flame content taken care of. Resume the discussion. :D-MMM-
M. Mitchell Marmel
Outside Criticism and Opinions
alt.fan.furry was discussed outside of the newsgroup by others, including other newsgroups. In 1999, StukaFox posted on alt.fan.furry.politics "10 Rules of Hypocrisy on Alt.Fan.Furry," a meta piece criticizing some of the occurrences on AFF. Though titled as if the list only had ten items, many of the items had subitems, elongating the list considerably. Most of the grievances were related to flaming. The main ten items are listed verbatim below, and the alt.fan.furry.politics thread should be viewed for all items and their subitems.
- 1) Any thread that questions the state of Furry is a troll.
- 2) Those critical of Furry shall be held to a different standard than those who are not critical of Furry.
- 3) Any post critical of Furry is a flame.
- 4) Flames must be rotundly denounced as being bad for all.
- 5) Once a post is proclaimed a "flame" or a "troll", all content of that post may be ignored, regardless of validity. Remember, style is everything and substance is meaningless.
- 6) If a valid point is raised by a person deemed a Flamer, that point must be immediatley dismissed by the Apologists with a quick ad hominem post.
- 7) All critical persons must have IMMACULATE behavior, since they are all representatives of whatever movement they add to their .sig (whether aforemention movement is stated or not).
- 8) Thou shalt not swear (if thou art making critical posts)
- 9) If you, in the course of trying to do a good deed for someone in Furry, get bent over and fucked by that same person, it's your own goddamn fault for trying to help someone in the first place.
- 10) CENSORSHIP IS BAD!!
- [alt.fan.furry] 10 Rules of Hypocrisy on Alt.Fan.Furry (1999)
- To moderate or not to moderate- alt.fan.furry is torn apart by a modest proposal. (2017)
- The True Story of America's Most Misunderstood Subculture, Joe Strike-- References AFF multiple times (2017)
- PeterCat's Furry InfoPage-- references AFF (2010)
- ^ Who Dealt This Mess, Burned Fur Wiki, Circa 2006. (Accessed 3/14/2022)
- ^ R'ykandar Korra'ti, alt.fan.furry. Dec 20, 1990. (Accessed 3/14/2022)
- ^ Furry list and what to call this group... alt.fan.albedo. Nov 1, 1990 (Accessed 3/13/2022)
- ^ Re: State Senator Calls for Investigation Into 'Furries', alt.fan.furry. April 1, 2022. (Accessed 4/30/2022)
- ^ a b c d History of the Furry Part 1, Alt.fan.furry, May 5, 1996. (Accessed 10/21/2020)
- ^ Lifestyler FAQ, Tigerden, Mar 24, 2019. (Accessed 10/20/2020)
- ^ a b c d "Furry Lifestyle" (Was the Gallery tread), alt.fan.furry. Apr 14, 2002 (Accessed 3/14/2022)
- ^ Being Furry. alt.fan.furry. Nov 14, 1993 (Accessed 3/18/2022)
- ^ Furry Statistics Question, alt.fan.furry. Apr 21, 1998 (Accessed 3/18/2022)
- ^ the definition of "furry" alt.fan.furry. Jan 18, 2004 (Accessed 3/18/2022)
- ^ the definition of "furry" alt.fan.furry. Jan 19, 2004 (Accessed 4/30/2022)
- ^ Whu-oh, here come the moralists. alt.fan.furry. Dec 15, 2004 (Accessed 4/10/2022)
- ^ a b Keeping track of zoophiles, alt.fan.furry. Jul 16, 2003 (Accessed 4/10/2022)
- ^ Burned Fur - My what an ugly face you have (1999), Accessed 4/29/2022 ([Archived https://web.archive.org/web/20210617162033/https://groups.google.com/g/alt.fan.furry/c/PZ9-eDtYnAU/m/GIwtn8amNrUJ])
- ^ Crossposting to alt.lifestyle.furry, alt.fan.furry, May 9, 2004. (Accessed 4/29/2022)
- ^ Okay, I quit, alt.fan.furry. Jul 28, 2003 (Accessed 4/29/2022)
- ^ Pedophiles welcome!!, alt.fan.furry. Apr 16, 2002 (Accessed 4/29/2022)
- ^ [alt.fan.furry] 10 Rules of Hypocrisy on Alt.Fan.Furry, alt.fan.furry.politics. Jun 7, 1999 (Accessed 4/29/2022)