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About a month ago, I posted two polls: What is most important to you? and What is the main reason you use the groups platform?
With the help of several deviants and groups, I gathered almost 4,000 votes. The high number of participants gave me a close look into the priorities of the deviantART community – one that I would like to share.

Without further ado, here is what I discovered by asking, "What is most important to you?

The majority of deviants – about 60% – prefer comments over :+fav:s or page views. There are two main reasons for this:
  1. It means that another artist took the time to look at their artwork in detail, and
  2. it gives them the opportunity to develop their skills by learning what worked and what didn't.
They weren't talking about just any comments. Almost all of the deviants who commented on the polls said they preferred detailed comments and critique more than anything. As tursiops33 lightly put it, "Good, long, constructive comments are the best!"1 antauris-shadow wrote that she prefers, "what actually helps me as an artist."2

For a lot of deviants, such as falakalak, getting critique is one of the main reasons they joined deviantART in the first place.3 This website is unique in that it offers the chance to interact with other artists who can provide constructive feedback. We could get recognition in a lot of different places, but what other website boasts such a large and diverse community of artists? As alltheoriginalnames said, "a little feedback does go along way for an aspiring artist."4

There is a very large population of deviants out there who want to to become better, and rely on detailed comments to improve their abilities.

As a quick anecdote, only 20% of the voters chose :+fav:s.

And this is where's where things start to fall apart. Through your own experience and browsing around deviantART, I assume you've noticed that the ratio between comments and :+fav:s does not reflect these statistics. One of my recent deviations had only received five comments when it reached 100 :+fav:s. As an artist, I found that frustrating. That I could appear to gain so much recognition, but actually benefit so little from the community.

Itti made a good point when she said, "I believe that favs are something done for the benefit of the person making the favourite and comments are done for the benefit of the artist."5 A lot of deviants said they valued their own collections, hence the "fave and run" mentality. But the majority of the community would prefer a comment. As OtisBee wrote, "comments by all means. pageviews and favs are just generated by clicks and don't really tell much about anything. but it's the comment that can really make me smile or get upset or make me think, make me improve and see things from another perspective."6 Why, then, are :+fav:s so much more common?

We all want to show appreciation - but we don't always feel we have the time, or the words, to write a comment.

And, for some deviants, recognition is important. :+fav:s and page views got almost 30% of the vote, which is not insignificant.

alltheoriginalnames commented, "So many people get caught up in the numbers that they lose sight of why they are really here, the art."7 That is a real shame, in my opinion. And almost exactly the opposite of deviantART's purpose as a website.

Art is what this website is about. kamioto-furin said deviants should, "share their skills with other artists."8 deviantART shouldn't be about numbers or becoming the most popular, it should be about developing our talents and sharing our passion for art.

I've heard beautiful stories about the way deviantART used to be, back when it was a smaller community of only thousands of members. It's grown to become a network of over 13 million artists. Becoming known is hard, and all too often that becomes the priority. I'm not any better than the rest: I understand the desire to gain attention. But I am continually drawn to bdwfh's comment: it's all about the art.9

In my opinion, our priorities have begun to shift away from our commonality – art – and focused on the divisive competition of gaining popularity, and Houston, we have a problem.

We're on the brink of a new year. I'm asking you to join me in re-focusing the deviantART experience. Make it about giving critique and supporting the artists themselves. Make it the community you want it to be.

I'd like to close with another quote from alltheoriginalnames. "I do believe strongly in helping others gain more exposure, as it does help certain people. But for me in regards to my own artwork recognition is not important, just the creative process. And if someone else enjoys the end result of it, that's cool man. If not, oh well. It was still a great journey."10

deviantART is not perfect, but it has so much potential.

We are a unique community, united by art. Let's recognize that.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconlimelines:
Limelines Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Even when I ask for outright criticism in my descriptions, I never get it. Ever. It's disheartening when NOONE bothers to comment, how am I to improve? So I agree with this. But how do you motivate people to comment?
Reply
:iconkitsune100percent:
Kitsune100percent Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2011
I do find myself agreeing with you. When I post my art, most of the time I don't often get comments from people, aside from those I know in real life. I get plenty of favs, but concidering I'm a new artist who finaly started up my own thing and is still developing, the lack of comments in relation to favs actually makes me feel more or less insignificant.

Of course I'm still guilty of the fav and run on occassion, but I tend to look at comments prior as well before I even consider doing that. If I see someone else or several others have already stated things just like what I was thinking, of course I'm not going to comment, because I figure they can do without another comment repeat. Of course, if I do comment, I most often take my time and then fav.
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011  Student Photographer
:love: Thanks for commenting.
Reply
:iconkitsune100percent:
Kitsune100percent Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011
Hehe glad to. =D
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011  Student Photographer
:heart:
Reply
:iconkitsune100percent:
Kitsune100percent Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2011
Oh yes, I also forgot, especially when it comes to stamps. If it has no comments, I'll likely add mine, but not if it has tons and tons that say the same over again I'm gonna just fav it.
Reply
:icontylion-sama:
Tylion-sama Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The truth is that he is absolutely right, my drawings do not have any comment and so I do not know how to improve my style.
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner May 31, 2011  Student Photographer
:heart:
Reply
:icontylion-sama:
Tylion-sama Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
And the truth is something depressing not to have comments, you feel that your art is ignored T_T
Reply
:icontangodelta2:
TangoDelta2 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
Unfortunately, I only joined a week ago so I missed these polls.
Reading these results shown that you are dedicated to this site.

The reason I made an account is not to post art, but purely to post comments and try to help generally.
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011  Student Photographer
:glomp: Glad to hear it.
Reply
:iconrockbarnes:
RockBarnes Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2011
For the records, I wrote 3,132 comments and have 101 favs.

Isn't that just a problem of understanding each feature? I totally agree with the "=Itti"-paragraph: My favs were made up for nobody else but myself and reflect nothing else but that a particular artwork gave me a reason to be reminded of it. And I'm fully aware that nobody else might understand my reasoning, including the artist him/herself. Thus it would be perfectly fine for me if nobody but me could see my favs.

On the other hand, getting a fav (without a comment) means that someone looked at your gallery and developed a special interest in a particular piece of artwork. That's already a good thing.

Of course I prefer comments over favs, even if the comment is short. That's because how I understand and use them:
- comments: In cases where I want to tell something to the artist, be it good or bad -> for the artist!
- favorites: In cases where I want to be reminded of some artwork -> just for me.
Alas, in both cases I needed to consider the piece intensely...

And I still do the fav-and-run quite often. What can you say when an artwork is just perfect as it is? "Good"? "Great"? "Awesome"? Especially when there are already lots of comments and all is already said - when I don't have something new to say, I prefer to say nothing.

Pageviews are meaningless. Period. (It could be by accident of by google bot).
Reply
:iconianartic:
ianARTic Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2011
I would totally agree with that. When ever I fav anything, I post a comment of critique. I've been here for the same reason as others, to get comments. But I get maybe one every week or none at all. I hate it. I wish people would change that.
Reply
:iconadventwinter:
adventwinter Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Sometimes when I view an artwork, I don't what to comment. There's always the fact that all I can say is stuff like "wow, that's amazing" and "great picture:+fav:", and we all know that sometimes artists (like you) already have to go through a lot of comments a day. Sometimes, faving the work is easier for both sides. Besides, faving means letting the artist know that you like their work without making some generic( and probably annoying) comment.
Of course I understand that the artist could get frustrated about not getting critiques or in-depth comments on their work. But we amateur artists feel that the elite artists don't care, because, they're the famous ones, and we're just nobodies trying to get attention by trying to be smart.
Don't get me wrong. I get annoyed by people who fave things without even looking at them. (There was one who faved something within 10 seconds after I posted it.) I'm just trying to speak for those who don't comment, but really appreciate the deviation.

I also think that dA should make it impossible to fav a deviation without opening/commenting on it.
Reply
:iconpaulashins:
paulashins Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2011  Professional General Artist
and I wonder about the 17x Rejections XD
lol
Reply
:iconpaulashins:
paulashins Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2011  Professional General Artist
Ok, I agree with everything you said. But I want to say one or two things about this "faving spread".
Not all deviant fave for popularity. Faving also means gathering for yourself artworks you believe that are really good, and then study them later. Since I can't download and store all the arts I think that might be important want to with me, I fave some many arts to keep the deviantart account also as an online database for important arts. And, even if I download and store them all, my computer might also crash lose everything everything, so... =) At least for me, I see the :+fav: like this.
But, of course, the percentage of artists who fave for this purpose might be really small, but still, it's a way to think about faving.
Overall, when I think I might give some constructive comments over some arts, I take the time to write a full text and try to be as much comprehensive as I can =)
But it also sucks that, sometimes you take a lot of time and the artist doesn't say a thing. Its okay if he saw what I said, that's what matter, but if he doesn't?
The amount of "Luv your art" kinda comment is so much bigger that its hard for some popular artists see the good comments. That sort of thing demotivates the artist and also the person who took the time to make a good comment.
Then we have the critique system, which is really good, and helps the artist to sorta filter the good from the random comments. But not everyone have the damn premium membership. And also, some people feel sorta intimidated by the "Critique" thing and decide to make a good comment instead.

Well, I just tried to expose my point of view. Maybe deviantArt should filter the accounts a little bit (I don't know if I ignore or hate those "PLZ" accounts >_>). Or maybe create a system that filter comments by their size? :XD: lol no that wouldn't work
In the end, I try to do my part by actually participating with the community body and soul :heart:

If there is an stronger attitude we could take to make dA a better place, I am in :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconxxburgiexx:
XxBurgiexX Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2011  Student Writer
The only reason I like faves is because when someone faves my work, it'll appear in their favourites and then when other people browse their favourites they might like it too and so it gets noticed more. However, there's nothing as good as a fave and a comment. Through comments I've made friends and recieved much valuable advice for my writing and drawing.
Reply
:icongrey-array:
grey-array Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you,

For putting this out there and draw the attention of these so called "Fav and Runners"
Cause indeed I freaking hate it. not saying that I dont like the favs because I got way to little views yet.

so anyone with time on your hands, check out only one of my things, and if you like it read more, if you dont comment me that I need to improve the point you didnt like, or call me a douche by commenting me, all is authorized,

and pardon me for advertizing in this chat, its so pathetic, but I am ......pretty desperate, cmon 10 views !!
Reply
:iconkokopellishuman:
Kokopellishuman Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011
Thank you so much for putting this up, I have been avoiding my dA for a couple months now just because I couldn't see the point in putting up art if all I was going to get was a fave or two. But after reading this it has really got me to thinking that maybe I shouldn't be here just to see what other people think of my stuff, but also to help other people improve their skills as well (which was my original purpose of getting a dA) I am going to make a grounded effort to comment more and "fave and run" less.
Reply
:iconwolffoetowtech:
wolffoetowtech Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
yeah i really don't like to fav and run.
or to be fav and run my self.


I say 99.9% of the time leave a comment on any thing i see.
Reply
:iconrah-they:
Rah-They Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011
I sometimes +fav and run, But like others have said, I sometimes get nervous about writing critque, mainly because I am worried about getting attacked for pointing out mistakes or anything. But that's definitely something I should work on.
Very awesome article. :)
Reply
:iconoptimistic-semi-goth:
Optimistic-Semi-Goth Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Just... sorta wanted to input my own experience and reason here.

I've been faving and running a lot lately simply because I get too nervous to make a comment sometimes. I'm not usually much of a reviewer, but if I had something I definitely wanted to say, I might not out of fear.

It still makes me feel a little guilty that I'm shying away from saying anything, but it's not that I just don't want to or just want to have a nice collection to look at when I feel down. It's that I'm prone to panicking to begin with. o-o

I definitely see where you're coming from with this, of course! It's one of the reasons I feel guilty about the habit now. I suppose I should try to work on it, but it'll take time.
Reply
:iconrah-they:
Rah-They Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011
I'm kinda glad that I wasn't the only one that gets nervous about making a comment! But it's something I'll definitely work on. :)
Reply
:iconsatsumo:
Satsumo Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm one of those apparently rare deviants who does more commenting than anything else. However, I'm going to have to stop because nobody seems to respond anymore. It's like giving heat to a heat miser. I even started a thread to see why people thought it worked this way. All that did was confirm that there's no point commenting.
Reply
:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I don't know, I personally get kind of tired of everyone's obsession with comments.

I mean, do I like getting comments? Of course! Especially constructive ones.

But the simple fact is that, oftentimes we just don't have time to comment on everything. I have over 100 deviations in my inbox right now. There's no way I can have the time to leave a huge comment on all of them, so some/most of them are inevitably going to just get a fave from me.

On top of that, people need to accept that there's not always anything to say, either. I'm not an artist, so generally I have nothing useful I could say on a piece other than "I like it", or if I comment it's on the content, not the technique.

I do have more knowledge in literature, but I don't often comment there either. If I come across a bad bit of writing, I'm more likely to just stop reading and leave than comment--especially since I find really poor writers tend to get hostile about even constructive criticism. Meanwhile, good writing often doesn't have a whole lot that can be said about it other that little typos or proofreading things, which I generally don't bother pointing out unless I know it's a nitpicky friend.

So I kind of get irritated at all the "Fave before you comment!" or "I'd rather comments than faves" bitching that goes on. If I have something substantial to say, trust me, I'll say it. And if I don't, I'd rather just leave a fave than an empty comment.

On top of that, a lot of people are wrong about faves only benefitting the artist. In addition to the whole front page thing, I've found a number of artists and fave pics by going through the favorites/Collections of people I interact with. Being part of someone's well-maintained Collection is an excellent advertisement of one's work!

In short, people need to stop obsessing over comments so much and accept that if people have something to say, and have the time to do so, they'll already say it. And they need to stop bitching about faves, too... a fave is a COMPLIMENT, people, the equivalent of someone leaving a useless "I love this!" comment because that's all they have that they could say. </rant>
Reply
:icondrifting-musician:
drifting-musician Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011
I totally agree with you. Getting a comment on DA seems like a rare thing now, so when I do receive a comment I'm incredibly grateful to the person that stopped to take the time to look at my work and write something, especially if it's constructive criticism. I realized recently that I had started to "click and run", taking the easy way out with the fav button, and I've been trying to break that habit by writing a review before I favorite something so that I don't forget to also leave a comment for the person.

So, again, awesome assessment of where we need improvement, and I hope that the community as a whole takes notice of it! :highfive:
Reply
:iconcelairademon44:
Celairademon44 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I liked this article, it's similar to how I think. I would much prefer cmments to :+fav:s though both make me happy. I have to admit I do the "Fave and run" on many an occasion. However, that is because I feel that I would not benifit the artist by commenting. I have also done the, "Great work!" comment and I learned as nice as that is it does not help anything. I myself am an aspiring writer and would love to be critiqued, I know what it's like to just get "Wow this is great!" I'm so glad you like it but I would like to better my craft by getting told what I should work on. Sadly, I only have 11 deviations currently which doesn't get me many comments. But I would still like it if someone would comment on them with an honest opinion.

Sorry if I rambled a bit I tend to do that...heh ^^;
Reply
:icongisapizzatto:
GisaPizzatto Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Featured [link]!!!!!!!!
Reply
:iconbeatlesfan159:
BeatlesFan159 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
I recently stopped doing this after I sat down and thought, "Maybe people
want to know why I favorite their work." I have limited time, and I"m sometimes
forced to "fave and run". Though now I try to make time to sit down and write a comment
instead. I do mostly agree with this article, however, there are exceptions. I'm certainly not
going to be upset if someone doesn't have time to write out a comment, as opposed to
just clicking a button. On the other hand, I don't enjoy seeing something that obviously
had a lot of time spent on it have no comments, but 30 faves.
This is a good article all the same, it obviously had some time and thought put into it.
I enjoyed reading your article, and am sorry for such a long comment.
Reply
:iconbelarin:
belarin Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011
Don't know if anyone's said this before, but...

This website is unique in that it offers the chance to interact with other artists who can provide constructive feedback.
Uh, not quite. Conceptart.org kicks DA's ass. DA is full of whiny artists who can't take crits and bitch when you point out a hand is crooked.
Reply
:iconubiique:
ubiique Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cheers for this. We're not here trying to become popular, we're here to grow as a community of artists, as one and as a whole. How can we learn from each other if we're making it easier to not say anything? All I can learn from a +fav is that someone wanted easy access to the art. If there's no comment, how do I know the access to the art wasn't for use, looking at later, or even just to add it to an article flaming it later?

I have to admit, I only comment on about 36% of my favorites (as a percentage through the past year). After reading this, I'm going to set a goal of making that 60% and higher.
Reply
:iconnygirl4life:
nygirl4life Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree... while I have been a culprit in the "fav and run" group, I've left comments for other artwork that I either loved or saw some room for improvement on but I don't actually learn anything from the works that I do fav unless it's a tutorial other than that I just fav them because I like the work.
I've actually went through other artists fav collections and found stuff I liked and probably even commented on... I hope that my faving other artist helps them get more recognition or more comments whichever is most important to them.
I go through a lot of artworks when I do have time to get on dA and commenting on them all would just be terribly time consuming. So I don't get too frustrated when I don't get many comments on my work.
Reply
:iconrurumi-chan:
Rurumi-Chan Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011
I kind of feel like people only faved my stuff is because they felt bad for me or did it just to be nice. But I don't really think they actually liked it. I mean, I kind of hate when people do that because it's not being honest. If they're only trying to make me feel better because they feel bad for me, then they shouldn't. In my mind, they don't think I'm really an artist because they're always trying to cover up the bad. :( I still have a hard time with my art and I even asked the elite artists for help, but sometimes they're so rude and never respond to anything. Anyway, sorry for getting off topic. I rather just fave and not say anything because I'm sure the "elite" artists wouldn't care or bother to read my comments or even look at my own art and I''m sure they already get a lot of comments already. Sometimes I rather quit art for that reason that I mentioned earlier and this reason.
Reply
:iconantauris-shadow:
antauris-shadow Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, I'm amazed by this, your words, and those of all the deviants you quoted, speak volumes to me. it truly is "all about the art" , and as the new year begins, I hope that we as deviants can all improve on not only our creative abilities, but our ability to truly help each other in developing ourselves as artists, because we can't do it all on our own.
Reply
:iconxswiffy:
Xswiffy Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Just putting this idea out there:

I seem to see lit deviations getting a higher comment-to-fave ratio than visual art, and I notice myself as well generally giving more comments to literature than to visual art. I always thought it was just because I'm a writer so I feel like I don't have much useful critique to give about photography or drawings, etc., but maybe it's just more difficult to evoke a reaction of words in a person when the art is something visual and not wordy--unless the person is a very skilled artist.

I see people craving comments about their drawings, but in my experience, dA is largely a community of amateur artists. And I don't know that all of us are up to the challenge of giving good and useful critique, especially outside of our medium. Sometimes all we can do is stare at a picture and say "hurr, I like it."
Reply
:iconv1902:
V1902 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist
Most comments I get here are a waste of time to read, so I turn them off.

If you want comment and critique, find some good friends with different opinions and ask them for it.
Reply
:icontiridako:
tiridako Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011
This is exactly why I am doing my part to help the community by giving out critiques as much as I can. I try not to comment generically that can be repeated by other people, but to make a profound comments that may help the artist in some way.
Reply
:iconsamsatales:
SamsaTales Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love the fav thing! I only fav works I really want to look again, I read the artist's description, BUT I'm so bad with comments.
I can barely draw and my comments are not a big contribution for a more talented artist. All I can say is "I like this and blablabla" and that is a favorite!
So, I just fav and sometimes come back in silence to enjoy the work ;)
Anyway, I enjoy collecting artwork :heart: while trying to improve my thing.
Reply
:iconadventwinter:
adventwinter Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Maybe you can say why you liked it?
Reply
:iconrosaarvensis:
rosaarvensis Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I really like favs... but dA should change one thing: make it impossible to fav a deviation without opening it. many deviants just use this "collect" thing to add a thumb to their favs. what is the meaning of such favs? they didn't even look at my work! it's probably the most stupid thing in all dA.
if people would have to open my deviation to fav it, who knows? maybe they would also comment?
Reply
:iconravenlael:
ravenlael Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2010  Student General Artist
i'm here to have fun, see my own improvement, and get many critiques from senior artists! ...and now i see it's so hard to get the last point...

good article, :+favlove:
Reply
:iconlyn-zo:
Lyn-Zo Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So this is basically just a news article complaining about people not commenting enough... :/
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:iconv1902:
V1902 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist
Exactly.
Reply
:iconfirehearttheinferno:
FireheartTheInferno Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said, indeed I agree with much stated here.

Favs are fine, but comments are a hundred times more rewarding to me, even if they're short,
because they give me the chance to ask my visitor what they liked about it, or what their first impressions were.
Pageviews don't count for squat in my book, because at the end of the day, it's just a number.
Reply
Flagged as Spam
:iconfirehearttheinferno:
FireheartTheInferno Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
...You do know I was talking to :iconstarboydeath: right?
Reply
Flagged as Spam
:iconfirehearttheinferno:
FireheartTheInferno Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
dude, I can't quite understand what you're even saying...
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Right. Thanks for posting. :D

This is the same reason why I wrote this other news article about choosing to write 2 critiques every month as a way of taking some personal responsibility for the divide between the critique we want and the critique we actually receive. [link]

And then this stamp to go with it: [link]
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