irrelevant subject matters AND when to the wrong folder. but when it's submitted to the wrong folder, usually one of the admin "invites" the piece back in the right folder this time and leave a note for the artist who submitted
In the groups I run, I've honestly not had any reason to decline yet, BUT that may because of how super specific the groups are. One is for my husband and I's webcomic which accepts all art done of the characters and even fan characters. The other group is an OC Challenge that only accepts entries for each challenge.
in the art based group I vote on submissions for, the reason I vote no is usually lower quality or repetitive (I've seen the piece submitted before or it's the same char over and over again in similar poses. In the resources group I run, I vote no mostly because submissions are art not resources, on occasion I'll vote no when someone submits something that's almost the same as something that's in the gallery.
The most common reason is placement in the wrong category. In one of the groups where I am a Contributor there are too many submissions to move by hand. In one of the others, the submissions are so few that it's not a problem to hand-move them. In the third group I avoid the problem altogether by only have the "Featured" and a "Tutorials" category, because none of the members cared if the submissions were categorized.
The second most common reason (again, the Contributor group) is multiple submissions of the same item. I will usually accept one view and comment on one of the declined submissions suggesting thumbnails in the Comments section.
Thankfully, none of the groups I admin are particularly concerned with quality. Instead we have special categories for Tutorials, and encourage members to work to improve their skills.
Low quality. Most difficult and controversial also.
How do you tell people who's deviations quality is sub-par with them understanding it needs improvement. Some people just don't get it, and has been the most difficult thing to do. Its not that the subject matter is bad. Things like lighting, over-exposure, cropping, poor quality file (pixelated).
I decline submissions when they are the wrong medium - grinds my gears when they don't read what the submission guidelines are I also decline if they spam the same submission after rejection. If the quality is low I remember I was once pretty fresh and usually won't decline for that reason. I don't decline if it's submitted to the wrong folder, I move it manually.
Generally it has to do with low quality. Things like their picture not being cropped to hide notebook binders, scans with pencil shavings on them, drawings that were scanned with a... cell phone camera () and so on.
We also assess the quality of a picture against their own galleries to see if effort was put in and/or if the picture looks finished. If we deem that it is not their best effort we will decline it, inform them as to why and give an example from their own gallery as to what we think is their best works
In I look not only for quality, but also to see if they have submited their art in the right folder on DA (I don't want to see Darkroom work in photomaipulation fantasy). I'm also looking to see if they follow guidelines that the GMs are looking for. For example, has the artist of the deviation received a DD in the past 3 months, and if it's a photomanipulation, are they listing links to all of the stock used (not just writing personal stock used).
In #Critique-It, only artists seeking critique can put their work in our galleries. In order to submit to our galleries, they need to put a few comments in their artist's comments about what they'd like the critic to look at in their piece. People usually skip that and just submit their work like we're another place to get more views. >.< I had to completely wipe the member list to get the submissions fiasco under control.