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Submitted on
January 10
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Hello everyone!

I'm sure some of you may be thinking “Oh, great, here she goes again about groups, will she ever stop??”. Well I guess I am a bit obsessed with “fixing” or improving things, I also like to find things that will help me procrastinate (focusing on dA helps me avoid all my real life responsibilities :lol:)

Police Now before anything I'd like to make sure everyone knows that I don't claim to be “all-knowing” or to have the answers on how to perfect anything, I don't claim to know how to fix or perfect a website or community, all I want is to be of help in some way, and this is one of the only ways I know how! (That and, if I feel that some of my suggestions hold ground, I'll try and post them to the suggestion forum, so if you think anything I write in here makes sense and sounds plausible, let me know! And if it doesn't, let me know why and what could be more plausible instead! :D) Also please +fav so I can hopefully get as many views and opinions as possible!

Also, this journal was excessively long when I first wrote it, so I tried to shorten it by being extremely brief and cutting out some of the more minor suggestions I had. I'd be glad to expand upon anything if need be and share my other suggestions if asked.

Also! If I suggested something that already exists or that is pending creation, please forgive me :D though I'm fairly sure nothing I suggested already fully exists on dA.


1 – How “we” (group members and admins) can improve Groups, pending future changes DeviantArt will instill.


Bullet; Red Let's be less lazy as a whole – We're all busy with other things, but to improve a community takes efforts from everyone. If you add something to your favorites, try to also add a comment! If someone comments on your deviation or page, answer them. Show people that their art is appreciated, and when people do the same for you, show them your appreciation for them! I think it's important to pay attention to your watchers, and those who take the time to tell you how they feel about your work etc.

Bullet; Red Let's control our egos/temper/attitude – We all have a certain sense of pride and an ego when it comes to ourselves and our work. Art can be a very sensitive topic for some people. Some get hurt when someone doesn't like their art, or decides it isn't “good enough”, but when your work has been declined from a group you should NEVER fight with the group administrators for simply doing their job. Just take a deep breath, and accept the rejection with grace because I hate to burst your bubble but the world of art is harsh, critical, and cold the majority of the time. My point being: treat others as you'd like to be treated, respect group admins and their decisions, be polite, calm, and understanding, and this goes for admins as well. We all have room to grow and improve personally and artistically, let's keep that in mind. Every community is bound to see fighting and clash between groups of people, but we can all try to avoid it as much as possible.

Bullet; Red Admins: Talk to your members, be open with them about what you want for your group, and how you'd like things to go in the group overall. Depending on the theme of your group, it may even be relevant to try and get to know your members. A community is built through communication, creating ties, sharing ideas, getting to know each other. It proves to be so rewarding to make some great friends in an online community. Groups can be the perfect place to meet people with the same taste as you, admins should promote a sense of community to their members if it is relevant to the purpose of the group as a whole. (by this I mean that in some cases, groups can be more “rigid” or “professional” and aim only at showcasing work or resources rather than necessarily creating a community)

Bullet; Red Members: Help admins out, when journals are posted asking for opinions or advice, give yours! Make life a bit easier for the people running the groups you so eagerly submit your work into. If you help them run their group smoothly and perhaps make improvements, you are also helping yourself, and your other fellow members! It takes a lot of work from admins to run a group, host contests/competitions, feature artwork etc, the least you can do is meet them halfway and help the workload be worth it by participating in projects, communicating with the group, and being supportive.

Bullet; Red Try to remember that groups shouldn't always just be about getting yourself noticed, but also noticing others.
Group admins, remember that your group shouldn't be a glorified way to publish your entire gallery and only showcase yourself. Self promotion is fine and great, but a group should be more than just that.

I've shortened this section tremendously, because honestly I could go on forever about issues in groups due either from members or admins or both, but most have already been addressed on many other occasions, therefore no need to just repeat what's already been said a million times.

2 - Suggestions for the DeviantArt staff on improvements/new features for Groups.


Bullet; Orange Create a group forum, a widget for ALL groups (super or regular) like the forums on DeviantArt. This would be life changing for groups, there could be a suggestion thread, a complaints thread, a general discussion thread, etc. It could also be personalized, each group could select maybe at least 1 or 2 of their own personalized thread topics, for example “Photography talk” for photography groups or “Your favorite manga” for manga/anime groups, etc etc.

Bullet; Orange Revamp the Affiliates widget. It should be more than just groups icons or names. I'm not exactly sure about the logistics or layout for this, however I'm sure that there's a more efficient way of promoting affiliates that could be instilled for group's through a new or revamped widget. Also perhaps add a method for groups to receive notifications about what their affiliates are up to, like their latest journals etc, so that group admins wouldn't have to click on each and every one of their affiliate groups to see what's up, or have to send out hundreds of notes to each other to announce contests, projects or other happenings.

Bullet; Orange Give members the option to explain why they left, when they leave a group. It could get nasty, but it could also be very helpful to admins in order to better understand what they might be doing wrong.

Bullet; Orange All administrators of a group have full control in the Manage Members section. If a founder wants to hire new admins, there should be a sense of trust. And if the founder is hands on, he/she can very easily survey what other admins are doing and whether they are changing settings etc. But this change would be put in place in order to avoid what has been going on: founders disappearing or going inactive, and groups being unable to keep on going, and therefore becoming dead. With all admins being able to control the manage member section, if the founder went missing and contributors didn't have the rights to invite new administrators into the group or post journals, they could change this, and be able to keep the group running for example. (there could obviously be better solutions to get rid of this problem, feel free to let me know what you think)

Bullet; Orange I think groups should have the option to change their name. This option was recently added for Premium members, and I think it would be great to expand that option for Super Groups or just groups as a whole. Sometimes people may want to change something about their group, and the name doesn't follow with the new changes, or maybe the name has grown old or a new founder comes into “power” and wants a fresh start, etc etc.

Bullet; Orange Make the interface of the admin center -more specifically the manage members section- more basic. I think a lot of new founders/admins get confused with it, heck I still find it confusing almost 4years later. This can create a lot of issues, and prevent groups from running efficiently. Either making it more basic, or creating new FAQs and Help options explaining how group functions work, would greatly help.

Bullet; Orange Super Group status needs to either be more affordable, or offer more perks. It's ridiculous how expensive it is, and therefore how difficult it is for so many groups to obtain and re-purchase a Super Group status...and what do we gain from it? Honestly, practically nothing in the end, but we're reeled in because the few things we do gain, are very necessary and helpful to improving a group. I understand the need for money to be made, however now that the group system has aged it's time to add some new perks, or readjust the price.

Bullet; Orange Groups that have been inactive for more than 5-6 months (?) should be deactivated, or temporarily closed. Inactivity would mean that admins have done nothing in regards to voting, posting journals, etc in that amount of time, and deactivated or temporarily closed would mean that just like when you deactivate an account on facebook or hotmail for example, you can reactivate it again when you're ready and everything will still be there the way it was left, but until then it will not be accessible to anyone. I think this could help clean up the group system from all the inactive groups that still popup in the Groups list/search. (I wasn't really sure about the timespan)

Bullet; Orange There are over 20,000 pages of groups to browse on DeviantArt. I think that the criteria you can browse through need to be expanded in order for a group search to be more effective. Perhaps more options can be given to groups in order for them to differentiate themselves from others. Just depicting a focus, media, and which part of the globe you're focused in, isn't necessarily very helpful. Browsing groups is currently a real pain in the butt, the results aren't great, and it'd be a lot nicer if searches could be more detailed.

Bullet; Orange When you select the "Add to a Group" option on a Deviation, there should be a list of all the groups you're an admin in. It's annoying to have to type in the name of your group until the system adds it to that list. I know you can drag a photo into your favorites folder, to send them to your group, but it only sends them to the "Featured" folder of a group, so if that could be changed as well, it would be nice.

Bullet; Orange Have a better "Invite" option for groups. Perhaps when you visit a deviant's page an invite button appears, and when you click on it, it lists all the groups you have the right to invite members into. This would honestly save admins a LOT of time in my opinion, and make it a lot simpler and easier to invite new members into groups.

Bullet; Orange A way to prevent submissions to the wrong gallery folder. Perhaps admins would have the power to change the gallery folder a submission was sent to, during the voting process, rather than the time consuming alternatives we've been stuck with so far.

3 - A few suggestions that would help improve both Groups, and DeviantArt as a whole (in my opinion).


Bullet; Yellow When you hover over a deviation, a little box comes up automatically giving you the option to type a comment on said deviation. The point here being: you would be able to comment on a deviation in a matter of seconds, without leaving your current page. (there could be a certain amount of seconds until the box pops up, and it could be optional if some members find it annoying)

Bullet; Yellow Change the DeviantArt watermark option. Many groups decline works with that huge ass watermark stuck right in the middle of each deviation, because it's unappealing and distracting. Give us control over the size and placement of the watermark.

Bullet; Yellow Add a “Deviousness” type award for Groups. Weekly/Bi-Monthly/Monthly, give a specific Group an "award" or officially "showcase" them somehow. This is done for members who help in the community etc, so I think it should be done for groups as well.

Bullet; Yellow A way to browse deviants. Browsing deviations is continually being improved, with new options like “What's hot” or the Beta “Undiscovered”, however what I find myself doing is clicking on deviations I find interesting, in order to click on who the deviant is, to see more of their work. As an admin in multiple groups, and an overall curious deviant continuously looking for new artists to showcase or watch, I would LOVE it if there was a better way to browse the members of DeviantArt! We were given the option to say whether we are “Photographers” “Writers” “Hobbyists” or “Professionals”, so let's use those categories, and create a browsing system where I can go and look for “new members”, “hobbyist photographers”, etc. Furthermore, add an “activity” aspect to it, so we can weed out inactive members in our browse/search. (Like “active in the past 24hours” “active in the past 3 days” etc). You could add an age range, an option for where the deviant lives, people could be able to search for other deviants that live in the same country as them, I think it would be good. The “random deviant” is completely useless when you're trying to look for a specific type of artist or person.

Bullet; Yellow About the “Today” page. I'm sorry, but the today page is a bit ridiculous in my opinion. I understand the concept and think it's great, but holy moly it needs to be expanded. You can only see 20 new deviants, which well, if you follow my idea for a new way of browsing deviants, this could be ameliorated by creating that system and therefore giving us the option to click on “New Deviants” on the “Today” page in order to see a more expansive list of new deviants, not just those from the last seconds, but from the last hours, days, or weeks. I don't get the point of the “Community mood” it is pretty much EXACTLY the same every day, it honestly serves no purpose in my opinion. Under “Newest Critiques” there's this HUGE gap with NOTHING there...which means to me there are more things to be included on this “Today” page. What exactly? Anything! It just seems like such a waste of space right now.

Bullet; Yellow The “Critiqueable” page. When I came back from being absent for a little bit and saw that many changes had occurred, I was praying something had been changed with the Critique system...but nope. I am always looking for cool stuff to write a Critique for, but the “Critiqueable” page is completely useless in helping me because it doesn't let me select if I want photography, traditional art, digital art, literature, etc etc. So I'm just left with a bunch of stuff I have no interest in, when it could be so simple for me to be able to better browse the Critiqueable works so that I'd actually be able to find stuff I want to critique...which I thought was the point of this page.

Bullet; Yellow This is minor, but major in my opinion: give us the ability to empty/delete our favorites as a whole, instead of having to remove each one individually...which is maddening when you have thousands.

Bullet; Yellow More categories under "Journals", I didn't know which folder to submit this to, for example. More options would be beneficial I think.


I decided to use the community relations skin to show that despite maybe sounding a bit harsh or critical, I do love DeviantArt (I mean why would I bother writing this ridiculously long journal if I didn't) :heart:

Please feel encouraged to comment with your own ideas, or your opinion of mine, just please let's all stay polite. And once again :+fav: if you enjoyed :nod:

I also wrote: Is dA and its Group system slowing dying out?Hello everyone!
:megaphone: :police: 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 com


A journal with ideas and suggestions on how to improve the Group system, and DeviantArt as a whole. Feel free to share your own ideas and suggestions, and tell me what you think about mine.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconacridmonkry:
AcridMonkry Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very impressive and encompassing, ans I strongly agree with just about everything you wrote, if only there was a petition system to get this to the top of the suggestions list!!
Reply
:iconmrs-durden:
Mrs-Durden Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you very much! I think if I had made the journal a bit shorter, it might have been read by more people, I'll still try to put some of my ideas in the suggestion forum thread just in case.
Reply
:iconacridmonkry:
AcridMonkry Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well I do hope some of your ideas get implemented as they would definitely be an improvement over the way things are now!! :) I'm sure some of them will, eventually :roll: Unfortunately only those fluent in code & GUIs really knows which are the easiest to implement.
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:icondecepticonflamewar:
DecepticonFlamewar Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The problem with all levels of admin having access to everything is that some of us just wouldn't accept any co-admins that way. Then what would happen if we became inactive? A "takeover process" for inactive founders makes more sense. Likewise, groups that are inactive are kind of annoying, but why not just remove the join button or show a "This group is inactive" warning on joining? 

Being able to change the folder stuff is added to, a groupwide forum, and an optional "simple" mode for group controls would be very helpful. More search options would also be helpful. I would particularly like to see, when sorting groups by size, a 10 to 100 watchers option. That would help me find smaller groups that are still getting started. 

As for your non-group suggestions, I don't know if I can really speak to many of them. I like your suggestion for the Critiqueable page, but I"m not sure I'm comfortable with a really obvious mass favorites deletion option. I've found some deviants on the site who fave people's work to get page views (because most people will thank them for the fave), then later delete them. I worry a mass delete option will encourage that kind of behavior, you know? 

Overall, thoughtful suggestions. Good on you for suggesting them. 
Reply
:iconmrs-durden:
Mrs-Durden Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I don't think that because everyone has the same amount of control in the manage members section, nobody would hire co-admins anymore. If so, it would be coming from founders with some serious control issues, or strong lack of trust. However I understand it isn't the optimal solution, but groups becoming inactive due to founders disappearing has become a huge issue, and instead of just accepting the group becoming inactive, wouldn't it be better if co-founders or contributors had the chance to keep things going? It doesn't seem fair to see a group plunge just because 1 person (the founder) disappears or becomes inactive.

I agree about the group search yes, I want more options all over, more detailed searches will prove a better way to find specific groups, and in addition to this giving groups more chances to be differentiate fro the mass millions of groups here on DA.

I'm glad you agree about the Critiqueable page, it's really been an issue for me, I love giving critiques, but browsing that page is just so useless to me. As for the issue about a mass delete option for favorites, I understand what you mean, that could potentially be a problem or side effect, however I think it's a very helpful tool for members who have been on dA for years on end, and who would like to clean up their favorite folders so that it all stays fresh, reflecting new trends, new tastes, etc. So many not a massive "delete the entire folder" option, but perhaps an option like we have for browsing Deviations in our watchlist? A "select all" on page, and then "delete" option? That way it wouldn't necessarily be an entire folder, but just page by page at least? The simple ability to select multiple deviations before deleting, would honestly be a great improvement I feel.

Thank you for taking the time to comment your opinion!! :)
Reply
:icondecepticonflamewar:
DecepticonFlamewar Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The thing about dA group sis that if you're working in an interest group, and you're the only person you know with that interest, trust is a real problem. I've been in groups and seen admins do some pretty questionable things to their friends, much less strangers. To use my own Art Academy group as an example, I was the only person I knew who played Art Academy, and I was pretty much only confident enough to make a group when I made a friend on dA searching for other users of the series. Then she disappeared off the site, and I was left as the group's sole active admin.

It crossed my mind often that we needed more admins, and I looked for people who seemed qualified a long time. I had a few users I thought would be good at it, but none of them stepped up when I called for applications, and a few of them speak a different language as their first than the vast majority of the group, which is English. There's actually one user who speaks Spanish exclusively, and I'm the only person in the group who has any Spanish ability! I have no idea what my current admin team would do if I disappeared.

But when I hired a new admin, one who seemed trustworthy, I still wanted to scaffold him, to introduce him to my expectations, policies, and procedures slowly so there'd be less stress. It took us a few weeks to get through everything, but now I feel like he could run the place without me. There are only two folders he doesn't have voting power over yet, and I'm going to change that as soon as I send this comment (down to one folder; that last one is super specific and I can't find the visual guide I used to use for it; when I do, that one goes live, too). 

If I couldn't control what he could access and couldn't access, if he had the same powers from me at outset, it'd have been very easy to get overwhelmed for both of us. Slowly introducing new voting was really useful, and I feel like it went smoothly. If I had more interested people, I'd also use the ranks to "compartmentalize" what people can vote on to better reflect which games in the series they have, to make our group inboxes more manageable.  

So really, the system that you're suggesting would help some groups, but really a more forward thinking attitude about hiatus, group powers, and permissions would probably be more effective in getting groups the way they are. I don't think those of us who insist on giving different folk different powers are necessarily control freaks or have trust issues. We might just have a very specific vision and a strong commitment to not subjecting our new admins to a trial by fire. 

You can delete page by page of faves, by click-dragging to highlight the whole page and then mousing over the pencil and picking the remove option. Heh. 

And thanks for the reply! :)
Reply
:iconmrs-durden:
Mrs-Durden Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
The thing to me is that, you could still do all those things even if all admins had power in the manage member section. If you as a Founder decide that certain admins cannot vote on certain folders etc, you put that setting through. Co-admins would still have to go by the rules of the Founder, and if they went into the manage member section to fiddle with settings and give themselves more power, the founder would be able to see it, and act on it. Does that make sense? It would still be an iffy system, but it was the only way I saw to be able to fix the whole group inactivity issue, in addition to the deactivate groups suggestion I also included in the journal. I didn't mean that people who want to give different people different powers are control freaks at all, when I spoke of giving everyone the same powers...it was only power in the "manage member" section, not power in the group as a whole :nod:

Wait seriously?? Is that a new feature?? I've contacted the help desk and so many people about this deleting favorites issue, and NOBODY has ever mentioned that?? That option needs to be written down in an FAQ or something ><
Reply
:icondecepticonflamewar:
DecepticonFlamewar Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I could see turning on all powers for all users by default and letting us "control freaks" opt out, or setting up a way for the next highest class to "ascend" if we were inactive for so long...

And I've been using highlighting for... months? It might be browser-specific. 
Reply
:iconmrs-durden:
Mrs-Durden Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I tried it out, and it works fairly okay, it's a bit slow but that might just be my own issue. I just wonder how long it's been in place because I've been complaining about this for like forever :lol: mostly because I am myself a control freak, and my messy Favorites folders have been bothering me :P
Reply
:icondecepticonflamewar:
DecepticonFlamewar Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I feel you on the faves folders. I have a crap ton of collections >.> I get antsy and start splitting them off when I get more than two pages of deviations...
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