So, over the years I've occasionally realized that I'm not terribly active in the community; the various responsibilities and tasks that I have cross my desk every day have sort of moved me into the background of the site; my commenting got fewer and farther apart and the same can be said for my journals and I've definitely become one of those "drive-by Favorites givers"
where I just
and don't comment.
And I'm sure that most of you know the deal; you figure you'll make more of an effort to connect but then those sixteen things over there need your attention first and next thing you know it six months later and you still haven't taken that first step to really get out there into the community.
I imagine that among you people are those who are "here" but not really "here interacting" and I'd wager that even you guys interacting probably have a good chunk of you who have insulated yourself into your own little niche group and rarely step outside that comfort zone.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I started my determined effort and I actually got out there browsing and I managed to ignore the little voice that told me that I probably had other things to be doing long enough to look through a bunch of deviations and journals and things.
I'm certain that it probably comes as no surprise to a lot of you that there is a marked lack of any real
feedback. Oh, there's certainly a lot of praise and congratulations on a job well done but you don't see much by way of actual critique; you know, that stuff where you not only say that you like something but you explain a little bit about why you like it and if you don't like it you explain why you don't like it.
No doubt everybody likes to be told that you like what they did but you can help out so much more by explaining why you like what they did; and if you don't
like what they did you should tell them that and why as well.
And if you decide to tell them why you don't like their work there's no reason to be mean-spirited about it. You all have probably seen at least one of those types; they get fed up with what they consider to be too much vapid, meaningless mutual back slapping so they decide that they need to balance it with "brutally honest critique" (which tends to be code for just being a jerk).
What I decided is that I will set aside time in my day to browse new submissions and leave comments on a few every day at least five days a week. The number of deviations which get my attention won't be very large because I simply don't have that sort of free time but I will be making the effort and when I make that effort I will be leaving meaningful commentary.
If I like what I see I'll tell you what and why I like it.
If I don't like what I see I'll tell you what and why I don't like it and tell you my personal opinion of what you should try next time.
I will always end with something positive to say about the work and if I can't find something positive to say about it I will reconsider leaving any comment at all because if you can't encourage an artist in some minute fashion then all your comment will be doing is discouraging them and I think there are enough people out there who can do that job and I don't need to add to their number.
So if you've read this journal down this far I'd like to take the opportunity to challenge you to take a look at your own activity.
Are you one of those who always puts off commenting? When you comment do you find yourself sticking to your niche or your close friends? Do you find yourself typing "Good Job" and then moving on to the next? Are you afraid to give suggestions or tell someone that you don't like this thing or that?
Change your interaction; slow down and really contribute; Assume that every artist is here for actual feedback
and that they want to know what you liked about their deviation, not just that you liked it and they want your suggestions or for you to say what you didn't care for about it or that you just want to talk about what they did and how they did it.
Yes, some people may ignore the time and effort you invest in your thoughtful, meaningful commentary but I think you'll find that far more people will appreciate it and who knows what sort of insightful conversations you may find yourself involved in just because you took the time to actually contribute rather than tossing a
at someone and yelling "Good Job" at them over your shoulder during your mad dash to get to that next deviation.