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First journal | Second journal

Sign the petition here

EDIT: please +fav and comment on the latest blog. We decide the future of deviantART.

Also, I will be launching steps on europeans on how we can constructively contribute to improving deviantART in the next couple days. Stay tuned!

Hi guys,

In our last journal entry titled Thank you x 15000, I announced shutting down active operations for europeans, promising a follow-up explanation. A few months later, nothing has changed in the situation, and I am comfortable explaining you why I decided to shut down the group.

Please note: I might be going into great detail at times, because I still care a lot for the group.

Also, this journal will focus on the technical operations and downfall of europeans, rather than all the fun moments we had (like contests, devMEETs, #Europe). I will save the fun times for a proper eulogy, celebrating our happy moments, as we had plenty of those too.

Lastly, just in case, these views are my own, and do not reflect the entire europeans staff views, both former volunteers and present. I wrote this journal without checking with them.

I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback and ideas on the future of deviantART.

Your founder,
Frits van der Sloot / fritsenator

Why I ended europeans' operations

In February, with a heavy heart, I decided to shut down europeans. To better understand why I had to make this decision, we have to start at its first moments as a group, in September 2009.

Alpha testing

On September 2, 2009, a day before my eighteenth birthday, fourteenthstar came with the best birthday gift deviantART could give me. I had applied for alpha testing Groups a week or two before, we were finally accepted, and europeans got super group status! And oh boy, was I happy!

That night, in the middle of the countryside on a GPRS connection, I used my iPhone to set up the initial group, because I wanted to have it running before I had access to a computer again. This could get quite big.

And big it got. So big, that we were the first group to break the membership limit for super groups, which was abolished all together after we hit it.

Building and sustaining a big group

A big group needed a large team. I had many amazing volunteers working with me. We poured heart and soul into this group day in, day out, from the get go – reviewing thousands upon thousands join requests, incoming deviation submissions. On top of that, we hosted deviantMEETs throughout Europe, which deviantART sometimes sponsored with goodies for us to give away to the community we'd grown. We also hosted contests worth hundreds of euro's, most of which came out of my and my staff's own pockets, but also were made possible with your donations.

Around 2011, we were seeing the limitations of the  groups platform. DeviantART started working on and as a result, abandoned a lot of ideas and work for the main website. Some deviantART developers I know personally, who I will not mention by name, decided to leave the company, citing a lack of leadership and vision towards the future. This is when I first got worried about the future of europeans, and deviantART as a whole. I was starting to worry about the future of our art community, and the community inside this community which we had built with so much blood, sweat and tears.

The walls are crumbling down

In late 2012, as a direct result of my volunteering work for deviantART (shout out to fourteenthstar :peace:) and experience running and managing europeans, I found a job at a Dutch social media company called Hyves. I now got paid to do what I did on a voluntary basis here!

Sadly, this meant much of my spare time now went to my job, as I also started university around this time. With diminishing time, added pressure and little help from deviantART in making our lives easier, europeans slowly but surely fell into a state of hibernation.

A lot of team members left, new team members came, management was handed over. Repeat this cycle a few times over.

DeviantART as a company made some very irrational decisions during this time. A lot of amazing people were fired overnight, bluntly ignoring the many years of work they have spent catering to the community, building relationships, making sure you were happy. People like fourteenthstar, ewm, dxd, y2jenn, kozispoon, godofodd, MidnightExigent and Shyree, who formed the core of the community-faced staff team, were suddenly left without a job. Major red flag there.

DeviantART also fired some technical and creative staff, like kemayo, DEVlANT, Pachunka, endosage. The list goes on for a while. These are the people that help build deviantART as a website: they write the code that allows me to write this to you today. They design the way everything looks and feels on the website. They make it possible to upload your art. Long story short; they're the reason dA functions as a website.

Shutting down the group

Last winter, I decided it was time to call it quits. DeviantART was not going to spend time developing Groups any further. Meanwhile, we had to pay 80 euro a year to enjoy basic features the group needed to function properly and not look like a crappy website from the early 2000s, like adding a journal skin.

I waited a few months, hoping for a sudden and radical change by management, but apart from a bunch of spyed (CEO of deviantART) blogs promising change, not a whole lot happened. In February, after a brief discussion in our back room, we shut down the group. For the sake of transparency, my back room announcement which started the shut down is posted after this paragraph.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 17.17.44 by fritsenator

Europeans has no future on deviantART

This week, another surprising around of layoffs happened. This round of layoffs let me to conclude there is no future for groups, including europeans, on deviantART. Key team members, mostly development, were fired, while management was spared. There might not be a deviantART in five years if management keeps this up.

Because guys, deviantART is not doing well. People are leaving faster than others are joining the website, the website's bleeding visitors and active users. I could bore you with details, but the bottom line is that a change needs to happen, fast, if this website wants to exist much longer.

This round of layoffs included exactly those people you need to quickly change your website around. The people that got fired (again, overnight) were almost exclusively part of the design and development teams as well as responsible for developing the mobile apps, which create the deviantART you see before your eyes every time you use it, as well as the deviantART we hope to use in the future: Mjcdools, baclap, bjkim88, drommk, hmaserrat, iconocrash, inazar, matt789, mudimba, paraglade, Pickley, trezoid, yury-n, KatasiHK, arbiterofelegance all lost their jobs overnight. Without simple features like mobile apps, for instance, there is simply no future for deviantART.

Now, I am not a fool – I know when a business is bleeding money, and having issues staying afloat, some staff members usually end up losing their jobs. I also do not know what's going on behind the scenes, but at this point, I have become highly sceptical of the way deviantART is being run by high level management.

I currently work for a company called Speakap. We build social media platforms for big companies to use internally. We develop the platform, apps included, with five developers, working around the clock. In two years, we have managed to become cost effective and have a very successful platform up and running. We made this possible because of clear vision, minimal management layers and most importantly, no false promises towards the end user. Seems simple, right?

I am calling upon you, spyed, mccann, deviantART, Inc. (product) management, investors like and anybody else actively involved in establishing a roadmap for the company. Pick the path you are forcing us to walk on very carefully.

The community is not happy.

The community has not been heard.

Actions speak louder than words – instead of writing the umpteenth blog about change, or spending precious resources building an plugin, focus on what's important.

Gain. Back. Our. Trust.

I am just one heavy-hearted community member in the vast ocean of active members. In my lifetime, I have personally spent over $2000 to try and help this community by sponsoring contests and giving away random subscriptions. Please take my words into consideration.

Even after all that's happened, I wish nothing but the best for this place and I really hope you can turn this ship around. At its current heading, the cruise ship we call deviantART is on crash course with a massive iceberg and we don't have any lifeboats.

Of course I would be more than happy to pitch in if I can. If you choose to shout on the barricades, be prepared to get your hands dirty.

A wise man once said: "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." Let's be devious again.

Frits van der Sloot

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." – Frank Zappa
Skin by danlev (edited by fritsenator)
Add a Comment:
Username-91 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2016  Professional Filmographer

This community sucks! This is no discussion; this is a decision that was made that cannot be deterred by any amount of passionate arguments, emotional pleas, or factual compilations of advancing art theft and harassment that have gone unaddressed far longer than they should. Thanks to their horrendous policy, now I am waiting for up to 7 months a staff member to take care of a problem that I have with a stalker, cyberbully or a troll. An example of that is this idiot ACH-theNUTS, who is a sick pervert, pedophile supporter, and a psychopath. Eleven weeks passed away since I blocked him and he is still harassing SolarSands, his friends, including me by making mobbing posts against us.


We sought for a stricter report -- We got a new bloody layout.

We asked for a more cooperative report team who will do their job rather than dance around it -- We got a new message with stacks (oo0o~)

We sought for a safer place for our creation -- We got admins who post garbage like the art robbery discussion.

We asked them to low the prices of subscriptions -- they increase the prices of subscription and rename it into CORE.

They don't care about our problems, they don't care for anything!

poca2hontas Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said! Having to close. Group due to submission changes or shall I say problems :(
immakittymeowmew Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2016
We need to inject users into DA!
With a SAVE DA group!
smithandcompanytoons Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's sad. DeviantART used to be a fun place to upload my work and share them with the world. Now look what it became now. It's nothing but a hellhole to use now. Everything I do is causing me frustration time after time after goddamn time. Use a mobile app, get frustrated! upload a picture, get frustrated! browse through the gallery, get frustrated! try to report an issue, get a blank answer! And worse, one of my friends about to leave the site because of this in which this is why I always save my requests onto my computer. And do not get me started with the adblock pop-ups that some people were complaining about.

And yes I have to agree what you wrote down. With all these staff layoffs and unwanted crap they keep adding on, DeviantART may face a bleak future and I have no choice but to stop visiting this site. If there's no dA in the future. How I'm I supposed to get in touch with my friends or upload my work. Every website has a storage limit while on here it's pretty much endless except your stash in which you cannot access via their watered down app. Everyday I use this website is always causing me problems and frustrations, constantly being blamed in the process for my frustration regarding DeviantART's constant problems in which their tech staff didn't even bother to fix at all. I have reported the same broken thumbnail issue for six months now and nothing has happened since. All I get are the same stock answers (and thankfully not a bot) and worse enough, their support service is only open on weekdays. I really love using this site, but it's not even enjoyable anymore because their constant problems all the time.

If DeviantART wants to have a better future. They need to start hiring staff that can do a better job at maintaining the site properly and listen to their community. Otherwise it will just simply go downhill and I don't want that to happen.
heavie67 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2016  Professional General Artist
I sign below.
RhynWilliams Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2016   General Artist
spyed & mccann I hope you guys read the above, DA is a great place, I used to feel involved, I used to have energy to help out the community, I even helped with other stuff, but I feel that the community is dispersing , great people have gone and unless more is done, this website will fade away leaving competitors to take its place, Deviantart has come a long way whatdiditlooklike.mementoweb.o…

Please, get the mojo back :iconaustinpowersplz:
LokiOfSassgaard Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
You know, I feel like this site lost its focus and never regained it when Jark was pushed out.  This isn't the same site I joined when I was kid, at all.
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Heh, you remember the jark days?  That takes me back, but yeah, the site is much different, and not in the best ways possible.
LokiOfSassgaard Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Like, there's no way the site could have retained some of the aspects that made it what it was, just by dint of growing so astronomically. And there are a bunch of dumb things I miss, like the arguments over whether dA was green or grey, and keeping a journal updated with all the best plz accounts. But I also miss what the whole site represented at first, validating things like web design and game graphics as legitimate forms of art. The galleries were far less structured than they are now, but aspects like the Daily Deviations were so much more varied it seems like. I hardly look at them now, because it's all the same sorts of photograph shots or over-worked digital art. To beat a dead horse, deviantART has sacrificed its deviant aspect too much in its bid for more users, at the cost of becoming too mainstream in what it promotes. I remember when the site ticked over to one million submissions, and how much of a huge deal that was. Obviously, when you go from that number being a huge milestone to having the same amount of submissions submitted per week, the overall focus of what's submitted is going to be mainstream, but that shouldn't stop the site from actively promoting the off-beat.
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
I've made this comparison before, but I still think it holds true: Great things that people like are similar to podcasts.  Podcasts appeal to a niche group of people.  There's so many podcasts that there's one for basically everyone.  And people love their podcasts since it's talking about a very specific thing.  dA used to be like a podcast (appealing to a very niche group of people), but has since tried to broaden out and look for more users.  So they are no longer a podcast, they're trying to be the ABC of the world.  dA was much better with its smaller appeal and userbase, than it is now, trying to be the facebook of the art world.
Egil21 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2016
Mostly my view, my experience and my goals are the same as WDWParksGal's.
Mostly, I'm here to help. And I also gave much of my time and money to this site, and I'm still giving...There are some things wrong? Yes, there are, but I don't know if your vision is the most correct one.

As an European,  I was a member at europeans, but I didn't find a home there, so I left - I never did well in elitist groups.
I can't say I'm sorry to see this group shut down.
koperty123 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I cri
cremep0ps Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2016
i want to sign that petition, but why is it trying to make me put my address and zip code? is it required?
blvntz Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2016  Student Digital Artist
DeathVecin Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016
Deviantart change the points for buyment to 10 points maxium.... For buying this core.... But now it's so really can make our money down...
SireVoltz Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
There is no such thing as "buyment". Use correct grammar or use a Dictionary to help you. Reading your broken English makes me feel pretty low.
DeathVecin Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2016
Teach me english babe!     tongue 
Dustywallpaper Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
They live in Germany, and likely speak TWO languages. Give them a break and be kind, it really isn't hard. You have beautiful English DeathVecin :)
61021376 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016
Viva la revolucion
darklion Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
There are a lot of things I agree with in here, but over all, I I think I have a differing perspective. I am not a website admin, or a web designer. Im just a guy. A face in the crowd. But sometimes that gives people like me a better perspective. Let me share mine here. Please know that though I may disagree in tone and may in spots be a bit sarkastic, I'm doing so to make a point and mean you no disrespect.

First off, I want to call this what it really is; a glorified baw journal. It's looooooong, overly complicated, and filled with "look what they did to me!!!!", all delivered with a skillfull wield of professional-speak and ending up with you shaming and riding out in shining armor on a white horse.

Truth. Spyed has shown bad form a lot. Especially earlier. Truth. DA stopped supporting groups. BUT, and this is the important but, DA was very vocal about phasing out groups. Does that suck? Depends on your perspective, but that it their corperate choice. You can't walk into McDonnalds and bitch because you can't get a Subway sandwitch there. Further more, earlier on in my deviantart experience, I use to deal with trolling a cyberbullyong and DA did littke about that. The "old guard" was to blame for that and many other issues. The firings are unfortunate but may have been needed to clean up and bring about policey change that wasnt going to be marred by people trained a different way and holding on to bad habbits. It sucks but, I have noticed now when I contact the admins for help, I get it! And 8n a timely manner.

That said, I noticed people leaving, infact, I half-left myself, but it has nothing to do with admins and the site. It's because I have a stronger audience elsewhere. DA has changed from being a small art community into a massive social-network-like hub and that just doesnt suit my needs aswell, but DA isnt bleeding out. That actually speaks to quite the opposite. I would like that fact you stated backed up with official numbers that I can check and crossreference.

Lastly, listing names of DA firees, even if you mean well, may be grounds for a lawsuit. I would be more careful, but thats just me.

In anycase, I'm sorry things havnt worked for you on this site. Me neither, but its never cool, no matter how well written, to bitch and lay blame.

Cheers and all the best to you, mate.
01309 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Where did they say groups were going to be phased out?  First I've heard of this.
darklion Featured By Owner Edited Jun 13, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Oh honey, waaahaaayhaaay back. Like 2-3 years back. They said that it would be slow and phased out may be strong, more like they would be pulling out of supporting the feature. I think they felt it made DA more of a popularity contest than it already was, but that's just speculation. Please dont quote me or take what I say as gospel. I'm stating this from memory and am by no means an official source. But I still do have a valid couple of points I wanted to speak about here. Cheers XD
WDWParksGal Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016
I finally got through all the comments! I told you in the forum post I would reread your journal and all the comments and did so :phew: ~ read your newer journal and the comments, reread the journal from dxd, linked on several links and other comments and spent several hours just reading and clicking.

It is sad there are only four people working the help desk, since that means delayed responses to issues. Four people compared to a few dozen million sites means that help desk reports have to be sifted through to get to the more critical ones first. Sigh. So much for help solving a simpler problem with the site. 

There have been Deviants I've conversed with over the years deactivate their sites or simply quit logging in, and, unfortunately, several have passed away, but there are still many Deviants I interact with, and I really do not want to give up those connections. DA has been a "Home Away From Home", and I've invested time and a lot of $$$$ on the site to readily give it up.

To skin journals in groups I admin that aren't Super Groups, I write the journal from then click on the group I want to submit it to when choosing a destination. That way the group has a skin on the journal, and the journal can be invited into other groups. I understand even if I unclick my own site as a journal destination it still shows up in my watchers' message centers, but at least the group has a way to glam up the profile page with a nice skin.

Groups take up most of my DA time these days, due to the fact I'm on staff in 26 groups among three sites. I no sooner step down from one group when somehow I get snagged for another. Devoting so much time to groups has caused me to be perpetually behind on my own message centers, along with having a backlog of stock to post. There are literally hundreds of stocks in folders on my desktop that need to be run through PS then posted, but there are never enough hours in the day nor enough energy to get everything done. Add health issues to the mix, and I wonder how in the world I get through the week in my "real" life when there is so much to do in my "reel" life.:| (Blank Stare) :faint: 

Still, I want to help with this communal effort to make DA 'great' again. I'll do what I can as long as I am able. :cuddle:
firecz Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016
Well we had to adhere to today's standards by the new ugly logo, and since then...meh.
nocturnaliss Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016   Writer
This puts perspective on what journals I saw in my deviations, now and again, wondering whether DA was dead. I think the price increase for the premium memberships was a bad idea, exceedingly reminiscent of my government's thought process: 'let's tax stuff way more so our profit margins increase!'... except it leads to people buying less, and thus less profit. The layoffs you mention are a dire sign that the company's going under - been there, known that: once a company invests in budget cuts, it's over. I'd hate for DA to disappear. 
yu-karasu Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Student Digital Artist
If not with this platform - or website -, but any other that wish to support enthusiastic artists that wish to grow in a friendly and active community. 

DA as a whole is in a worrying situation. I'm realistic enough to say that isn't going to crumble in a few days or months, but if we compare the quality of the site and everything else to the way it is today, it is worrying. I can't help to think about the next two years ahead and what will happen to this community.
FaithNJoy Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I gave my signature as well
CatDraculaX05 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my God!! NOOO!!!
Zukiuke Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Personally, DA either needs to change big time or be shut down.

1. Staff and PR do close to nothing in fixing issues of art thieves. They just make a new account and post it there, and DA fails to properly ban recurring thieves and offenders. I imagine getting hold of a router IP address is possible for them, but they have failed to mange to properly IP ban multiple offenders. When the staff needs to step up and take something down, they don't. When they do not need to step up and a honest artist gets a finger pointed at them, DA will lose their shit decide over kill is necessary.

2. There are wildly inappropriate content that under age youth can see on the FRONT PAGE. The worst part is that most of it is not under Mature Content, and you cannot report that it needs a tag, because there is not an option to do so. I'm tired of seeing a plethora of fetish porn on my front page, even with me setting my account to not view the mature content and I am 22.

3. DeviantART is no longer useful as a professional art profile for those trying to make a career off of art. DeviantART has built up quite a bad reputation due to the staff, art theft, drama, and inappropriate content. Tumblr has become a better place to create a proper profile for many reasons. Tumblr provides individual personal pages that cannot allow other users to bash/troll people openly. Tumblr has proper mature content filters. Tumblr is a place where unless you start drama, you will not experience drama. Tumblr allows you to personalize your pages for FREE.

Its unfortunate, but I am upset at the state DA is in.
heavie67 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2016  Professional General Artist
smithandcompanytoons Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I can clearly give three perfect examples for these three points you just said.

1) Broken thumbnails still exist. Doesn't matter what device, computer or device I use. Even the support center is useless.

2) If you use 4G and live the in UK. They can even block DeviantART with a stupid age restriction meaning you had to overcome these complicated steps to validate your age in order access it. Meaning I mean forced to use their infamous mobile app.

3) And why is my friend heavie67 soon over dA constant mistakes? I know, it's sad.
singingwithfractals Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
tumblr is a lot worse than dA for proffessional artists.
heavie67 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2016  Professional General Artist
Its depends in your contest of "worse"...
singingwithfractals Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
specially for crediting and for getting comments.
Xyrus-02 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Way to go, deviantART! First you oversleep 10 years of internet progress, then you blow all your money in silly rebrands and pointless top level domain acquirations and finally, you're taking yourself apart. DeviantART deserves to vanish. It's not that I'll be super happy about it given my history on this platform but this is what will happen and I am ready for the inevitable :)
TheWriterWuck Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Maybe we have a comunity strike?
I mean DA owes part of their success to the creators.
mahoganyshyster Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
dA, please don't vanish off the face of this planet.
LunaDragonCat Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wha... what !!?? No no no nono deviantart
gunvoltfan101 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
deviantart is going to shut down?
HiroHamada Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
No, but it's a signal that DeviantArt is continuation downhill.
gunvoltfan101 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
TheKurejiNeko Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Student General Artist
I had an account I started back in 2010 and I totally see what you're saying. You have to whore yourself to get any recognition today and dear god help you if you have a life outside of art. I'm currently working on getting certified in veterinary medicine and work part-time while interning at a clinic and I hardly have ANY time other than submitting the occasional sketch through this shite app via status update.
Maybe it was because there was a sort of camaraderie in the old groups, where they actually GAVE advice and helped you out if you were having trouble, instead of getting a Fave or complete radio silence.

And don't get me started about the whole "art theft isn't theft" debacle.
They DO know that comic creators and concept artists for movies and games use this site too? What happens if their copyrighted material gets taken?

I'll make sure to share this journal and sign the petition; I've only been back a year and I don't want to think it was all a waste.
OddsockLBP Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Plz hope they don't shut it down
Rainpoppy824 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Student Artist
Awww please don't shut DA down! 
Vixenkiba Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It's not about DA shutting down, but about a group shutting down =)
Torden-Li Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What the actual shit?! I never knew about this. This is bullshit.
au-photography Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
That is seriously fucked up. The hell? This makes me want to flip a table and do a world-wide facepalm. D: Thank fuck I quit shopping at Hot Topic years ago. Not gonna support that BS.
123emilymason Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Student Digital Artist
jennystokes Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Professional General Artist
I have ENDLESSLY written on my Journals for years and years about the 'mismanagement' of d/a.
Nothing new to me here.

Got 'told off' many times by Staff because I was being 'gloomy!'

Yes d/a has joined BIG Business which to me is a sad state of affairs.
I have learned so much on this site mostly from other artists.

I know when my computer is going slow it is because the 'management' are making new Aps. when only European's are on...have seen this happen regularly.

We have NEVER (as comitted Members/Groups/Staff) had a say in anything!

I am glad I got to see this because I now a LOT of Europeans have been complaining.

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Submitted on
June 8, 2016


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