If you’ve followed my blog for long, you’d know that I am a very passionate artist. I have been drawing since I could first pick up a pencil, and I doodle almost every day. To share these doodles, I go to a multitude of sites. The one I am most active on however, is DeviantArt.
DeviantArt is the world’s largest art site. Users are given a gallery to fill with their artwork and can receive feedback from others on the site. It is typically an easy going place with kind artists willing to help one another, but if one takes a closer look they’ll find the darkness that hides beneath the surface. I have had many good experiences with others on DeviantArt, but I have also come across quite a few who were less than kindly.
The DeviantArt forums are one of the easiest areas of the site to find both insulting and ludicrous posts by users who are evidentially not on there to work on their art skills. Topics can range from normal conversations, hateful threads about a certain race or religion, or just nonsensical blabber that may or may not be controversial. Many of these threads get locked, but quite a few others seem to stay open for way too long. It came as a shock to me when I first found the forums, but eventually I learned to just avoid them altogether. Sadly, this is not the only place on deviantArt to find such hateful messages.
As DeviantArt is an art site, one will find many mediums, genres, and styles of art. Most of these are cartoonish and innocent enough, but once in a while you will find galleries with very disturbing messages attached. I have seen artists draw hateful imagery about minorities, and even some who focus their artistic talents on creating pieces that glorify what the Nazis did in WWII. Luckily, these are not as easy to come by as the posts on DeviantArt’s forums, but the fact that they exist is still unsettling to me.
Granted, every site has its flaws and DeviantArt isn’t the biggest website on the internet. However, I find that many trolls and harassers will use both this site and Tumblr as a stepping stone to a career of terrorizing innocent internet-goers. Fans who are very passionate about a certain franchise but who have lesser skills in the way of the arts will be picked up by these internet stalkers and have their works posted elsewhere online to be laughed at. Some are driven offline because of this treatment, as harassment will usually follow. A few have even harmed themselves. This kind of behavior is unacceptable.
We as a society need to take cyberbullying more seriously. Whether it is just a disgustingly hateful post or an all-out attack on some unsuspecting artist, something needs to be done. Moderation is hard, and I doubt everything can be dealt with immediately on a large site. I do feel that more attention should be paid to what is happening though, especially on forums and social media. How can one enjoy the social interaction of the internet if they are constantly looking behind their backs for the trolls waiting to pounce? It is a sad reality that we must be so careful as to not stir the monsters who might bring mobs upon us, but right now it is the one we live in.