I suppose anyone visiting this page besides my friends or friends of *taeshilh has either clicked the random deviant link or (more likely) seen me tell someone they suck for discouraging critiquehiding commentscrucifying an art thief. Thusly I have decided to outline the major happenings, viewpoints and sacred causes I consider the stupidest on DA. Feel free to complain about my thoughts.
Disclaimer: You'll most likely be offended by something here and I'm half-expecting to be suspended for naming some examples. Let's hope it all flies under the radar (but seriously, if you have issues, note me and we'll work something out.)
1. Blocked banned accounts.
This is DA's stupid fault. For those of you who are not informed, let's say you were hanging around 4chan, read about "nagamaster" and wondered what she was all about. A year ago, you could have typed [link] and had a look, to see what exactly went wrong, how people reacted, and perhaps communicate with other people using the Deviant Comments section.
These days? All the main parts of the user page are hidden, all you see is "This user is no longer a member of deviantART." It used to be even less detailed than it is now, with the entire page hidden and only a stupid generic picture of "fella". The stated reason for this is that detrimental to the DA community because it means people get obsessed with the drama and start going berserk.
My take on it? Visible banned user profiles are an incredibly important component of the transparency in decision-making that DA badly needs. The fact that I can't find out why Nagamaster was banned without doing significant research and question-asking is very convenient to the admin who made the decision of banning her, but puts up a lot of obstacles to a person questioning the intent of why she was banned. This is but one example, but it's a good one - contrary to popular (well, suckup-DA-whore) beliefs, the admins are often unfair and erroneous. But how are we supposed to scrutinise these decisions when there's nothing we can look at?
2. Comment hiding.
This is both DA's stupid fault and the stupid fault of the users that make use of it. What have I seen it hide so far? Unwanted critique, hilarious 4chan floods of !snapesnogger and fair and critical arguments about a person's behaviour. I do not feel any of this is either undesirable, or a major problem - it just adds a method for the whiny types to block out who they don't want to listen to. That's not how real life works, so why should you be specially shielded on the web?
When it comes down to it, THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO USE THIS FEATURE. EVER. The very limited utility it might have in hiding 5,000-line flood posts is not worth this awful intrusion into transparency and openness in communicating on the site. So just freaking don't, ever.
3. :jark: SAVE THE ALIEN :jark:
Firstly, this guy's a jerk. A real jerk. He embraced and selfishly pushed the "Save Jark" cause from day one, and remains obsessed with his drama to this day. I won't elaborate too far on how he's a jerk in other ways, but the famous example that caused some backlash back in the day is this piece (which I artfully parodied at the time, by the way.)
Basically, the campaign for Jark, while largely fuelled by ignorance and misinformation has indeed been actively encouraged by Jark at every step, which makes him a huge douche. He posted whiny stupid shit and weepy journal posts throughout the ordeal, changed his avatar so that the cute little alien was crying, and generally basked in the attention he recieved around "Yellow Day", despite the hypocrisy of his doing so in his apparent love for "the community".
I have heard certain rumours about what truly went down back then, but regardless of whether you believe Jark was unfairly de-admined or not, I think his words in this thread I had with him at the time are pretty telling.
4. Adminstaff worship.
Is more than, say, 2% of your watch list or watched-by list admins, staff and ex-staff? Firstly, congrats on being clever enough to work the system, you'll be a senior in no time. Secondly, you deserve ridicule for being so outwardly manipulative.
DA whores of this kind don't bother me too much, but I do find it a bit irritating that there's always far more people in awe of a person's famous friends than people upset at their clear and obnoxious obsession with getting involved with the "community" (i.e. trying their hardest to become friends with any staff member they come into contact with.) You guys suck and I'm on to you.
5. Touchiness and lack of sarcasm.
You know, you'd think this would fall under common sense, but I suppose not everyone on the internet is a good judge of tone or intent. Seriously, I'm absolutely against people acting like unreasonable dicks on DA (I got someone suspended for it, once!) but making a stupid sarcastic joke or exploding at a mild criticism of one's personality is ridiculous and happens far too often on this site.
So hey, here's an exchange I had with someone who had limited perception of sarcasm or irony, and it got me suspended for a week. Do you see something wrong here? (Click here for the specific part of the thread where I started acting too deviously, search the page for "holocaust".) I have little to say about this sort of thing besides that not everything on the internet is so serious and even if you do find a comment offensive, it's better to take a deep breath and think about why the person might have wrote it before jumping to conclusions and assuming the world thinks you're a Nazi supporter.
In other words, while I may have once posted this, I am not a fact a racist and Veronica is not, in fact, a nigger (although she does eat a lot of fried chicken.)
6. Critique discouraged.
I could say this boils my blood, but it doesn't really. It just makes me think "Wow, you sure are an immature dick about things." But whyyyy? Don't you all have the right to avoid critical comments? Why should I have to endure that?
This is how I see it. With very few exceptions, the abhorrent "critique discouraged" marker DA allows you to set for your deviations is used for one of two reasons:
1. You're a crybaby whiner who can't take criticism
2. You're a crybaby whiner and you're convinced the little criticism DA can offer you is somehow gonna be detrimental to your skill.
Both viewpoints are utterly retarded.
Yes, DA isn't the best place for art criticism and I'm not pretending otherwise, most people out there are wailing anime fans or overhyped furries willing to give you no more useful criticism than "OMG! It's SO CUTE! ^_^ " on each piece you upload. But there are some people out there who are nice enough to give proper critique on works they encounter and it can be very useful! And by and large you'll just get salivating fangirls anyway to cover up the small amount of ego-damage incurred by someone pointing out your slightly off proportions or whatever!
Okay, so sure, if your drawing is something you made for your dying grandmother and you want to share it to the world without so much attention to the linework or whatever, sure, point it out in your description. But really, do we need a generic "THIS ARTIST DOESN'T WANT YOUR INPUT, ONLY PRAISE" banner to put up? I think it's pertinent to keep in mind that in real life there is no critique discouraged setting, and this absurd sort of personal ego shield can never last and is only detrimental to an artist in the end, much like the hiding comments function. Suck it up, listen to what people have to say, and improve! And if you babyish enough to take offense at criticism? Don't have your cake and eat it too, block all comments, because doing otherwise is nothing more than unfair and selfish attention whorage.
My girlfriend has pledged that if she ever becomes chief of Deviantart she would change the "Critique discouraged" mode to something along the lines of "I'm an immature whiner who thinks they're too good for criticism." I completely concur with her thoughts on the subject.
(By the way, I'm not just targeting people who critique discourage everything here. There's a certain type of person who critique-discourages 75% of their work and comes up with an absurd reason every time. This is just as bad and is even more deceitful.)
7. Art thievery hysteria
IT IS NOT A PROBLEM AND NEVER WILL BE. IT IS A RIDICULOUSLY OVERBLOWN ISSUE AND MORE FLATTERING THAN HURTFUL.
I have two points to pursue here.
Firstly, art theft is not worth you worrying about. There is this horrible tendency for people to watermark their work to death, spam suspected art thieves with death threats and join retarded counter-art-theft-terrorism fighting leagues in order to stop the massive threat. It is utterly ridiculous and people who do any of these things are stupid.
In this epic thread on the AntiArtTheft community I posed the question "How does art theft hurt anyone in any significant way?" and I have yet to receive any sort of credible response from anyone. Guess what - it doesn't! With the notable and very rare exception that someone might start stealing your identity (which is a bit more than art theft in my opinion), the average person posting your image up as a Myspace background is in fact doing nobody any harm, and possibly some good.
Which brings me to the second point - art thieves can be nice. Yeah, I just said it, and I meant it! If you quit acting like someone just ripped your heart out and started pissing on it whenever a person puts a clipping of your fanart on a message board and calls it theirs, you'll notice they're performing the sincerest form of flattery. My attitude to this nonsense is that "Hey, I'd be slightly amused and feel honoured someone liked my work enough to take it!", amazingly enough - it's kinda why all the content on my website is free for anyone to steal and reappropriate, I don't care.
To get a better idea of how I feel on this whole issue, read the last linked thread - I felt my first post was especially clear and simple. At one point I quoted this artist guy I saw speaking on the podcast Rocketboom, and I feel it's worthwhile repeating it here: "If you make art of any kind, any medium, put it out into the world and part of the bargain of cultural production is you don't get total control. If you want total control, keep it in your bedroom, play it for your friends, that's it. That's how you keep complete godlike omnipotent control of your work. And if you're gonna put it out there, you just don't get total control, and if you think you do I think you're not really thinking for the good of culture and art, you're just thinking like a corporate lawyer."
In general, let it go. Art thievery isn't the end of the world, it's a misguided compliment by someone who probably doesn't care that much either way about making you feel better or worse. Embrace the utopian ideal of contributing to human culture with your artistic output, don't hoard it for yourself and lash out at anyone who reappropriates it. Even if it's just Kagome and Inuyasha lying under a cherry blossom tree.
8. "The community".
If you use this term in a non-disparaging way, I want to punch you in the face. It's vague feel-good mean-nothing bullshit that tends to belong mainly to the vocabulary of the whiners on this site who feel they can speak for the collective sissiness of Deviantart by grandstanding on fickle issues like art thieves and staff disputes. Go collect your buzzwords and found a Web 2.0 site or something. That is, unless, you're In It For the Long Term. (Sorry. I just had to get this one in there.)
So! If you're inspired to instigate a 35,000-post-long thread arguing with me over one of these points you're certainly welcome to! Or if you added another point of contention over this silly site, that might be even better. Just keep in mind that I'm doing this mostly for my own satisfaction and clarity of mind and I'm not a DA-obssessed sociopath who adores conflict for no good reason - I just wanted to write what nobody else has said clearly on this site, at least to my knowledge. Be better, everyone! I know you can!
Bye! Join !