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    It would be nice to have some statistics to back up any of these assertions. I’m a bit jaded, but I haven’t seen a bunch of demographic surveys around the presence of furries in various sectors, and I’m naturally suspicious of any claims about “group X exhibits more/less Y than normal group Z” when neither quantity is actually defined.

    That said, one part I think might well be true:

    Furries are more likely to help other furries resist industry gatekeeping

    EDIT: The linked survey is a good start, but I’m looking for something more academic or official to supplement. It’s also over a decade old.

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      It would be nice to have some statistics to back up any of these assertions.

      I agree. They don’t exist, though, so this piece was mostly an informal commentary on trends that people ask me about a lot. The question is probably exacerbated by a common trope on e.g. SwiftOnSecurity’s Twitter feed where everyone’s suspected of being secretly a furry.

      I’d love to see actual data and analysis from social scientists (outside FurScience, of course). But I don’t have any influence over how research grants are allocated by universities. The best I can do is write about my observations and experiences on my blog.

      If anyone does manage to do the research, I’d be very interested in hearing their findings (especially if I’m wrong).

      (By the way: I didn’t intend to submit this one to technical news sites like Lobste.rs. I don’t mind that @cadey did, but I hold my technical blog posts to a higher bar than my opinion pieces, and this is definitely the latter category.)

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        I hold my technical blog posts to a higher bar than my opinion pieces, and this is definitely the latter category.

        Roger, and thank you for commenting on that. It was a piece that I don’t really like here because I think furry apologia is off-topic, but it’s clearly something you’re mulling over so at least it isn’t spam and you put honest effort into it.

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        And: even if furries are overrepresented in infosec, is the explanation accurate? If it is, we’d expect to see furries overrepresented in other fields and endeavors that require overcoming great hardship or surviving interpersonal strife. Off the top of my head, perhaps ultramarathons for endurance, medical subfields like cardiology for gatekeeping and imposter syndrome, or national office for politics.

        It seems much more likely that infosec is a field with lower barriers to entry than most: no licensing, minimal credentialing, the best educational resources are free or cheap online rather than institutional, one-time equipment setup in the low thousands of dollars, and lucrative, available professional opportunities. So even assuming furries are overrepresented in infosec it could be explained as folks with a common interest that’s already heavily online helping friends get into their subfield.

        Also, mod reminder that if you think the link is nonsense and comments will likely be wasted, click ‘hide’ rather than pick a random reason to flag it for mod attention (I’m right here). And that flaming people for having hobbies you don’t like is a fairly efficient way to get banned - again, the ‘hide’ button is right there.

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          I’d wager that the confounding variable is probably the degree of neurodivergence/spectrum stuff, which correlates I believe with both LGBTQ+ and technical participation, but that’s strictly armchair population psychiatry that is outside my bailiwick–and which is outside the purview of site discussion here.

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            one-time equipment setup in the low thousands of dollars

            I learned most of my tech stuff on hardware I managed to get for free or very cheap (€10-20) because I never had any money; and I didn’t even have internet access for quite some time as I couldn’t afford it (I would download FreeBSD packages at my friend’s place, recompress them with bzip2 as that made such a big difference, split them in 1.44M chunks, and use a bunch of floppy disks to transfer it to my machine)

            It’s probably even easier now because internet access is much cheaper/more ubiquitous (almost a requirement really), and the performance difference of a 10 year old hand-me-down is smaller than it was in 2000. Besides, you can also get a new laptop for €250 or so (a kind of shitty laptop, but functional enough nonetheless).

            Gosh, I sound like one of those “when we were young ….” people from the Monty Python sketch, but my point is: you can get by with much less than “low thousands of dollars” if you live in a country where computers are common. The “I grew up poor but I got out of it through IT” story is one I heard more often.

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          Requested follow-up: “Why people with anime profile pictures make excellent hackers”, esp. surrounding video conversion/encoding/decoding/filtering.

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            I don’t think the comparison works, for a slightly non-obvious reason: The anime community is significantly less participatory than furry is.

            While there are undoubtedly some excellent people to be found in the anime community, there’s a pronounced producer-vs-consumer dichotomy that’s far more blurred in the furry community. How many anime fans know Japanese and {translate manga chapters, subtitle anime videos} for their friends to read, compared to the sum total of all anime fans? (Now consider that having an anime avatar isn’t necessarily the same as being a bona fide anime fan.)

            Although there are common elements, every fursona is fundamentally unique to the person. Additionally, most (not all; there are adoptables) furries create their own fursona. There is no established, central canon in furry. It’s very decentralized; you could say we’re a fandom unto ourselves.

            Above, @friendlysock remarked on the correlation of neurodiversity with technical participation and LGBTQ+ identities. Furries are predominantly LGBTQ+ (and, at least in my case, grew up in a very gay-unfriendly environment; computer security and online privacy was literally a survival strategy for most of my young adult life).

            It’s for a combination of the reasons I’ve stated above that I suspect the comparison you provided won’t generally hold. But, of course, there will be individual data points that do, and the Internet is better off for them existing. :)

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              I don’t think the comparison works, for a slightly non-obvious reason: The anime community is significantly less participatory than furry is.

              This seems like a bit of a trivial difference. At its core this is about how various personality traits, career/activity choices, interests, and such correlate and interact (if at all). How exactly these traits are expressed doesn’t strike me as all that important for the purpose of this discussion.

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                How many anime fans know Japanese and {translate manga chapters, subtitle anime videos} for their friends to read

                I have many friends in anime communities of sorts, many of them are programmers and many of those who are programmers also know japanese to varying degrees and have translated things or otherwise helped to produce fansubs for anime, scanlations (i.e. manga translations), light novel, visual novel or game translations, or produced fanart of anime and other anime-related things. I used to work on fansubs and scanlations myself. Many also worked on websites and other sorts of software aimed at the anime community.

                A lot of anime fans are also not neurotypical and were drawn to computers and anime because of their neurodiversity, so I don’t think there’s much of a difference there. I see your point about LGBTQ+-unfriendly environments and computer security though, and it’s not something that could be said for most anime fans.

                I think the main difference is that anime and manga and other related media have always been somewhat popular and are only increasing in popularity and social acceptance, so it’s not a tightly knit group like the furry community and it’s hard to even define what “anime community” means, much less make generalizations of it. So not all anime avatars are necessarily bona fide anime fans (definitely not on twitter) and most won’t fit my experience with anime fans.

                But regarding video conversion/encoding/decoding/filtering that the parent mentioned, the answer is that many of them worked on fansubs as encoders and had to get their hands dirty with ffmpeg a lot to get good quality encodes with low filesizes, or started to contribute to video player software because they were watching a lot of anime and noticed issues with the playback, or got interested in how to upscale small resolution files with filters, or reduce banding, and so on.

              2. [Comment removed by moderator pushcx: Pruning off-topic flamebait.]

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                I think the reason we see so many furries in infosec is because this hobby/preference satisfies a certain interesting condition that most other hobbies/preferences don’t: You don’t really share much about yourself personally, because your furry-alter-ego mostly doesn’t have a lot to do with your personal life, looks or circumstances, and in general, this thing is more for social outcasts. Especially in the infosec-realm, we have paranoid people who are careful about what they share about their lives, and there are very few hobbies/preferences that can be so defining with regard to personal self-identification, let alone keep a shroud of mistery and anonymity, which is widely desired on the internet. Even when furry-people themselves become popular, they usually have gotten used to their style and just keep it up out of habit and preference and use it effectively to network.

                In a way, due to these qualities, the furry-scene has just survived the circumstances more favorably than others, and is especially visible, not limited to the fact that furries usually let everybody know about their hobby/preference. Loudness doesn’t mean large representation per sé, though, and I can imagine there might be a large silent group of people who enjoy fishing or knitting silently in their homes, not pushing it on anyone.

                I respect anybody’s choice on what they do in their life. So even though I’m pretty annoyed by the fur-culture and themeing of talks, blog-posts and other things, it usually doesn’t detract and only slightly distracts from the content, and given it doesn’t limit my freedoms in any way, I wish godspeed to any furry as long as they don’t force it on me.