Tag Archives: alt.lifestyle.furry

The Shadow of the Future Fell Upon Us

In the year 2001, the Usenet newsgroup alt.lifestyle.furry had been in existence for five years since it’s beginning in June 1996, and its first post in August 1996, and had become a popular site for furries around the world to communicate online. By the year 2000, 540 Furveys from newsgroup participants had been posted, indicating approximately the number of people participating. Posting news and comments on furry topics was the intent of alt.lifestyle.furry, but topics other than furry had become common. Beginning on September 11, their discussion became intensely focused on the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States and which would soon affect many people all over the world.

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A Dedication

Tim Gadd is one of the founders of alt.lifestyle.furry.

When a friend pointed me to these welcome essays concerning the early years of alt.lifestyle.furry—a time which will always exist as a vibrant and halcyon period in my memory—I asked if I might make a dedication, which the author and publisher kindly allowed.

ALF was an ideal as well as a community: a kind of social experiment which had never been tried on Usenet before. Myself and Ron Orr are usually credited with its conception and creation. We did come up with the idea, and write the charter and FAQ, but not without the consultation of the ‘creation committee’; a group of thirteen people in total who, over six months, provided input and review to the process.

Of these people there is no question IMHO that the most crucial was Brad Austin. His judgement was scrupulous, as was his instinctive grasp of the ethics of what we were trying to do. He was the one person whose advice I’d never ignore. Later, if the core values of the newsgroup were ever attacked, Brad was the staunchest of defenders; rigorously intelligent and morally unwavering, no matter how controversial the topic.

Brad died suddenly last year, age 45. I’ve never had a closer friend, and I miss him like hell. I wish more members of the community had known him personally.

There is someone else I want to mention. Virtually on New Year’s Day 1997, ALF hit the backbone Usenet servers and our participation suddenly exploded to many times the trickle of posts of the early months. The first poster I remember on that day was Craig Andersen – KimbaWLion online. Perhaps I’m biased, but to me he instantly became the first core member of the community from outside the original creation group, and I always told him I considered his appearance to be synchronous with and symbolic of the real birth of ALF.

Kimba quickly became my other closest friend, along with Brad and Ron, and his family welcomed me into their home on every visit to their hometown. He too passed away unexpectedly, late in 2012, age 58.

I’m grateful for the chance to leave this tribute on record to two true soul mates without whom things would not have happened like they did. I know there are many of our number who have fallen over the years, and this dedication is for them too, and those they left behind.

Tim Gadd
Tasmania, September 2015

Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry: Furry Can Change Your Life

Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry is an essay in three parts. This is part three.

In reading the words of alt.lifestyle.furry participants, one may observe that the newsgroup had become a place where many felt safe in the telling of their profound feelings of personal animal identity and experiences of mental transformations. Popular culture often denigrates the authenticity and validity of spiritual or mystic experiences, so it was a brave effort for some to share their stories. Here is more of their conversation.

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Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry: Exploring Furry Spirituality

Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry is an essay in three parts. This is part two.

When one looks back on the sincerity and passion for furry life that many participants on alt.lifestyle.furry expressed, we may not be surprised that religion eventually became a topic of discussion. In fact the alt.lifestyle.furry FAQ specifically addressed religion in Part 3 (Appropriate and inappropriate topics), point number four. Briefly excerpted it said,

For many furries, furry spirituality and religion are inseperable topics… we would like to assure everyone that it is ok to mention your religious beliefs here… if you believe they are important to your personal sense of furriness.”

Here are some voices from an extended discussion about religion and dignity.

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Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry: Creating Furry Culture

Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry is an essay in three parts. This is part one.

More than two decades ago, the furry community was one in which a small number of people created art and literature, and a greater number of people were the viewers and readers of those creations. A profound change began in Western societies with the rise of video games, active (e.g. MUCKs, and other such) and passive (e.g. newsgroups and websites, etc.) interaction on the internet, and an increase in science fiction-fantasy and non-traditional entertainment conventions that provided real-life interaction. From that change came the ability for the viewers and readers—the fans—to become more active participants in the cycle of content creation and content consumption. For many people the ability to publicly share with others their enthusiasm for furry art and literature was enough but another development was also underway. This development came fundamentally from the people who enjoyed what the content creators gave us, but who attached some serious personal importance, some profound emotional connection, to the furry art and literature. From this they began to create their own stories and characters.

On the internet, the establishment of the Usenet newsgroup alt.lifestyle.furry became a place where this new kind of furry enthusiast could gather. That newsgroup (which still exists and has some participation) was originally a group of furries who broke away from the alt.fan.furry newsgroup in 1996. They did so partly as the result of severely acrimonious discussions occurring there, but they were also motivated to have their own forum for the discussion of topics that were not purely related to furry fan subjects.

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