The official definition of pornography has been modified at several points over the lifetime of deviantART, I know this because I'm the guy who does it each time, and it is done in an attempt to bring greater clarity in the wording used. The publicly posted definition needs to get the point across without delving into a lot of excessive detail, it's a FAQ entry which needs to be simple and easy to read and not a set of stereo instructions but in being somewhat easy in its language portions of the community not only have had a tendency to be confused on the exact definition but also expand upon what's written to include things which fit their own personal viewpoints, not to mention reports coming from people who don't even know an official definition exists.
The official policy for deviantART prohibits the submission of pornographic works. Just about everyone except
for some of the people submitting the porn agrees that this policy is required but we get a wide range of people with an equally wide range of what they think is pornography.
This misunderstanding leads to a lot of reports being marked as invalid due to the deviation not being officially considered to be pornography.
Just to give you an idea of exactly how many; last week the number was about a thousand reports, give or take a couple of hundred. The overall ratio is absurdly high.
I've seen photographs of swimsuit models reported as pornography, pictures of people kissing, photos of same sex couples hugging, nude people just standing there, all sorts of subjects and themes reported which seem just darn crazy until you factor in that we have people from all sorts of cultures and that those cultures have a lot of their own taboos and social rules- and that is before you consider all the individual viewpoints, religious viewpoints and so forth.
With all these different factors and influences it is impossible to drawn the line of policy in an area which will please everyone. Draw it too far to the right and you get accused of undue censorship and the removal of valid artistic works, too far to the left and you get accused of allowing pornography.
No matter the official stance dissatisfaction is going to happen and that dissatisfaction tends to lead to some community members into maligning the staff or speculating that deviantART policies are not actually enforced or not enforced consistently.
I've lost track of how many times I've seen people accuse "staff" of not understanding the rules. I've stopped being offended at those types of statements; the people making them simply don't realize that the "staff" they are busy accusing of ignorance is me and my team and they obviously don't know that I am the person who has crafted those original policies nor that I've been personally involved in every modification as well as the training of everyone who has to enforce those policies or that those people enforcing the policies can get a near instant response from me if they need some sort of clarification.
So rest assured that the staff fully understands each policy; if anyone is confused it's the person claiming that they understand the policy better than the staff employed to enforce it.
The dissatisfaction over the resolution of certain reports isn't anything new; people have been making the same mistakes for years but recently we've been seeing more disinformation being put out into the community than usual; things like claims that the rules don't really apply, the staff are stupid, people with subscriptions get exempted, and so on.
To help counter this I've addressed the situation in the news so hopefully that will help diffuse the rumors for a few months until someone new pops up to make the same claims all over again.
I'll be devoting some of my time this week to addressing any concerns so if anyone needs further clarification they can be directed to this journal where I can reply to anyone who can manage to act like a civilized human being.
So whether you are happy or unhappy with the way things stand, the clarifying information is out there.