Greetings all and welcome to another Community Development Update! This one is going to be focusing on two main items. Missing features and site speed issues and also some of the results of last month's Policy Revision Meeting members of the core staff participated in.
In addition to the items mentioned in the policy section, there are several other major changes we plan on implementing in the future in regards to the blocking system, report system and a few internal aspects to help speed up the process and bring particularly troublesome areas up quicker in the current reporting system.
Those are on hold now and await some IT attention which will be explained in the next section! So read on!
A recurring subject here on deviantART has been that of people asking, and very rightfully so, "Hey guys, you promised us all sorts of stuff, like groups, collections, portfolio, a rebuilt message center and who knows what else now?
A very fair question which I shall attempt to answer.
One of the reasons for the delay is, site speed and performance. We will come up with concepts and ideas for new things, all of which are largely based on feedback and desire from the community, and begin to work on them.
Then the site's user base grows and the site begins to slow to a crawl and everyone assigned to those projects is pulled off to try and rectify the lag and get the speed back up.
This can sometimes take hours, sometimes days or more. Then they go back to those projects and it happens again and they get delayed further. And I think as artists you can all relate to how it becomes much more difficult to get your rhythm back after multiple interruptions.
So What Are You Going To Do About It?
Well, to fix this we have put all major projects on hold while we rectify the speed issues. Over the next few weeks we are going to be adding massive amounts of hardware to the site, reconfiguring backend code to make best use of the new hardware and then a bit down the line adding to our very overworked development and IT teams.
As recently as last week we added 15 more quad xeon database servers each with 4 hard drives in them which, once fully implemented will make accessing all user related information much much speedier.
We are also soon to be receiving additional web servers within the coming week or so.
This is all just first wave additions.
Historically we have always been able to add "just enough" and have never been able to truly jump ahead of the game, and this is what we are doing now and every drop of our resources are going into it.
The final decision we all came to was, what is the point of working on new features when the site is slow and timing out?
So there it is. Once we have this very vital issue resolved then our teams will all be free and eager to tear into getting the outstanding projects fully built and up for everyone.
And for anyone curious about the whole server installation process, check out my journal here
But What About The Rumor
One last little teeny addendum that I would like to add some clarification to is the rumor that with the 7th Birthday of deviantART approaching on August 7th we will be rolling out dav6 or dav 5.5 or parties or some other sort of big release.
Well, those are just rumors and as I said, our one and only priority right now is site speed and functionality so if you hear of or are
one of those people spreading those rumors, please please help put them to a halt and let people know what the real plan is.
We do have plans for the 7th though
But you will just have to keep an eye out for those!
Policy Revisions and Updates!
During the first weeks of June deviantART saw the gathering of lolly
, and $damphyr
all in one location, in person, to review and revise official deviantART policy.
During that ten day meeting we took a cold hard look at all areas of policy; we examined how and what we enforce, we looked through the existing FAQ entries for unneeded or complicated FAQs, and we consulted with our attorney about the legal requirements and ramifications of various types of situations in order to determine whether we had the appropriate level of response to them.
We're going to briefly lay out some of the changes here which resulted from this extensive review process.
The first major, and most noticeable change, is evident in the FAQ system.
The changes made to the FAQ system are too numerous to list individually here but the redundant or duplicate FAQ entries have now been removed and all information gathered into single FAQ entries for ease of reference. In addition many of the longer FAQs were edited down to the bare essentials in order for them to be a shorter, easier read. Some FAQ titles were changed to make it more obvious what they explained and in general we hope the Policy area of the FAQ is now easier to browse and understand.
We also looked at our rules for submissions, both in matters of copyright and other subjects. What you'll find below is a brief explanation of the outcome;
i. Our policies governing acceptable nudity, nudity of minor children, pornography and related matters is unchanged.
ii. Our prohibitions against photographs of real self-harm (i.e. "cutting" ) and mutilation is unchanged.
iii. We will now be allowing photographs of deceased animals or corpses (marked properly as Mature Content
) providing that the photograph itself is not considered excessively graphic or gory. EDIT: In regards to "corpse" photos, rather than misread this as us encouraging faces of death style garbage, which we are not, think of things you see at Museums of Natural Science, or exhumed historic remains ( pharaohs/mummies etc ) or for allowing photojournalism from our global community, many of whom live in some very violent war torn places. Or additionally google the name Joel Peter Witkin who is a world renowned photographer.
iv. We will now allow images made from "doll generators" or "character creators" to be submitted; however these will only be allowed in Scraps due to the fact that they involve no artistic effort at all. In the future a special section may be added to segregate them from the actual artwork on the site.
v. Our prohibition against the use of screenshots of movies or television programs is unchanged.
vi. We will now allow the submission of video game screenshots providing they feature actual in-game play with the associated controls/HUD/lifebar/health/etc displayed. These particular screenshots will only be allowed in Scraps due to the fact that they are not actual artworks. In the future a special screenshots area may be created to house them away from the actual artworks on the site.
We also examined interaction on site; what is reported as misbehavior, why and whether or not it really needs administrative attention.
These are the changes in policy governing user interactions;
i. Our policy prohibiting hate speech, racism, libel, and other similar serious behaviors remains one of Zero Tolerance.
ii. Our policies regarding spamming, flooding and other similar behavior is unchanged.
iii. We will only intervene in cases of extremely aggressive commenting; we will no longer attempt to mediate arguments or other debates
as most can be resolved between the users, by using the block system or by simply walking away from it. Artists by nature argue and we simply do not have time to intervene nor is it always healthy for us to intervene in some of the more spirited debates. We will only intervene in cases of extremely
insulting commentary; we will no longer address comments which are considered to be 'merely' rude or coarse and a certain level of swearing and rough language will be tolerated without penalty.
iv. We will no longer address issues involving personal journals; deviants are free to discuss other deviants in their personal journals (commonly termed "calling out" ). We will
continue to address hate speech, etc in personal journals.EDIT: We will be upping the maximum amount of users one may block from 20 to 100 sometime in the next few days to help ease concern in this area as many felt 20 was too low
Another change is that we will be reshuffling our priorities slightly in dealing with violations of our copyright policy. As most users are aware we rely upon reported violations to assist us in focusing our attention on "trouble spots" when dealing with cases of unauthorized use, theft and infringement on deviantART. When we become aware of a 'trouble spot' we typically focus more attention there and often embark on a larger scale clean up as time allows.
In order to increase our efficiency in dealing with reported violations we will now be prioritizing certain "trouble spots" at a lower level than others; all reports will still be handled as before but we will be distributing our "extra attention" a little bit differently.
This new approach of De Minimus Prioritizing will place those trouble areas where the violation can be considered insubstantial or minor and we will place these trouble areas at a lower priority than others. This prioritizing is not based on a fair use defense; it is based solely upon the inconsequential amount of infringing material when compared overall with our total workload.
The purpose of this de minimis prioritizing is to remove any pressure to constantly review certain galleries, such as avatars, which are prone to numerous and constant small violations of the deviantART copyright policies. By having this kind of prioritizing in place we are able to concentrate on violations involving large scale infringement until our attention is deliberately drawn to the more minor infringements. In simple terms this means we'll worry about Wallpapers first and Avatars later if they haven't been specifically reported.