Daily Deviations. Just a portion of what we do as volunteers, but probably one of the most visible.
There are a few things to be said about them, but instead of writing a big ass entry you won't read anyway, I decided to write a mini series of journals regarding some of these points, giving you some tips, some opinions and hopefully igniting some healthy discussion. Sounds like fun?
So, the first item on the agenda: my stance on them.
Everybody has their own perception of what a Daily Deviation is. I know FAQ 61
tells us the official definition of what a daily deviation is; "A feature
chosen by a group of volunteers or staff members." A FEATURE, that's it! That's what a daily deviation is right? Yes. But I also understand that they're not just your everyday features. This little detail of being chosen by staff and put in a dedicated place very visible to all the community makes them special. (main reason why sometimes people complain about them). Even when being "just a feature
", it's also true that they have a personal connotative meaning, people see them in a different way: some consider them a huge honor. Others think of them as some sort of "trophies", or that they're given to you if you are "good enough
". Some think they're just another part of this big popularity contest
. Many others don't give a crap.
Something similar applies to the people who select them; some consider them a way to give exposure to the lesser known, an opportunity to introduce amazing artists, show amazing art or bring awareness about a theme or an art genre. And of course every volunteer has their own criteria when selecting them.
This is how I see Daily Deviations:
For me, Daily Deviations are the representatives of the site's galleries.
Think for a moment if you were about to introduce deviantart.com to someone who has never heard of the site before, and you can only show them a portion of it. What would you choose to show them?
Well, personally I would choose the Daily Deviations page
This is an art site, so the obvious would be to show them the art, and while I could choose to show them the frontpage, which is also a good option, I would go with Daily Deviations. Why? In a single page with around 30 to 40 features a day, you can see most of the galleries represented there. Usually you can find at least one for each of the following: Traditional and Digital Art, Literature, Design & Interfaces, a great variety of Photographic works, Emoticons, Wallpapers, Anime & Manga, Artisan Crafts, etc.
Most of the galleries are represented each day in the Daily Deviations, which makes them something like the galleries ambassadors if you will.
I'm the volunteer for Digital Art, so what I try to do through my selections is to represent the gallery as a whole. Digital Art is one of the most popular galleries within the site, there is a great variety of works from a lot of genres and themes, from an equally varied group of artists of different skill levels and experience, professional, semi-professional and amateur. I try to represent all that with my selections, so I might choose deviations from different themes, techniques and even skill levels. (I do have a very high standard when it comes to technical presentation of course, but sometimes a strong concept or a very striking theme can be a decisive factor even if the technical level isn't precisely the top of the top. )
Also, Daily Deviations should show you something you don't see everyday.
The purpose of the frontpage (set to "Popular") is to show art that is popular be by the theme, the technique or the author. You'll always find some amazing art there, but it's also quite probable you'll see the same artists, the same subjects and the same categories there, quite often. It's driven by popularity after all.
But unlike the frontpage, which is generated automatically, I think DDs should aim to show you art you don't see everyday. Daily Deviations set a spotlight on a particular piece for 24 hours and when your art is exposed to millions of users, 24 hours can make a huge difference. So why setting this spotlight to something similar to what you already see everyday? I think DDs should aim to show you an artist, an artwork and/or an art form that probably you woudn't notice otherwise.
I mentioned a couple of journals ago, that I receive a great number of suggestions from Painting & Airbrushing > Fantasy. I understand Fantasy is a very popular theme, but there are many, many sub categories within Digital Art; Conceptual, Political, Surreal, Pop Art, Abstract, Horror & Macabre, and a large etcetera. Also remember I also take suggestions for Drawings and Mixed Media. What about those? If I aim to represent the gallery as a whole, I want all those genres and mediums to be present also, if not everyday at least on a more constant basis. Don't take this, however, as I'm going to get mad or I won't select your suggestions if they come from Fantasy. Not at all! But you're always encouraged to go and look for a more wide variety of themes when looking for works to suggest!
So, as mentioned, a DD is a feature, but as opposed to everyday features you and I can make in our journals, choosing works simply because we like them, for me it takes way more than just my own personal taste, if I like a deviation or not, to determine if I'm going to feature it or not.
The next theme I want to touch is precisely my selection process and the most common reasons why I don't select some suggestions. See you on the next journal!