As have a lot of others, I noticed a sharp decline of favs and watches in the last few months. Generally, I am not seeking commissions or sales (though doing that I think is more than OK, considering that it's better for everybody that artists get paid for what they do) through this site, so this didn't bother me that much. For me the real problem was that little by little my friends and watchers started leaving for good, which subsequently makes me wonder why I continue to stay as well. But anyway, I don't think there is much point in ranting, I'd rather like to discuss with you, the people who read this journal, what we think is wrong and how that can be corrected.
Here are some of the things that I think are killing the site:
1. The default home page:
When I joined the "New Deviations" page was the home page by default. That meant that the people who didn't bother to change the settings were showed a constant feed of new works. True, a lot of those works weren't particularly good, but still it provided a way for a starting artist to accumulate views, watchers and subsequently confidence. For example, I can honestly say that the amount of favs I receive now (without submitting a deviation to groups or being featured) is equal if not less than the favs I received shortly after I started. And it might sound arrogant, but that really doesn't make any sense considering the amount of improvement I managed to achieve in those 2 years. So it's not only something that hurts starting artists, the current emphasis on popularity hurts everybody. EVEN THE REALLY POPULAR ARTISTS.
Why? Well, first of all, if you don't get favs and watchers when you begin, as childish as it might seem, you can quickly lose the motivation to stay here or do art at all. That's a problem for everybody, because the less people there are here, the less exposure any of us get. Also, once the decline starts, it can be hard to stop, especially in this time of abundant choice. A lot of people moved to tumblr, some to pintest, while facebook is currently the best online marketing resource for artists. So why would a new artist who doesn't get any attention stay here? If they go to facebook to show their art at least their mother and grandmas would like it. And as silly as this sounds, it's not a joke.
2. Porn and erotic art
First of all, I am not against either things. People understand art differently and I am sure that a nude art photographer has to be just as skilled as a landscape/abstract one. But then again, everything has to be in its rightful place. The problem is that the increased quantity of mature art in recent months creates some very real issues for the people who do other arts:
- the way any page of dA looks makes it very hard for people to view the site at work or school even with the filter on. In fact, for the younger deviants it might even mean the end of their stay here or even their art endeavors. Let's face it, how do you explain to your mother that you are not on a porn site if she sees the front page? Especially if you are a young male, I'd say it's going to require quite the persuasion skills. This is probably the biggest problem with this, as those people are the future. dA was such a good place for a young artist to share what they did and seek advice and motivation from others, look up to their idols and maybe one day surpass them.
- the proliferation of erotic and pornographic content makes it hard for people to find what they are searching for. Me and Iro (my manga partner) were musing about what's the top 3 most popular original manga here one day. So I just clicked on the "What's Hot" tab, selected "Manga and Anime" -> Digital (our manga is digital) -> Manga (comics) -> Pages and Panels. Guess what I found... I think I had to go through 2000 entries before I could find 3 different original manga pages. And I don't mind the fanfics, the people who submit them aren't in the wrong at all. I think that if there was a section for that they'd gladly submit there. And anyway, ponies aren't so terrible, but it's quite a lot to ask of anyone to have to go through thousands of fat, naked women, usually with animal attributes, to find our manga. Or anyone else's for that matter. I am sure the same problem exists in other categories too.
- the mature content created a very noticeable change in the viewing audience. There isn't a problem when people like naked women. The problem starts when the site accumulates a lot of users who only registered for it. Let me put it another way, to those people this is nothing more than a high quality porn site. And I don't mind that either, we are only human, sex is part of us. But when female friends start leaving one after the other because every day they receive notes/comments from people who want to have some kind of sex with them, then it really pisses me off. I do think dA sacrificed quite a lot of the artists who were here for the increased ad revenue from the former users.
3. The focus on popularity
Let me say before I begin that I think that having a lot of really famous artists here is great for everybody. They provide the backbone of this site, they are what make it nice to look at / read while the newer artists develop trying to match them (this is not to say that only famous artists produce good art, I am just saying that everybody starts at the beginning and needs time to develop). If they use the site for sales, all the better - it provides motivation to those who want to do the same one day too. The problem is that the site as it is now has such a heavy emphasis on what's really popular that it suffocates everything else. First of all, they made the "Today" page which showcases the same art as "What's Hot" and the DD section. What's the point in that? I think people just get lost and bored viewing the same thing twice. It just makes the already very famous even more famous, which is hardly helping anyone, even those people who benefit from it short-term (see above). They also made 27 thumbnails on every deviation, which generally leads to less people visiting the artist's profile (and watching), because people just start clicking on the pictures instead. Also, the "More Like This" option inevitably leads to the artworks of people who are much more famous than the average artist, which again is a problem in the long term, mainly because the opposite is not true (i.e. the More Like This section of famous artworks is almost impossible to lead to your own art, since people would have to go through usually thousands of other deviations).
This has been discussed over and over again, reporting art theft and personal abuse is nearly 0% effective. It's obvious that the admins don't care about these issues, or in the very least they'd have tried something else already.
So, enough rants, let's talk about some changes that I think could help:
1. Make people see new deviations more easily, either through making the "New Deviations" the default home screen or at least replacing the "Today" page with it.
2. Create a new filter for deviations that may not be suitable for viewing at work, school and by younger people regardless of how artistic the deviations are. Naked butts are naked butts, can't explain their artistic nature to your teacher or boss. Maybe even make a site dedicated to erotic art and move that content there. People could use their current accounts, so it shouldn't be any less comfortable for the people who enjoy erotica.
3. Create a better reporting system, this one obviously doesn't work. At least half of the erotic artists here break the rules and no one cares. I also haven't heard of anyone being banned over bullying and harassment. Maybe introduce some sort of voting system, where volunteers chosen by the admins vote on every report. If there are enough positive votes the report becomes valid. If an user accumulates too many valid reports against them, then automatically ban them.
4. Lessen the emphasis on popularity. Fundamentally change the "Today" page, maybe let different people choose deviations for it and have rules about how much a single artist can be featured there (like with the DDs for example). Let people be creative, this is an art site for crying out loud! I don't see why the admins continue to use broken algorithms instead of all the potential volunteers and their creativity. PUT MORE WATCH BUTTONS!
Ahem... I think that's pretty much it. Sorry for ranting and this might sound like a rage quit, but I'll really stop using this site as much as I did in the past. For those of you interested in updates from me, please follow me on any of the sites bellow:
And of course, that is not to say I won't be posting new art here. I will, but please don't expect speedy replies on notes and comments.
And now for some questions:
1. What do you think about dA now? Is it better or worse than before?
2. What do you consider to be a problem on dA and how can that be solved?
Finally, let me remind you of the ongoing game with my watchers -
I have 150 watchers art promotion thingHi everyone!
I have 150 watchers! Well, I had as many from nearly a month already, but just noticed it. Anyway, I thought it'd be cool to do something commemorating that and here's what I thought.
For UN-limited time, I am planning to paint an oil piece from photos given to me by my watchers. Every watcher can give me one photo for painting and I promise I'll do something about it sooner or later. Please only one photo per person and the photos must be your own Also, if someone wants I will try to send out the finished painting once it's all dried. You'll also be welcome to use the digital image for a print.
I think that's all, just write a comment here or note me if you want to take part in this.
Thanks for reading!