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05 November 2010 @ 11:55 am
Signal Boost: Quo vadis, dA?  

I've had reservations about dA's policies for a while (blocking adult-rated material to everyone who isn't signed in, as though your age and maturity were void unless you agreed to register with them is one example), but refrained from public commentary since I don't have an account there and it didn't seem worth the rage. Those were happy days.

Recently a post came up detailing one user's struggle with several dA administrators over the issue of dA's newly implemented mandatory gender designation. Most popular websites, notably LJ and Dreamwidth, give you at least a choice ranging from male, female and unspecified/other upon registration. (Not touching upon Facebook here since their gender-related fail is on par with dA's antics lately, except they're not amenable to changing it at all and have it backed by cissexist legislation.) This was the case with dA as well, until they not only went out of their way to remove the "unspecified" option, but had the site scheme actively preventing even the remaining binary gender options from being hidden (despite the administration's insistence to the contrary).

Going with the good old "benefit of the doubt" principle, it could have been honest ignorance when these changes were first made. Turns out? No. The post I linked above showcases the replies made by dA staff, in the first of which some high-and-mighty admin both brushes the complaint aside as irrelevant and, in a staggering display of clueless bigotry that sent my jaw dropping to the floor, "explains" to the user how "there are only two sexes" unless you happen to be the "unusual case" of a "hermaphrodite". When the same user pointed out that this was a) missing the point of the complaint and b) being hugely offensive in addition to the ignorance, what followed was basically various staff members deflecting the problem, marking the complaint as "resolved" though it had obviously been far from such, essentially telling the user to either pick one or GTFO, all the while concentrating more on covering each other's asses than addressing the point.

It's disturbing, to say the least, that a major site like dA can get away with this sort of patronizing attitude to people who are obviously much better versed in matters of gender vs. sex (and binary vs. non-binary, which spawned this clusterfuck) than the dA staff can say for themselves. This is identity policing, unrepentant erasure of their fellow human beings for no other reason than someone's non-conformity to an unfairly narrow mold.

Tying in with this is an obvious question: what does a person's gender have to do with the art they post? Right, I forgot - so dA can give you ads for lipstick or aftershave, as there obviously is nothing in-between, and everyone who does identify as male or female is going to want one of those. /sarcasm (They do seem to care about ad revenue more than their users, considering some of these ads have actually spread malware to users' computers.)

Last but not least, viewing this in context, you will notice dA had recently joined the number of leading sites who participated in Spirit Day, an event meant to raise awareness of and fight LGBTQ bullying. What this says about the reason of dA's involvement in this high-profile, well-publicized cause should be obvious.

An update to the linked entry says dA has added a third option after having this blow up in their faces - but changing the required field to "sex" instead of owning up to their original fail. If this doesn't scream "I'm right even when I'm wrong!" complete with the immature stomp of the foot, I don't know what does.

So here's the deal for me personally: until they clean up their disgusting act, I am not touching that site. No, I'm not so naive as to think one random person's boycott of passive resistance is going to change anything, but I'm a (genderqueer, pansexual and outraged) man of principle, and my principles are now saying that dA is not seeing a single hit from me. Don't send dA links my way - I ain't clicking.

PS: For those unaware of non-binary gender identities and/or intersex conditions, which specifically came under attack here, this is a useful pointer towards resources.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Current Music: 'Holier than Thou' - Metallica
kohl_eyed on November 5th, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I read about this yesterday, and the exchanges between transfinite and the people at dA were...infuriating, let's say. I cannot wrap my mind around how this is at all acceptable behavior for ANY website in the year 2010; I can't believe they didn't act immediately to address transfinite's concerns. This latest update from them is not even remotely satisfactory. At least I got rid of my dA account a long time ago.

I'm sorry such asshats continue to exist in the world.
See you later, instigator: Johnny Weir - shadowsoudeteron on November 5th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, pretty much all of this. IT IS INFURIATING.
remecielremeciel on November 5th, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
I've never been fond of Deviant Art for a few years now - and even after opening an account there in 2005, following tracks of other artists. Back then I felt compelled to post my artwork there, because surprise, surprise, I thought it could be a good way to advertise it without spending a cent as poor as I was (still am, alas. *g*)

Now after that, I can't tell I'm ever going to go back there. I deleted my account a few months ago, and I'm not regretting it. at. all. Such behaviours and narrow-mindedness are enough to make incredibly angry.
See you later, instigator: DMC - Jackpot!oudeteron on November 5th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
I think that's what they're banking on - the site is useful to post and follow others, so they're expecting people to stick with it just for that. I say they deserve a mass exodus instead.
(Deleted comment)
See you later, instigator: Dr. Manhattan - photographoudeteron on November 5th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
Well put, yeah.

(And great icon!)
Thene: hurt meathenemiranda on November 5th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
Wow. Wanks like this - and LJ proposed introducing the same narrowness a couple of years ago, but backed down - seem to indicate that these sites don't even know who their userbase is. (And I didn't participate in Spirit Day because it seemed like pointless gesture politics and I was verrrrrry suspicious of the fact that it was being promoted by a whole lot of people who have never mentioned the Trans Day of Remembrance, translation: no one cares about dead queers unless they're cis men, wtff.)
See you later, instigator: Ocelot - Fuckin' Majoroudeteron on November 5th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they shouldn't be able to afford pulling this shit in the first place. I wonder who they thought were the only people using their oh-so-huge site. (Tell you what, I felt exactly the same about it.)
tiamariaanactoria on November 5th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
Ick ick ick. I was reading this yesterday, and was so absolutely horrified at the way they responded to the user who initially brought it up. It was so obvious that the ignorance was wilful.
See you later, instigator: Bad Education3oudeteron on November 6th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
Exactly. I'd say at this point, society is past actual ignorance. It's the most privileged folks choosing not to see that keeps this sort of crap going.
wieldy22wieldy22 on November 5th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
Why should your gender/sex be of any importance to some website that's supposed to showcase your artwork anyway? Showing camera ads to people who post much photography would be much more effective than promoting lipstick to everyone who ticks female...

Also I don't understand why it should be so difficult to introduce a third box or just drop boxes altogether and make it the user's decision whether they write a sentence about their gender identity on their profile page or not. Shouldn't be that much work for the programmers. Offering exactly two options is offensive to a huge number of people.

Still... why does everyone need this particular piece of information about me? Does every site ask you to tick your race, whether you're disabled or not, your religion or the number of your kids and make giving that information mandatory? It's like having a penis or not having a penis is the only thing that counts.
Ramblings of a madman: *drooooool* WARK!ghostangel on November 5th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
This pretty much. I knew there was another reason I never gave them money (besides the fact that they AGGRESSIVELY go after artwork that shows peen, whether or not its in a sexual manner or not), and block their ads with Adblocker.

Will I post there again? No, probably not. I see little reason to associate with a community that seems to think that Deviant means "this box here please".
See you later, instigator: Daisuke Takahashi - big pictureoudeteron on November 6th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
This, pretty much! It shouldn't be an issue to begin with, let alone one that blows up like this.
Melmo: hell yeah Torresmustntgetmy on November 6th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)
Ugh...just...ugh. I got linked to that post yesterday and the amount of fail in it (on the part of dA) is just unbelievable. But why should dA be in it for the art, right? Or for the users? Who the hell cares about those icky things? Ad revenue, woot!

(They do seem to care about ad revenue more than their users, considering some of these ads have actually spread malware to users' computers.) *raises hand* Yeah...dA essentially is the reason my laptop started its downward spiral. Way to be, binary ads!
See you later, instigator: Adrian Schultheiss - final poseoudeteron on November 6th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Ad revenue based on the most stereotypical standards there are, no less! How artistic! *facepalm*

Yeah...dA essentially is the reason my laptop started its downward spiral.
Seriously? Well, now I have no words.
Melmo: Geassmustntgetmy on November 6th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Never mind selling ad space for something that might have to do with art! No, let's sell space for Axe body spray or diet pills!

Yep. I went on dA for literally a second and my laptop flipped a shit. I later found out that was because of malware and since my laptop had been behaving fine up until that point it could've only been dA.
See you later, instigator: Bad Education3oudeteron on November 7th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
Pfft, how dare you even suggest such craziness?!

I'm really sorry to hear that. That site is such a heap of fail.
Melmo: Mr. Pottermustntgetmy on November 8th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
I know, right? Sell art supplies to artists? Lunacy!

Sled: yellow!slamduncan21 on November 6th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
Wow, that sort of policy from DA is retarded. >[

I've seen some MMOs that operate on the same agenda, making one pick a male/female when creating a profile so that ANY CHARACTER you make is THAT GENDER. Lames. (Subtexty from game: Gtfo if you want your character to be the opposite sex. -_-)
Kasukasuchans_v2 on November 6th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
Um, using "retarded" is just as offensive...
Sledslamduncan21 on November 6th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
"In poor taste". Pardon me.
Kasukasuchans_v2 on November 6th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Kasukasuchans_v2 on November 6th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
Ugh. Ew. Really? That's just... thee are no words right now. GAH!

And I appreciate the linking to my comm!
See you later, instigator: Kaz Miller - peaceoudeteron on November 6th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
I'm amazed I managed to type an actual post instead of a textblock of blind headdesking fury.

No problem. I haven't participated there as much as I'd like but I'm glad the comm exists!
Cherry: Big Boss Naked Camocherrytruck on November 6th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
It really is a shame - there is some nice art on dA and it's a good community when you get to know the right people, but the administration is horrible. I've not been there for quite a while and this tempts me even less to go back...

It's horrible though. I mean when they were like "NO PICK ONE MAN OR WOMAN" it just showed how ignorant they were. First off, not all of us like to state our genders. The gender hiding option doesn't really work either, so even picking one for the sake of it and then chosing to hide it doesn't cut it. Also, it's not a frigging medical checkup! It's an art site where all that SHOULD matter is the art you produce. Geez. It annoys me that you can select like perhaps from 100 titles (like "deviant", "wise guy", "poet" etc) but gender - oh no, you must be one or the other.

deviantArt: Dick/Uterus or GTFO
See you later, instigator: Boss&Snake - Loyaltyoudeteron on November 6th, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there are undeniably cool people among the huge number of users dA has, but then the same can be said about any sufficiently big site. Though I might be lucky since I was never active there, so emotionally I'm not losing anything if I just don't visit.

Word to all the rest! (Also, I expect "Dick/Uterus or GTFO" to appear as their tagline in the future. XD)
plus5pencil: Slap Stixplus5pencil on November 6th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure not allowing people not signed in to view mature tagged pictures is for legal reasons. DA could get sued or something if kids can access mature things.

Also I wonder how much of the "bigotry" regarding DA is ignorance/laziness/greed, as opposed to actual dislike of non-binary people. It had not occurred to me that the change in gender selection was due to targeted ads. I suspect that they don't want to change the sex tagging back because they don't want to change the ad thing.

Ahh, I remember when I was young and idealistic. I gave up on that when I was like 15. I applaud your principles and I'm not trying to dissuade you from your crusade at all with my incoming depressingbomb.

*Incoming depressing*

I'm a firm believer in that it's impossible (or at least statistically too incredibly rare to be worth any effort at all) to win against "The Man". Consider how much of a cesspool DA is, so many moronic children, trolls, and drama queens. Even if all of the legitimately intelligent users boycotted DA, they'd still get plenty of money from the remaining idiots.

The amount of money DA loses from boycotting is so insignificant that the only people who really lose out are the boycotters (less so if they have friends willing to copy the image location of mature-tagged pictures).
See you later, instigator: Birkin&Wesker - in secretoudeteron on November 7th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Legal reasons, yes - but it's not the only way to go about it. With LJ, you don't have to be registered to view adult posts. You just click a confirming button. (Unless you're an underage logged-in user trying to view an adult-rated post - then there's no way to bypass it.) Sure, it's not foolproof, but the point is just that it legally covers the website's ass. They're not obliged to care beyond that so they don't - lo and behold, everyone wins!

Also I wonder how much of the "bigotry" regarding DA is ignorance/laziness/greed, as opposed to actual dislike of non-binary people.
I was willing to think that until I saw the messages from dA staff in the post I linked. There's no way to give that the benefit of the doubt.

As for the depressing-bomb, it doesn't depress me as much as it probably ought to. I'm not exceedingly idealistic either, and as I said I don't expect this to change anything dA does. It just makes me feel better when I can say for myself that no, I don't give a site with administration of this stripe my time of the day in any form. I'm more depressed when I find myself in the "silent acquiescence because it's convenient" position than when I manage to avoid it.