I've been able to give the beta of the Weasyl site a good looking-over, and there have been a few folks who've asked me to give my impressions and opinion of the site overall. So here goes.
Weasyl is a very well-designed and well thought-out site. Its coding and design are excellent, and its moderators and admins have been very receptive and responsive about bugs that have been found--which is going to be the nature of the beast while the site is in beta. It's clear they've studied other similar sites such as FurAffinity, InkBunny and SoFurry, and have done their level best to eliminate the negative features and to build upon the positive ones of each of those sites. If you're a furry artist, I would give Weasyl an enthusiastic and unconditional thumbs-up.
I suspect, however--and please keep in mind this is simply my educated opinion--one aspect of Weasyl may prove to be problematic. I'm referring to the "Collections" feature; I have included in italics below the Weasyl guide to this feature exactly as it appears on their site, and can be viewed by clicking this link:
What Are Collections?
"Collections" are a system which enables a user to have a second gallery of submissions that were made for them, rather than by them. The Collections system's main purpose is to cut down on duplicate uploads of the same piece, so as to prevent unnecessary consumption of site space, and so the original uploader is guaranteed full recognition for their work.
Although we have this system, users are still allowed to upload pieces made for them/that include them, as long as one of three conditions are met:
1. The upload in question that was made for you is personal, and you wish to set friends-only permissions to it 2. The original creator does not want to put it in their gallery 3. The person who made your upload does not have a Weasyl account, although we strongly encourage our users to invite those artists who made works for them to the site. If they decline the invite, then go ahead and proceed!
I understand why this feature was implemented; reduction of double-posting of images reduces storage and bandwidth usage, and having the artwork posted by the artist ensures the creator of the imagery gets credit where credit is due. I have long been a supporter of furry artists, and believe very strongly in crediting these creative people.
However, the "Collections" rules, as currently stated, somewhat pull the rug out from under collectors and character owners. If you wish to post a publicly-viewable image of your personal character, but you didn't draw it, you're not allowed to do so unless the artist in question a) doesn't have an account on Weasyl or b) they choose not to put the image in question in their personal gallery. Otherwise, when the artist does post the image, they are to submit the image to your Collections gallery.
Artists are inevitably going to forget to do this on occasion, in which case, the character creator is stuck until they can contact the artist and request they do so. Having stated these details, I want to make two things perfectly clear.
First, I do not advocate taking rights or credit away from artists. When I post imagery, I'm careful to give the artists and character creators credit both on the image itself and in the text used to describe the image. I have a very low opinion of those who redistribute, post, and worst, profit, from artwork they didn't take a hand in creating.
Second, I'm not jumping the gun and calling the Weasyl "Collections" feature a failure. I'm just pointing out what, in my personal observation alone, could turn out to be a object of contention to some people. For the time being, at least, I'm hesitant to post any images to my Weasyl account--images my character appears in or images drawn by others that I have colored--because I believe they'll conflict with the "Collections" feature rules. I'll be more than happy to accept Collections submissions from any artists who wish to post images with my character or coloring in them. In short, I'm not "boycotting" Weasyl or suggesting anyone else do so. I like the site; I'm just a bit nervous about posting anything there that may not be construed as 100% my creation.
Whenever possible, I like to offer a solution to what I see as a potential problem. In this case, I would advocate the use of credits and copyright information on every image, in every story, and in every description when these items are posted on any public forum. But, as many "grab and dump" image sites bear witness, this isn't a realistic solution. Weasyl is supporting the furry artist by insisting upon credit where credit is due--and, again, I can't express strongly enough that I agree with them.
I'll be more than happy to discuss this topic with people. I'm not willing to legitimize the screaming accusations of those who feel they need to White Knight on behalf of Weasyl. I am not "anti-Weasyl," nor do I have any intention to be.