Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Community vs the Corporation.

Well I was going to do another post to follow up on discussions earlier of
but all hell has broken lose on this site. So begins the back story for this crisis to make sense. DA started as a site for art lovers of all natures. It began its life in 2000. There are three major players in the conception of this site. Well two (it gets complicated so stick with me.) There is a guy Scott Jarkof or as his username became, Jark. He did all the programming work for DA, getting it off the ground and into a real site. The second major player is a guy named Matteo which was also his username. He did all the yelling about DA getting people to join and getting it off the ground. There however is one problem with this happy little story, DA needs money, corporate money. That’s where this last guy comes in, Angelo. His username is Spyed. Ill let a post from one of the members lay it all out for you,

“Spyed worked for a company called Lynx Technology Group, which was the former parent company of DeviantART, Inc. -- DeviantART was a subsidary of said company at this time. Spyed, in a way, can be considered a founder. I believe what Jark is saying by 'true' founders are those who have been here from day 1. Angelo has only been around for the entire 'business' aspect of it, and only oversaw the financial/business end from DeviantART. From 2000-2002, Angelo was in charge of DMusic; it was making more profit/revenue at the time compared to DeviantART. Jark & Matteo have been here since day one, and have been the true contributors & foundations of this community in terms of early administration & community direction. They've evolved with the community as the community has evolved.

Angelo didn't step in as an official role & active participant of DeviantART until 2002. Which at this time DeviantART was 'bought' from Lynx Technology Group, and became it's own parent corporation. After this, Angelo proclaimed himself the CEO of DeviantART from that time. He is not a TRUE founder of sorts, he was there in the
early planning stages…”

I think that lays it out pretty nicely. This can be found on this piece of work which I urge you to take a second and read through and see. Its by Jark, and includes a screenshot of the first version of DA back from 2000 which shows Spyed as not being in the list.

So now your wondering, why does this matter? Why am I getting the back story? Well this community has been growing at exponential rates since its inception in 2000. I joined in 2001 and have seen this puppy grow to what it is now. A massive living breathing community that has slowly been losing that community feel as its need to produce money grew with more members (now currently at somewhere around 1 million and a haft). With every artists hosting tons of photos (numbers go well beyond a 2 million pieces of art) the site uses a ton of bandwidth and resources and needs a large staff to keep it rolling. Here is where things finally get interesting, it’s the real kicker. Out of the original two, none remain. Matteo quit, not long afterwards, Jark was fired. Who remains? Spyed in charge of everything, who fired Jark? Spyed. Reason? No one knows. Its become the real issue at hand and what I hope this lengthy post will spark some conversation on. The community is in an up-rage about this. Almost overnight I saw a community come together and focus all of its attention on one mission, getting Jark back. Everyone has latterly banded together to get some light spread onto this situation. As you may have seen my comments, I have a piece I did that’s very yellow. That yellow feel was Jarks colors (he was called the yellow alien) and that yellow has spread all over the site. Everyone is putting up yellow works, Jark specific works, love and emotion and community to fight off what is most clearly a corporate based decision. Where does the line of corporate and community begin? We all thought this was our website, even though it needs money to survive, we always felt as though we could say something to see it happen, the community pushed enough, and we got it. Yet in this current situation, the community is kicking and screaming for truth, answers, anything, and all we got was a replacement to Jark, who to his credit sounds like he wants to bring community back, but to his dismay, no one wants to see him steal the job of the beloved founded who brought us community in the first place. It’s hard to fully bring everyone up to speed on this (none the less would I want to since I’m sure your bored of this already, again, applause for having made it this far) I do want to stress this line between a corporate website, and one where the community runs it. Obviously a lot of this comes down to money. One person who always stressed community first is being removed, someone who disagreed with the direction the self proclaimed owner and founded of DA is taking it. It’s an issue that’s been brewing for a while now, and to add to it, Jark is not the only person who has lost their job, there are a number of admins who have been let go. I guess all of this is also just a shameless plug to show my stuff off ( Also, if you do join, one of our community efforts to fight this crisis is that on the 7th of this month, we are having a silent protest where everyone who supports wanting the truth, explanations, jark back, whatever their specific reason is posting just yellow blocks or items, anything simple with yellow to show our support for the yellow alien, a silent protest to overload the servers full of items of yellow to show we will not accept not being heard in what we consider our community. (Comment on this as well as I would be interested to see an outsider’s perspective) So again to stress the question one last time, at what point does a site take away the need to hear the community that backs it? To let the need and desire to make money take precedent over all else? Thanks for listing to this length post and look forward to hearing yalls thoughts!



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