jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Way back in the day, people on Usenet (it's like web forums) had these weird strings of letters and stuff in their signatures that looked sorta like this:

FCF/FDC A C+ D H M P+ R T++++ W$ Z- Sf+ RLLW a cl++++ d e** f++++ h+++ iwf+++ j+ p-- sf

That's my furry code, and if you want you can go here to decipher it.

The thing is, it has a bunch of problems.
  1. It uses plain text and is incomprehensible to outsiders.

  2. It hasn't been updated since the Usenet days. There's an entire section on Doom, and the option to say you use Windows NT.

  3. It's not open source (although it may be de facto open to extension).
The biggest problem? By trying to codify everything, it becomes an Uncanny Valley caricature of an actual furry. There's no room between "I've been to one con" and "I've been to several and plan on going to many more," for instance. There's also no option to specify that your fursona is a hybrid of more than one species, or that you consider it to be who you actually are (for therians / otherkin). Finally, it narrowly defines the stuff that constitutes "being a furry," and "scores" people higher for certain things than for others.

I'm not going to try to make a new furry code. I only consider myself tangentially part of the fandom. But I think there needs to be something like this for people's fursonas. Something that lets people see at a glance who you really are inside. We've talked about this before; here's where I'm going to try to get more specific.

Here's what I think it should be like, at a minimum:
  1. It should provide a visual overview of who you are. Imagine something like an auto-generated sig banner, with a userpic, a quote, a few of your most defining traits, and a clickable link to a page that tells more about you.

  2. It shouldn't try to codify everything. Instead of /+++#! and stuff, you should just pick the traits that you feel describe you, and then provide a picture and flavor text to clarify.

  3. It should be completely open-source and distributed. Your fursona does not belong to a company. Whether it's your otherkin side or a role-playing character, you should be able to express it however you want. You shouldn't need to watch ads, pay a fee, or rely on any one person or organization's good graces. Your identity is a basic right.
I feel we can extend the Mozilla Persona and Badges specs to do this. Each person's fursona would be tied to an email address and/or personal website, and each trait would be a separate badge. People could define their own badges and use them however they like, and even create their own website to show off their fursonas. But "out of the box," so to speak, you could just go someplace and make your fursona and choose the traits that fit you.

Now that I've got that all explained, here's what I'm thinking of for a list of traits you can pick from. None of them are mandatory; if you don't pick one it won't show up as "blank" or "no comment," you just won't have that trait on your profile. Also, this is for a full profile, not just a compact sig banner.

Anything that says "badges," you can choose however many you like (or none). Anything that says "text," you can fill it in with whatever you want.

Warning for massive braindump and extremely rough sketch! Tell me what badges and categories work and don't work. I may decide to leave some stuff out, and create some new categories.

Read more... )

After seeing how complicated this is, I actually think we may need to make it modular. The basic fursona code could describe things like, what significance your fursona has to you and various words you'd use to describe them ("small," "mythic," "nocturnal," etc.; things like the results to the fursona species quiz).

Then after that, we could use something like Pathfinder or d20 Modern to create "stats" for people's fursonas, and basically recreate their descriptions as badge packs that people could choose from. If your character's from a modern setting, for instance, you could choose modern badges like "occupation" and stuff, whereas if they're from a fantasy world you might choose a class and spells. We'd use all Open Gaming License stuff for this, of course, and you'd be able to define your own.

The upside to that is that it would allow you to, say, print out a character sheet and take it to an RPG, or even play in an online game of some kind. And for the things like gender where there are a ton of possible badges, but you already know what you want, I'm imagining an interface where if you don't want to browse through the list you can just start typing to narrow it down.

Sorry for the kinda rambly post. >.> What do y'all think?

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

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