Pillowfort

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Website
Name: Pillowfort
Owner/Maintainer: Julia Baritz
Dates: 2016 - present
Type: microblogging
Fandom: panfandom/original work
URL: https://www.pillowfort.io
https://www.pillowfort.social
Pillowfort logo

Sign-in box from December 2018: "PillowFort. Welcome to everything you love."
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Pillowfort is a small social media/blogging platform founded in 2016 by Julia Baritz. The site is still undergoing development, and signups may be purchased for $5 or gifted as free invites by existing pillowfort members. As of October 2019, Pillowfort has over 49,000 registered users.[1] It was originally known as Pillowfort.io, but changed to Pillowfort.social because the io domain does not host any form of sexual content.

As described by the developers:

We wanted to make a user-friendly space on the web for creativity, communication and content-sharing. Pillowfort aims to be a hybrid of Tumblr, Twitter, and LiveJournal--keeping the strengths of these sites while compensating for their weaknesses.[2]

The site has an official FAQ; archive link and as well as a page on Known Issues. Since April 2019, Staff has also been releasing Community Updates about recent changes and developments on the site.

History

According to PretzelSpaceship's Abridged History of Pillowfort Alpha & Beta, Pillowfort was first announced on Tumblr in 2015.[3] An Indiegogo campaign for the beta was launched in 2016 and successfully funded.

Pillowfort's beta launched on an invitation-only basis, and initially, invites were released in limited batches, dubbed "waves," to those who signed up for the waitlist. The first wave of invites was released in February 2017,[4] the second in Setempber 2017, [5], the third in February 2017[6], and the fourth in May 2018 [7].

In July 2018, Pillowfort launched a Kickstarter campaign that included invites as a backer reward.[8] As of December 17, 2018, the Kickstarter campaign had raised $57,045 out of a $39,900 goal with the help of 4,476 backers.[9] The Kickstarter reward invites, or the 5th Beta Wave, were sent out in September 2018.[10] Since then, the site began sending out individual invites for a small donation, independently of the Kickstart. For a $5 payment through PayPal, donors would get an account invite on the Friday of their donation week.

According to Wired Magazine:

[Julia Baritz] raised a little more than $5,000 on Indiegogo to launch the site in 2016. [In 2018], she quit her job as a developer at a software company to focus on Pillowfort, and raised around $60,000 from a successful Kickstarter in August. That money is earmarked to pay her two contractors, and to hire another full-time developer to work on scaling the company. “What’s central to how Pillowfort’s being planned is we’re going to be getting our money from our users. We won’t be beholden to anyone but our users, so we won’t have to worry about third parties or outside forces,” she says. [11]

Also in July 2018, a fan emailed Pillowfort staff, asking if fanworks or "problematic" content were allowed on the site.

Hi, I have several questions about how fandom content will be handled by the staff. First, the Terms of Service say that "uploading, posting, transmitting or otherwise offering any such content that may infringe upon any patent, copyright, trademark, or any other proprietary or intellectual rights of any other party" is against the Rules of Conduct and is subject to moderator action. How does that apply to content such as fanart or AMVs? Second, I can't find any sort of content policy on the site, so I'm curious about how you will deal with people posting "problematic" content, particularly when it's fictional. Are the Terms of Service the only hard limits to that, and users are expected to curate their own experience with the use of filters/blocks? If so, is there/will there be a place where such a content policy is publicly displayed? Thank you for reading!BizzareKitten,ToS and Fandom; archive link

Staff's reply:

Hi, sorry for the late response to this email. The copyright clause is mostly there to provide artists with the right to ask for their own works to be removed if they've been reposted to our site without permission. Fan content is totally permitted, though there may be some issue if people try to reproduce or provide copies of copyrighted media in full, but the kind of transformative fanworks you've talked about are just fine. As for the second part of your query, that is an issue we are actively working on to address. We're very aware of user concerns on this topic and we want to consult with a few sources, such as lawyers versed in law pertaining to the internet specifically,  but we will absolutely revisit the TOS and provide more specificity on what content is and is not allowed.Pillowfort staff, ToS and Fandom; archive link

On December 10, 2018, Pillowfort clarified that art depicting rape, incest and abuse was allowed on the site, but that loli and related genres were not.

Policy on Explicit Artwork & Underage Characters This post is to clarify Pillowfort’s position on sexually explicit visual art, particularly art containing minors. We apologize for not clarifying our position on this earlier; we have been working on revising the ToS to address these issues, but an incident arose today that necessitated us taking action on this matter, so it seems necessary to put things in plain terms now. As of this statement, Pillowfort will not allow explicit visual art of characters that appear to be underage. Now, due to the inherently subjective nature of trying to determine the age of a fictional character in a stylized medium, the “gray area” cases will be up to the discretion of the moderator reviewing the content. Broadly, if your characters are close to 18 and could plausibly or arguably be of age based on appearance, that will be allowed. We are not going to comb through the wiki of a particular fandom to try and find the canonical age of a fictional character and then try to figure out if the character in the art piece is supposed to be represented at their canonical age or not. Similarly, many works of art contain sexual activity as a theme of adolescence and coming-of-age– I’m sure you yourself can think of many movies, shows, etc. you’ve seen that featured underage characters in a sexual relationship, some even explicitly– and even if you wanted to argue that art that explored adolescent sexuality was fine and it’s ‘just pornography’ that should be censured, we aren’t going to be the arbiters of what is art vs. ‘merely’ pornography. Therefore, sexual depictions of characters in later stages of adolescence may broadly be considered ‘safe.’ However, any explicit or sexual art of a character that appears to be physically pre-pubescent or barely pubescent (i.e. not plausibly or arguably of age, or even close to it) will be prohibited. We realize this decision may anger some people, but we have devoted a considerable amount of thought to this decision and we feel this is the best approach for our community. Importantly, we don’t want people to worry that this heralds a broader ban on ‘problematic’ content. When it comes to fictional depictions or descriptions of divisive subjects such as incest, rape, abuse, etc., we do not intend to restrict that content, for largely the same reasons as discussed above with regards to ‘gray-area’ underage content. We understand these subjects can be distressing for many, and we do request that people posting content that is potentially upsetting tag such posts with the relevant terms so that it can be avoided by those who don’t wish to view such content. The only situation we foresee penalizing the posting of this content would be a case already covered in our ToS, where a bad-faith user appears to be intentionally spamming completely unrelated tags or communities with violent or sexual content with the intent or result of disrupting the usual functioning of that tag or community. We will update the ToS to reflect these new guidelines soon. As always, if these new guidelines are unsatisfactory to you and you want a refund for your PayPal payment to us, you can email us at info@pillowfort.io and we will process your refund as soon as we can.http://archive.md/KYxmw#selection-75.0-105.51

This was a controversial decision that sparked discussion on Pillowfort and other sites.

Those considering a Tumblr alternative at this time (due to the Tumblr Exodus) began discussing Pillowfort as a potential option, and the idea spread through word of mouth as well as through various publications, such as Newsweek, that covered Tumblr's new policy. Pillowfort received a huge influx of users and the servers began suffering under the load. For this reason, Pillowfort suspended new account creation temporarily in early December.[12]

In response to this latest wave of new users, existing Pillowfort users began circulating various help documents, explaining the differences in the site to new users accustomed to other social media accounts.[13][14][15]

By January 2019, the site had just under 40,000 registered users.[16] Site registrations were reopened on March 28, 2019, still for a $5 fee.[17]

Up until April, Pillowfort had been hosted on the .IO domain. Eventually it was discovered that the domain's policies, which state "No .IO domain may be used, directly or indirectly, for any purpose that is sexual or pornographic,"[18] conflicted with Pillowfort's policies on NSFW content. For this reason, changing domains was imperative. The site was moved from Pillowfort.io to Pillowfort.social domain at the end of April 2019.[19]

User Control and Privacy Features

Pillowfort.io gives you more control over your space and your content! Not only can you decide how your post exists on the internet, but you can also decide who engages with it.

Editing Posts. When you edit or delete a post, these changes are carried through reblogs.

Updating a post with new information or correcting typos? Save your changes and everyone who reblogged that post will have the updated version on their blog.

No longer wish to share a post? Delete it--and all versions of that post will be gone from all users blogs and communities.

Controlling Content. Each post you make can be as private or as public as you like.

You control if your content can be reblogged.

You control if your content can be seen by everyone--or just your followers. (Or just mutuals, or just yourself.)

And you control if other users can comment.

User to User interaction. Direct messaging options with Pillowfort allows you to receive messages from: Followers only, mutuals only, anyone or no one at all. [20]

Pillowfort is a blogging platform that includes features similar to both LiveJournal and Tumblr. An official Staff post entitled Pillowfort 101: Meet Your Blog explains the basics of the site and its menus. A left sidebar contains buttons for the Follower/Following/Mutual followers pages, Mail inbox, Notifications page (originally "Replies"), and Settings. Below that are links to Make a New Post, Filters & Blacklist, Communities, Blocked Users, About & Contact, and Search.

Posts

When creating a new post, the posting interface offers five post types: Text, Image, Video, Link, and Audio. Although video and audio posts rely on embedding from outside sources, Pillowfort does offer native image hosting.

When posts are created, they can be marked viewable by one of four options: "everyone," "only my followers," "only my mutuals," or "only me."

The posting interface also contains three special toggle buttons: Rebloggable, Commentable, and NSFW. The first two allow users to turn off the reblog and comment options, respectively, on an individual post. The last marks a post as NSFW, which means that it will not be displayed to users who have chosen to filter out NSFW posts. The site has specific rules on what counts as NSFW and failing to use the toggle is a reportable offense.

Comments may be deleted by OP.

Blocking & Blacklisting

Blocking a user on Pillowfort makes two users mutually unviewable to each other. They cannot see each other's blogs, each other's posts, or each other's comments. Posts by a blocked user will not appear on the feed, even if a followed user reblogs from the blocked user or they are members of the same community. Comments by blocked individuals on other posts will appear blank, but threaded replies by nonblocked users are visible.

Blacklisting a word or phrase prevents a post from being displayed. For this feature, users have two options: they can blacklist a term within tags only or within a post's body text as well.

Communities

On Pillowfort, communities allow users to make posts outside of their own blog. Users have the ability to watch a community, which causes all posts to show up in their feed. Communities are often centered around fandom, other hobbies, general socializing or other topics.

In addition to posts, communities also have a separate area for "discussions," which are more like forum threads than posts and cannot be reblogged.

From the FAQ in December 2018:

One of the things that we at Pillowfort.io HQ most miss in current blogging sites like Tumblr and Twitter is a sense of organized community. You can look through tags to find content you like, and you can follow a group of people who mostly don’t know each other, but it’s rare to feel like you’re part of a group of people who are all participating in something together. Pillowfort aims to solve this problem with Communities-- essentially ‘meeting places’ where you can find other people who share your hobbies and interests.

With Pillowfort Communities you can:

Easily find people who like the things you like, and enjoy content with other people who share your interests. Members of a community can submit posts to it, making them great places to find a lot of content for that thing you like, in a space full of other people who like that thing and want to talk about it with you.

Create an organized space for communication and sharing. Communities are divided into a ‘forum’ and a ‘post feed’; there are no hard and fast rules for which content to post in which section, but we recommend using the forum section for posing questions and feedback requests, long discussions, etc. while the post feed is better suited for sharing media, news items, etc.

Maintain control over the communities you create. The creator of a community is automatically designated as that community’s ‘Admin,’ and can ban users from the community as well as delete any posts submitted to the community by other users. The default admin can also add other community members to be admins.

While all Pillowfort communities are currently ‘public,’ we will in the future add even more privacy options so that community content can be viewable only by existing members, new members have to apply and be approved by admins to join, etc. [21]

Reblogging

The reblog feature is a major distinguishing feature of the site. Unlike on tumblr, it is not possible to post onto another post. Instead, responses may be written in the comments or in another post with links. Also unlike tumblr, all reblogs are directly mirrored. If the creator decides to edit or delete the post, all reblog-copies are affected accordingly. When a post is edited, the bottom will display small text which says "last edited at (time and date)". This is one of the most popular features on pillowfort, though fans more accustomed to tumblr sometimes disliked it. Proponents say it allows original posters to have privacy and control over their posts. It also ensures that reblogs are up to date.

Onsite, some users have criticized this system or requested that a reblog-additions feature be added.[22][23] Other users have defended the reblog system as it is and pointed out the drawbacks of changing it.[24][25]

In early August 2018, a fan asked Pillowfort about the proposed policy of content deletion by fans themselves:

[syntaxcoloring asked]:

Could you elaborate on the rationale for having reblogs deleted along with the original post? If I write out a lengthy, thoughtful response to something, and then the original poster gets embarrassed or whatever...well, it kind of sucks that they can just wipe out my response, doesn't it?

[Pillowfort's answer]:

We believe it is of utmost importance for users to have control of their content and how it is accessed. Tumblr’s structure encourages users to think of other people’s content that they reblog as partially their own, but we think that that mentality leads to a lot of the harassment and plain rudeness that has grown on Tumblr over the years. The fact that a post can be reblogged by others, ridiculed, and passed around endlessly after the original user has already decided they don’t want that content to exist and represent them anymore has always struck us as a massive design flaw. On Pillowfort a user’s post is always their post first and foremost, and all reblogs and comments to that post are still under the control of the original user. So yes, while it may be unfortunate to have a post you like disappear from your blog or lose a comment you left, we think it is still more important for a user to be able to delete their own content when they choose. I can’t think of any benefits to non-destructible reblogs that is worth having a user’s control over access to their own content taken away.

It’s worth noting that users can also delete any individual comments left on their post, because we want to encourage the notion that when you comment on someone’s post you are in THEIR space. It’s a bit of a shift from the way that Tumblr and Twitter have forced users to deal with anyone and everyone putting their own thoughts on your content, but we don’t think users should have to deal with the responses of people who may only be trying to spread harassment or otherwise exploit users’ lack of control over responses to act in bad faith, as we have all seen happen quite often. [26]

Some fan comments about this policy:

[the-real-seebs]:

I just want to make sure people thinking about migrating to pillowfort see this one, because this is an incredible example of a policy that was clearly not thought through by people who have ever tried to keep abusers from doing their thing.

This is a great policy, if your primary goal is to ensure that abusers cannot be challenged or disputed, ever. It is a great policy if you want to actively punish people for putting in any effort at all in conversations.

Yes, we think of things that we write in response to other people as “partially our own”, because we wrote some of the content in the post. When people put effort into responding to me, that effort is theirs. If I make a silly shitpost and someone responds with a 2,000 word essay, their post was more effort than mine.

Fuck’s sake. Look at the writing prompts blog. Think about how this plays out in Pillowfort’s world: You post writing prompts which are a sentence long, other people write multi-page responses, and you get to delete any of those responses any time you want leaving them with no record of the work or effort they put in, no way to retrieve the data, nothing.

Conclusion: If you go there, do not attempt to interact with other people. If you want to comment on something someone said, do it by starting a brand new post with no trace of direct connection to theirs, so it will probably be safe.

But really, just… Don’t. This is not sane. [27]

[genderfight]:

“We designed a reblog system that discourages people from ever substantively using the reblog system.”

The maddening part is that I get it. That first paragraph does lay out real ways in which Tumblr is uniquely good at making sure that the dumbest thing you ever said on a social blogging platform becomes an unbanishable ghost that haunts your notifications forever. Clearly that’s not ideal.

But this doesn’t seem like a solution to me. [28]

[wynne-keyler]:

Yeet

Not migrating there, sounds like it was designed to ruin discourse and creativity.

Source: pillowfort-io #tumblr migration #tumblr debacle [29]

[lastvalyrian]:

I also really hope they rethink this policy. We know from other social media that people will resort to taking and spreading screenshots if the rules of the application force them to. And when it comes to intellectual property, what’s the point of being able to delete your own content when most of the time you actually want to shut down other people who repost your work.

A social network that discourages interaction fails at its primary purpose. I’m sure there would be other solutions without such dramatic impact. For example, the restrict the ability of the OP to delete the content of their own posts (whether original posts or replies) for everyone, but leave responses of other people in place. [30]
[teaandinanity]:

I’d like to register that most of the iterative content on Pillowfort that I’ve seen so far actively encourages users to make new posts; the blanket box notion, for example, will have one person offering a template - and then the instructions specifically ask the user to make a new post on their own blog. A prompt blog would probably encourage the same. It’s DIFFERENT than Tumblr, but that doesn’t automatically make it bad. And while I agree with the poster above me that being able to make chains of reblogs that build on each other is awesome, the easy solution to that on Pillowfort? Is to link to whatever you’re responding to, if you’re afraid it might get deleted, and create a new post of your own.

Is that a perfect solution? Maybe not, and there’ll be a bit of a learning curve for those of us migrating from Tumblr, but Pillowfort is still in its infancy. If this really doesn’t work for you, think about why, think about what you’d like to see instead, and tell them so! They’re still building the site. It’s in beta. That’s the point! We can help them find out what the user base wants to see!

And a major advantage to the original poster retaining control is that, for morons like me, we can fix typos or update an art post to show the current version of an image (I cannot even explain the agony of my most popular art post being the older and uglier version of a painting) or otherwise just FIX something once we’ve already set it adrift on the internet. I would let people delete my comments all day, every day in exchange for that - especially since I can still post whatever I want on my blog, if I want to respond and make sure it sticks. Why is it a bad thing to make your own post? You can still link to the original that inspired you. You can even tag the other person, if you want to get a conversation going! This literally just means it’s harder for other people to yank your post out of your hands and refuse to give it back, and I have nothing but positive feelings about that. [31]
[ashtarasilunar]:

That is all true.

But letting myself think on this… I remember some of the chaos that went on when reblogs allowed you to edit all parts of a post, not just yours. So I see a few issues with the pillowfort system.

-if linking and quoting: no notification to the original poster that discussion is happening. Easy to forget citations, and I’m really uncomfortable encouraging reposts. I have seen too much theft of creative content here, intentionally and not.

-if responding in thread on original post: works as intended… if the OP is acting in good faith. I’d be much more comfortable if there was a public edit log. I don’t care about typo corrections and whatnot, but if someone changes something I was arguing against, there is no proof whether I misquoted or whether they altered their post. That could get ugly quick on heated topics.

-deleting posts, thread and all: I dont have an inherent objection to this, as long as pillowfort keeps a record of the comments I have made. If such a record exists, I haven’t found it. (Pillowfort has been sporadically down, so I’ve only had about thirty minutes to mess with it; these are very early impressions.)

I could be seeing problems where none will appear; perhaps the culture will turn out in a way that makes this irrelevant. Comment logs and coding the site to include an autocitation link at the bottom of copied text would help some of my concerns. [32]

[lenyberry]:

Yeah, I concur that that’s a bad policy. I wouldn’t even mind so much to see something happen where anyone’s added-on comments can stay but when the OP deletes their post it shows up with just a little *post deleted* placeholder where whatever they said was, because that would allow people to remove stuff without also nerfing every single thing anyone else has ever added on. Funereal’s suggestion is better, but… there’s GOTTA be a way to allow people to stop having something represent them forever even if they’ve changed their minds, while still not destroying the ability to have conversations that’s, honestly, one of the ultimate best things about tumblr.

Now, I’m willing to give the benefit of doubt and say that maybe they’re trying to solve one problem but not realizing how it’ll create another one, and when that new problem manifests and/or is brought to their attention they’ll make changes, but… maybe, maybe not. [33]

[garr9988]:

I mean, I can see these guys’ point, but Tumblr’s fucked up black/white mentality and collective belief that people can never change or improve makes it easy and common for people to dig up or reblog and spread around old stuff that someone might feel ashamed of. Years-old issues can be brought back up and hundreds of people will suddenly be sending you hate and threats of death and doxxing for one reason or another. You may have deleted all traces of whatever you don’t want associated with you from your blog, but if other people reblogged it, you’re screwed forever unless you get everyone who posted it to their own blog to delete it as well.

Honestly, I think I’d prefer Pillowfort’s deletion policy even given the points made above. The pros outweigh the cons.

pearwaldorf Source: pillowfort-io #reply #pillowfort #pillowfort.io #pillowfortio #pillowfort io [34]

On December 19, 2018, user osteophage made a post titled "In Defense of the Pillowfort Reblog System".

almost everybody who’s encountered Tumblr arguments before has experienced suspenseful scrolling -- that emotional rollercoaster when you start reading a long reblog-addition argument, scrolling in growing suspense as you try to figure out which side is being endorsed. Maybe you’re comfortable in accepting that discomfort as a tradeoff. I could understand that. But there’s something more important to take into account here, too.

Reblogging to disagree still boosts a post’s visibility. It still spreads that post farther than it would have otherwise. It still exposes it to more with more eyes. Even with your witty burn at the end, you’re still expanding its reach. It’s still extending “a platform,” as they say. Compare this to commenting to disagree, for contrast. Commenting to disagree makes it far easier to argue with a bad post and still no-platform it as you choose.

This has two consequences right off the bat. One, not all bad posts are created equal. They all come in varying degrees of provocation to respond. From what I’ve witnessed, the motivation to add with disagreement or reblog added-disagreement is greatest not when a post is “slightly off” (which might encourage engaging in nuanced ways), but rather when the badness of original post is perceived as outlandishly severe, and this means that the worst stuff attracts the most circulation. Secondly, even if everyone who encounters the added-disagreement version takes the side of the adder/critic (which they might not!), that boosted visibility can still have negative consequences, because in aggregate, a site culture of reblogging to disagree means a site culture of continuous re-exposure to the things you hate.

Continuous re-exposure to the things you hate will stress you out. Stressed out people become less charitable toward others, more inclined to make snap judgements, and much quicker to lash out in anger.

Sound familiar?

We’re not done yet. From here, this system also leads to more instigation (without resolution) of conflict and a culture of hostility. When sharing a post in disagreement becomes the accepted way of engaging in any and all fights, choosing to add or keep adding to a post involves negotiating a tension between 1) the desire to speak your mind and 2) the desire to avoid annoying your followers with repetition of the same post. The risk of the latter increases with every new addition tacked on. From what I’ve witnessed, a post can only get so long or get reblog-added on so many times before it becomes excessively long and unwieldy, making it annoying for even the arguers to deal with. Eventually, before a resolution can be reached, somebody gives up and goes to make their own fresh post.

This means that reblog-addition “discussions” between two people typically have a very quick expiration date, simply due to the demands of the mechanical and social context. Ergo it’s easy to start a fight, but it's hard to get very far into that fight on any given single post. This makes it difficult to reach any resolution before you would be considered out of line for persistent “spamming” your followers. And that's to speak nothing of how tumblr’s reblog-addition formatting actually makes it annoying to format a thorough response point-by-point. I’m not even taking the time here to get into how comment section blockquotes make it easier to take a more nuanced approach instead of replying to entire arguments with either totalistic rejection/support -- or how important I believe repeated longterm dialogue is for effective persuasion to take effect. The point is that reblog-addition chains come with a time limit, and that time limit is short. People already have limited patience (which is fair!), but in this system, people give up on individual posts even faster, too quickly for most people to even come close to changing their minds.

This “public” (share-broadcasted) form of engaging in fights also means that you also have to worry more about saving face when you argue. It’s not just about impression management with your opponent, but also, simultaneously, impression management with your followers. When you’re addressing two very different audiences at once, sometimes that forces you to choose which of the two audiences to prioritize. You can guess which one people usually pick. Because many people find it embarrassing or even socially treacherous to admit “you’ve got a point there,” people will avoid doing anything like that, because they don’t want to risk their standing in the eyes of their followers. On Tumblr, reblogging to admit defeat is practically unheard of. That’s not just because people are stubborn by nature. It’s because conceding a point doesn’t feel cool and isn’t considered worth broadcasting to all your followers.

This is another part of why the fights on tumblr will seem to go on forever — both 1) because people abandon an individual chain before they can reach a shared understanding, and 2) because even when people do change their minds, it’s not as openly announced or widely shared.

When reblogging-to-disagree becomes intertwined with trying to look cool or be entertaining to followers, a culture of reblogging-to-disagree can crystalize into the form of snippy, hostile reblogging practices. Hostile reblogging practices are a subset of reblogging-to-disagree which involve reblogging solely to showcase your vicious shutdowns. That is, reacting not to engage, but to point and laugh. For an example of the distinction, consider how on Tumblr, some users developed a practice of spamming or dogpiling one particular user with the same joke whenever he posted or added onto a post. Note I’m someone who likes sharing a good comeback with friends as much as anyone. And yet. What I’m saying here is that 1) when showcasing & circulating a spectacular insult becomes vastly more socially valued than putting in the longterm work of actually changing an opponent’s mind, and 2) when people’s fear of “giving in” or admitting to changing their mind makes them avoid “publicizing” as much to their followers, I’ve seen how this easily develops a culture where people gain social cred and popularity out of being obstinate and mean.

I don’t want this. As someone who struggles with the temptation to be obstinate and mean, I don’t want this. As someone already prone to being sucked into this sort of culture, I don’t want this. I don’t want this.

“It’d be optional” means nothing when we already know what people do with the option.excerpt from In Defense of the Pillowfort Reblog System by ostephage https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/312460

Responses to osteophage's post:

I wholeheartedly agree with this post, very thourgh and well-argued. I do worry that the tumblr rule-change came at a very bad time for pillowfort's development. I think Pillowfort has a lot of potential to be not tumblr, to be better than tumblr. A sudden influx of people coming to Pillowfort hoping for it to replace tumblr rather than be a place that feels different and kinder could inhibit that potential but I hope it doesn't. Personally I really dislike the "reblogging to disagree" function of tumblr. However clever the witty retort at the end is, I still had to read the bad thing first, and it just gets you down after a while. I remember in particular a post with a very ablist photo edit. It was illogical, but it resonated emotionally. I saw it because it was reblogged with a logical retort that should have been persuasive, but the abelist image sticks with me anyway.Spectrums and Questions https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/312460?page=1&comment=221938
Great post!

I’ve noticed that a lot of new users seem to miss rebloggable comments, and I understand that it must feel strange to not have them when you’re used to tumblr where they are a very prominent feature. But I feel like the well-meaning people who keep suggesting adding rebloggable comments here are not yet quite familiar with pillowfort, the way it works and also why it works the way it does. I hope I don’t sound condescending or otherwise obnoxious when I say that, I don’t mean it that way at all! It’s just that I think new users would have a better experience here if they were more familiar with the reasoning behind some of pillowfort’s decisions.

The way I see it, rebloggable additions to posts aren’t compatible with pillowfort’s idea that your post is your space, and other people are not entitled to do whatever they want with it. Adding that feature wouldn’t be just a minor adjustment or a fun little addition, it would fundamentally change the way this site approaches user control over their own content. Since control over your own content doesn't really exist on tumblr, it’s of course understandable that tumblr users are not immediately familiar with it, but I think understanding that concept better would help people understand why rebloggable additions are not a planned feature here, and why this system actually works beautifully, and imo, much better than tumblr’s.saaga https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/312460?page=1&comment=222136

Fandoms

The first fandom with a significant presence on the site was Check Please, as creator Ngozi Ukazu was an early beta user and supporter of the site.

As of December 2019, the largest fandom communities are Pokemon (2679 members), Dungeons and Dragons (1768 members) and Femslash (1684 members). There is also a FandomOlds community with 1448 members for fans in their late twenties and older.

Other large fandom communities include Dragon Age (1574 members), Marvel (1552 members), Overwatch (1483 members), Kingdom Hearts (1286 members), Fanfiction (1253 members), Star Trek (1237 members) and Yuri on Ice (1196 members.)

"Blanket boxes" are "a series of prompts and questions to help build your Fort" and may be fan-related.[3][4]

AO3 Blanket box:

Rules: Go to your AO3 works page, expand all the filters, and answer the following questions! What’re your first and second most common work ratings? What’s your most common archive warning? Least common? Do you consider yourself an adventurous writer? How many stories have you made in each pairing category? What are your top 4 fandoms by numbers? Are you still active in any of them, and do you tend to migrate a lot? What are your top 4 relationship tags? Does this match how you feel about the characters, or are you puzzled? What are your top 2 most used additional tags, and your bottom 2? What would happen if you combined all 4 of these into an fic?

How many WIPs do you have currently running on AO3? Any you don’t plan on finishing?https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/548638

Some Fan Discussions on Pillowfort

2017

2018

I think it's also worth thinking about how reblogging, at least currently, structures communication differently on PF than on Tumblr.

For most of its existence, Tumblr gave users one tool: reblog. You want to share something with followers? Reblog. You want to comment on someone's post? Reblog. You want to try to have a conversation with just one person? Reblog. That was it.

Reblogging on Tumblr does 2 things:

Notifies the OP of what you've said Sends any comments you've added to the post to your followers. Communication goes in two directions: you -> OP and you -> followers. The first is upstream and the second is downstream. The emphasis on Tumblr is on the downstream. That's where virality lives. That's why the only tool up until the very recent Replies was a reblog if you wanted to add comments, because it forces the spread of the post.

Pillowfort Reblogs

PF reblogs work differently. Here, you have more than one tool.

Comment: you -> OP and you -> Other Commenters Reblog: you -> followers But the reblog function here isn't meant for adding commentary. It's a simple share, and it redirects your followers to the original post.

If you want to respond to the OP, you leave a comment. Communication flows upstream. You may also find that there's another comment from someone you don't know and don't follow that you want to respond to. The OP and the commenter should both be notified about it, so the flow is upstream and a little sideways.

Reblogging to your followers makes them aware of the post and encourages, instead of commentary to you, commentary to the OP. Communication flows back upstream. Followers would have to find your comment thread in order to respond to what you've said, which they can certainly do, but You <-> Follower is a deemphasized path of communication. And they may end up commenting on someone else's comment and not yours, in which case you've facilitated a new path of communication entirely.

So Why Have Followers Then?

If you can't talk to them, what's the point, right?

Well, you can. But on your own original posts. And as an OP, you might benefit from the flow of communication aimed upstream.

Also, when you make them aware of something you find interesting in the form of reblog, they have the opportunity to comment on it and on your comment, which they may not have if you hadn't done the reblog at all.

Is It Better?

Whether or not this older form of communication is better remains to be seen. And whether or not PF stays this way also remains to be seen. There may come some new development that alters the flow in a way that mirrors Tumblr or in a new way.

For now it's just Different. And possibly something entirely new if Tumblr is only social media you've been familiar with.https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/52324

2019

It's only until you move away from tumblr for real that you understand how utterly passive and almost disenfranchised you become as a fan.

Options for conversation is limited, posts scroll by, and at most, art gets a like. Fic is non-existent, meta posts mostly go unanswered because you have to consider whether it's worth the hassle, not because of the meta but because of tumblr policing.

At LJ, I wrote posts at least once a day, participated in discussions, communities, all the fun (and sometimes the wank). PiFo... it's going to cost work, real work, to get fandom back, to get the fandom experience back.


tumblr is fun, sure, but it's also fandom consumerism; it's not fandom as a group.https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/851333/

Meta and Further Reading

External Links

References

  1. Community Update: October 2019
  2. What is Pillowfort.io?, Pillowfort Staff
  3. First announcement at pillowfort-social.tumblr.com
  4. 1st Beta Wave: And we’re live!!
  5. 2nd Beta Wave: First batch of invites are out!
  6. 3rd Beta Wave: The first invitation emails are going out!
  7. 4th Beta Wave
  8. Kickstarter Launch!
  9. Kickstarter; archive link
  10. 5th Beta Wave: Invites!
  11. [1], Wired Magazine
  12. [2] Pillowfort Twitter Account, December 7, 2018.
  13. Pillowfort is not Tumblr Redux: 3 tips on the transition from dash to feed, December 5, 2018.
  14. Pillowfort 101, December 19, 2018.
  15. Tumblr/PF/LJ/site culture: what's your experience?, December 7, 2018.
  16. What’s Coming Up For Pillowfort?, January 14, 2019.
  17. Registrations!
  18. NIC.IO allocation rules
  19. "April 2019 Domain Move FAQ". pillowfort.io. Retrieved 17 April 2019. 
  20. Pillowfort: User Control and Privacy; archive link (accessed December 18, 2018
  21. Pillowfort.io Communities; archive link
  22. deleting reblogs
  23. Pillowfort Feature Requests
  24. In Defense of the Pillowfort Reblog System
  25. pfio's reblog & comment structure
  26. Could you elaborate on the rationale for having reblogs deleted along with the original post?; archive link (August 3, 2018)
  27. the-real-seebs.tumblr; archive link
  28. genderfight.tumblr; archive link
  29. wynne-keyler.tumblr; archive link
  30. lastvalyrian.tumblr; archive link
  31. teaandinanity.tumblr; archive link
  32. ashtarasilunar.tumblr; archive link
  33. lenyberry.tumblr; archive link
  34. garr9988.tumblr; archive link