A (Not So) Brief History of Farktography

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  • #1847

    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    Ravnostic was asking about the history of Farktography, and I’m kinda big on history and honoring the past, so here goes. This is an overview of events, and I’m sure I’ve left out things and people–mea culpa in advance!

    I actually wasn’t here at the very very beginning–Theme #51 “Graves” was my first theme–but CaptainJim, CuddleButt, Snug Tight, and Weaps (yes the Fark mod) (Theme #1–“On All Fours”), GalleyWench and stupido (Theme #3–“Get Me Wet”), idle_hands (Theme #4–“Seen Better Days”), soosh (Theme #5–“Look to the Skies”), veruca (Theme #6–“Nuts & Bolts), staplermofo (Theme #13–“Textures”), Curious (Theme #15–“Night time Photography”), sleeping (Theme #20–“Landscapes”), schnee (Theme #24–“Reflections”), millera9 (Theme #26–“Blue”),linguine (Theme #28–“Time”), and andyofne and Lovesandwhich (both Theme #30–“Self Portraits”) were there very early on. Many of the names you see on the moderator lists for each forum on this site were part of Farktography at or nearly at the beginning. Farktography started in May 2005, and I started at the end of April 2006.

    It’s pretty much like linguine said in the other thread, though. Once upon a time, there were a group of TF’ers who started informally posting photos on Wednesday evenings on Total Fark. There was general interest in a photo contest, and lo Farktography was born. I wasn’t here for these earliest of days, in the long long ago, but Cuddlebutt (akaScreaming in Digital), CaptainJim, and idle hands were founding members IIRC. Farktographers were not initially limited to just 3 entries per person, but limits were put in place quickly as the threads attracted more people.

    Now, in those days, the Farktographers did not have a special forum on Fark on which to post, unlike the Photoshoppers. There was a suggestion that the new Farktographers could simply use the PS Forum (now known as the PSAEF for PhotoShop/Audio Edit Forum) for their photography related shenanigans, but this just never took hold. An initial Farktography.net site was designed, and PSer Procedural Texture (aka Proc Tex) graciously volunteered to host it for the good of all. At some point there was some kind of communication break down with the site designer, and the fledgling site was left in the lurch. A redesign was launched with most of what you see today put together by Lord Ezekiel (aka Zeke) based on functionality requested by the Farktography.net mods. Having the forums gave Farktographers a place to share techniques and also a place to coordinate themes and scheduling; Proc Tex continues to host the site for us, paying for it out of the goodness of his heart and pocketbook.

    Enter schnee. In the long long ago, there were no statistics kept, and no way to keep track of photos people had used before. Repeats were rampant, but finding them (much less getting them deleted) was tedious and nearly impossible. schnee had the idea for a way to track entry statistics, initially as a personal thing to track performance, but also as a way to more easily keep track of previously used entries (aka “Scarlet R’s”). Hence, the Farktography Statistics Manager came into being, through the sweat and coding of schnee’s brow as well as his own personal server space and pocketbook.

    Now early in Farktography history, things were not very well coordinated between Fark and Farktography. A typical Wednesday night went something like this: Someone posted the Farktography theme and description around 8pm on Wednesday night. TotalFark Farktographers began posting their photos, and everyone sat around waiting for the thread to get greenlit and voting up the link in order to get the thread noticed by modmins for greenlight purposes. Sometimes it got greenlit fairly soon(ish), but quite often, it wasn’t greenlit for hours. Either way, once it was greenlit, it was scheduled randomly for anytime in the next 12-18 hours. So the thread launched at 8pm Wednesday but might not go live until 5:27am Thurs. Or 1:23pm Thurs. Or 10pm Wednesday. It was always different. And on many occasions, Farktography folks had to email Fark admins or Drew himself to ask for the thread to either be greenlit at all or to be greenlit at a more participant friendly time.

    This was the state of things when I started in April 2006. Back then I had a different name (very very few of you would know or remember that; it was changed in June 2006). Farktography.net was in place but the above mentioned upheaval was brewing. Yahoo mail tells me I registered with the site on May 4, 2006. schnee was just starting the FSM, and the highest vote getters at the time were CaptainJim with 1576 and veruca with 1542 (see this post by schnee about the early days of the FSM: http://www.farktography.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=160&highlight= . veruca soon passed CaptainJim and stayed on top of the highest vote getters for a long time.

    In my n00bhood, farktography.net mods (veruca was usually the go between at that point but others included idle hands, Logomancer, CaptainJim, schnee, monkeybort, staplermofo, and GalleyWench (now known as Klahanie) ) were constantly playing email tag with Fark admins trying to get the contest either greenlit or greenlit at a better time. If an entry broke the rules either from illegal modifications or repeat usage, Farktographers had to use the notify moderators link and hope they’d actually get into the thread and delete the offending image; that didn’t often happen. veruca did most of theme scheduling, and various farktography.net mods posted the boobies.

    Farktography didn’t have its own Fark tag until July 2006; the designer was a friend of staplermofo’s, and his Fark handle is 1TBat10000RPM. The above mentioned site redesign happened in Oct 2006, and I became a mod here at the end of that month. In November 2006, we started working with Drew on some better integration between Farktography and Fark, and in January 2007, Drew made me a Fark mod primarily to cover Farktography. The Farktography rules went through a revision in late Feb 2007, and we were able to get the rules up on Fark (they’d previously not been listed in the Fark FAQ). There was a much more drastic community driven rules rewrite in Aug 2008 which greatly simplified things.

    Since I started participating in Farktography, the people who comprise the “regulars” have changed. Some of the founding and early members are still with us, a lot are long gone, and some pop up from time to time. I passed veruca on the highest vote getters list at around 3500 in Nov 2007; U-Man passed me at around 8150 in Sept 2009, and he’s now over 11k votes evar. We now have a set standard greenlight time (12:01am Thurs), and there are no problems getting the threads greenlit or rule breaking entries and repeats removed. Themes and rules have evolved from the more moderator driven style in Farktography’s infancy to a more community and consensus driven style now. Last week was our 263rd week, and the week before that was our 5th anniversary. Throughout it all, Farktographers have been a very welcoming and encouraging (and just generally fun) group of people; I’d say we’re doing pretty well 🙂

    (edited to fix omissions)

    #29151

    ravnostic
    Participant

    …and they all farked happily evar after.

    Thanks for the info!

    #29152

    ennuipoet
    Participant

    Awesome! Though, the history really should have started with: “In the Beginning, there was the Fark…” 🙂

    #29153

    linguine
    Participant

    Awesome! Though, the history really should have started with: “In the Beginning, there was the Fark…” 🙂

    Actually its
    In the beginning was the Word,
    and the Word was “Arrrgh!”

    #29154

    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    HA! I can change it if you like 😉

    #29155

    olavf
    Participant

    …and then the dinosaurs came, but they all got fat and died. But, along came the Arabs, and they bought Mercedes Benzes!

    /thanks for the recap Els 🙂

    #29156

    nobigdeal
    Participant

    TL;DR…

    Just kidding! Great post!

    #29157

    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    lol it really is TL. But hey, that’s 5 years’ worth of stuff condensed into 1100 words 😉

    And LOL olav. Did you pick the wrong week to quit sniffing glue? 😉

    #29158

    andyofne
    Participant

    Hey, nice job! I haven’t participated in some time now but I stil enjoy voting in the contests. Thanks for writing that up!

    #29159

    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    Actually, I should add you to the list of early Farktographers–your first contest was #30.

    #29160

    lokisbong
    Participant

    All this history got me thinking about when I started this. I started with the Happy Anniversary II contest with a shitty 50 dollar Walmart camera and no idea how to take a picture let alone a good picture. I would like to say thank you all for getting me hooked on the only hobby I have ever stuck with after I found out how expensive it can get.It has been lots of fun and I really love looking at all the excellent pictures You all come up with every week.

    #29161

    LeicaLens
    Participant

    Made me go back and see when I first posted in a competition. Due to timezones and work, I stopped posting entries for about 3 years.
    Sadly, judging by votes earned, I don’t seem to have gotten any better in that time.

    #29162

    andyofne
    Participant

    Made me go back and see when I first posted in a competition. Due to timezones and work, I stopped posting entries for about 3 years.
    Sadly, judging by votes earned, I don’t seem to have gotten any better in that time.

    I was always happy to just get some votes at all. I think I had one very good showing and it really made my day. And it was, technically speaking, a really low quality photo.

    #29163

    LeicaLens
    Participant

    Made me go back and see when I first posted in a competition. Due to timezones and work, I stopped posting entries for about 3 years.
    Sadly, judging by votes earned, I don’t seem to have gotten any better in that time.

    I was always happy to just get some votes at all. I think I had one very good showing and it really made my day. And it was, technically speaking, a really low quality photo.

    I think early on I was spoilt because one entry, of a bridge, did pretty well, something which I wasn’t expecting. Then I was brought back down to reality with a bump…

    Something I remember about one of the early comps was Drew’s Mother coming in to say that she loved farktography, and she thought it was one of the best things “Andrew” had done with the site.
    That’s how I learnt that “Drew” was short for Andrew.

    /I had previously thought it was just one of those weird names they have in America 😉

    #29164

    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    Yep, Drew’s Mom was an early fan of Farktography, and she kept telling Drew he needed to promote Farktography more. She actually has an account here, though she hasn’t posted in years.

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