Before you read, please keep in mind that my intentions are not to blame, insult, criticize, or say anything harmful about anyone! The intentions of this feature if anything, is to motivate us all in improving the group system and dA as a whole! ALSO this is focused more largely on photography, digital art, and a few other mediums, but I don't claim to speak for the cases of other mediums and types of groups that I am not familiar with.
EDIT: To make things clear, I don't believe dA or Groups will ever be "dead" in the sense of them not existing anymore, or members in both factions not existing either, I'm using "Death" more metaphorically perhaps, in saying that the way the group system is intended to be working, has been failing, and needs improving in order to not fail its purpose, and that dA needs to do something to strengthen the community sense and interactions between members both in groups and in the dA community overall, and also render it more important to focus on unknown artists and give them a better chance by avoiding being or becoming a sort of elitist art community.
This feature is about addressing the issue of dA Groups slowly but surely becoming dead, I think we've all noticed that the Groups that were our favorites and go-to art collectors in 2011 have almost all vanished into thin air, or pretend to be alive only to let your work expire without a word. So is the Group system doomed? Is dA doomed? It sometimes seems that there's a lack of variety, that everything we see on dA is almost a copy of something else, over and over again. Are we lacking new talented artists? All we see are the popular famous ones on the front page, gaining popularity as always (not that this is necessarily bad), but what about the underdogs, the unknown artists who are often just as talented if not more, than those in the spotlight? Well...that was the point of groups in my opinion. With groups everyone had a chance to be "seen", however less and less groups are focusing on showcasing unknown artists, groups don't interact with each other, contests and competitions are becoming less common, therefore in a lot of cases groups are just submitting a bunch of work which leaves us all alienated and distanced from each other because nobody seems to be communicating whether it be in groups or on dA in general.
Groups can serve all sorts of different purposes, from creating a platform to share general interests and ideas, to collecting artwork, to creating an outlet, or aiming at giving feedback and critiques to members, or showcasing solely elite photography or accepting all works and discriminating no one. Now all Groups may intend to serve a purpose, but lately it seems that it's just become a fuster-cluck of randomness, and if your prior favorite Group isn't dead, it seems to be either slowly sinking or accepting way too many deviations (this excludes more "dA community" centered groups I think and is guided more towards photography or art collection groups).
Groups have become increasingly important and popular on dA, however the way they run seems to have changed. There is a lack of interactivity, of "solidarity" or camaraderie, of friendship perhaps. Everyone seems disconnected, which renders Groups fairly week. Now I'm not saying that all dA groups have died out, that would be ridiculous, there are still hundreds of groups accepting artwork and running smoothly, however, I think nobody can deny that some of the best groups we used to have on dA have died, which is leading to people constantly commenting on these groups pages saying "is this group dead?" "submissions expired...." "is anyone here".
So, once again what's the point of this feature?
To let everyone know which groups are still out there, alive and well, and promote the work that they have been submitting!
I don't want to call out other groups by listing which ones are now dead, that would just be rude, but maybe the founders of those groups will see this and want to get cracking again! I hope that nobody will take this personally, also I will probably forget or miss several groups simply because I'm more geared towards photography.
Young Photo Club
Recently revived by myself, a group for young photographers up to age 25 and their work. Trying to promote a platform where you can learn and improve your skills, while however remaining selective in what is accepted into the group.
Similar groups that are still active:
A group for all types of art, still fully alive and active, accepting in some great works and promoting many unknown artists! A great group when it comes to variety, and promoting both professional and amateur artists.
Similar groups that are still active:
Another group accepting most medias that you can count on to fill your inbox with some cool artwork! The group even does Daily Favorite journals to further promote their artists. I'd recommend joining this group if you'd like to see artwork that you'd probably miss by browsing the front page or most other groups. I'd say they also accept a wide range of works from very amateur to very professional.
Similar groups that are still active:
Death-Chicks is one of the few "old" dA groups that you can still count on, I still receive many deviations in my message center from them, and enjoy submitting to them from time to time. They are more specific to alternative, pin-up, glamour, nude, fetish type shots or simply portraits of women in general that should usually have a kick of originality and uniqueness to them. As their subtitle says, the group is for "Alternative Photography" and is run by the talented and amazing DistortedSmile. They regularly post art features and promote dA groups along with the Daily Deviation system and overall involvement from members in regards to Art and the dA community, so check them out.
Another "surviving" group that has been one of my favorites for a long time, and in which I've been an admin. DeviantDolls is similar to Death-Chicks but a bit less picky when it comes to their submissions, therefore accepting a wider variety of female centered art often from more amateur-type artists. A great group that I was glad to see hasn't become dead. Most medias are accepted, therefore showcasing a wide range of art.
Clash of the Titans
Clash of the Titans is fully alive in regards to submissions coming in and being accepted quickly, it serves its purpose of showcasing all sorts of artwork from dA. It claims as its goal to only accept quality work, and therefore be a bit more elitist than other groups. It's a group you should follow if you enjoy receiving hundreds of deviations per day in your message center, because they definitely have something new for you every day. I'd say that the standards are correct, not too high, not too low.
Similar groups that are still active:
This is a bit of self promotion. I just created this group about two days ago, I created it to try and fill the void that many abandoned groups have left. Majestic Masterpieces is intended to be a fairly elitist group to showcase the best photography of dA, however the "best" can also be from unknown or new artists, so I'm going to try and showcase them as much as possible. As you can see since we just started we don't have a lot of Deviations, so feel encouraged to join and submit!
Groups I didn't include that I would still consider active:
and many others! (The list could go on for a while )
Groups that I think are great, and need more attention so that we can avoid seeing them become dead like many others:
As I said, I won't list the groups deemed "dead" out of politeness.
So guys, let's try to revive the Group community, do more than just click through deviations, interact and try to really make a difference for our community here! I've been trying to contact some of the "dead" groups to revive them, just today we were able to do that with we-are-innocents and hopefully other groups will want the same thing!
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as you said "There is a lack of interactivity, of "solidarity" or camaraderie, of friendship perhaps. Everyone seems disconnected, ..."
Now for my humble opinion:
I think a group is only as "strong" as it's members.
Thought i am a fairly new member to dA myself, groups in general tend to have certain dynamics to them. Groups "dying" thus is not necessarily a bad or worrysome sign, but simply shows the flow went on. Especially in a system filled with creative minds, like dA, loose formations tend to disssolve rather quickly.
They change their interests, their art, maybe even their way of creation. At some point the will want and even need to go on, to leave the past behind and to explore something new. Actually you would have to take the newly-forming and rising groups into consideration in order to really make a forecast on the future. As i said i'm rather new, so i sadly can not make a well-developed statement about this, but change in general is not bad.
I did not yet adress your other point of famous artists simply gaining fame and unknown pople staying unknown, but i think the development has many parallels to that of youtube (guess that comparison is going to cause a lot of hate), where basically the same thing can be observed. Still new users manage to randomly climb to the high ranks, aparantly not even because of the content they provide. Everyone has to personaly decide, whether he finds this a good or bad development. I personaly would like a system of more mutual support and greater chances for unknown people better, but those tend to have two major flaws:
First they only function based on the hard work and the selfless acts of every member and this is kind of an utopia.
And second they tend to not really credit every artist in an equitable way. I don't mean to say some deserve to be ignored, but you would have to agree that superior content is supposed to be valued.
Of course those two are extreme examples and none of them will (propably) happen to dA, the best solution would be a mix (best-of-both-worlds, you know?) and i can only hope your text will help achieving the best mutual support and peaceful coexistence on dA. And don't cling the past too much, explore something new and exciting, this is what art is about in the first place!
And a Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate (and some peaceful days to those whw don't)
Same if we have more than 100,000 members and a devoted team of admins, I agree that general activity in group is slowing down. At my opinion it's because users don't really feel involved with others members. I think the best way to revive interest in group would be to add a Forum Feature where members can chat and discuss together. I don't think it have nothing to do with group operators, it's a question of web tendency... dA group system just don't really have what it needs to compete with other major social platform.
I was around when Sage Weil developed WebRing, and when Yahoo took it over, and when Yahoo released it again. One of the problems with the rings was that the ring administrator would stop managing it, and when sites went down or removed their code they broke the ring. As well, new sites could not join.
The solution was to allow people to "adopt" webrings after the manager had not done anything in a certain amount of time. That way the ring could live on as long as there was interest in the topic and someone willing to manage it. I'd like to see DeviantArt implement something similar. If the owner of a group is banned, or has not been active for a certain amount of time, then the group can be opened for adoption.
On another note, sometimes group owners dump their groups on others without warning. I own two groups, both of which I offered to help manage by handling submissions, and then the group owner promoted me without warning and resigned from the group, in effect dropping it all in my lap. Very bad practice, that.
Personally, I feel like it would be nice if dA had an official system of dealing with groups who have inactive or deactivated administrators. We can't stop people who run groups from eventually not having time for the website anymore, but it'd help to cut down on the amount of dead groups if there could be a process to bring new administrators in when the old ones cannot perform their duties any longer. It seems like such a huge amount of the dead groups have deactivated or banned admins, in which case there's no hope for resurrection.
is how much it has grown in the number of users.
Its a bit of pain since there are still really good artists around here,
but at the same time, it seems to be impossible to make any friends around here anymore :/
That said, I think on the flip side, many groups are so broad with so many different submissions, unless you have a big staff it's hard to keep up. I've found this so even with smaller groups I've had to run myself.
I do love the group system, but I feel it could be so much more. Especially as a super-group owner, I just don't think it's nearly worth the amount that dA says it is.
Of course, this goes back to my feeling that there should be some kind of overall management system for the group (like there is for regular groups) would fix that.
Search feature. OMG, yes. But, I agree, it ain't gonna happen.
A group is only as good as the people in it. I run a small group (small because it's quite a niche group) and, when it started it was quite busy but these days I mostly have the same few people submitting. I have tried to get more involvement from the rest of the group, running interviews, features and contests. However, submissions have tailed off, some of our members seems to have left DA altogether and others don't seem interested in getting involved - just want somewhere to dump their art. My admins and I have been seriously considering closing the group (if the members can't be bothered, why should we put ourselves out to promote their work?) but decided to give it a few months and see what happens.
I've been a member of several groups where things were okay to start with but then the admins changed (messing up the group) or just seemed to get bored with running their groups. It's a shame but if the admins don't make an effort, what's the point of having a group?
Some of the groups seem to not bother accepting submissions for a few days and then flood your message box with loads of them - why? No one has time to view 100+ deviations - so many works will just be deleted from the stacks without ever being seen by the group's watchers.
I don't think DA is dying out but I am concerned about the groups - I think there needs to be some improvement all round, before they die out.
I agree - though I have found with my group that whenever I ask the members what they would like to see, I get no response (apart from one occasion when a member said they didn't believe in promoting himself). I've tried interviews (which went well the first time but not so god the second time), editorials or statements to try and get a dialogue between members but with little success.
The groups are cumbersome to organise and I think DA could do a lot to make things easier for everyone. I wish they would make more options available for a group (or drop the cost of a super group to a much more reasonable amount) so we could use the other features (polls, forums would be great)!
I am the founder of #narutofanclub
I inherited the club and there are times it is dead but I make sure to run contest from time to time. #100ThemeChallengers have died since the trend has also died off. I am thinking maybe I can make a collaboration between narutofanclub and 100themechallengers
my other group is my school group. I'm just a contributor so I can't really do anything if the founder isn't active..
And yes, the category's on dA definitely need to be redone/revamped and improved, I consistently find issues with it, that and the tag system.