Waterfall Staff

Staff blog for Waterfall. To ask questions, go to @ask-staff instead, but first read the FAQ. For tutorials on basic features, head to @support.

Please report bugs in the Discord, not here.

Waterfall FAQ

An Anonymous user asked:

Will you guys be potentially making a phone app to accompany the website, or will it remain nativly avaliable via internet access.

iOS and Android apps are under active development, and betas will be available to Kickstarter backers, handpicked users, and raffle winners some time in the next couple of months ahead of a public launch.

Patch Notes - 0.26.7

  • Fixed desktop versions of posts showing in some places where they shouldn't on mobile.

  • Pinned post now only shows on first page of blogs.

An Anonymous user asked:

i'm on chrome. is there a way to see how many drafts you have if you use a different thing like opera/firefox?

Exactly the same way as you do in Chrome, presumably, by clicking onto the drafts page.

All development is done using Firefox (because Chrome sucks and is spyware), but there should be exactly zero difference in how the site works across browsers because we deliberately went with a simple design using as little JavaScript as possible.

Patch Notes - 0.26.6

  • Fixed an issue with converting posts for the database when a quotation mark was directly next to parentheses.

Patch Notes - 0.26.5

  • Additional blocking fixes.

  • Deleting a blog doesn't require you to manually switch afterwards before it works properly anymore.

saewulf asked:

I was wondering if there is a private post function like the DNR and DNI tags?

Not yet - it's not something that's been requested before. That said I don't think it'd be too hard to add, I'll ask in the Discord how other sites implement it/whether that's right for us, and see if I can get it done by end of day.

EDIT: Scratch that, adding it to the stable milestone instead, an implementation that makes sense will need a little longer.

Patch Notes - 0.26.4

  • Activity page is now vaguely functional. Will be improved upon iteratively as relevant functions are added to the site API during app development.

Patch Notes - 0.26.3

  • Fixed the art post icon having a different background colour to the rest of the post header.

  • Added support to inboxes for System messages so that moderation actions can send alerts where needed, or anything else that would warrant one.

  • Added support for badges, and will become available as the art is done.

Patch Notes - 0.26.2

  • Deleting a group blog now correctly removes its members.

Patch Notes - 0.26.1

  • Bug fixes related to the blocking overhaul:

    • Fixed a rare issue where the new post loader would sometimes just give up related to timestamps.

    • Default condition is now that a post should be blocked if the server can't figure out a blog owner for some reason.

    • Fixed an additional edge case.

  • Post footer buttons on mobile are now "centred" in their blocks rather than floating left.

Patch Notes - 0.26.0

Not the 0.26 that was planned - instead, we brought forward something planned for a lot later!

  • The blocking overhaul is now live

    • The post loader for your dashboard and search will now check whether the OP of a post is someone you've blocked. It'll also check whether the OP of a post has you blocked.

    • If it detects a block, in either direction, the loader will either skip the post and get another one if it's the dashboard, or simply omit it if it's search, pending the search overhaul.

    • Fixed seven edge cases where blocks could be bypassed, and added extra defences against users who log out to attempt to bypass it.

    • We'll continue to monitor for bugs or other ways to bypass blocks - if you discover any, let us know in the Discord.

  • Attempted to solve the duplicate email glitch.

Patch Notes - 0.25.19

  • Filetype detection on audio uploads improved, should now more reliably handle MP3s.

  • Further optimised image loading on post editor for art and image posts.

Community Update - February 2020

In January, we...

  • Saw a post on Tumblr and did things

  • Set up a blog to start posting tutorials on features

  • Got covered by an independent journalist, praising our art protections

  • Posted and made headway on our roadmap for the first half of 2020

  • Did a bunch of backend prepwork for the apps

  • Started collecting analytics for the upgraded activity and analytics features

  • Added the OmniDashâ„¢ and Drafts.

Site Stats

As of writing, we have 28,712 users, 48,107 blogs, and 299,800 posts.

Site News

We're getting tantalisingly close to the release of 0.26 now, with finishing analytics and a few UI tweaks being all that's left. In this update, we're adding quick reblog, and is one of the final updates before serious development of the app can begin.

There's a few things to talk about this months, so let's hop in! First, Commission Market - it's been a little neglected over the last few weeks while I've been focusing on the core site, and I'll be trying to give it some love in the next few days. Notably, the two main things missing right now are a feedback system and search. One is easier to add than the other. We also know that Stripe is a problem for many people. Combine this with Glacier coming, we've been investigating - but only investigating - rolling our own solution. On the technical side, we think we can do it (albeit wanting to get more training in security first), but on the cost-benefit side, things are a bit less clear - while there's lower transaction fees for us, there's a flat rate on top and the site would need to be bringing in $300 a month to cover the difference. We're just not at that point yet, so it's infeasible for now - however, if people start using the CM more and directing their customers to use it even if they're from Twitter or whatever, that value proposition starts changing and means we're more likely to go ahead with it. Second, there's been some requests for a writing site to be added to the Waterfall collective of sites as an alternative to AO3 - we're looking into it. It wouldn't be too hard to do and I wrote a prototype last night before going to bed to get a feel for what's needed. No promises, but perhaps.

Now, onto analytics - we've started collecting these as of this morning! There's some pertinent info to be known for these. First, the data we collect is SIGNIFICANTLY less invasive than Google analytics. The aim is, once we've verified the numbers, to ditch GA completely. In the interests of transparency and user privacy, here is a full list of what's collected, and then a short explanation of what that data is used for.

  • Browser User Agent

  • Referrer URL (the page you came from)

  • IP Address

  • Languages your browser accepts

  • Search term used

  • Tags on the page

  • Posts on the page

  • Blogs on the page

The first four are common to all sites that'll be in the Waterfall Collective, with the last four being unique to Waterfall itself's implementation.

Browser User Agent is a fancy way of telling us, basically, whether you're using Chrome or Firefox. This isn't particularly useful beyond letting us make a pie chart in the admin panel so that we can see when a certain browser has a big enough market share that we have to bitch in the dev chat that one of us has to install it to test with now. Referrer URL is used to see where you came from - for example, did you get here from a Twitter post? This one will be visible to users with access to analytics so they can see where most of their traffic is coming from. IP Address is commonly logged by all sites, both for security reasons and in the course of normal webserver operation. We use this in conjunction with the next one, Languages your browser accepts, to get a feel for where our users are so we can figure out what languages and currency we need to support. We won't drill down any further than country in most cases, though with the US we may drill down to State given the geographic distribution.

For the Waterfall specific stuff, these all more or less boil down to giving subscribers info on what their posts are appearing alongside. They WON'T be able to identify you individually. Blogs and posts on the page are stored so that the processor can generate events for each of those users so that they can see it in their analytics dashboard - pre-processed, this is stored in a way where we can see exactly what posts were on your dashboard at a given time. However, this is pre-processed - the intention is it stays in this state for no longer than 20 minutes and, after processing, there's not really a way to put it back together to figure it out. Note that the way individual users are identified is by a randomly generated string. Non-staff members using analytics (i.e. $10 subscribers) won't be able to glean anything about individual users. They'll likely be able to tell if a certain reblog got them more traction, but beyond that, they don't need to know.

The posts and blogs alongside a given post are used in conjunction with tags that showed to help users figure out what their content is appearing alongside - for example, if they draw Digimon fanart and find that their stuff shows alongside a lot of Persona 5 fanart on dashboards, they can use that information to infer that there's an overlap in the fanbases, and decide that drawing some of their own P5 fanart might net them a few followers. On the staff side, we'll basically use that to figure out what's popular at a given moment so we can hunt for blogs posting that and add them to the global recommendations list that shows for everyone alongside personalised recommendations.

All this is essentially a way of us saying - we don't care about personally identifiable information, because there is no real reason for us to care about it. Subscribers get less access to analytics than staff do, and in a different way designed to be useful to them. It's also worth noting that - theoretically - this would allow for building a profile on you. In fact, it kind of does already. However, that profile is kept only for three months before being discarded into a collated, fully anonymised form, and will be used for generating blog recommendations. For Glacier, if we decide to go the ad-supported route, it might slot you into a broad category (i.e. "likes tech stuff" ) for the sake of our ad network not being completely pointless. However, anything it learns will be kept in house. It will NOT be sold on to third parties.

The analytics system is still a prototype, and we understand that user privacy is a big issue in the modern world - hell, I use AdBlock and Privacy Badger myself (and you should too, but only on Firefox because Chrome sucks). To that end, once it's more stable and tested, we'll be inviting some of our more technically inclined users to audit the system themselves, OR to select an independent auditor to verify that it works the way we're saying it does and that we're not selling the data. In short though - our analytics don't collect anything that I wouldn't be OK with having stored about me (and it does in fact, store stuff about me), and it's all stuff that could be inferred from looking at your likes and follows list anyway. If you have any questions or concerns about the analytics stuff, let us know in the Discord and we'll try and answer/adjust the system!

Patch Notes - 0.25.18

This is a collection of smaller impromptu bugfixes from over the last few days that didn't warrant their own patch notes, rolled into one.

  • Blog titles no longer have escape characters in them if you use markdown symbols.

  • Corrected a problem where anon messages would glitch and allow private answering under rare circumstances.

  • Fixed chat posts being unqueueable.

  • Basic analytics collection has now started for our on-site tools to provide test data. See the coming community update for more details.

An Anonymous user asked:

Since the countries you mentioned to maybe move to are all english speaking... would you ever consider otherwise moving to a country that isn't mainly english-speaking? Since nowadays you can get around a lot of places even if you mainly just speak english.

We have considered this, however the main concern is moving staff along with the company/infrastructure itself - it's a lot easier to get a visa if you actually speak the language. While I (Thell) am up to N5 level in Japanese and know a little German, that's not enough to get a visa, and realistically we'd want at least two of the Brits to move with the company for logistical purposes.

That doesn't discount them completely, just makes it harder.

An Anonymous user asked:

Now that the UK has left the European Union tonight, what does that mean for Waterfall?

This is a few days late since I tried to think about it to provide a more comprehensive answer, but the short version is "nothing changes".

For a longer answer, we need to see how the laws develop first. The Brits on staff don't particularly want to hang around the UK in it's current state, meaning that the site moving it's base of operations in the next couple of years isn't an impossibility. Scotland is the most likely destination as independence seems likely, with Canada as a secondary location, and the US coming in as a last-ditch backup option. However, the US is introducing legislation that would make it mandatory for sites to disable user security features (end-to-end encryption, notably) and force surveillance, so that's an absolute last ditch.

Reagardless of where the site ends up, we'll be using GDPR as out base for user privacy, as it's the strongest in the world currently. In addition, content rules around child pornography will not be relaxed and will remain in place.

Ultimately, nothing changes - we might move somewhere nicer that gives us flexibility and isn't imploding, but in terms of rules and procedures, we're not selling ourselves out to get a few more users, since earning y'alls trust and making sure that we keep our integrity is basically our entire business model.

staff reblogged babushka
babushka -

Shoutout to everyone who here during the ddos attack

Patch Notes - 0.25.17

  • Fixed weird text formatting caused by weird stuff I wasn't expecting anyone to do.

  • New comments won't have backslashes on asterisks anymore.

Patch Notes - 0.25.16

  • Link posts where the site in question doesn't provide any data to us on how to describe it now have a fallback so they still show something when they're displayed.

  • Fixed a bug where checking a tagged page on a blog would show stuff from all users.

    • Fixing this also fixed a workaround for minors to see NSFW content.

An Anonymous user asked:

Hello! I mostly agree with the rules right now, but I remember you saying a while ago you'd be going over them with a fine toothed comb and deciding finally on what's definitely allowed and not allowed. Did you guys ever get around to that?

We didn't yet - it is still on the to-do list and, with Waterfall getting more popular by the day in art communities, something we need to do soon.

The main confounding factors to getting it done are threefold:

  • We have to take into account the laws of the UK which are probably about to change radically (today IS Brexit day, after all), so we need to wait and see what happens there first;

  • The staff need to unanimously agree on allowing something;

  • We'd need to let a lawyer look at it to make sure we're not doing anything overtly stupid accidentally, and lawyers cost £375 an hour. For comparison, that's almost 5 months of our usual running costs.

So yes - it's likely that eventually, some stuff we ban will be allowed, but probably not much more - given how little income the site brings and the big cost if we ever need to defend ourselves for something uploaded, we just have to be a bit over-cautious. If in doubt, just ask us - we do try to be transparent.

Patch Notes - 0.25.15

  • Disabled author mode due to unexpected behaviour and general lack of utility, pending a rework.

  • By popular demand, our Patreon is now live again so you can support us while we work on the good stuff for the next update.

Patch Notes - 0.25.14

  • Overhauled reports system.

    • You can now categorise what type of report you're sending, to help mods prioritise them if we ever have a heavy period of reports.

    • Improved the way site staff are alerted about reports, to make resolutions swifter.

Patch Notes - 0.25.13

  • Fixed an issue where some browsers (mostly Chromium based) would resize images on post editing to just be the preview.

Patch Notes - 0.25.12

  • Editing blog descriptions now uses the textarea editor instead of a single line input.

  • Blog descriptions now support the same range of options that posts do.

Patch Notes - 0.25.11

  • Altered the way image and art posts are handled when editing posts.

    • Page should be significantly faster to load now, especially with larger images involved.

    • This should fix the issue where images would sometimes disappear when editing, but additional testing is needed before this can be confirmed (go ahead and let us know!).

Patch Notes - 0.25.10

  • Altered date fields on register and age verification pages to be slightly less terrible, and forcing a consistent format.

    • Also gave them a better date picker in general, that doesn't disable typing it out instead of you want to.