DeviantArt doesn't give us discussion sections for our groups, so I'm using this blog as a substitute. I hope nobody in this group will give me cause to regret that.
Remember - posts to this blog are tweeted, so don't post your critiques of other people's work to this blog. Yes, you have the right to post negative comments about other people's work, if that's what you want to do, but you do not have the right to post such commentary to this journal. If you were to do that, then the same mechanisms I will be using to help publicize the work of the membership (and, I hope, bring in more visitors and more business) would be used to spread the criticism / attack / whatever you want to call that, and that is not what the update notification options are there for. If I see somebody doing that, I'm going to respond harshly, because the practice is likely to make people uncomfortable with the idea of posting to this group, and, to be blunt, because I said so. I am sharing my own personal twitter with this group, and I don't feel comfortable with the idea of my twitter being used to cut down my people, even when they're people I have not yet gotten to know. I don't feel that facilitating the belittling of the efforts of the membership would be a good thing for an admin to do, and even if it was a good thing for an admin to do, it's my twitter (and my group), so behave and be nice to each other. OK?
At least, while you're in the common area.
As for what is acceptable - let's try to keep the discussion on topic, most of the time, which is to say on Op Art, Optical Illusions, Perceptual Psychology and subjects related to these. If you sometimes talk about your day, I'm probably not going to have a meltdown about that, but if I show up here and it's nothing but posts about Anime and who's dating who, and the guy at the Quik Mart who never brushes his teeth, I'm not going to be amused. Before we start posting the off topic stuff, let's have a body of on topic posting, and let's try to return to the topic more often than we leave it behind.
Basically, I try to run a very mellow kind of show, and I'll do that as long as people let me do so. I've done so before. But don't mistake mellowness for weakness, indecisiveness or a lack of clarity. When butts need to be kicked, I kick them. I don't feel good about it, but I do what needs to be done, which brings us to another subject that can't be avoided: mob rule. A lot of the unpleasant craziness on the Internet owes its existence to one simple discovery: that a lot of admins will decide who's right and who is in the wrong simply by counting the number of voices on each side of the dispute, without really listening to what the voices are saying or concerning themselves with whether or not what is being said makes sense. They take the path of least resistance, and the rights of the individual be damned. The results are predictable: trolls show up, look for excuses to gang up on lone individuals just for the Lulz, and eventually, nobody can really relax.
I don't run my groups that way. I don't care about the practical politics of the matter. I side with whoever seems to me to be in the right. If should, someday, find that I have to say goodbye to a few thousand members who've decided to take part in one of those feeding frenzies just to treat the intended victim fairly, then I will do so. If the group grows and experiences some sort of success in spite of this (or, perhaps, in part because of this), great! If not, I shrug and move on, because a group that can't thrive on anything but the freedom to be vile is a group not worth bothering with. Better to turn off the computer, grab my books and go out for a coffee than to sit at the computer being a party to that kind of success. To run a mellow show, one has to stay mellow, oneself, and if one doesn't know who one is anymore, because of some kind of Faustian bargain one has made for the sake of some greater good that's going to get harder and harder to even imagine, much less define, relaxation is going to get to be a hard one to pull off. One gets an ulcer that way, and for what?
As far as this goes, I find that the optimistic view tends to be the correct one, the vast majority of the time. I can only think of one group where people, collectively, went nuts and backed up the group psychos - and one can see why the admin would lock a group like that. The rest of the time, I've found that people have been mature enough to understand the truth of a line from a children's book - "if one is only willing to look at pleasant things, one will soon find that there is nothing pleasant to look at" - and will be supportive of somebody who puts a halt to the craziness. At least, the unpleasant kind. As for drama in an op art group, I don't know that would happen, but who knows?
If it does, though, now you'll know how it will get resolved, and that's a good thing. I've got your back, so as long as you're acting like nice, reasonable people, relax and be yourselves. Don't worry about who's going to flip out about G-d knows what. "You used red and green together in a picture, and that offends me, because ..." Oh, enough, already. Let's move on.
I trust we all understand each other, at this point?