Let me begin by saying that I think deviantArt is a fabulous place. There's so much gorgeous and creative content on this site that you couldn't see it all if you tried. The community, by and large, is fun and friendly. There are a lot of cool features that I find useful. And yet, today I contemplate leaving this site for good.
I'm tired of seeing unmarked mature content every time I load a page. More than tired, I am frustrated--not because the content exists, or because the creators have failed to mark it, but because it remains unmarked with the knowledge and cooperation of dA's staff.
In browsing this site, I have on many occasions come across images that fit the definition of mature content, specifically sexual themes, as explained in dA's official FAQ #220: "References to sex or overt sexuality, including sexually based humor. This category also covers images in which the character or model has taken a sexually provocative pose." (Italics added.) These images are everywhere--the front page, the 'more like this' and 'more from this deviant' thumbnails, search results, etc.
When I come across one of these images, I report it and move on--or I try. In an unfortunately large number of cases, I find that the deviation has already been reported, reviewed, and declared not to need a mature tag. In other words, an actual live member of dA's staff has apparently been informed of this mature content, looked right at it, and said that it is not mature content. FAQ #302, which purports to cover inconsistencies in the enforcement of rules, does not address this situation.
I understand that there is a certain amount of subjectivity inherent in this review process, but many of the examples I have seen are so blatantly sexual that I am utterly astounded that anyone should try to excuse them. Unfortunately I have not kept a list of these instances--I've been wary of sharing links and inadvertently thrusting on someone else the very experience which has distressed me--but here is today's example. I'll warn you, since dA staff won't: THIS IS MATURE CONTENT AND NSFW. www.deviantart.com/art/Excuse-…
(Update: Apparently this pic is now mature content filtered. Hooray! Whether that was done by the artist or an admin, and what brought about the change, I don't know. However, as I've said, this is hardly the only example of images being waved on through the reporting system despite their mature content.)
For those who don't want to see it, I'll sum it up--two men pose in tiny speedos, one atop the other, both with their legs spread to the viewer, with obvious bulges taking pride of place at the center of the screen. Although I didn't want to linger, the one comment I read directly referenced bulges and the sexiness thereof. This picture came up while I was browsing popular deviations.
I have also encountered photographs of women on beds removing their oh-so-tiny lingerie, drawings of characters whose nearly-naked backsides are thrust invitingly toward the viewer, and basically every possible variation on the theme of sexuality which does not involve actual nudity. None of these images were behind mature filters; many had been reported and dismissed, despite the fact that they fell squarely into the category of "images in which the character or model has taken a sexually provocative pose." This is not rare; I see mature content on the front page almost every day.
I can only speculate as to why these complaints were ignored. Perhaps whichever admin reviewed the work was friends with the artist. Perhaps they have forgotten what dA's actual rule is which defines mature content. Perhaps after seeing worse violations, these look "not that bad" and are let slide. However, from the perspective of one who has enabled her mature content filter and would have expected it to actually filter mature content, this site is becoming an increasingly toxic place.
I'm not asking for this content to be removed. I'm not asking for any kind of punishment for anyone. I would simply like mature content to be marked as such, so that I and everyone else can have fair warning before we see it. If dA's own staff refuse to enforce dA's rules as written, then why do the rules exist in the first place?
Hoping for a renewal of vigilance,