posted this
Time ago

Waterfall Bug Bounty Programme

While I work on fixing the minor bugs that have been reported, my mind started to wander. While there's been no showstopping issues reported yet, there's almost certainly a few lurking in the code, waiting to be found. So I thought - why not run a bounty?

What's a bug bounty programme?

Wikipedia can do a better job of explaining, but in short, a bug bounty is an official programme where people who find serious bugs (in this case, security ones) can be rewarded.

Why is Waterfall running one?

There hasn't been one reported yet, but somewhere in the code, there's going to be a serious bug that could have serious consequences. Waterfall is a solo project that's basically for fun and, while I'm not terrible at security by myself, it also means there's nobody to really review my code and find anything glaringly obvious. This means that occasionally, something serious might sneak by, and having that in public with a "here's basically the instructions to ruin everyone's day" attached in the form of a normal bug report is a bad idea. This is where the programme comes in.

How does it work?

Here's the page going into more detail.

In short, if you find a serious bug with security implications, you email it to the address on that page, giving me as much info as you can. It's STRONGLY advised you use a sideblog or side account for this, but specific considerations are outlined on the page, including how to get dev environment access for anything that might be particularly destructive.

It should be noted this bounty is for serious bugs only, mainly affecting security or privacy. Other bugs should still be reported through the GitHub linked in the site footer.

So what are the rewards?

Trivial bugs already get badges rewarded, and the bounty programme is no exception - you'll get the standard ones plus a special VRP badge. In addition, for stuff that's impactful, there are cash rewards on a sliding scale of severity. It's worth noting here - while most companies offer a bit more than this in their BBPs, Waterfall is a solo project, so it's limited by what one guy could realistically afford. Better than nothing though, right?

You can take the cash yourself, or choose to donate it to charity.

With any luck, nothing major will ever be reported - but the chances of that are slim, and it'd be utterly hubristic to think there's no flaws in my code that could be dangerous, and people who help defend against that definitely deserve to be rewarded.

posted this
Time ago

The re-conversion process for images is now underway, and is about 5% done - thoes of you on older devices should start seeing stuff again soon. I'll keep the warning there until it's at 95% done or so just so any new users know what's happening. This'll also fix the low quality on older images, I cranked that setting way up. You don't need to do anything to have those fixed, it'll happen automatically when it gets to those images.

One small side effect - a very small number of blogs have their avatars bugged right now. This is fixable simply by re-uploading the avatar. Not many blogs should have been affected before I caught it, but it's worth mentioning just in case.

One further note - I'm aware that editing image and art posts currently doesn't show the image stuff, meaning you can't re-order or change the images in there right now - I know about this, and re-adding it is my current priority. Sorry if you need that in the meantime, I'll get it back in as fast as I can.

Time ago

Regarding Images


As some of you have noticed, older browsers can't display WebP images, and you get a warning about it. This decision was made based on two factors:

1) WebP has been a standard for a while now

2) The cost of storage

Storing two image formats gets expensive, real fast - especially when older image formats, like PNG, are up to 15x the size of the WebP image.

Technical data from CanIUse said that the number of people who wouldn't be able to see images would be negligible - however, it turns out this isn't the case! Firefox and Chrome are listed as supported for a long time, but apparently on iOS, they rely on Apple to provide the libraries, which they apparently didn't until iOS 14. This means the math was WAY off.

So, this is a heads up - without a downtime I'll be reconverting all the images, this time including a PNG version. This does mean the site gets a bit costlier to run, but a LOT more people can't use it than I anticipated, so I'm hoping it's worth it. This'll take a couple of days, so the warning will stay in the header in the meantime, but I wanted to let you know.

In addition, this will also solve the compression issue with stuff that was converted - a library I used had some internal changes that I didn't catch so the quality setting didn't work anymore. This is now fixed, and has been pushed to live, so images uploaded going forward should work fine too.


Update! The transcode server has been updated to create both modern and legacy formats of any new images uploaded. I'll be working on the stuff to get existing stuff re-converted as soon as possible, but people should start seeing stuff again soon.

posted this
Time ago

Regarding Images

As some of you have noticed, older browsers can't display WebP images, and you get a warning about it. This decision was made based on two factors:

1) WebP has been a standard for a while now

2) The cost of storage

Storing two image formats gets expensive, real fast - especially when older image formats, like PNG, are up to 15x the size of the WebP image.

Technical data from CanIUse said that the number of people who wouldn't be able to see images would be negligible - however, it turns out this isn't the case! Firefox and Chrome are listed as supported for a long time, but apparently on iOS, they rely on Apple to provide the libraries, which they apparently didn't until iOS 14. This means the math was WAY off.

So, this is a heads up - without a downtime I'll be reconverting all the images, this time including a PNG version. This does mean the site gets a bit costlier to run, but a LOT more people can't use it than I anticipated, so I'm hoping it's worth it. This'll take a couple of days, so the warning will stay in the header in the meantime, but I wanted to let you know.

In addition, this will also solve the compression issue with stuff that was converted - a library I used had some internal changes that I didn't catch so the quality setting didn't work anymore. This is now fixed, and has been pushed to live, so images uploaded going forward should work fine too.

posted this
Time ago

Welcome Back

If you're seeing this, it means that the update is out, and I made it through the frantic few hours of emergency bug fixes that were inevitable from people who aren't me starting to use the site.

What's Changed?

For the most part, the site should look more or less the same - this wasn't a UI update (see my previous posts for details on how aesthetically challenged I am), save for a few QoL updates. On the backend though, everything has changed. This means we're out of beta.

Does that mean no more changes?

The opposite actually! The beta marker is honestly arbitrary, and now we're in the "perpetual development forever" phase. In the footer below, you'll see a link to report bugs and request features. You can use that to tell me what you want, and, over time, it'll be added if enough people also want it.

What's Next?

For the next day or so, I'll be in triage mode - there's bound to be a few more bugs I've missed (especially minor ones - a few have already been reported). I'll be steadily working through those until we're bug free, then I'll start introducing the holdout features I mentioned - things like giveaway posts, comic mode, etc. Once THOSE are in, I'll work on whatever you guys vote on below first, alongside the app - after all, the whole point of this rewrite was to make the app easier.

This has been a shorter post than usual, but understandable - the whole process left me a little exhausted, so there's not many words to say right now. In the meantime, if you encounter any major bugs or missing features - the only one intentionally missing is chat posts, since those were only ever glorified text posts anyway - let me know in the Discord. Otherwise, use the GitHub form to report them and I'll start working through them after a little rest.

In the meantime - welcome back!

What major feature should be added first, after bug triage is finished?

17.877094972067% of votes
Commission Market 2.0 17%
27.932960893855% of votes
UI overhaul 27%
11.173184357542% of votes
Advanced Blog Activity 11%
23.463687150838% of votes
Themes 23%
19.553072625698% of votes
Disregard new features; get the app done first 19%

posted this
Time ago

Community Update - Waterfall 1.0

As promised - the next Community Update would be the release announcement.


After more than a year in the works, it's finally time to deploy the Rewrite.

What's the Rewrite?

For those who haven't been here since the beginning and so are unaware, the Rewrite is a project I started late 2019. The site was getting bigger than I anticipated and a successful Kickstarter had just happened to make an app. Unfortunately, the code showed it - what had been slapped together as a proof of concept was now the foundations for what you're using right now, and it was getting increasingly difficult to add new features and adjust the existing ones. So, I pretty much decided to start from scratch, and rewrote the entire site. That's what's being deployed tomorrow.

Those who were here in the early days will remember how fast new features came - sometimes, I was able to deploy two or more major features a day. The rewrite means those days return, and I can make things happen much, much faster than over the last 9 months or so.


See the post directly underneath this one for the formal downtime announcement!

There's no formal estimation given for how long it'll take, since that'll largely be determined by how many images are on the site, since that's where the bottleneck is in the dry runs. I've optimised it as much as I can, but it'll probably be at least 24 hours.

What'll happen during the downtime?

During the downtime, the site will be completely unavailable, save for a maintenance page. It'll have some basic status updates on there, but you're encouraged to come hang out in the Discord while it's going on! We'll play a few games together or something.

Almost all data on the site is being converted into a new format. The only things I can think of that "break" per se are blocklists, blog descriptions, and badges. Blocklists have been talked about enough so I won't reiterate on that. Blog descriptions are being changed - given the app will start development immediately, it felt reasonable to prep for those now. They're being changed to be shorter rather than full bios, so that when they show in the app, someone doesn't have to swipe two full screens down. This means they'll be cleared in the update, alongside your badge settings - this is because the internal structure of badges has changed, so you can pick them all again (you can change the order of them now!) Your blog and dashboard theme may also be reset for the same reasons, so all in all, nothing too destructive is happening.

What'll happen after the update?

I'll be on standby to fix any major bugs that crop up. Given every line of code has been rewritten, there'll likely be a few that I missed.

Minor bugs will be put on a list to be triaged, and they'll be fixed in patches over the coming days and weeks, along with adding the hold-backs.

Hold-backs in this case refers to new features that are mostly complete, but are being held back a bit to make bugfixing the major stuff a little easier. It also includes one or two things, such as the advanced page editor, that are finished but I've found major bugs (i.e. security issues) in that need fixing, but aren't major enough features that it's worth holding the update itself back for.

After that, the GitHub repo and Discord will be open again to accept new feature requests, and a staff post will be made with a poll on what you want to see first. There'll also be a Patron update that gives a post-mortem on the whole rewrite saga, so keep an eye out for that if you're supporting the site.

It's been a long time coming, but we're finally there, and here's the 24 hour warning I promised.

See you on the other side.

posted this
Time ago

Downtime Announcement

At 8.00pm UK time (3:00pm EST) on the 22nd of January, Waterfall will go down for Extended Maintenance.

The purpose of this update is to deploy Waterfall 1.0, and move the site out of beta. No ETA is currently available for completion.

posted this
Time ago

Community Update

We're almost there - you can probably expect the next update to be the downtime announcement. But first, a few things to go over.

Blocking Returns

You might remember me saying a few CUs ago that blocking would be temporarily removed in the update - this is no longer the case! It's been redesigned and reimplemented to be simpler and more managable. Rather than trying to make it state of the art, I decided a simpler system that does what you need it to most - stop people contacting you - and divert the effort in making it foolproof towards making it harder for you to see content you don't want to see. I feel like this fits better with what blocking is - a nuclear option - and that tag blocking etc can be improved further to deal with just not wanting to see certain content, so that's what my effort will be going towards going forward.

Existing blocks still need to be cleared out due to the nature of the changes, but once they're re-added you won't need to add them again. There's no need to do this until the update hits.

Art Discovery and UI

If you've looked at the site, you'll have figured out by now that I'm crap at UI design. Art Discovery is implemented in the update but looks very boring. I'm aware of this and a UI update is planned to coincide with - or be released before - the app, since having them be at least vaguely thematically similar is probably a good idea. Also, nobody could agree how the Discovery pages should look, so that played a part too.

To help with that, I'm planning a workshop on the UI and Art systems soon - feel free to drop by and give me your thoughts on both of them. This'll get a dedicated post after the update hits with more info and times.

New Help Site

I've been working on setting up a dedicated, proper help site for the rewrite.

I won't link it just get, but if you guys could comment on this with aspects of the site you find confusing - or found confusing as a new user - that'd be extremely helpful! I'll make sure to write an article on the topic ready for the release.

Release Schedule

There's 29 issues left on the "essentials" list, and I closed another 14 today. That means we're talking a matter of days now. I have my Red Team doing their thing already (for those who aren't computer people - this basically means hackers for hire doing a quick security sweep and letting me know of any security issues I missed) while I finish up.

The plan is a staggered release - most of the update will release in a few days, with extra features rolling out piecemeal over the following days/weeks. This is mostly due to the scale of the rewrite and new features - I actually counted earlier, and only 17 lines of code remain from the current build of Waterfall, out of a few hundred thousand (more in the rewrite!). That's as close to a total rewrite as you can get. It also means that, almost certainly, some bugs are going to be introduced because of how much has changed. So, the bigger features get held back a bit so that while I try and fix those bugs, there's fewer moving parts - less new weird stuff that could be affecting things so I can squash them better. Not terribly ideal, but that's the trade-off for being a team of one.

Anyway, we're very close now. I'll finish up and run a few test converts on the dev server to make sure things run smoothly, and then give you all at least 12 hours warning about the downtime.

Assuming nothing terrible happens, next CU will be the downtime announcement.

posted this
Time ago

Community Update

This will be a more text heavy update than the others because honestly, there's not a whole bunch interesting to show about most of it. Buttons are only interesting for so long.

Group Blog Overhaul

I got halfway through rebuilding group blogs when I realised there was a much easier way of doing things than emails with convoluted codes. Instead, group blogs are now managed entirely from within user settings, including accepting invites and leaving them.

Also, I added a few extra permissions since I figured if I'm going for granularity I might as well go all the way.

Badges Overhaul

There's been some new badges added, and I've completely redesigned the way badges work internally. What's staying the same is that blogs can have up to three.

The differences are that now, they're broken into categories. The initial idea was that badges can be used to display achievements of some kind, and, when BiNet pulled the shit they did, was extended to have the Bi flag as a fuck you to them. Then the rainbow pride flag was added, and it sort of snowballed into the 12 we have right now for various reasons. Anyone who looks at the option list and how it displays can probably guess that it wasn't intended to have so many badges as options. At the same time, I can't really get rid of them now they're there without upsetting people, so the obvious solution is going to be categories of badges.

This is split into two bigger categories - User Badges, and Blog Badges. User badges are stuff available at the user level - stuff like the pride badges, any patron badges, Doctor/Scientist, Exterminator etc etc. Blog badges will be locekd to that blog, and will be mostly sort of achievement related, as well as the Artist badge when the CM is re-added. There'll be a lot more to choose from, and also earn - and this time the page is actually designed to take it into account. Oh yeah, you can reorder them now too.

There's a lot of badges added for actually participating in the site, that sort of serve as achievements. They'll be awarded automatically without need for intervention from me.


I realised I use emoji a lot on Discord, and that bleeds over into some of my shitposts on here as well. So I went ahead and added them, meaning that when the update hits, all your sparkling heart stuff will show as the actual emoji. In fact, if you're reading this after the update, that should actually show as the emoji rather than text.

There's also a second component to this system. I've designed it to support custom emoji sets, meaning that, as you can see form the second one there, custom stuff can be added. This means that in addition to the inevitable Official Waterfall Emoji Set, individual artists can upload their own sets for the site to use - or, if I ever get off my hands at make it/figure out what licenses I need, the Patreon alternative I talked about building a while back can allow artist's patrons to get access to special subscriber only stuff for artists.

For now though, it'll be manually curated by me. I have a couple artists in mind who I'll approach soon about it (or you can offer in the Discord, if you feel brave), but the exact criteria I'll be using for now on which artists have custom sets uploaded is still in the air and will likely evolve as the site grows. Uploaded emoji (other than the patron stuff) will be usable by all users on the site.


Been a long time coming, but I have a working prototype of a chat system. However, it's a little buggy right now, so if this makes it in, it'll be marked as experimental and opt-in. It currently supports one-on-one, and group chats with no defined maximum limit. More on this next time, but I wanted to mention it.

It's especially broken when I try it in the app prototype, so this might be someting pushed back to a future update.

posted this
Time ago

Welcome to all our new users today!

The site is still a work in progress (with major upgrades to basically all aspects of the site just around the corner), but I hope you'll enjoy it here!

Some useful info:

The Discord is where you can hang out with us and chat. There's also a channel for shilling your blog a little, alongside somewhere to get help if you're confused about something. Announcements tend to be posted here first! There's also a feature request channel for if you think there's something I should add to the site.
The #artists on waterfall tag is a good tag to start posting art in - a lot of users use this to check out new artists while I finish up the dedicated discovery system. Just remember to tag your NSFW and mark your blog appropriately if that's your jam (you can also use that setting to keep minors away if you're just not comfortable wth being followed by under 18s).

The featured posts system on the site works a little different than most other sites for the moment - simply put, all art can be featured, and automatically will be once it hits a certain notes threshold. Don't be shy, go ahead and post it.

Hop in the Discord if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to help!

posted this
Time ago

Community Update - More Teasers

The more progress I make, the more I have to show off. And since showing you guys what I'm working on means I can get feedback and hopefully not get too far down the wrong path that it's not easy to change, so you get to see more of what's done!

First, a quick note to NSFW artists - please make sure your work is tagged appropriately. The prescribed tag that must be present is "nsfw" - not a variation on it. You're welcome to add your own variations in addition to it, but that tag MUST be present. This is coming up because we've had people not tagging it and it showing in features. Using the tag correctly makes sure minors can't see it (or adults who just don't want to, for that matter), and is mandatory. The "this blog is for adults only" toggle isn't enough, since that's not explicitly an NSFW flag.

With that out of the way, let's see what we have for you. As always, WIPs and will likely change a little in the final version.

Accessible Fonts

One thing that a lot of sites don't do well is acessibility. Waterfall probably doesn't do it well either, but that's no reason not to try and fix it. So, first things first - font size, and dyslexia mode.

There's been plenty of research that specialised fonts can help dyslexic folks read better, so there's an option to enable that now. Doing so changes the font for the site to the one pictured, and also increases line spacings a little, since that apparently helps too.

In addition, there's a large font option too. The screenshot above has both dyslexia mode and large font enabled to give you an idea of what it looks like.

Image IDs and captions

This took a surprising amount of fiddling to get working, but it's finally working 100%. Image and Art posts now support Image IDs natively, if the uploader chooses to use them (which they absolutely should!), as well as captions. Image IDs are used by screenreaders too, while captions show on hover with the mouse. Head over to XKCD and hover over a comic to see what's possible here. Obviously, the image ID in the screenshot sucks and you should use actually good ones rather than jokes, but that's on a private testing build so I figured I'd have a little fun.

While we're on the subject of Art posts...

Art Theft 3.0

The art theft system has been completely overhauled, and we're skipping 2.0. That's how much it's improved. Unfortunately, I can't really show you for this since it's just a mess of code, so I'll describe it instead.

Art Theft 3.0 now uses five different algorithms to determine whether the site has seen an upload before. Instead of using the file itself as a comparator, it uses the actual image. As usual, I don't want to get too in depth to prevent workarounds being discovered before I can patch them, but it involves a bunch of stuff like wavelet decomposition, perceptual hashing, histogram analysis, yadda yadda.

You probably don't care what those words mean and just want to know what it changes, so here's a summary:

  • Lightened/darkened images are caught now.
  • Resized images are caught now.
  • The algorithms are crop resistant, so cropped off watermarks are caught.
  • JPEG compression/artifacting is caught and adjusted for.
  • Adding noise to an image is caught and adjusted for.
  • Changed aspect ratios are caught.

I borrowed 500 art posts from the site and ran them through a generator to create variations, then had the algorithms run on them. Only 12 weren't caught. Checking those 12 there was a common theme among them (sketchy style, no/little colour, or a lot of whitespace), but this is a staggering improvement on the existing system, so it'll be deployed in the next update. Best of all, it barely slows posting down at all.

This is the main reason the rewrite has taken about a year to do.

Group Blog Permissions

The page for this is ugly as sin right now so I want to see if I can improve it a bit before launch.

The motivation here was simple - Tumblr's way sucks. You can either do nothing, or everything. It's the same way here right now, so I wanted to fix that. Rewrite's blog permissions are fully granular.

URL Purge

I said a while ago that inactive URLs would be purged occasionally. That system is now finished, and the first purge will be on the day the rewrite is deployed. Here's your warning.

And that's it for this update - more to come soon!

posted this
Time ago

Community Update - Happy New Year!

If you're reading this, it's the New Year in the UK now and Big Ben didn't play O Fortuna instead of the bongs, so this year will hopefully be better.

Last year for New Year's I added a feature - since the scope of the next update is so big I can't do that this year, so instead I'll talk about a few I'm adding in the big one instead.

Note: Design work in progress, so these pics are WIP. Still gotta do theming, which'll be done as the last thing I do.

Mutual Checking

One of the most used features of XKit on Tumblr is the mutual checker, so I decided to go ahead and add it on Waterfall. This'll show on your Following and Followers pages, and the check will run against your currently active blog.

Pronouns in post headers

This was suggested by the wonderful @jellyenvy, and it seemed like a good idea, so I added it! You set your pronouns on your user page, and can enable it per blog. Then, it'll show up in post headers. It doesn't show up in post segments due to space constraints, but that might change in future.

For the first iteration, this'll be limited to the most common three - they/them, she/her, and he/him. Adding neopronouns will be on the to-do list, but I need to find a way of going about it that minimises the risk of abuse (such as the occasional user who might think the helicopter joke is still funny) while also not accidentally gatekeeping which pronouns are "valid", so that'll be an exercise for after the next update once any kinks are worked out. They also won't show on group blogs, due to the multiple user factor.

OP Tag Blocking

An update to tag blocking, it'll now check the OP's tags too, and let you know whether it's being blocked from the reblogger's tags or the OP. This should solve about 80% of the edge cases I've encountered so far.


Poll posts have been added in the dev build. You can set them to run for 24 hours, 3 days, or 1 week currently. Single vote or multiple options, you can have up to 10 options. These are limited to one vote per user rather than per blog. Options you voted for have a different colour than other options that have votes, to make reading it easier. I just didn't think to include that in the screenshot, oops.

Obviously, there's more behind the scenes and I'll post more about those when I have something a bit less WIP for them.

In the meantime, happy new year!

Time ago

Rewrite adds optional pronouns to post headers so folks don't need to check your bio for them

WIP, will likely look a little different in the final release. Credit to @UnidentifiedBlog for the idea!

posted this
Time ago

With the CASE Act now signed into law, expect most sites to start changing their rules regarding fanworks. Waterfall doesn't follow US law, but this is a paradigm shift for the Internet. This means I'll soon look at WF's rules and adjusting them to be more permissive for fan works. Everyone can weigh in on the new rules, and there'll be a proper workshop on it soon. Watch this space for more news.

posted this
Time ago

I woke up to the news that CASE had passed, and SISEA might be next, so let's talk about them and how they'll affect social media, artists, streamers, etc. This is mostly copy pasted from my Twitter thread on it, so sorry if the flow is a little off.

SISEA has been talked about a lot, so I'll start on CASE. It was passed as part of the funding bill in the US, because America is a functional democracy where you can apparently tack unrelated stuff onto important bills.

It introduces some pretty shitty copyright reform. Ironically, this is a neutered version, so at least you won't go to prison. That means that if you're a US citizen, you can have some fun stuff to look forward to now!

This means if you download or share copyrighted stuff, you can get turbofucked to the gentle rhythm of a $30,000 fine. Legally, they're bound to NOT consider intent, and if the claim is for less than $5k in damages, they don't even need to send you a letter first.
It can be applied retroactively. This means if you have streaming aspirations, do fanart (hi Nintendo!) - especially adult fanart that companies might not like - or stream yourself drawing, you're at risk from this new law.

This also affects memes, especially since a lot of them are based on stock images now. The Distracted Boyfriend meme? Hope you have a licence to use that stock image.
But hey, at least you get $600. SISEA is another bill, but I'm not too qualified to go into whether it's good, especially since the chamber is split on it depending who you talk to in the industry it effects.

It mostly means that it becomes almost impossible for any US based site to host NSFW. At least, without spending a ton of money. This affects Patreon, Twitter, Tumblr, Pillowfort, etc etc.

Any US based social media site is likely to just say "it's not worth it" because the extra budget that needs allocating to deal with it.

Something I've seen is "well those sites will just have to move out of the US" - that's not feasible, for many reasons. Traditional business models for social media mean the sites are profitable selling ads and your data on to other companies.

The US is the friendliest country in the world to that business model. Moving to Canada or Europe kneecaps that business model. So much so, that it stays more profitable for them to just formally ban NSFW altogether.

Will it work? Who knows, we saw Tumblr try it. Though that was mostly a token gesture, with it enshrined in law, they'd be obligated to actually try harder at it than leave it as an open secret.

Compliance with CASE is a different matter. It's not on the sites themselves to enforce that (though I'd expect a bunch more posts getting taken down), but a lot of people are going to be fined over it.

Anyway, fact of the matter is any US based site is now inherently hostile to content creators. Not through any fault of their own (for a change), but because they have to follow the law.

Waterfall is immune to these laws and will not be complying with them.

posted this
Time ago

Community Update - The Future of Features, Tracking, and SISEA

Time for another little infodump while I take a break from wrangling with the new search algorithm. This post goes into NSFW on the site (don't worry), ditching tracking, and how features will work going forward.

SISEA and sites banning NSFW

First, if you don't know what SISEA is, here's a thread. Essentially, stricter verifications and required actions from platforms mean a good chunk of sites will probably just outright ban NSFW in general if it passes (it hasn't yet).

I'm not personally qualified to comment on whether it's good or bad, but a few sex worker friends I've discussed it with consider it a mixed bag (in a sort of "maybe good intentions, but the execution sucks" way). Either way, it doesn't affect Waterfall - we're not a US site so we can safely ignore that. If push comes to shove and I DO have to implement something, I'll work with any sex workers or adult content producers who want to get involved (anonymously or otherwise) on making sure whatever system we're forced into is safe and secure, but NSFW as a whole will not be banned on Waterfall.


I got off my ass and removed Google Analytics. While it's been useful in planning when to do maintenance, I've started hating the tracking bullshit so I've removed it. TOS and Privacy Policy will be updated shortly, and the only analytics I have now is a user count for who's been active in the last week. I might go with a self-hosted analytics thing in future if I feel there's a need for it, but for now, no more tracking. That said, Spotify and YouTube still inject trackers into the page, as do some of the CDNs we use to load a few things - there's nothing I can do about that right now, but I'll be working on stopping that in the rewrite. Use Privacy Badger and uBlock Origin in the meantime.

Art and Features

A discussion that's lasted a few days in the Discord now is the state of the features system and art.

The system as it stands is everything that's an art post gets featured at a minimum notes threshold. This is good and I like it because smaller artists get attention too after a nominal period of time. However, as time goes on, it's apparent that there's a few problems with the system how it works right now.

First, the nomenclature - "features" - gives a certain impression, being that it's the best stuff on the site. This is an issue for new users who don't understand the system's workings - which, unfortunately, is leading to them seeing stuff on there, thinking it's the best on the site, then leaving because it doesn't meet their quality threshold. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with being a beginner, and beginner artists definitely deserve attention too.

Second, there's the abuse problem - if it's "everything that's an art post", that's open to a bit of abuse. Getting commission sheets featured becomes trivial and turns it into basically a free advertisement for anyone who posts a commission sheet as art, which is definitely not the intended purpose of the system. Likewise, WIPs - while ostensibly kind of art - are also put into the art system, which makes things dicey when it comes to Art Theft 2.0, since many WIPs are uploaded as screenshots of Sai and such.

Loathe as I am to start defining what art is, these are problems that need to be addressed, ultimately for the good of the site even if it pisses one or two people off. So, going forward, here's what I'm thinking pending more feedback. No more automatic featuring, everything is manual. Featured posts will be hand picked and presented as the best on the site, as users joining for the first time expect them to be. In place of the current system, there'll be a dedicated discovery area for all art, biased towards artists with less of a following.

All new art will show there, and give folks an opportunity to find new artists. Since I'll be going through everything submitted as an art post anyway to find features, I can keep stuff that shouldn't be art out of this area - stuff like WIPs, memes, OC ref sheets (which are mostly text by area), and anyone trying to get abusive/illegal content into the system can be downgraded to an image post or deleted as needed, while other stuff can be waved through.

This feels like the best compromise where new users aren't put off by things working different than they expect, while also promoting new and lesser known artists effectively.

As I said, this in particular is open to feedback, so do feel free to comment or join the Discord for discussion on it!

posted this
Time ago

Waterfall - End of Year Two

Once more we find ourselves in Waterfall's birth week - the initial launch being on the 10th December, and the first advertising being done on the 17th - so it's time for the annual reflection post! Waterfall has been around for two years now.

The Past

First, I want to give a huge shoutout to the community. It's been a shit year for everyone and I'm not going to say The Phrase™, but everyone on here has supported each other and propped each other up when they needed it, and made some fantastic pieces of artwork to boot. Be proud of yourselves, you've earned a rest.

Waterfall went through some changes this year, mostly behind the scenes. It went back to being officially a solo, personal project, and funded entirely by Patreon. Subscription features were scrapped, and the plan now is everyone gets everything. More on that later.

The Present

Waterfall is in what I'd call a "stable" state. More users join every day, at a steady rate that's not terrible, but not impressive. Overall activity seems to increase more or less on par, but again - it's not terrible, but not impressive. A lot of people are waiting for the rewrite update and the app, so this is understandable.

The Future

Using the above, I can start to plan for the future. First, premium subscriptions - there won't be any. The more I thought about it over the last year, the more I realised I absolutely hated the idea. It's artificially limiting to people, and it's a very corporate kind of move. Considering half the reason I started the site was because I was tired of corporate bollocks, that didn't sit well with me, so it's gone - there'll be milestones on the Patreon instead that unlock the extra features for everyone on the site. I want to see if I can make that work instead. It'd be sweet if I could just do it without the milestones but realistically, since I'm doing this instead of getting a Proper Job™, I need to pay the bills I guess - but overall, I don't want this to just be another corpo site that sells your data (which I don't do, by the way. No data selling, at all. The only income is patrons).

Immediate term - get the rewrite done. I was hoping to deploy it on the 17th, as you know, but getting enough sleep and dealing with depression is a full time job on it's own, so I'm relaxing my schedule a bit and using the extra time to do some things in the pipeline that'll make my job easier as I go, since I've neglected that over the last two years. It's still coming as soon as I reasonably can get it out of the door though.

I got sent an ask on Tumblr while I was writing this about how Pillowfort coming out of beta affects the site - the tl;dr is it doesn't, but the full answer is linked there if you feel like reading it.

The App

The app. It's well overdue, but good news - I have a working prototype. It's able to login and view posts, and make extremely basic text posts. That's progress, and not bad considering I've been building it while rewriting the entire site from scratch, I think. The main barriers right now are getting network detection to be a bit more reliable (we've all gotten pissed at the "connection flimsy uwu" messages on the Tumblr app), and getting a decent text editor written for it. Battery usage is also irritating me at the minute - it's probably fine and I'm just being a perfectionist, but I want to see if I can get it a bit lower. That said, I expect to start betas within a couple months - active development on the app will resume once the main rewrite is out and any bugs have been fixed.

The Site

Over the next year, something I really want to focus on is community building. I want to implement tools you guys can use to build your networks, reward good contributions and stuff. I also want you guys to be able to, if you want to be, more involved in the site's development, so I set up a proper place to request features and report bugs.

Obviously, getting more folks here is going to be the biggest driver, so please feel free to spread the word about the site in the meantime!

I'm in the home stretch with it all, and I'm excited to see if you guys like what I'm cooking up.


As with last year, I calculated the environmental impact of the site, and offset the carbon. This year, I split the offsetting funds between a wind power project in Rajasthan, India, and a project to bring clean water to families in Laos. Also as with last year, I threw 20 bucks to Team Trees.


We've come a decent way this year, though not as far as the first year - but that's fine. We've all had a crappy year. Let's hope next year is better, and we can make this place something good.

I owe a lot of the success of the site to you guys for sticking around and making it what it is.

Thank you.

posted this
Time ago

Heads up! There'll be a short downtime at 3am UK time for server upgrades.

posted this
Time ago

I hit a milestone in the rewrite's development today, and it now supports localisation! This means the site can be translated into other languages to help us welcome folks from around the world who aren't as fluent in English.

To help me decide on which languages, and in which order, I should work on getting translations done, I've put together a short survey. Fill it out if you have time!

posted this
Time ago

Upload limits increased!

Since we've broken the first tier of goals on Patreon, the upload limits for the site have been increased!

The new limits are as follows:

Images: 15MB

Video: 150MB

Audio: 20MB

I also tweaked the logic a little so it should be a bit more forgiving if you're close to the threshold.

Thank you for your support! The next tier will bring advanced blog analytics to all users. See previous staff posts for what that entails.

posted this
Time ago

Community Update - Something Different

Meowdy ny'all,

I've decided I'm going to try something different with the community updates - instead of just posting them on the 1st of the month, instead, I'm going to try and post them when I actually have something to say. This probably means more frequent ones, since, as you'll see in the rest of this post, it'll help me get feedback faster and iterate on it. Other times there might not be anything if I'm just tinkering behind the scenes. There's a few things I want to talk about in this one though, so let's start with news on the update.

Updated Update Timescale

The original plan was December 17th. Fortunately for my health, the Discord has collectively bullied me (read: making me realise I was stressing myself doing 18 hour days for something that doesn't actually pay the bills) into taking it easy, and not worrying about meeting the deadline. This probably is going to frustrate some people, but overall, it's for the best - I was struggling mentally with the pressure and, now I took a step back to think about things, I realised I was cutting a few corners. I still don't anticipate the update being too long now, but this gives me an opportunity to take my time do things right instead of skipping them, so the update is something I'll be happy with, and not kill myself in the process.

Blocking in 1.0

Another thing worth mentioning for 1.0 is that blocking will be removed in the update. This is not permanent, and it will be re-added in a subsequent update as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I've found significant flaws in the design, including some fairly serious exploits, that were borne from me just not expecting people to use the system as they are. These technical flaws are not repairable, so the entire system needs to be redesigned from scratch.

New Direction

Over the last few days, I've also realised I've not really liked the direction the site is moving for the last year or so. To go back to the blocking stuff, it was never meant to be a first-line action, and was meant as a last resort, but isn't being used like that - simply unfollowing or using the tag blocking stuff was meant to be what you do first. I spoke about the harm aggressive blocking does a few months ago, so shan't reiterate it here. Clearly though, when there are some users who've blocked more blogs than users who actually logged in this week, something, somewhere, has gone wrong.

Anyway. The original aim of the site was to be somewhere this isn't needed, and for a time, it worked. But, over the last year or so, all the toxic behaviours from other sites have slowly crept in to Waterfall, making it Just Another Tumblr. I don't want the site to be Just Another Tumblr. The goal was to be somewere people can communicate, learn from each other, and share stuff as a community, with less focus on it being a personal space exclusively for any individual user - that's what sites like Wordpress are for. Waterfall, on the other hand, wants to build an active community and encourage people to be a part of it.

So, with that in mind, I'm getting down to the bare essentials and deciding which direction I want things to go in in future updates, after 1.0. The Discord is helping with this process, having little discussions to help me see different viewpoints and then doing little votes on stuff to cement the opinions (if you're not in there, do feel free to join and participate!) and decide how closely I want to emulate Tumblr in future development, and how much forging my own path I can do without pissing everyone off.

Rules and Tagging

The major thing we've discussed so far is some changes to how the rules should work going forward.

There's a delicate balance to be struck between what is and isn't allowed on a platform. Too permissive, and you get creeps. Too restrictive, and you barely get anyone. Right now, Waterfall leans on the side of too restrictive - as evidenced by the constant misinformation on other sites about what we do and don't allow. Many artists don't post here because they think their art isn't allowed, even if it actually is.

So, the new plan we came up with in the Discord - make the rules more permissive. Some things will still be outright banned - loli/shota, shock gore etc - but for the most part, other stuff will be allowed with one very big caveat - I'll be overhauling the tagging rules, and there'll be a HEAVY emphasis on making people tag stuff.

Before I explain the tagging stuff - yes, this means that some stuff on the site may be stuff you and I don't like with the new permissive ruleset. However, we need to realise that even if the site is the most technically impressive around, it's pointless if there's nobody actually using it. And right now, the content rules do drive a lot of people away, either through misinformation or just being too restrictive in some cases.

Now, tagging - anything that's a common trigger MUST be tagged under the new rules. Not tagging stuff results in punishment (with some generous forgiveness if it's a genuine mistake/oversight - only people deliberately evading tag rules will get punished). This is the best way to be permissive with content, while still allowing people to curate what they see using the blacklist system. It's also worth noting at this point - the blacklist system has received significant upgrades in 1.0, which is when this change takes effect. It won't matter if the person who reblogged it to your dash tagged it or not as long as the OP did. We'll also be moving to a strikes system for the rules instead of a "one and done" thing, though obviously I can still insta-ban if I need to.

I realise this is a change that'll piss folks who like the strictness off, but the short of it is the site can't survive if we stay too strict. Other sites that are more lenient will simply attract more users, even if those users don't post anything that'd break the existing rules - there's simply more people, more content, and more clarity there by virtue of the site allowing more. This will hopefully also solve the problem with people reporting furry blogs for bestiality, highschoolers talking about their partners as minors posting NSFW, or other unreasonable claims where someone is blatantly trying to just get rid of stuff from the site that they personally don't like (it's a bigger problem than you'd think). I'm also hoping the emphasis with the system on tagging more reliably will result in people using tag blacklisting more, instead of defaulting to a block.

Once again though - anything genuinely gross remains firmly banned, tagged or not.

Feel free to join the Discord to discuss, comment, or help with the next discussion!

posted this
Time ago

Announcing Inkwell

Hello friends,

As some of you might have heard by now, AO3 has gone down a very dark path as of late, alowing users to write and upload sexual content of real, underage people. This is a significantly different matter from allowing it of characters from anime and such, but, from what AO3 staff have said, it's sanctioned. (TW on those links for pedophilia).

So, I'm here to announce today an acceleration of my existing plans, and introduce you to Inkwell!

What's Inkwell?
Inkwell is a writing site, in a similar vein to AO3, with a few core differences.

What kind of stuff can be posted on Inkwell?
Fiction and writing projects of all kinds, including essays, character analyses, chaarcter profiles for your OCs etc. Original works, not tied to any existing fandom, are very welcome!

What stuff can't be posted?
Sexual content involving characters aged under 18, or stuff involving real people. Anything else is a go.

How will it integrate with Waterfall?
The plan as of write now is that you can post writing on Inkwell, and then, if you want to, cross-post it to Waterfall using a fancy button on the site. Then, it'll make a nice, pre-formatted special kind of art post for you that links to the site. Partly because the Waterfall format isn't amazing for long-form writing, and partly because Inkwell can have some formatting options that WF can't support. This forms the writing upgrade to Art posts.

The slip in the first sentence wasn't intentional but I'm keeping it because it's funny

When will it be available?
I need a short break for a mental reset from WF, so I'm actively working on this right now. Beta could be up within a couple of days - Patrons ( hint hint) may get early access with everyone else being let in later, if they don't vote to release it to everyone immediately.

Why though?
AO3 has started allowing people to upload sexual content involving real minors. I think we can agree we need somewhere else now.

Yes, this is another spite project, though it was also planned months ago.

When will it be available?
It'll be available for patrons to beta test in the nexrt few days. Once we've worked out the major bugs, it'll go public.

Will the site defend our right to write fanworks as much as AO3?
Yes. I'll do everything in my power to protect the users of the site and, if I am being pressured about a certain work, that user will be notified as soon as possible in private so we can work together on the matter.

What sort of features will it have?
If AO3 has it, Inkwell will have it. It'll just take a little time, especially the tagging system - but we will get there.

Feel free to hop in the Discord to discuss!

posted this
Time ago

Community Update, Supplemental - 1.0 Deployment, Patch Notes, and Feature Requests

As I type this, we've hit the 32,500 user mark. A completely arbitrary milestone, but it feels good nonetheless!

There's a few things I want to talk about in this post. First up, Twitter has apparently released another garbage update.

Feature Requests

As you know, Waterfall is a one-man show, so to help keep me on course, I've made an official place to request features and report bugs.

You can request anything you want there, but I would ask that you don't do bug reports until after the rewrite hits, since everything is being written from scratch anyway. You can, however, feel free to suggest ways of getting the site a bit more out there since people are very much correct when they say that there's not much interaction here at the minute and I want to improve that, both in terms of what you can do on the site itself and getting people to know about it. You can use thumbs up and down reactions to help me see what's good and not a bit easier.

Most stuff suggested now will be targeted for 1.1 onwards, though if something is put in there that I'm already doing for 1.0 I'll mark it appropriately so you know what's coming. Feel free to discuss the open issues as well! The more discussion there is on something the faster it'll be implemented, and I'm more likely to get it right the first time as more people give their use cases for it to make sure I'm not misunderstanding what's requested.

1.0 Update, 1.1, and the app

It's been rough going, but it's starting to look like everything I wanted in 1.0 is going to be done in time! The site will be constantly under development as I find news ways of doing things or things worth adding, but this is the big one where I'm happy enough to say we're out of beta. Or, well, that I think there's enough here to make the site properly usable. Realistically it'll be in perpetual beta just because of how I do things, but that's not very marketable.

So, here's the tentative, subject to change schedule for how it'll go down.

  • On 10th December, I'll do the initial run of image conversions. This is the part of the process that takes the longest, clocking in at 17 hours.
  • No later than 17th December, there'll be an extended site maintenance to properly deploy 1.0. This'll take an estimated 9 hours. I wish it were faster, but there's a lot of data to convert to the new formats - the biggest slowdown is converting posts and audio posts. New images will also be converted at this step - depending how the first convert went, this'll either be "they're all there when the site comes back" or, if I need to re-run the lot because of an error, it'll start with the most recent first and work backwards until it gets to the start. Preliminary tests show that only 5 images (out of about 200,000 on the site) fail to convert. Not perfect, but well within acceptable limits (especially since the one I checked was corrupted on the main site anyway).
  • After the deploy, I'll be around to do hotfixing and fix any major bugs that I missed. After a day or two of that, I'll be taking a little bit of time off - maybe get Christmas out of the way or something since I've not had much downtime the last few months.
  • Then, development on 1.1 will start. 1.1 will add a few minor features, those that are targeted on the GitHub, but mostly be a bug fix release for minor stuff. Not giving a firm date on this one since it depends how badly I fuck up.
  • After 1.1, it'll be 1.2, 1.3 etc. Somewhere in there, the app will be released. I already have a functioning prototype that's able to log in and view text posts. So yeah - the app is coming.

This schedule is subject to change - I might find big, showstopping bugs that mean I need to take a bit longer to fix things. But the goal is - 17th December, no later than. I'll give a 24 hour warning when I'm ready.

And now, the changelog. This assumes everything I want in is done - it may be that a thing gets removed or tweaked if I have trouble with some of the would-be-nice stuff and they get bumped to 1.1, but as things stand now, this is the changelog.

Waterfall 1.0 Patch Notes

Changelog for Waterfall 1.0


  • Rewrote the entire site from scratch to be slightly less terrible.
  • Version number 1.0. Waterfall can now be considered out of beta, though development of new features continues.


  • Blog slots have been removed, and the limit has been removed. You can now have as many blogs as you want for free. URL hoarders will still be punished.
  • Settings pages have been redesigned to be significantly cleaner.
  • Added source post links to post footers.
  • Tag blacklisting now works for the OP's tags as well.
  • A rudimentary "Explore" feature has been added. Currently, this is limited to finding new art posts easier, but will be expanded on in future based on feedback.
  • Badges that didn't yet have art have now received art.
  • Badges can now be re-ordered.
  • A New User Setup Experience™ has been added to make things a little easier for new users.
  • Abandoned and inactive URLs have been cleared.
  • Quick Reblog has been added.


  • Image and art posts now allow adding captions and image ID data.
  • Built and deployed a new text editor that sucks a bit less.
  • Images and videos are now available in variable quality. A suitable quality will be automatically chosen depending on whether you're on mobile or not.
  • Video posts will take a while to create the extra qualities. The server will post them once the process is complete, with the time taken varying depending on the size of the video.
  • The maximum size for images is now 4096 by 4096 pixels. This limit may be raised in future as the resources we have available for image processing improve.
  • Upgraded audio player.
  • Added post additions. These will be fleshed out a bit more in future updates.
  • You can now block individual posts.
  • [BETA] Art posts now support writing better.
  • Long posts will be auto-collapsed, showing the OP and the most recent handful of replies. This should make long-form roleplays less terrible.
  • Posts can now be set to private. These won't show on the dashboard, and will only be accessible via a link. An exception exists for people mentioned in the post, who will be notified.


Post additions are, as the name implies, optional addons for posts. They can be context dependent (for example, only showing comic mode settings when making an art post), and mix and matched as desired. More addons will be available in future.

  • Added Polls as a post addition. They can have up to 10 options, and be time limited.
  • [BETA] Added "Giveaway Mode" as a post addition option to Art Posts. You can specify rules, maximum number of entries, number of winners, what counts as an entry, and a tiem limit. The system will then automatically pick winners for you at the appropriate time.


  • The featuring mechanism has been adjusted - the note threshold remains at 7, but staff must now approve art before it is featured.
  • As a matter of policy, everything finished piece will be approved, and this is an anti-abuse measure to prevent problems before they occur. It also provides a basic level of protection to make sure explicit stuff is marked as such before being featured.


  • Group Blogs now have granular permissions for each member; the blog owner can set them.
  • Blog render code completely overhauled.
  • Blogs now support limited colour and style customisation. A full, Tumblr-like theme editor is in the works.


  • Images now support Image IDs natively. They can be turned on in your user settings, and will display if an uploader has added them.
  • A dyslexia friendly font option has been added. It can be enabled in user settings, and will change the font and line spacings.
  • Added large font option. It can be turned on in user settings.
  • Note that accessibility settings won't override blog theme settings at the moment. Individual blog owners are responsible for making their themes readable.


  • Migrated the database to a new engine and schema. Preliminary testing shows significant performance improvements, while being significantly more flexible.
  • Added moderator options to downgrade art posts to regular image posts. This will be useful when the anti-theft trips up or users misuse the system.
  • Added permission flags that allow us to remove the ability to use a feature from individual users when warranted.
  • Flags now exist to block problem users from sending asks, posting art, or using the commission market if they show a history of abusing the features.
  • Protection against brute-forcing logins has been improved.
  • Added support for new account types for the future (e.g. brand accounts, API bot accounts, competition accounts, staff alumni etc.)
  • Added support for WebP images. These are significantly smaller than traditional file formats with no visible loss in quality.
  • Dropped support for legacy image formats. Users on browsers that do not support WebP will be notified in the header to upgrade to a modern browser.


Raven is a new module for Waterfall; the purpose of which is to handle image, audio and video transcoding. It's deployed as Version 1.0.

  • All media files are now processed through Raven.
  • Image and audio posts wait for the transcode process to finish before continuing with a post.
  • Video posts are asynchronous; the post will appear when the video has finished converting.
  • The current target is that image posts complete creation within 60 seconds of the post button being pressed. We meet this target in all but edge cases.
  • A 1631x2048px test image currently takes 2 to 4 seconds to process 5 qualities in art mode. I intend to optimise this further as additional resources become available.
  • The above test image is 2.75MB in the original PNG format, and 201KB once processed with no resizing or perceptible quality loss.
    - Supported file formats for images, audio, and video are expanded.


E.M.P is a new module for Waterfall; the purpose of which is to find and kill malicious or spammy bot accounts. It's deployed in this build as Version 0.1.

  • Loaded with basic metrics to score the likelihood of a user being a bot.
  • Integration with Huntress to check for known bad IPs.


Huntress is a new module for Waterfall; the purpose of which is to assist with finding and protecting against bad users. She's deployed in this build as Version 0.1. Final decisions are all made by humans, and this is only a tool to help.

  • Added IP banning support.
  • Added IP range banning support.
  • Added alert levels to conditionally ban IPs. This allows for say, temporarily banning VPNs during a raid, etc.
  • Added E.M.P. integration for bot checking.
  • Added support to clean out inactive URLs and replace them with random ones.

posted this
Time ago

Blog Limit Lifted

Good news everyone!

As part of migrating to being entirely Patreon funded, there is no longer a limit on how many sideblogs you can have (well, technically, it's 999 at the minute, but who needs that many blogs?).

Those who've already purchased extra blog slots will be given something special when the rewrite launches, but going forward, there's no limit.

Note: This does not mean you're free to hoard URLs you have no intention of using or for trade, and anyone caught doing so will have them removed.

posted this
Time ago

Commission Market 2.0

As most artists have probably heard by now, DeviantArt is being anti-artist again, which is pretty interesting considering what their site is. Given Waterfall's whole existence is spiting one site, why not spite another in the same stroke?

Below is a copy paste from the Twitter thread.

So - The Commission Market might be dead in its current form, but after seeing how terrible DA is doing things, I'll be redesigning and rewriting it from scratch. This time, I'll be taking a different approach.

First, the fees - the old CM took 5% as a sort of insurance policy for you. The basic idea: We'd pay for any chargebacks out of pocket, and have a nice, fancy place where you could hash out all the terms of what was going on.

Ultimately, this was pointless - a few people bypassed it and when they didn't, we only got cents anyway. While it saved a few people's asses, it was hard to get set up with the payment processor and Waterfall itself only got something like 3 cents anyway. Not worth the effort. So, in the relaunch of the CM, we'll ditch that.

Instead, you can use whatever payment processor you want, and you'll be able to offer whatever you want too. Adopts, bases, knitted woolen blankets, whatever. Make your listing, add your tags, and let folks filter down to see what they want. Easy.

There won't be any fees for this, per se, though most people are in agreement that I should probably make it so you at least have to be a patron to have a listing on there. That'd be $1 a month, if I don't decide to make it completely public for free.

Regardless, I want to finish the rewrite of the core site for now - so this'll be January, February time most likely, so I can get it all done properly. Artists are VERY welcome to give feature requests in the meantime.

Hop in the Discord to request features!