Transformation Story Archive
The Transformation Story Archive (TSA) was a website archiving amateur fiction featuring a personal physical transformation or its aftermath. The archive was created by Austrian web designer Thomas Hassan, who intended it to be a premier showcase for transformation-themed fiction and a showcase for amateur authors. The TSA was operating at least as early as May of 1995, leading to claims of being the earliest Internet archive for fiction of this genre.
Although a wide variety of transformations were considered suitable content for inclusion, transgender and furry wish-fulfillment stories predominated. The archive's community also created or fostered a large number of shared universe fiction settings, in part due to a prohibition against traditional fanfiction. One of the biggest of these, Tales from the Blind Pig, was represented by hundreds of stories contributed by dozens of authors over the life of the archive. Some stories on the archive contained controversial themes, such as age regression or overtly sexual content.
During its heyday, the TSA inspired the creation of countless similar sites, often with narrower focuses. Its high volume of amateur fiction also led to its inclusion in lists of ezines, although it was never actually structured in that manner. In 1997, eSCENE, an annual award anthology for works first published in ezines, invited nominations from the TSA, and considered 17 such stories, the most from any single source. Fiction written in the TSA's shared universes have at times also been accepted in unrelated online anthologies. Its content has been cited as inspiration or influence by others in the genres the archive included, from the USENET community that pioneered modern therianthropy to creators of webcomics such as Zebra Girl.
Sometime during the mid-1990's Thomas Hassan saw a need for an internet site to act as a showcase and archive for high-quality transformation fiction. By May of 1995 he had finished the design and brought the site online, hosted by the non-profit webhost public netbase/t0. Approximately a year later he created a companion mailing list for the archive – TSA-Talk.
The success of the TSA accounted for a significant portion of the Internet traffic of its non-profit server in Vienna, run by hosting service public netbase/t0. A shift to the right in Austrian politics worked against the site and its host, however. Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Jörg Haider selected "degenerate art" as one target for his party's political capital. By July of 1998, this included accusations of the acceptance and facilitation of child pornography against public netbase/t0. Initially, the FPÖ explicitly alleged links between public netbase/t0 and a separate hosting service from the British Virgin Islands, but the sexual content of the TSA and its age-alteration themes was implicitly included when allegations continued after that connection was refuted. When the results of these attacks stripped its host of public funding and free access, the TSA hastily relocated to an American server, assisted by several mirror servers.
However, the TSA would never recover as a community from the server relocation. The shift from Austrian to North American hosting led to the departure of Hassan from the project; he went on to join Austrian software developer Public Voice Lab, eventually earning a seat on their board. Posting of new content to the archive finally stopped in July 2003 and the archive's users have largely moved to other websites or dropped from public view, although the site remains available as of February 2009. Much of the content has been redistributed, both during and after the TSA's active existence, however. Its sister-project mailing list has continued under separate administration long after the stagnation of the actual web archive, and an ezine continued for some years, hosted on the current TSA server (and still there for archival purposes). And, despite its long inactivity, the TSA remains on most lists of sources for furry, transgender, or transformation-themed fiction, and still receives occasional mention in wider indexes of online fiction sites.
In February, 2009 a vocal group on the TSA-Talk mailing list began agitating for someone to "take control" and restore the Archive to life. This was different than the discussions from before the founding of Shifti — in this case the people wanted to see a strictly editor controlled site. But this is not going to happen. Thomas Hassan has stated that the Archive is permanently closed to new submissions and will remain online as a "completed anthology".
At the end of 2006 several people began championing a new archive to replace the TSA, as the TSA had not been updated since the summer of 2003. During this discussion many ideas for how the new archive would work were discussed but nothing came of it. Approximately six months later the discussion began again and this time ShadowWolf, taking his cue from a comment Bryan had made setup a new account and installed the MediaWiki software on his server, providing the address "shifti.keil-draco.com" for the new site. Less than a week later User:Viqsi purchased the Shifti.org domain name and, while she retains control of it, has "donated" it to the site. The name "Shifti" had been chosen by Bryan in 2005, shortly before the server that had hosted the TFNet IRC Network at menagerie.tf moved. That short lived Wiki had been based on the MoinMoin source code and has shown little growth. After opening to the public on the Eighteenth of July, 2007 the site began to grow.
- Linger, Doug (May 15, 2002). Transformation Story Archive Mailing List FAQ Table of Contents Version 4.2. Retrieved on 2006-10-01.
- eSCENE 1997 Nominated Stories. (1997). Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- e.g., ANTHRO., a netzine which has presented stories from settings including TBP (i.e., Homecoming, A Good Run of Luck, and Kill Me If You Can, etc;); MK (A Tale of Sand and Ice); WoC (Fighting the Change); and Xanadu (Like the Unfolding Petals of a Dream).
- Frequently Asked Questions for alt.horror.werewolves. Retrieved on 2006-10-02.
- England, Joe. Zebra Girl. Retrieved on 2006-10-02.
- Linger, Doug (May 15, 2002). Transformation Story Archive Mailing List FAQ, Section One (Version 4.2). Retrieved on 2008-01-05.
- Brown, Janelle (1998-09-06). Is it Sex or is it Art?. Salon. Retrieved on 2006-10-02.
- Flor, Micz (1998-11-27). Sex slaves to public opinion — Public Netbase kicks back.... Crash Media. Retrieved on 2006-10-01.
- The History of PUBLIC VOICE Lab. Public Voice Lab. Retrieved on 2006-10-02.
- The History of Shifti