Recently my team and I worked tirelessly on a project to help improve the gallery descriptions and thumbnail examples. While that project was indeed tedious with almost 4,000 categories in our system, it was also educational. What I learned from sorting through thousands and thousands of categories was that we have a lot of redundancy and a lot of categories that seem to have been created on a whim that are now simply homes for junk.
Over the years, the desire to appease niche communities and people who just wanted a specific area has led to some categories that go up to 4 levels deep, and it's really no wonder it's so confusing for people to figure out where to submit their artwork.
The conclusion I've come to is simplicity. While I'm not about to rip apart everything and make 6 stand alone categories, I do believe that there is a lot we can do to simplify the category tree. That includes some of the following:
1. Merging categories that make sense. For example, Digital Drawings is now merged with Digital Paintings creating one Digital Drawings & Paintings category. The Digital Art > Drawings subcategories will be merged with the existing Digital Paintings subcategories and you don't need to do anything. Right now a gallery pointer is in place but we will move all of that content into the appropriate place. The reasoning is pretty simple, the difference between Digital Drawing and painting is not something that is so discernable it requires a separate category. In fact if you browsed through either they were a mixture regardless because people themselves didn't get the difference. This Digital Drawing/Painting merge will be something that will occur in all Digital Media galleries over time.
2. "Other" categories.
Recently all 'miscellaneous' categories were renamed to "other" because the term Miscellaneous seemed to imply that anything under the sun could go there. In some instances the "other" category has been removed. For exampled: Digital Art > Other has been closed to submission. The artwork there will be moved to appropriate digital art categories so do not panic
However, to really emphasize the absurdity of some categories.. The Digital Art > Other category had 18 subcategories. There was even a Digital Art > Other > Other.. WHAT? I appreciate that there was an animations gallery that accepted gifs that will be moved to the main Digital Art category so it will be Digital Art > Animations. Animations of that sort will also be permitted in Mixed Media > Other and Drawings & Paintings > Other, once a fix has gone in.
3. Retiring outdated categories. Some categories served a purpose years ago but since then have died out or, for example, in Customizations, perhaps the system or program doesn't exist anymore. Retiring a category will mean that there is a sufficient enough of accurate submissions to leave the gallery browsable for historical reasons but it will be closed to further submission to avoid having it littered with misplaced deviations.
4. Removing dead categories.
Some categories never took off and there's not even one valid entry in it. These will be removed from browse and submit and you likely won't even notice
After reading all of this I ask you not to panic. Over the next few weeks, volunteers from specific niche communities with categories we believe can use some simplifying will be reaching out to their communities for feedback and thoughts. If you are interested in helping with this process, please ensure you are watching #communityrelations
and the volunteer associated with the gallery you want to contribute your thoughts to. Nothing about this project is malicious and the cooperation and feedback from the community is very important to me
It's possible that many galleries won't be touched at all but I truly believe that if we have the ability to simplify a structure, it's within our best interest to do so. The 4 level deep galleries of the past are archaic and difficult to navigate, even for the veteran deviant and it helps contribute to people just dumping artwork in the first category they can find because it's too taxing to bother to find the right one. Should you decide to provide input during this project, I want you to try to imagine yourself as a new deviant, and if you can get that far, try to imagine yourself as one that doesn't speak English as a first language.. and you'll see the nest of insanity in a whole new light
This isn't going to happen overnight, and like I said earlier, it may not affect you at all but it is the direction I'm going in and I hope you join me on this crazy journey! It's going to be quite the adventure