(And after 24 hours, we are back to your regularly scheduled Journal of way-too-many words.)
One of the fun things about being exposed to an ever slowly-evolving organism that is deviantArt, is that over time, especially if you have been around for most of it, is that the subtle nuances of it become more evident in that timeframe. deviantArt is both a product, a corporation, a culture and a strange psychotic melting pot of personalities and overall, just really entertaining. This Journal is the sum of 11 years of sometimes the stupid things I’ve noticed; and will be broken down into a list of random observations and 'how tos' one learns from being on deviantArt for way too long (and then the conniving ways one learns to deal with it).
1. Obvious Minor Is Obvious
A minor on deviantArt is anyone under the age of 12. Some people will act like they are 12, and that does not mean they are not allowed on this website. On the other hand, if you think someone is on here that really is just too young, there are a few ways to find out:
1. Sometimes they will write a Journal, or have a friend who writes a Journal that either exposes their age, or their grade level.
2. If you're lucky, and they steal (which a lot do for some odd reason) and you unfortunately bullied them enough that they reply "I didn't know, I'm 11!" then your obvious minor has called themselves out.
3. Any image where they may make reference to a bio.
4. And the really unfortunate habit if they list their real name or external web addresses (and this is why kids should never be online in the first place).
Personally, I'm not the hugest fan of people, but less so of this particular age group who tends to be in that stage where they have found the joys of the internet, but have not quite realized the internet has rules or guidelines. One thing you should never do (well, until you find out anyway) is to harass these kids. Harassment reports rarely ever result in action, but if you want one filed on you and acted upon very quickly, going after minorities, spamming, sexual harassment and picking on little kids is up there. Disengage, report quietly, state facts. They will be allowed on in a year or two.
2. It's Mine Now!
Minors and art thieves go well together, mostly since pre-teens and teens (not always) do not understand the concept of ownership quite as much as adults. When you start creating your own work and paying attention to the repercussions of taking said work, older individuals tend to fear posting what is not theirs more often. I have explained this before, but how to tell theft is pretty easy:
1. The picture is way too good, as in professional promotional art quality (not that some people don't do this naturally, but most aren't that great)
2. Mismatched styles and signatures (most artists have very limited style capacity and techniques)
3. Wrong category, no description, and blatant mislabelling (say, they steal a character piece that was of Luka, when it was obviously Sailor Moon)
4. Spam worthy levels of uploads
Now dA does not prioritize art theft, and it tends to fall amongst the lowest in terms of concern for them so the responses are slow and the person tends to keep on stealing for a long while. While dA forbids swarming, art thieves tend to lose the will to fight off people over time. Point out they're an idiot enough times, and this can get rid of porn posters, the "selfie artists", thieves, and people who are just plain jerks. And yes, there are some Senior Members who do join this too. Self-regulation works, at times.
3. Seeing Doubles
The naive and the younger ones tend to do this, but creating two accounts, sometimes for the sole purposes of harassing other people or pretending that they have support when they're generally a friendless loser who has none. If you're good with timing, and see this action while a person is actively online, then it's pretty easy to spot a doppleganger.
1. The account names, avatars, and dA IDs (including text) are similar
2. They write the exact same
3. The second, "support" account will tend to be underutilized and very vocal only to the primary account (so limited watchers, limited favorites, comments only to/for said primary account). It may also be considerably newer if used just to counterattack
4. While there is a way to ninja this, one can tell it’s the same user by observing their comment and login/logout behavior. dA has a two minute delay between signing out, and when it recognizes the user is actually offline. That being said, a user goes idle in 5-10 minutes of doing nothing/leaving dA without signing off (navigating to another page). If you want to see if it’s the same person, just watch them go offline and online. As long as they don’t login/logout into these accounts in under 2 minutes, these two accounts will never exist with the “Online” status at the same time, despite they’re actively commenting with one another.
4. The Admins Are Lazy! (They’re not)
For anyone who ever wondered why a report never seems to be acted on, there are a few things to know.
1. If it is an Invalid report, no matter what it is, you will never see either this person, or their art go away. Period. So stop trying.
2. Reporting “Spam” does nothing. It just marks a comment as “Spam” to more or less tell other people that someone else is leaving stupid comments. Hiding Comments allows people to see the comment, if a person chooses to reveal it at a later time, but it too causes no action.
3. Harassment reports, which are made to the Help Desk are only there for serious issues of extremely aggressive stalking, bullying and cases where a person is spammed and swarmed. “Block the user, and get over it.” It’s what the Admins will say, but in a nicer, Admin way.
4. Why is the valid report I made on an image not acted upon yet? Now this is a matter of exposure. If only you report it, it has low views, low favorites and frankly is practically invisible in terms of people actually finding it, dA don’t care. It’s not harming anyone. Images, of any sort, that receive a lot of action (views, easy search, lots of different people reporting it), tend to be dealt with faster. “Sexualized minor” reports outrank others in terms of attention as well. Art thief the least, since it’s the least harmful (if this has to be justified, most people in most countries are not actively acted upon for stealing a cheap picture or a song, over say posing nude in public).
One of the important things to note is to not abuse the report system. Invalids will get your privileges revoked, even resulting in a suspension. Also, the admins aren’t stupid. If your entire goal is to swarm report everything you do not like, you will go with it.
5. Yay! Visitors!
Visitors sound like a good thing. Most dA users who visit your page will contribute 2 pageviews by default. No idea why it’s two, it’s just two even if they only visit your userpage once and do nothing else. You will earn odd numbers if the person is extremely slow to navigate (takes 10 minutes, even with a cookie wipe before a single revisitor will add another view to an image, or your userpage), and sometimes in just random cases. If you notice a sudden spike to an image or your page, then something is going on (unless this is normal for you, and you get that much attention for normally posting something). Some things to watch out for:
1. Your image has a lot of views all of a sudden, but few new favorites: Do a Reverse Google Image Search (go to Google, then “Images” at the top-right, click the little camera icon, then upload your image). It’s possible, either the image was jacked or someone is talking about you and this image in particular.
2. Your userpage suddenly has a lot of visits. Now I’ve had two versions. There are people who will gossip about you, so Google should handle this easily. The other is if you’re “gifted” pageviews, so someone will set up a bot to hit your userpage with new and different visitors, that don’t actually exist. Of course, people could be talking about you nicely too. Which is always a great find!
3. You’ve earned yourself a fan/stalker/your concerned relatives, which usually means you will get a steady 2 visits, every 10 minutes. If the person is actually signed in and you have a Premium Membership, you can use the Visitors feature to see who keeps coming back repeatedly. (If you want to let them visit and think you don’t see them, don’t add the Visitors feature, but instead “Preview” it. It does the same thing but only you see who stopped by.)
Visitors can be good or bad, but to know what is up, there are some simple, easy tricks.
6. Your Permanent Record
Any of your images that has been reported and has had action taken upon it (whether valid or invalid) will be noted on the image under the "Report Deviation" for all users but yourself to see. If you ever wondered how many people are going rule Nazi on your images, you can check by using another dA account. Personally, I use my husband's when he's logged in to take a peak and get a chuckle at all of the ridiculous invalids. It really has little function besides informing people eventually that their efforts will be wasted. Reporting does a whole lot of weird things involving the states of images in general.
1. An image can have a "report closed as invalid" if the image is deleted, so the admin will never have seen the report. The report is automatically done for them.
2. A report made, whether valid or invalid, cannot be made twice, so the moment an invalid report is noted by the admins, no other user will be able to make a second report using the same option (granted, if a mistake was made, Problem Content is there it handle it)
3. If you are reported, and it does go through, even with the image removed, you've got a report on file that will never go away. Think you can upload the same "Not Acceptable" image twice? Think again, report goes on it, it goes through, then instead of a warning, it's a suspension. You were warned.
4. Users can evade reports by deleting images before Admins take action, which is how some people get away without being banned for so long (and they know this, it's called "Report/Ban Evasion"). If you see a person doing this, and your reports were valid, then identify their upload behavior (and the slew of angry comments they just hid) to the admins through the Help Desk.
5. Your invalid reports get tracked. If you make too many, you will lose the right to report for X amount of time or receive a suspension. However, if you worry that you aren't clear on the rules, and might make an invalid, add a question to your report. Sometimes the admins will answer you directly, or let you see why this is counted as an invalid.
7. I Am So Popular!
Everyone would just love to be #1 in their favorite search. Even better, #1, 2, #... The dA search is notoriously hard to rig. For a stretch of time, doing something as basic as posting your work to groups, and repeating say “Sailor Moon” for eternity in both the title, the description and the key words was enough to guarantee #1 in the “Sailor Moon” search. Eventually dA fixed that, but sometimes the search breaks down, and for a few hours such cheap tricks come back. But some of these rules still apply.
1. Title matters. If you want a popular “Naruto” image, “Naruto” must be in the title, the description and the keywords. Huge amounts won’t help you. But like with most searches, relevancy works.
2. Really weird, obscure words. If you know a lot of people will type “Pokemon” as “Pokmon” at least once, then if you use that misspelling you already have more presence in either a rare word or typed word search. Rare words do not have to be that rare. Spacey words do well for this trick (or just write in the titles of odd songs that inspire you).
3. dA favors the weird categories, so images with a category of “Fan Art” will automatically rank lower in a search than “Animation” will. That being said, do not lie about your category, or dA will force you to take one you may not like or may not think is representative of your work.
4. Some algorithm based on your popularity, your image’s popularity, and how often it is viewed so it actually stays afloat in its current search position. Haven’t figured this one out exactly, but the changes done to the algorithm are what causes the searches to rank differently on occasion.
5. Initial saturation (heavy exposure on day 1 of the image upload), is still one of the most crucial ways of making a popular image, outside of a Daily Deviation (hint, hint. VLK wants one, someday). Upload it when the Americans are most likely to see (they’re the most present user base on the website), and get the Groups in on the action. By the way, this also works for Journals. Most of your watchers and Groups will only have 24 hours of maximum exposure, after that, it's just trickle effect and wasted time.
6. Now this does not work for popular images, but combined with evasion techniques above, a user can technically popularity spam, by posting their best image or Journal over and over again to gain a higher Watcher base which can in turn contribute to a better throttled image. Not a nice trick, mind you. People don't want to see the same thing repeatedly if they're watching you.
8. Saturday Nightlife
The one time of day you never want to visit is when the people (losers) who have no lives visit. Again, American website equals more Americans, and drunked ideas start floating about on Friday and Saturday night. If you want one guaranteed time to scar yourself for life, visit around then. Rates of accidents, injuries, and overall stupid behavior go on right around this time frame, and it’s exactly the same rule on the dA. On the other hand, if you’re looking for cheap thrills, visit on the weekend! And overall, if you just want to avoid the Front Page altogether, try Favoriting your own usepage (yournamehere .deviantart .com) and this will save you a lot of grief. Most of us will admit, a lot of what is posted on dA isn’t worth looking at.
That being said, most of what is written in the Journals is not really worth looking at either. Outside of the above, if anyone has any questions about why dA is what it is, I am happy to field them based on my own personal experiences of having absolutely no life. This generally covers almost everything I have personally been asked in the past though, so something fresh and new to the mix wouldn’t hurt either. Maybe this will make for a decent reference to understanding the insanity of dA and its users. And hopefully, dA just got a little less confusing for you all.