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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.

Tracking

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!


Notes
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cyanwtf commented on this post:

Thank you for removing google analytics I can now rest easy


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tigertoony commented on this post:

*changes


tigertoony commented on this post:

Could there perhaps be a survey to see opinions and how much the current system is actually deterrent to new folks. Thats my only concern/suggestion. Wouldn't want enact major change if it turns out its only a very small amount newcomers who are actually turned off by it. That said, the worries of abuse are understandable concern to warrent some fhnahes


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