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August 20, 2012
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dA Life #10: Mature Content on dA

Mon Aug 20, 2012, 7:48 AM

Welcome to the tenth dA Life blog, a series created to help you enjoy your time on dA and use it's many tools for sharing your art, appreciating other people's art and taking part in the wonderful community that we have here.

Because deviantART is home to people aged 13-18 as well as adults, we have a Mature Content filter. dA Life #09: Browsing with Mature Content filter explains a little bit about this and shows, with screengrabs, what it's like to browse deviantART with your Mature Content filter activated. It also explains how to activate your Mature Content filter to alter your browsing experience to suit your personal preferences. dxd, one of the CEA Team, wrote an amazing journal, CEA Blog: Mature Content, which covers misconceptions about Mature Content on dA in detail. Both those journals are well worth a read!

What is Mature Content?

These FAQ entries explain in detail what dA considers to be Mature Content and what types of content aren't allowed on the site.

While deviantART does provide a Mature Content filtering system the Terms of Service forbids the submission of any pornographic or explicit sexual content.

Mature content is considered to be anything which contains nudity, excessive violence, blood, gore, or any other potentially upsetting or offensive material. Controversial pieces revolving around religion, political opinions and other similar sensitive subject matters should also be considered candidates to be tagged as mature content.

If you submit a work which should be tagged as mature content but neglect to tag it as such the deviantART administration reserves the right to mark the work appropriately.

We do not allow the submission of "Adult" or pornographic materials to deviantART under any circumstances. Such material will be removed immediately as it comes to our attention. 

You are not allowed to post outside links to any website which hosts pornographic content.

The official definition of what is considered pornographic material is detailed elsewhere in the FAQ. 

As outlined in our Official Nudity Policy there are certain materials which we do not consider appropriate for submission here at deviantART.

Attempts to submit "Adult", obscene, or pornographic works which have been slightly edited though blurring, cropping or the addition of any form of censoring block will be treated in the same manner as the submission of an uncensored work if the voluntary censoring is deemed insufficient or lacking by the reviewing staff member.

No attempt at self-censoring will allow an otherwise "Adult", obscene or pornographic work to remain in the deviantART galleries. All such works will be removed immediately as they come to the attention of the deviantART staff.

Also be aware that you may not provide offsite links to any sort of pornographic material; doing so can result in immediate administrative action as it come to the attention of the deviantART staff. 

Works depicting depicting the likeness of real children or fan art that which concerns characters presented as being under the age of eighteen (18) in their original context are subject to several restrictions which are intended to disallow the sexual portrayal of children in the work.

Art works depicting the likenesses of real children, whether painting, sketch, or otherwise, may not depict any child over the age of two who is explicitly nude, nor can they be depicted in any sexually provocative theme or manner of dress.

Fan art of fictional characters that are considered underage or children in their original context may not be depicted with exaggerated breasts, buttocks, or genital areas nor may they be depicted explicitly nude or in any sexually provocative scene or manner of dress.

Characters which have been portrayed as a range of ages in their original media will be classified as underage or not based upon their average age over the series. Attempts to "age" the characters in order to depict them in a manner which would otherwise be prohibited will not be granted any exception.

Artworks using completely original fictional characters which appear to be minors or children shown nude or placed into sexual situations will be judged by the deviantART staff based on the appearance, style and anatomy of the character and all other available information in order to determine whether or not the work will be acceptable.

Additionally works which depict any romantic or sexual relationship between a minor and an adult can be subject to removal without notice. 

Images depicting real life corpses or death are allowed providing that a reviewing staff member does not consider the work to be unnecessarily graphic. Photographs judged to be unnecessarily graphic will be removed. All allowable submissions of this naturemust be marked with a Mature Content tag.

Pornographic content is NOT allowed on dA!

The FAQ entries below detail exactly what dA considers to be pornographic content. While your own personal opinions may differ (some people consider any nudity to be pornographic, some consider painted or drawn images, or writing, with sexual themes to be acceptable while the same content in a photograph would be porn, etc) please remember that for the purpose of fairness and consistency, dA staff refer to a detailed set of definitions when deciding whether or not a submission should be considered to be pornographic and be removed from dA.

These definitions are not simply a matter of personal opinion. dA has to comply with the laws of the USA (where the site is based) as well as internet-wide guidelines for such content. If you're under the impression that reports of pornographic material are simply skipped over by one person choosing whether or not to allow them based on his or her personal perspective, this is definitely not the case.

dxd says, In all cases where there is doubt over a reported image, we will discuss it as a team and we may choose to give the benefit of doubt to the artist. deviantART as a website aims to encourage artistic expression and freedom within our policies and so we will not remove or tag an image unless our policy requires it.

When we mention 'pornographic content' in our policies we are specifically referring to specific subjects which we will clarify below.

We apologize if the descriptions below are slightly graphic.

The following contents are considered unacceptable for submission in either visual art or literature form and will be subjected to immediate removal without notice.

• Masturbation 
Hands should not come into contact with genitalia in a manner which is clearly a display of fondling or masturbation.

• Sexual Intercourse.
Subjects should not be depicted in a clear display of sexual intercourse. This includes depictions of sexual penetration, oral to genital contact, genital to anal contact, and oral to anal contact without exception. Some depictions of same sex genital to genital contact and some depictions of oral to breast contact might qualify under this guideline as adjudicated by staff but not all will be considered an automatic violation of policy.

• Vaginal, Penile or Anal Penetration
This includes depictions of any object being inserted into the vagina, penis or anus.

• Sexual body fluids (actual or simulated).
There should be no depiction of semen or vaginal lubricants.

• Erections.
There should be no use of imagery depicting a male erection, however there may be exceptions granted to illustrations created for legitimate medical or educational purposes.

• Vaginal or Anal Spreading
Female subjects should not be depicted with their labia spread or parted in any manner by hand or manipulated open or parted by any other artificial means or object. Neither sex should show the anus manually opened in a similar fashion.

• Adult oriented (sexual) toys.
"Adult toys" consisting of dildos, strap-ons, vibrators, etc. are not allowed.

Submissions which are judged to be in violation of these guidelines will be removed without prior warning. Users found submitting such content may have their account banned or suspended without warning.Also be aware that we prohibit providing any outside link to another website which provides access to the material described above. 

When we mention 'pornographic content' in our policies we are specifically referring to certain subjects which will be clarified below.

We apologize if the descriptions below are slightly graphic.

Literature which contains the following themes will be considered unacceptable for submission if the reviewing staff determines that the work possesses no redeeming literary qualities. Any work deemed unacceptable will be removed by staff without prior warning.

• Masturbation

A literary work may not explicitly detail the act of masturbation.

• Sexual Intercourse

A literary work may not detail graphic or explicit sexual intercourse. This includes descriptions of sexual penetration, oral to genital contact, genital to anal contact, oral to anal contact and may also include certain types of genital to genital contact and oral to breast contact.

This prohibition extends to descriptions of bodily fluids associated with sexual acts such as semen and vaginal lubricants.

• Adult-oriented (sexual) toys

A literary work may not describe the use of adult-oriented sexual toys such as dildos, strap-ons, vibrators and similar 'adult toys'. This prohibition extends fully to other household objects or food objects used in sexual acts or for a sexual purpose.

• Minors

A literary work which presents fictional characters under the age of eighteen in a sexually-suggestive manner or which depicts children or underage teenagers engaged in sexually oriented acts will be immediately classified as child pornography and removed by the reviewing staff.

In cases involving established characters under the age of eighteen taken from popular entertainment, fan fiction involving sexual relations of any type will be prohibited for these characters without exception.

For more information on this topic please see the related news article

Hate Art is also not allowed!

While having ideologically sensitive content may be permitted on dA with a suitable Mature Content tag (more about that later), hate art and hate propaganda are not. This FAQ explains it in more detail...

"Hate Speech" or "Hate Art" typically is clearly racist or bigoted and often promotes genocide, or the killing or destruction of an identifiable individual, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or other specific group.

Hate propaganda can also promote the slavery or torture of an individual or group or it may advocate inflicting other conditions which would bring about the destruction of the group. 

The staff reserves the right to judge any given situation to be hate propaganda or not based on the individual circumstances of each situation.  

Marking your work as having Mature Content

Now that you're familiar with what dA doesn't permit it's users to submit, you should take the time familiarise yourself with what the site considers to be Mature Content, and tag your submissions appropriately. These FAQ entries will help you...

By tagging your deviation as Mature Content you are in essence informing a potential viewer that your submission contains material or theme which more sensitive viewers may find to be offensive or upsetting. Common subjects which are considered Mature Content are nudity, excessive violence, blood and gore, sexual themes, strong language, or ideologically sensitive themes. See below for explanations.
  • Nudity-Fairly self explanatory. If your work contains nudity, displaying a penis, testicle, vagina, breast or nipples you should assign this tag.
  • Sexual Themes-References to sex or overt sexuality, including sexual based humor. This category may also cover images involving models in lingerie, provocative poses, and "skimpy" or erotic styles of dress.
  • Violence/Gore-This refers to overtly bloody or violent imagery, generally associated with the horror and macabre genres, but could also pertain to photojournalism or written work. This should mainly be applied toward depictions of violence or gore etc, that are portrayed in a "realistic" manner as opposed to the zany or exaggerated cartoon violence.
  • Strong Language-Profanity, vulgarity, and otherwise coarse or offensive language. This particular mature content tag is always considered to be optionalas strong language is not otherwise regulated anywhere else within the deviantART community
  • Ideologically Sensitive-If your work may be construed as offensive toward a person or group of people due to a religious, political, social or other belief please assign this tag to it. While deviantART does not allow the submission of hate propaganda or hate art we do recognize that often works motivated for political, religious or other personal beliefs can be seen as offensive by those holding opposing beliefs. 
Pornographic and other unacceptably sexual themes continue to be prohibited despite the presence of this tag as are certain other contents which have been judged unacceptable. Information concerning this is covered elsewhere in this FAQ.

You may tag your submission as Mature Content at the time of submission or at a later date by using the Edit function. By doing so your deviation will be concealed behind a special warning thumbnail for anyone who has the Hide Mature Content checkbox selected in their Settings.

If you choose to tag one or more of your deviations as Mature Content you will have a choice between two levels; Strict or aWarning.

The Strict setting of mature content will limit viewing to those members who are eighteen (18) years of age or older. This setting is provided only for the comfort of the submitting artist who wishes to block viewing by members under the age of eighteen (18)- it does not represent an option to submit content which is prohibited under the deviantART terms of service.

The Warning setting will allow viewing by members age thirteen (13) and older through use of a click-through warning screen. 

All deviations submitted to these categories are automatically tagged as Mature Content and can not be untagged as to prevent minors from viewing mature content. 

Reporting something that breaks the rules

Any member of dA can make a report about a deviation which violates the site's Terms of Service. Here's how to do it...

To the right of every deviation you will find a column which presents various bits of information and options. At the bottom of this column beneath the area devoted to Statistics you will find a link titled Report Deviation preceded by a small symbol of an exclamation point within a diamond shape.

Upon clicking the Report Deviation link you will be offered a standard form where you will be able to make selections and enter information or explanations. We have tried to word each selection to be as clear as possible.

Your report will be kept completely anonymous. Only a small number of staff with the proper set of privileges will have access to the report and the person that you report will not receive your name or any information with which to identify you.

All reports will enter the Moderation System where they will be reviewed in a particular order of priority by a member of the deviantART administration. Due to volume and complexity of reports combined with a prioritization system we cannot give an estimate to how long your report may wait before it is reviewed.  

Things to consider before making a report

When you run into something that you find personally upsetting or offensive, it's easy to send an angry report demanding that it should be removed. But before you report something, please take a deep breath, read over the FAQs listed above to see if the thing you're about to report actually does violate any rules and run through the following concepts...

:bulletgreen: It has a naked body in it so in my opinion it must be porn
As explained above, nudity is not the same thing as pornography. Images of nudity which are NOT considered pornographic will not be removed simply because they depict a naked human body. Suggestive, sensual, sexy images are also not automatically considered pornography for the purpose of dA submissions. For something to be considered pornographic and removed from the site, it has to depict - clearly, obviously and without question - at least one of the things listed in the FAQ above about pornographic content.

:bulletgreen: It's got too much blood and gore for my taste
While photographic images of real-life self-injury, animal cruelty and unnecessarily graphic images of dead bodies are not permitted, horror art created with make-up, props and other visual effects are not disallowed based solely on their content.

:bulletgreen: I find this offensive to my religion/political beliefs/personal values
While genuine hate art, hate speech and hate propaganda are not permitted on dA, submissions which you or other people simply find offensive because your personal values or religious beliefs do not automatically qualify for removal. Ideologically sensitive submissions should be tagged as having Mature Content though, meaning that you can simply avoid them by activating your Mature Content filter.

:bulletgreen: I think it lacks artistic merit
dA is a place for ALL artists, from seasoned professionals to beginners to hobbyists, artists of a huge variety of ages and skill levels. You will find some truly mindblowing art here, at the pinnacle of technical perfection. You will also find out of focus photos with messy backgrounds, pencil sketches on lined paper and misspelled poetic offerings. That's the nature of the site. To say that something shouldn't be allowed here because it wasn't created by an artist with amazing skills simply isn't appropriate. Maybe it grates on your nerves to see snapshots that you feel belong on Facebook. Maybe it annoys you to see a self-shot nude photograph taken in a messy bedroom with a cellphone. I'm not saying you have no right to find these things irritating. You have every right. You also have every right not to spend time looking at those submissions, not to add them to your Favourites or Collections, not to feature them in your journal, not to accept them into the groups you run...but you do not have the right to demand that they should be removed from dA. Take a deep breath and move on. Look at something you DO like. It will make you happier in the long run than focusing on stuff you hate.

:bulletgreen: I feel that's only been posted for attention/compliments/pageviews
I'll play devil's advocate for a moment. Say you're right. Say the artist who posted the photo that's bugging you DID only post it to get attention and compliments. How does this harm you? How does this affect your personal experience of dA? How does it damage the potential of YOUR work to receive comments, critiques, views, Favourites etc? Short answer? It doesn't. People will look at what they want to look at, regardless of the intent of the person who created it and regardless of your personal opinion about its quality. And to assume that one type of art is created solely for attention when another is created for more noble reasons (also consider the fact that ANYONE posting their creations on a huge site like this must be anticipating some sort of viewing behaviour otherwise they wouldn't share their work) is narrow-minded. Tearing other people down because their work receives a lot of attention and you feel that yours doesn't isn't constructive, productive or helpful to anyone. Nothing will ever be removed from dA simply because the person who posted it did so to receive compliments, boost their perceived popularity or inspire people to tell them that they're attractive. Submissions created for those reasons alone might annoy you, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed on dA. This place is for everyone...even people whose intent you don't approve of.

:bulletgreen: I don't like it so it shouldn't be allowed!
A tough lesson to learn is that you personally not approving of something doesn't make it wrong. dA covers this in an FAQ entry...

Here at deviantART we enjoy providing a platform for our deviants to freely exchange ideas and art works of various types and themes and we recognize that some individuals may hold viewpoints or use themes, political, religious, or otherwise, which are potentially offensive.

Given that works of art often evoke diverse and passionate responses, it is not surprising that some artistic expression will prove to be personally offensive to some viewers but the simple fact that a work may be viewed to be personally offensive will not necessarily indicate that the work is in violation of the deviantART terms of service or in need of removal by the deviantART staff. 

And finally...

If you see something which you believe should have a Mature Content tag, based on the guidelines listed in the FAQs, but doesn't, you can report it as such. Simply make a report by following the instructions listed in FAQ #155: How do I report a deviation which I think breaks the rules? and select Mature Tag Needed from the options.

It has been suggested many times over the years that when you activate your Mature Content filter, you should be able to select which types of Mature Content you wish to avoid. For example, you might be fine with seeing nudity but horror art creeps you out. Or you mightn't have a problem with strong language but would prefer not to see submissions which express opinions against your religion. dA staff are aware of this suggestion.

If you see something which you truly believe to violate the rules but which is still on dA, please don't assume that it has already been reported and that the report was found to be invalid for some reason. There are many thousands of submissions to dA every day so plenty of things go unnoticed and unreported. If something is here which shouldn't be, chances are, that's why! YOU can bring it to the attention of the admins by making a report. Don't leave it assuming that someone else will or already has.

There's also the possibility that something may have been reported but the report simply hasn't been handled yet. When there are multiple reports about the same deviation, they all get collated into one in the system which handles the reports, so if you aren't sure if something has already been reported or not, you aren't doing anyone any harm or clogging up the system by filing a report. Please do bear in mind though that there's nothing to be gained by YOU filing multiple reports or by encouraging lots of other people to report the same deviation.

The tenth in the dA Life series of journals at #fella, on a mission to
introduce deviants old and new to fun stuff, useful stuff and downright
devious stuff to discover, get involved with and enjoy. The dA Life series
also exists to empower artists to use the amazing resources found at
deviantART to create their own deviously artistic experience!


#fella aims to be a welcoming space, primarily for new members,
providing useful resources and practical assistance from friendly,
approachable deviants, leading to easier navigation of the site and
an enjoyable, positive deviantART experience.

More dA Life?
Want more useful hints, tips and information to make your deviant
experience even better? Check out these blogs at #fella...

:bulletgreen: dA Life #01: Sharing Your Art
:bulletgreen: dA Life #02: Improving Your Art
:bulletgreen: dA Life #03: Browsing and Collecting Art
:bulletgreen: dA Life #04: Places To Go, People To See
:bulletgreen: dA Life #05: Art For All
:bulletgreen: dA Life #06: Dealing With Abuse
:bulletgreen: dA Life #07: Get in Touch and Get Involved
:bulletgreen: dA Life #08: Hosting a Contest on dA
:bulletgreen: dA Life #09: Browsing with Mature Content filter
Add a Comment:
chazzpineda Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
What happens If you post a work that should be tagged Mature but you didn't?

Cause it only said "deviantART administration reserves the right to mark the work appropriately".
I don't know what that means.

If you can help me out, It would mean a lot.
Thanks in advance.
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
It means that (if the submission is reported or if an admin notices it) it'll have a Mature Content tag added :)
chazzpineda Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Oh? I thought they would get banned or something.
Other than that are there other consequences? Like suspension or something?

P.S. Thanks so much you have been very helpful :).
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what happens if someone repeatedly submits Mature Content without the appropriate tag after they've been informed that what they're doing is wrong. Someone from the CEA team might be able to give you an accurate answer - I wouldn't want to guess at it cause it's not an area of dA that I have direct responsibility for handling :aww:
chazzpineda Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I see, thanks for the time and effort you gave for answering my question :).
I really appreciate it.
The-Golden-Knight Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012
*phew* This is exhaustive (and I know pretty much all of this), but thanks for reiterating anyway.
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012
It's probably not the kind of thing that most people will sit down and read in one go for entertainment, but the dA Life articles are meant to collect information together in one place for (usually for newer deviants) so it's really just for reference :aww:
WDWParksGal Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
Added to the #DevNews weekly article collection posting later today, August 24th ;)
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
Thank you :aww:
WDWParksGal Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012
You're welcome. The posting will actually be August 26th instead of the 24th :hug:
Add a Comment: