I wanted to address the controversy surrounding Journals as Deviations so that we're all on the same page.
We collected a list of comments from the release article and some journals and here they are, with my responses for all to see.
First, part of being in a community is being understanding. deviantART Staff faces this daily as we understand member concerns and try our best to serve you.
In situations like the one we face right now with Journals, I ask you to be understanding with us as we battle with difficult circumstances balancing the needs of millions of members. Any change we make creates frustration, but if we do not make changes then we are killed by change itself. Questions & Answers:
Q: Were people complaining about the old journal system at all? Because I think people were rather happy with it. I know I was. And can't you give people the choice of the old system or Sta.sh? Having no control over personalizing a practical news feed/diary is very stressful and it's unnecessary. -- LemonadeJellyfish
A: Our Product team got excited. The old system for submitting Journals was not supposed to be redirected to Sta.sh with this release. Sta.sh was supposed to launch along side deviantART and be entirely optional. So we have reverted this, the old system for posting Journals is right back to where it was. We do hope one day to bring the benefits of Sta.sh to this page but not until it is ready.
Q: The new system makes journals too public. I want my watchers to be able to see my journal updates, not all of deviantART. -- MoonstalkerWerewolf
A: With Sta.sh Writer and only with Sta.sh Writer, you can set Journals to be viewable only by deviantART members and not the public. So optionally, Journals can be less public than they were before. We could consider adding more privacy features to Journals, but those would be new.
I'm not trying to dodge the issue here -- I understand that Journals have the ability to amplify louder on deviantART than they could before when you felt you were simply writing to your +Watchers. But that was just an illusion. The Today.deviantART.com page always had a Popular Journals directory, and Google and other search engines could easily find your posts. Journals have always been very public and perhaps this directory shows you how true that is. But please don't believe you have privacy by posting a deviantART Journal. As an example, I took the liberty of searching google for your user name and the term "Journal" - check this out: www.google.com/search?gcx=w&am… - Every single journal you've ever written neatly on a page outside of deviantART!
We'll consider privacy settings for the future for sure, especially in response to this general feedback we now have. But we're glad that this directory is surfacing specific requests about Journals and bringing to light what's really going on so that we're not pretending things are private when they really aren't.
Q: I don't want my journals to be treated as art because they're not. My journals don't have any effort put into them, to say the least, and are either filled with whatever thing I did today or a meme. That's honestly not art, nor will I intend to ever say one of my journals will be art. My journals will sometimes be personal, for my watchers to see. Personal things are things I do not want on the front page of dA, even if it doesn't stay there for a minute or more. I don't want it to be browsable. It's personal, and I wish it would stay that way. -I-Love-Legal-Luke
A: A really good point to which the answer to the previous question applies. I simply want you to know that I'm very specifically understanding this point, and it is the primary factor that leads us to want to add real privacy settings for Journals. Hang tight while we sort this out, and in the meantime set your Journals to deviantART Members only through Sta.sh Writer so you at least have this layer of "privacy". Keep in mind that if a Journal is *really* personal, you may write a Sta.sh Writer draft and distribute a link for comments... but that's the other extreme. Thanks, and sorry for this inconvenience.
Q: Why did you bother writing a poll on the journal, news, blog topic if the winning vote proclaimed that changing things was a bad idea? -ShadowDragonFox
A: I realize how this looks, so let's take a closer look. Which is what I did and why I changed all of these systems.
* News has been dying for the past 3 years, while Journals are growing.
Every single month deviantART grows by every metric. Members.. Journals... Deviations... Site Traffic... number of Notes sent back and forth, etc. Yet for the past number of years, News has been shrinking. To give you a sense of this, there are 33,000 Journals posted every day, and there are ~40 News stories posted every day. Yet the news system is costly to maintain, and simultaneously it is very hard to justify investing resources in to upgrading News when the community at large seems to be disinterested in it. So now look at this poll, realizing News must die. Journals are Journals, Group Blogs are Group Blogs, but News, and it's News directory is dead. We're left with Blogs and Journals, and they don't have a directory like News did.
* Group Blogs are trapped inside of Groups, no way for Groups to get their news out to the world!
One of the most common complaints was that Group's couldn't use the News system, and so they were at a disadvantage as compared to individual members of deviantART. This was not clearly stated by this poll and the polled participants weren't necessarily considering this when voting, while understanding the technical limitations for how we could solve this problem.
* Members complain they can't Favorite Journals!
For years we have been seeing complaints that Journals couldn't be favourited! There isn't a way to add Favorite functionality without making Journals deviations. This fact was not clear and not represented by this poll. Meanwhile we now have the opposite complaint.... it's a hard knock life around here man! haha
* While 52% wanted to keep things the same, 48% didn't care or wanted things simplified. This isn't an election, it's a tough call! --
Listen, this wasn't an easy call. In making this decision from my perspective, you shouldn't underestimate just how powerful the Deviations system actually is and how many immediate advantages it was going to bring to Journals, Blogs and News as a concept that neither of those 3 had. Stats for tracking views, Search, +Faves, Restricted Publishing, Creative Commons, Mature Content filters, all of it! With Journals as deviations we have a lot of power that we didn't have before to make the Journal system better and not to mention we have lots of features from Journals that can be used to improve Deviations!
* THE LITERATURE COMMUNITY.
One of the biggest factors in building Sta.sh Writer, and merging Journals with deviations was the simple fact that we could bring a massive amount of much needed support to the Literature community. The hottest button ever pushed at deviantART is our lack of support for Lit! Considering technical limitations, merging these systems brings a huge amount of support to Literature tools that can just as easily be used for writing Journals. Lit deviations can soon be skinned. Thumbnail support for Lit deviations will get a bunch of benefits. This poll didn't take that in to account, but I did. And I think when all is said and done, deviantART is going to be that much more amazing because of this change... Q: I miss a proper preview option. I need it to see if the :icon-username: codes or emoticon codes work properly. -PhoenixPhloxA: The old system is back, so you have previewing just as before! Sta.sh Writer will soon add preview support, and all will be right as rain.Q: Remove the 30 characters restriction for the journal title please, and I'll give Sta.sh Writer another chance. -Intelman
A: The 30 character restriction comes from deviations dating all the back to v1 of deviantART. Great news! We're going to make it so that ALL DEVIATIONS can have 50 characters! Give it a couple of days...
We greatly appreciate your support and understanding. We're all working in our own way to improve deviantART each day. We do so with system updates and highly complex architecting of new features that impact millions of people who each react differently. And you do so by keeping us honest, and dazzling us all with your creativity.
We're hard at work resolving some of the things mentioned above, plus any feedback you're willing to provide.