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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Hi! I know you're working on an app, but do you have any idea how old the phones that support it will be?
EXTREMELY tentative answers, because it largely depends on whether we need to use any features that are locked to newer phones/whether we can work around them if they're missing. However, on a personal level, I'm committed to trying to support everything from at least the last 5 years.
This means, for Android, we're targeting Lollipop 5.1 from 2015. For iOS, we'll be targeting iOS 9 which will support the 6S - if nothing major was added in iOS 9, we'll bump that down to iOS 8 so the iPhone 6 is supported.
This gives a rough timeframe of "anything from the last 6 years". While we won't artificially lock out older devices if there's a good chance they'll work, it needs to be understood that at some point, stuff is just a bit too old for us to bother with anymore. Once we've written the bulk of the code we'll have a fiddle and see how far down the pile we can go before it stops working and give a final answer there.
Post release, if we want to add stuff but the apps support a version of [OS here] too old for it, that feature will be held off on/desktop exclusive until less than 0.5% of the app's users are on an OS version that doesn't support it. Brutal for those folks, but that's our (admittedly, entirely arbitrary) threshold for not waiting anymore.
There's an xkit extension that lets you block posts on tumblr and would that be possible here? So if we see a post we don't like we can hide it in case someone else reblogs without tags, or to block a really long conversation that goes through several pages of the dash or something?
This is something on the long term plan list, but it's unlikely to be soon.
However, unlike Tumblr, we very much welcome attempts by the community to improve their experience and - if we get popular enough for it to be an actual thing - will test against whatever XKit like tool dominates.
If someone wants to give it a go and write an extension that'll let people block posts in the meantime, feel free to give it a go (we'll most likely end up contributing ourselves)! Give @thelldev a shout if you need certain data exposing in post headers and we'll make it happen. Our only request - while not mandatory - is that any plugin, especially if it's an extensible one with plugins of its own ala XKit - be released under the MIT license or, failing that, GPL v3.
I'm sure you've done it before, but can you explain the patch update numbers to us? They're a little confusing ;-;
Of course! We can break the patch versions into three numbers. We'll go with 0.23.12 as our example.
The first number, 0, is fixed - this is essentially saying "hey, the site is in beta", and is staying as such until we're happy we're at the Waterfall Stable milestone.
"23" is the major version - this number is incremented whenever a patch contains major changes. It doesn't necesarily mean "the number of major features total" - the 6 month and 1 year anniversary updates added 15+ major features each, for example.
"12" in this case refers to the minor version - essentially, bug fixes. If a patch doesn't bring anything we consider major, this gets incremented instead. It resets to zero when we increment the major version.
Waterfall Stable, or "1.0", is reserved for when everything on the 2020 roadmap list is done. We're expecting this sometime between April and June.
We used to just do dated patch notes, but there was a time I was pushing out five or six updates a day and that got unwieldly pretty fast.
Will you guys be changing how tag searches are displayed anytime soon? i like one-column scrolling for my dash, but when going through fandom tags, fanart, etc it feels more organic to see results in a grid or in multiple columns - like a showcase. (and it's less exhausting to interact with without scrolling a looooot)
Yes - it'll be coming in update 0.26! That update will also include a generally overhauled search system that'll let you filter by post type and time range, as well as blog archives (which I believe is the last major feature we're missing from Tumblr).
I know you guys appreciate positive feedback, but what about negative?
I'd argue that negative feedback is even more important than positive - can't fix a problem if we don't know it's a problem.
The best way to get that to us is in the Discord, so that we can make sure we can ask the questions we need to ask to make sure the thing isn't actually good but we just designed it badly, etc.
Less preferred but still acceptable is sending asks, but negative feedback is very valuable for us to have alongside the positive encouragement!
When I ask a question on anon, I get a notification when the question is anwered. This implies that the question is connected to me somehow; after all, how else would the website know how to notify me? This is kind of concerning, and reminds me of Old Tumblr, where you could install plugins to view the senders of anonymous messages. What kind of systems are in place to prevent this?
I'm completely unsurprised someone was able to make a plugin that would le tyou see that on Tumblr, the site is architected really badly and relies on sending all the info about a post to your browser and letting that figure out how to render it.
We avoid that by just doing the rendering on the server instead and just not sending anything the client doesn't need to know.
With that said, it's a deliberate design choice - both so that you can get the notification, and so that staff can see who sent a message if we need to - if someone starts being harrassed, we're not about to turn around and shrug and say the solution is disabling anon messages.
No site claiming to allow you to send "anonymous" messages will ever mean "even staff can't identify you" because that would be irresponsible and incompetent on their part.
I'm curious about the featured posts system - can you talk us through why it's automatic instead of staff picks like other sites?
Sure; there's two types of features.
The first is what Springwater subscribers can do (I realise the subscription stuff isn't out yet, but since it won't be long, it's worth noting for posterity). Essentially, they get an option to feature a post for 7 days. Whether the subscriber chooses to feature their own posts or someone else's is entirely up to them, but the usual restrictions on post age and note count don't apply to these and can be any post type. When subs are live, the featured posts users see will have a chance of being pulled from this pool instead, with a 70:30 split, biased towards random features. Since the subscriber featured pool is likely to be smaller, it should still be noticably more often that a given post in that pool is shown, while still not being overbearing.
The second type is the current random features, which is what you asked about. The basic premise behind it being automatic is that the staff shouldn't be able to dictate what "good" art is - otherwise, great stuff a lot of people might like runs the risk of being glossed over just because it's not to the personal tastes of whoever the staff member reviewing it is. By having it be automatic at a note threshhold, folks get the chance to discover artists they otherwise wouldn't, which is better for both the user and the artist themself - established artists and newer artists get to be on basically even footing this way. New users on the site get exposure and can start building their blog up with new followers pretty quickly after hitting a low threshhold of notes to get featured (where the low note count to be eligible is intentional - not so high that it's unattainable right at the beginning, especially if posting in the "artists on waterfall" tag, and not so low that stuff that's legitimately garbage or a shitpost gets through). At the same time, folks who are new to art in general - or are less subjectively skilled or experienced - get a shot at it as well. The most important thing a new artist needs, especially younger artists, is encouragement to keep developing their skills, and we'd like to think that doing features this way works for that - a teenager's first drawing that they're proud of and probably spent half an hour debating whether to upload it or not? It absolutely deserves to be showcased.
This does open us up to potential moderation issues - someone not tagging their blog or the art as NSFW or whatever else might ensue - but overall, this way is better, we think, since it also means you get to see more than two on rotation for the month.
How does the art theft system work?
For reasons we hope are obvious, we're not going to go into specifics - we don't want to leave any glaring holes obvious for people to exploit. It, like the other features on the site, should be considered beta.
With that said, major upgrades are in the pipeline, pending getting the fancy accelerator cards for the server that we need to do it in any reasonable timeframe. Once this version comes out (no ETA since it going live is entirely budget dependent), we'll likely be implementing some sort of bug bounty program to encourage reporting any holes you find in it.
Will the look of the site ever be improved?
Yes, but it's not a priority.
We know that some sites have started trying to shift to the idea that looking good is more important than working properly (and, apparently, succeeding), but we go by the old adage of function over form. Once the features we want are in, then we'll tackle making things look nicer.
After all - what's the point of it looking good if you can't get it to do anything?
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.
I understand that it's unsavory, but is there any legal basis for you guys banning porn of the "looks 12 is actually 1200" trope? Is it just for ease of moderation?
As was in the screenshots in the post (which granted, got a bit smooshed), the legal basis is the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. From Wikipedia: The definition of a "child" in the Act included depictions of 16- and 17-year-olds who are over the age of consent in the UK, as well as any adults where the "predominant impression conveyed" is of a person under the age of 18.
Since Waterfall is, for better or worse, hosted in the UK right now, even if the staff were OK with allowing it, the law isn't optional.
Obviously, one of the biggest reasons for the near-death of tumblr, is that they effectively banned all NSFW content, most importantly, adults in the NSFW-art and model community,
What exactly are the limits to the NSFW content we can post?
For the most part, if it's legal and in good taste, it's allowed.
For a more comprehensive list:
Anything explicit involving a person/character (yes, fictional does count under both British law and staff consensus) under 18 is a no. Note; this doesn't prevent vent art or whatever. It specifically refers to you drawing or writing explicit scenes involving them. This also covers the "looks seven but is actually a 5,000 year old succubus" loophole, so don't try that either.
Real life gore (art is fine) for non educational reasons (i.e. first aid, hunting tutorials, etc etc) is a no. This extends to other content typically intended to shock folks. If it does fall under the kind that's allowed, it MUST be tagged as such.
Furry and anthro art does NOT count as bestiality, and is allowed. Might be worth tagging it as a courtesy to folks, but isn't strictly required.
Because it's come up often enough before - and the fact we have to say this is frankly mindboggling - no, saying posting this stuff is your coping mechanism will not get us to waive the rules for you.
As with everything else in the TOS, we enforce these by the spirit of the rule, not the letter of. We also go by the more traditional definition of "would get you hauled in front of HR" rather than the more recent "is sex/has a naked lady in it", so bear that in mind when tagging too.
Do artists have to sign up for the Commission Market on here?
Absolutely not! The CM is intended for artists who want to do commissions but want somewhere a bit more managed and with safety protections for them, because PayPal sucks for artists what with chargeback risk, letting buyers see your name, email, address etc. The CM removes all that stuff so they shouldn't have to see it.
If, on the other hand, you just draw for fun and want to keep it that way - more power to you! You don't have to sign up for the CM, it's entirely optional. Though obviously, it's the preferred way of advertising commissions on here.
Hi! Glacier looks interesting, but I know video storage is very heavy and therefore can become extremely expensive, esp if users have zero upload limits. Could I ask how you're planning on paying for that? (sorry if this has been answered before, I haven't seen it)
Storage was always going to be the bottleneck with a site like Waterfall, and Glacier definitely exacerbates things a bit, so good question! We'll be doing a video about our storage infrastructure at some point soon that goes into the more interesting (if you're a nerd) bits, but a quick clarification - unlimited does usually mean unlimited, but we do have a button we can press to start throttling stuff if we need to while we run to the shop to buy more harddrives. Additionally, we have a few tricks at our disposal that minimises the amount we have to store, and where.
That's a brief, high level overview because in the earlier planning stages we approached a similar, smaller site about teaming up to save time and effort on both teams - that deal fell through, but we now have to assume we're being monitored, so we've excluded a lot of technical and business logic from this post for operational security reasons. You'll get that once the site is up and established instead.
Is there a projected launch date for Glacier?
I don't want to give a firm date because historically I've been pretty shit at keeping to them, but there's a decent chance that it'll be bvefore the first half of the year is up.
Rollout will be KS backers first, followed by Springwater and Groundwater subscribers, then everyone else. Most work is being held off on until WF is stable, with just some of the technical implementation that I couldn't resist doing out of the way for now.
are you sure you all arent getting a little gungho about this? It just feels like you're trying to push into everything immediately before Waterfall is even a complete site. I'm worried you're going to end up in dire straits if you take on too many projects at once
I considered using dev hacks to move this to @thelldev instead since it kind of fits better there, but actually this is a pretty valid question that I imagine a lot of folks are quietly asking themselves so here we go. Naturally, this is written from my perspective, and doesn't necesarily convey the viewpoints of the rest of the team.
Glacier is still, largely, a side project, and is remaining one until Waterfall hits the stable milestone. The only reason it's being announced now is because some of the features Waterfall was going to have just sort of... fit better there, I guess? And we don't want folks to think we've cut them.
As for doing too many projects at once, that's honestly just how I work best. I personally need at least three on the go at once or I burn out a lot quicker than if I just have one - having a main project (currently, Waterfall) and then some side projects means I can freely flit between them when I run into a roadblock I need to think through, while still being productive.
There's also the monetisation factor - not to be all Capitalist™, but I've dumped a good £20k/$26.5k of my own money into Waterfall, and I do kind of need to start putting the stuff out to start making that back (let alone the cash to cover any wages for the time I and the other staff have spent on it). The Commission Market was the first step (albeit a tiny one - we ended up getting 18 cents of the $15 spent through the CM so far), the premium features will be next (releasing in 0.24), and then most likely, Glacier will be up. Things would be easier if I just threw my morals out the window and plastered ads on the site, but I said they'd be the last thing I tried so the last thing they shall be despite some folks saying I should just go ahead and do it because we deserve the cash.
I'm personally wired to need something to do, so multiple projects suits me quite well - Waterfall (other than the UI, which honestly I'm putting off for as long as possible because I hate it) is pretty much nearly feature complete, so this is actually more or less the time to start thinking of the next thing. The only major thing that has no code written for WF right now is the IM system (themes have been 80% written for a good few months), and the apps are basically just getting stuff to display properly (dumbed down, but not that difficult once a few bits of scaffold code are put in). The fact is - and I've said this a few times jokingly on thelldev - sites don't really need much time to be built. I know full well Pillowfort, Bdsmlr etc are still in beta after years, that's either due to wanting an excuse, wanting to milk more money out of folks, or the staff just not being very competent, but Waterfall is one year old and I took about three months off in there before the kickstarter to work on game stuff. If we're nearly finished at this point, I can garuntee that by June or so we'll be a stable site.
Note: That doesn't mean WF is DONE done when that last update hits, it just means that the site is feature complete for the first iteration, and other stuff can be added later at a much more leisurely pace. It's usable, there's nothing glaring that's missing that makes the site not able to be used. Both sites will see continuous development, especially with regards to the Commission Marketplace since that'll be iterated on almost constantly based on feedback.
So trust me, I get where you're coming from - but this is really just a symptom of how I'm wired. It's why I don't do vacations or days off, I have shit to do.
about glacier, like youtube, do you plan on having livestreams possible on there too? 0: or like, what are your guys' plans for it, im interested to wonder where you guys wanna head towards. if you dont mind me asking about it ;u;
Livestreams will be a launch feature, since I've wanted them as part of Waterfall for a while now. They're actually the most researched part of it, with the least "fuck it, let's just wing it" involved.
About Glacier--will we be able to have more than one channel on the same account? I could see having one channel for vlogs and another for something else, and it'd be nice not to have to make separate accounts for that. I guess it'd kind of work like having multiple blog slots available on Waterfall? Thank you!!!
Yep - since channel URLs are likely to be keysmashes, there's no reason to restrict the number of them like we do with blogs, since wha tyou name it doesn't actually matter.
We'll have an impersonation policy in place of course, but in theory there can be over nine thousand channels named "bob" and they'll all have a different URL - names won't be unique. We're still figuring out the exact naming policy.
So yes - multiple channels will be a thing, and you can theoretically have infinite (there'll be no limit enforced by the code - we might need to have one for data sanity reasons, probably 255 or so, but otherwise nah). Staff reserve the right to force rename your main channel to "channels georg" if you're an outlier when we figure out the averages.