Once Upon a Time, there was a young man who, through extraordinary circumstances that probably aren't all that extraordinary, realized he liked ponies. Liking ponies had become a thing, and this man, Sethisto, thought it would be neat to open a daily news blog about all things pony.
Equestria Daily is a fan-run news blog for the ever so popular show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic that launched on January 19th, 2011 and is run primarily by Shaun "Sethisto" Scotellaro. The blog was created in an attempt to create a more unified fanbase and partly as a response to the banning of ponies on 4chan in early 2011. In addition to posting the latest news pertaining to everyone's favorite show about pastel colored ponies, the site features a lot of high quality fan art, fanfics that get judged by a panel of pre-readers, custom toys, and all kinds of other fan-created content from across the brony fandom.
The blog eventually became one of the pillars of the My Little Pony fanbase. If it gets posted on Equestria Daily, chances are most bronies know about it. Hasbro and The Hub have even sent Equestria Daily exclusive content (the extended "Equestria Girls" video being a prime example), and the blog has done exclusive interviews with members of the show's staff including show creator Lauren Faust herself.
Oh, and even by fandom-unrelated standards, it's absurdly popular. Equestria Daily racked up 100 million hits in a little less than a year. And has managed to double the number in less then half the time.
While Sethisto is the face of the blog, he's picked up some helpers along the way. The full staff & pre-readers list can be seen here, but these are some of the more famous ones.
- Cereal Velocity: Seth's right hoof stallion, a coder, and has written a few fanfics. Known for his Portal style "Equestrian Innovations" videos. Thinks Rarity is Best Pony.
- Phoe: Organized the Fan Art training grounds that help spawn several fan favorite artists in the community. Thinks Lyra is Best Pony. Also does Let's Plays of various video games (both pony and non pony). No longer active.
- Calpain: Mostly handles the customs, plushies, and comics posts. Thinks Twilight Sparkle is Best Pony.
- Xyro: Handles community streams. Thinks Spitfire is Best Pony. Now retired.
- PK: Blog intern, may or may not be working against his free will. Often handles the Nightly Roundups. Also thinks Twilight is Best Pony. Now retired.
- April Fools' Day: Every year thus far.
- 2011: the site was "taken over" by Trixie, who announced that the site was now dedicated to talking about how great she was.
- 2012: they pretended they had a corporate takeover by Hasbro, turned the website pink, and posted a bunch of pre-G4 content.
- 2013: the site took random news from all over the world and ponyfied it, simply because Equestria Daily is most peoples' news site (in their own words).
- 2014: the site started giving fake future updates, such as an update containing Season 5 spoilers, an update from 2045, and a Ponibot firmware upgrade.
- 2015: Site renamed Man Daily, a poll being run over "BE A MAN!" with choices such as "You must be swift as the coursing river," "With all the force of the Great Typhoon," "With all the strength of a raging fire," and "As mysterious as the Dark Side of the Moon." Some legitimate updates were given (typically with a bit of manly flavor added) other manly fake updates were also added.
- 2016: Site was taken over by Starlight Glimmer, who proceeded to rename the blog the "Equality Inquirer" and started spreading her policy of total equality using the posts. On the mobile apps, the background was changed to red and all fonts were changed to Comic Sans.
- 2017: Site renamed to "Sauce 'n' Pony Daily", in honor of the saucy art compilations that have proven to be a massive success. The sauce-ness was taken to maximum to feature actual sauces.
- 2018: Site announced a new cryptocurrency called Ponecoin, featuring their mascot with a scrunchie-face, and all adverts throughout the day consisted of how to mine and sell the new cryptocurrency.
- Author Appeal: Seth is a big Trixie fan. Many jokes have been made about Seth's obsession with Trixie, and the blog arguably helped make Trixie an Ensemble Darkhorse.
- Despite just how huge of a fan of Trixie that Seth is, he believes that Twilight is the best pony (see the staff page link above). This led to him stating several times that Twilight is best pony in the blog itself. Cue stunned disbelief from the posters.
- Double Standard:
- Ship-fics involving lesbianism normally have no problem getting posted on the site unless they're really explicit (or just bad). Male/Male fics however are more difficult, though they do appear from time to time.
- Similarly, stories demonizing Princess Celestia used to get through very easily and perpetuated the Fanon versions of her over the show version. In contrast, it is much easier to find stories and works of Nightmare Moon getting a sympathetic portrayal despite being the opposite of show and comic canon. While not as severe as it once was, this is still noticeable, with immoral Celestia stories still getting pushed despite the fan base now giving them near universally bad ratings.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Can you believe Sethisto wrote this?
- Fanwork Ban: Brony in Equestria stories (self-inserts where the show exists, and the main character is a huge fan) are automatically rejected. Before Equestria Girls, any humanized stories were also banned, though in this case the rules were later relaxed.
- Fan Disillusionment: This happened to Calpain, which led him to leave the blog for a short period of time. The reasons for this was explained in a Nightly Roundup, but it can basically be boiled down to Fan Dumb and Unpleasable Fanbase. Many people were sad when he first announced it, but he later announced his return to the blog via Twitter.
- Hostile Show Takeover: In October 2011, Phoe took over the blog for a day, and Sethisto and Cereal's OCs were shown tied up in the banner◊ (until they escaped and got their revenge◊).
- Hotter and Sexier: The site occasionally posts "saucy" fan art but generally still keeps it PG. However, this (Semi-NSFW) post focused on Rarity is dedicated to "saucy" fanart and much more sexually explicit than the usual fare.
- Logo Joke: The banner rarely stays the same for very long, often changing based on a holiday, recent episode, event, or whatever strikes Seth's fancy.
- Milestone Celebration: When the blog was young, artists used to celebrate every time the blog's hits passed another million with a special comic. However, the blog eventually became so popular and started getting a million hits so frequently that this almost became a daily thing. When the brony fandom exploded during the summer of 2011, the hit count rose so rapidly that it became impossible to keep up with every one. Now, only huge milestones would be met with any acknowledgement.
- Number of the Beast: Nightly Roundup 666. Possibly the most scariest thing to be posted on the blog, period.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You : First sign of spookiness? The text starts becoming corrupted, Zalgo-style.
- Easter Egg / Surprise Creepy : Clicking on some of the pictures and the hyperlinks will lead to some very interesting results.
- Taken even further when the site reached 666,666,666 views on December 15th, 2015.
- Phrase-Catcher: Sethisto.
- "Go to bed, Seth."note
- This even carries over into the image boards, such as /mlp/. Any time someone posts a Trixie thread, well...
- Rhymes on a Dime: All the posts on "Talk Like Zecora Day". One such example of this. They even have comment rap battles!
- Running Gag: Every one of the mods has a favorite pony, as noted above. They are not above adding random posts with only a picture of their favorite pony doing something adorable, or demeaning to the other mods' favorites. Inevitably, this sparks a "best pony" war in the comments.
- Whenever somebody (usually Sethisto) makes a spelling error in a post, the commenters will usually point it out.
- Cake (or lack thereof) in the Nightly Roundups. Just read the comments.
- Princess Luna wins any poll she's in.
- As a result, a poll for "Worst Pony" was created, challenging voters on whether they could let Luna lose a poll, or have her win as worst pony. The votes were tallied, and Trixie was voted Worst Pony. Never doubt the power of Luna.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Sethisto used to be portrayed as a cube trying to get out in Madmax's comics until he got a proper OC pony.
- An anime themed sister blog called "Desu Daily".
- Beach City Bugle, a Steven Universe fan blog with an identical format of providing a mix of official news and fan content. It took many stops and starts, was canceled twice, and received mixed reactions upon its announcement, but Calpain would eventually create the blog.
- Sturgeon's Law: Invoked. The argument they give for the quality control that they impose. Due to the fandom's massive size, the majority of fanworks will inevitably be crap, so they implemented pre-readers and mods who judge art/videos/music.