The details of this mockup aren't 100% my vision for how this would work, I was just aiming for a quick sketch. I'm not so sure about a separate tab, especially if they consider allowing multiple groups, and I had an idea to add links like '
purge older than today / a week'. I want to avoid as much 'work' as possible, and having to keep pruning back my devwatch is one of the reasons why I thought this up in the first place.
Now a forum thread: Bringing the community back - a different kind of devwatch.For context, the original journal is below, the update is at the top.
After discussing this with people, I have some clarification, and elaboration on how I'd see this fitting in to deviantart. I repeat myself a bunch, but hopefully it crystallises the concept.
I think that even if you disagree with my appraisal of the state of affairs here, you should still be able to see the use of my suggested solution.
The friendships, the community, the feeling of closeness to both, they have always been there and always will, but as deviantart has grown into a busy metropolis of art they are harder to maintain. It has resulted in the erosion of the overall quality of the community, and the reason most of us joined deviantart in the first place (constructive feedback!) As an artist I have noticed this, and as someone how has a message center, I've noticed this too.
So realising that we were all, by virtue of being
the community, responsible for it's health, it made me look at the way we use dA, and how deviantart could develop tools to better cater for that. An anecdote I gave in the comments below was of a university where they didn't pave any footpaths in the grassy areas between buildings - instead they waited for the worn 'goat tracks' to emerge and then paved the paths over them. They saw how the students moved about, and then catered for it, rather than forcing them to walk on predetermined paths.
I think there are some very definite goat tracks in the way I've adapted to use the message center. When we add someone to our devwatch we do it for two fundamental reasons. Either we want to closely follow this person, comment on their work regularly, follow their journals and just generally be their friend and peer. OR we admire/enjoy the persons art and simply wish to be able to easily enjoy it as they submit new work - and leave a comment occasionally.
As an analogy, one group of artists are your friends, like in real life, and all that entails, and the other group of artists you go to an art gallery to see their stuff hanging on a wall, perhaps sending them some fan mail occasionally.
At first, many years ago, everyone was your peer on deviantart, but that's no longer the case. Lumping the information streams from both those types of relationships cripples us from participating in our communities, from being effective friends, from being constructive amongst our peers.
Ever seen that classic scene from I Love Lucy at the chocolate factory
? (skip the first minute or so) That's how I feel every day when I look at my devwatch.
So, what is my suggested solution? In our friend management page, we can disable journals, deviations, scraps etc. What if we had the option to send the deviations to a 'stream' instead of our message center? This 'stream' would be a wall of thumbs that didn't require any pruning, it'd show the last, say, week's worth of submissions, and any older deviations would just vanish into the ether. That way, you can occupy your time and effort on the community, on your friends, the people who matter to you, via the message center, while also being able to see some pretty pictures when you like.
In order to make this an effective tool, they'd have to update the +devwatch mechanism to allow people to change the journal/deviation/scrap options before actually adding them. Many many people have already suggested this, but with it in place it'd be simple to offer the option to send deviations to message center or 'deviation stream' (anyone thought of a better name?
), and on this same box/window-thing it could be explained the difference between them.
It'd also be handy if the friends drop-down list that sits on every page in the top right corner had info about any messages or deviations waiting from each friend. That way you can take a look to see who is online, and leave some comments on their latest deviation, or reply to one of their comments. I've always found it great when the person is online when you leave a comment, the two of you can quickly have a constructive conversation back and forth while keeping a fresh train of thought, and then move on. If the list told you if they where in dAmn, that'd be awesome too.
It would not be difficult to implement, a greasemonkey script could do it. The functionality to stop deviations from appearing in our devwatch is already there. There are RSS feeds of everyone's recent deviations - though dA wouldn't need those. It's all there already, all they'd have to do is make the UI for it.
Two journals I've read recently have been about favourites and comments. Favorites vs Comments
, by $y2jennWhy oh Why?
, by `NyssaB
Something to consider, perhaps you have already, I know I've certainly noticed it in my habits around here, is that as deviantart has grown and there are now just... countless artists that one can watch, people (like me) can bury themselves alive in the amount of deviations that appear in their devwatch.
I think in a way, as deviantart has changed from a close community to a busy city centre we've all been left standing as the dust settles, inadequately prepared to deal with how fast things move around here. I watch so many people that if I'm not careful the list of journals I've yet to check can swell to the hundreds and I could overlook an important journal from a friend. It's information overload.
What it results in, is that I comment less, miss people's journals, and just plain get overwhelmed by the information flow... which just compounds the problem.
I had an epiphany though - and that is to allow us to 'Follow Deviant closely', or 'Follow far/loosely/from a distance/whatever'. Let me explain -
When I watch someone it's either because I like their artwork and I want to see more of it, or because I like the person, and want to follow their journey, commenting on their work, giving advice, sharing thoughts etc. In other words, I can either be a fan, or a peer/friend. When they're both clumped together, it's a mess, I can't keep track of my friends amongst all the other art, so I end up having to go to their page directly! Message center FAIL!
So if we could distinguish between the two when we watch someone, and if deviantart could cater for this, I know I'd be able to be a more positive member of the community, that's for sure.
We could have a sidebar in our message center, where it could have a 'devwatch' item, that lists all the stuff from the people you watch, but also it could have the usernames of your important people, with a number next to their name indicating how many items they have waiting for you to see. Journals from your friends could be kept aside from the rest, or even better you only have to actively remove journals from your friends, the others just drop off the bottom of the list. The same idea could work in the devwatch, the deviations from people who aren't your friends could be limited to the latest 3 pages or whatever, saving you from having to periodically clear the out.
People are always going to have something to complain about. Before we had favourites people would whine about the difference between the times their deviation was viewed and the comments left, now people focus on the favourites/comments ratio... this wont fix that. This will just make it easier for people to get back into the soul of deviantart.
Well. It'd help me anyhow