PE: Seniority, What Does It Mean?

14 min read

Deviation Actions

Astralseed's avatar
Senior Week

Seniority on DeviantArt is that cool thing that gives a user a pretty medal next to their username. Today I'd like to shine a bit of light on what seniority actually means.

Before we dive into all of this though I'd like to start out by quoting FAQ #29: How do I become a Senior Member?

"So what does it take to become a Senior? That's a question many have asked and have never really been able to get a straight answer on. Some have gained Seniority as a thank you for their time spent as a Volunteer, or to recognize their contribution to a particular project or collaborative action. Some have gained Seniority because of their community spirit, providing help and assistance to many other deviants and taking time out to promote the work of others in the community.
Some people have received Seniority because of their artistic endeavour, having a positive influence on their peers by sharing resources, providing constructive criticism and by being a voice that stands out above the many others who deviate to be recognized in the crowd."

Over the years there has been much debate over seniority in general, and within those debates you'll often find many different opinions in regards to what seniority is and/or should be.  With this in mind I asked my watchers for their input, which can be read in full here, and gave them the following questions to answer.  


What do you feel Seniority means on DeviantArt?


Seniority, to me, has always meant that the user has done something to make them stand out in the crowd - be it as an exemplary artist, a community leader/supporter, an educator, or someone who's made contributions to DeviantArt as a network or a company. It's not an end-all be-all status, or a "top of the mountain" sort of achievement. It's more of an accreditation of our efforts by site staff, I guess.


I feel like seniority is a super high honor that takes a lot of work to achieve, it's one of my goals to one day receive that honor but I feel like it would never happen.


I'm not sure, because one one hand I'd like to say its the people who help out with the community and have high quality art, and are generally well liked and respected and deserve a way to commemorate that, but we all know that isn't true. It seems to be a sign of an important voice and opinions that should be listened to, and people that we regular users and supposed to respect. However considering there are quite a few completely rude, hateful, untalented and arrogant seniors, I'm not really sure what we are supposed to think seniority means at all. Maybe its people who the staff like, or people willing to take up for da staff's decisions.  


I think it should mean that the member has demonstrated a love of the community consistently, that they interact with other deviants, and that they consistently try to uplift the other members of the community. I think it means that the member in question has shown that they have a true love for :dalogo:, despite any problems it may have, and would rather work towards an amicable solution in the community than to insult and belittle the staff for their efforts - even when they disagree with them. Because, as seniors, they know that the best way to solve the problems they have with the site is to approach them with the intent to resolve them rather than to approach them with belligerence - anger is rarely effective in swaying someone of an opposite opinion.

As we can see there is some diversity in regards to what people feel Seniority actually means.  It is my belief that the diversity stems from the fact that seniority is granted for so many different things, and that there is a plethora of personalities to be found within the senior members, that it's simply difficult to pinpoint its meaning in any one way.  


Do you expect Seniors on dA to act a certain way? If so, in what way?


I expect seniors to act exactly how they'd act if they weren't seniors. Even if that means not being active in the community or being a voice of dissent rather than support, it just shows how diverse of a group we are! There are over 1400 senior members onsite, and there's no need any of us should be held to a higher standard than a regular user. I didn't sign some new terms of service when I got my seniority. I expect to be disciplined for the same things I would have been discliplined for before. Nothing more, nothing less.


I expect them to be very kind and supportive of everyone, even those who have bad art.


I just expect them to be themselves and not pretend to be nice or be the person they're not. I saw some of them acting too nice that they appear all fake, I feel like they're wearing a mask and hiding their true being. They often say things the way others want to hear. Nobody is obliged to express the way others expect to see. Everyone, no matter which symbol they have, must feel free to express and say the things the way they feel like to.


I used to think seniors might be more polite because of their higher status or at least more helpful for the community but nowadays when I see seniors that I don't personally know I expect some sort of holier than thou attitude and a fare share of deviantart elitism. Seniors come in strong cliques and have a ways about them that gives off a "I'm better than you" attitude. It's easy to get frustrated with people you are, for some reason beyond me, expected to have respect for, when they are arguably notoriously rude and elitist.


I answered part of that above. :D But, I expect them to be willing to stand up for themselves and others, to be willing to listen to both sides of an argument, and to speak their minds in a civil way. (I'm specifically thinking of something I saw over a year ago on a site update where the "senior member" acted with exactly the same level of childishness as everyone else who decided that denigrating the staff was an appropriate response to address something they didn't like about a change.)
I would expect to see a senior member leaving comments not only on the most wonderful works of the site, but also on those which need some improvement from those individuals who shoe potential. Obviously I don't expect that they would waste time on those who just throw up whatever all over the site, but those users who actually share their pieces with the hope of improving their skills and growing as artists.

This is a wonderful example of how different the views in regard to senior expectations can be.  Since there are no real requirements to follow once one has been seniored, placing specific expectations onto them is naturally a bit unfair.  

However, if the community views seniority as a status rather than an award, it only makes sense that the community might have expectations from seniors.  Perhaps something that warrants further thought?


Do you know any Seniors?


I know... a lot of senior members. Probably over a thousand on a username basis, and several hundred on a first-name basis. Some from the founding days of the site, some staff members from across the years, some community types, some artists who just inspired the community enough to get noticed. I also suggest a lot of seniors regularly - everyone should suggest people who should become seniors! It's a great way to show people who inspire you on the large scale that the site appreciates them and what they do.


I do! I KNOW MYSELF, BRO! :giggle: But really, I do know a lot of seniors now that I am one. I did not know a ton of seniors before being made one. Maybe seniors are a little cliquey :noes: Also, the seniors I know are generally the ones who are active on dAmn chats. I don't see many seniors outside of chats.


I do, and the ones I know are amazing deviants. My senior friends are what I think seniority should be, and probably what people new to DA assume seniority is - well liked users that are welcoming to new members, active members of the community, friendly and talented artists. (and no I don't mean "hugboxes", I just mean approachable and easy to talk to) However, I only have gotten to know a small number of seniors, and my closest senior friend I knew before they were even a senior. I like only knowing a few of them because most of them that I've interacted with I'd like to stay away from. The senior friends I have are wonderful - and not an accurate reflection of the senior community as a whole.


Only in passing. I don't know any of them well enough to say, "Hey, I know them!" and I'd definitely never be able to win Lintu47's game. But, I do see them actively about the community, especially in groups that are geared towards promoting community endeavors (dAWishingWell, All-about-features, ArtInOurHeart). This is a two-way street, though. I didn't meet any seniors - or CVs - and I would never have left commentary on a staff member's work - until recently. Seniors, like community volunteers, are here for the :dalove:, so it's a matter of "coming out of the shell" and actually communicating with them. I feel that the reason I didn't know any seniors before wasn't because they were unapproachable, but because I'm a bit of an introvert and didn't make the effort to step out of my box. wink

It is indeed very true that seniors can be cliquey, though that may be because most seniors share the same love for involvement in the community, and as a result see and talk to each other regularly and know each other well.  
Generally speaking, seniors don't usually exclude others for their lack of status on DeviantArt.

Many seniors are quite approachable and don't bite, okay.. maybe a few nibble a little bit.  It's okay to reach out to a senior for help, most of us are happy to help when we can.  Just bear in mind that not all seniors are cute and cuddly (just like any type of user) so it's best to approach those who you see engaging others with positivity.    


 Do you have any other thoughts to add about Seniority on DeviantArt?


Seniority comes with some great perks, and added notability, but it's not something you should use to gauge whether you've been successful or appreciated on DeviantArt. It's a big group of users with a lot of diverse experiences and journeys on the site, and there are no set criteria. Don't make it something you need to have to validate your existence on DA. And don't get too mad if you see inactive seniors. Sometimes we're doing crazy things behind the scenes, and sometimes seniors are gone from the site for reasons that you'd not want them to lose their status over. I wrote an editorial about it a while back - A Senior's Rant - that might be worth a read. I guess the big message is: We're users just like you, at the end of the day.


I think it's an "ok" thing to give out but I don't think it has any meaningful impact on reputation or perception, at least, not as far as I'm concerned - I treat everybody the same (with respect and manners) unless given reason otherwise. Seems fair :shrug:
Maybe you guys should get slightly different coloured comment boxes or something, to make your interactions stand out more than just a symbol by your name? It doesn't seem enough for what you've done and no doubt have endured.


I think it's important for the community to understand what seniority is. I know it's tough because there are no set rules about what one has to do to gain seniority, but nonetheless it's important. Generally, seniors are given the tick/medal because of their contributions to the community as a CV, staff member, artwork, or community spirit. While there are currently no guidelines for seniors on how to behave... I don't think it would hurt for such guidelines to exist. If a senior member has a problem with being approachable then I don't think they deserve the medal. Seniors should be role models and set a good example for other community members to step up and be active, contributing members as well.  


I think the values of seniority are something every deviant should aspire to (leadership, community service, responsibility), but I don't think people should get too worked up about attaining the status.  People should and can be "seniors" even if they don't have a badge next to their name :)

    I think all that needs to be said here has mostly been covered.  DanielleMWilliams makes a particularly important point, that is worth taking to heart if you're striving towards seniority on DeviantArt.  

Join The Discussion!

  • Do you have anything to add to this discussion?  
  • Do you agree or disagree with what has been said?  
  • Do you have any personal experiences which you feel might be relevant? 
Add them below in a comment!  

© 2015 - 2021 Astralseed
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Minato-Kushina's avatar
Such a beautiful interview! :heart: :clap: Thank you, Katy and everyone for your thoughts! :hug: I always like to see how people see us Seniors! :giggle:

In my 5 years here, I have not ever met a single rude Senior, to be honest. Lol, I don't know where other people find them! But maybe it's because I almost always stay clear from Complaints forums and dAramas. :XD: Or maybe some people consider some "strict behaviour" to be rudeness? :confused: rvmp 

There are simply some Seniors who don't talk so much to other people. However, they were like this before Seniority, so I suppose it's no wonder that they only keep the same character/approach after a "simple" change of their symbol. :nod:
spoems's avatar
Good article. There are diverse opinions on seniority,  just like there is diversity among the senior membership. I'll give another explanation for why some seniors seem cliquish: some are just plain grumpy hermits. :stare:
Stygma's avatar
Seniors are normal humans. They have good days and bad days. They are nice or jerks. And they are not better than anybody else. Everyone (except trolls) deserves the same respect, regardless of the symbol besides their username. :heart:
arvalis's avatar
Seniority means you are a big nerd
Astralseed's avatar
the biggest of them all :D
Stygma's avatar
AmputeeWrecks's avatar
This is a fantastic article and a great discussion, and it's especially important to recognise that although some people have clearly had unfortunate experiences with some Seniors, it should not be considered a blight across the huge, incredibly diverse group.

Seniors are people, first and foremost. They have their off days, they have their great days, they have days when they may be asked the same question over and over and over (with varying degrees of politeness) and sometimes they won't be asked a thing. Some are naturally more people-person oriented than others. Being an active, passionate member of a community doesn't necessarily turn you into an all-smiling, all-dancing ambassador, and that's not even taking into account what life is constantly throwing at people when they happen to be away from their computers.

As for cliques, I can only share my personal experience in that I wasn't a Senior before I was made a CV last year, but in those 9 previous years I never let a symbol stop me from talking to anyone, getting involved and/or offering to help. Cliques, or friendship groups, or even teams (many Seniors worked together as CVs previously) or whatever you want to call them - nobody is obliged to automatically welcome everyone else into their crews (and acting entitled to this is a good way to keep yourself on the outer) but by the same token, these groups are also not impenetrable if you are willing to put yourself out there, get involved and be receptive to feedback.

If this weren't the case, there would never be any new Seniors! :lovelydummy: by BlissfullySarcastic
flornographer's avatar
many Seniors worked together as CVs previously - this. most of the seniors people see me interact with onsite are people i suggested for senior membership after being a senior, people i volunteered with, or people i ran projects with before seniority. if we seem cliquey it's because we were in the 'nam together, man. the 'nam.
Astralseed's avatar
Next time I see you on dAmn, I'll be like.. hey Mark.. remember back in 'nam? ...
SavageFrog's avatar
This is pretty true.

The 'nam's intense dood. We go in, only a few survive...
hosagu's avatar
So great interviews and article! :clap:
Vincebae's avatar
To me, seniority is being just what tiganusi said. 
I'd love to be a senior member someday, but it probably won't happen haha. It's fun to dream though!

This is awesome at showing the opinions of seniority! I really enjoyed reading it!
PolarisAstrum's avatar
Why do you think it will never happen? D:
Vincebae's avatar
Oh I don't know. I seem to have bad luck a lot. If I want something, I usually don't get it haha. ouo
PolarisAstrum's avatar
Aww, don't say that, it won't help your cause if you're already being so negative about it!
DanielleMWilliams' comment is a great piece of advice though, all I did before becoming a senior wasn't done with the goal of receiving seniority, I just kept doing my thing and being myself, eventually I got noticed and someone thought I deserved it, but it was a total and very welcome surprise that I never really thought I would get! After I got it though, not much changed, I just keep on doing what I did before (:
Vincebae's avatar
Oh really? Hehe, I guess I'm a bit negative-natured is all! 
I just went back and re-read it! It's very good advice! 
It just seems to me, like seniors are better than everyone else. I mean, they got noticed and they deserved it! It just seems so cool! 
Plus, I'd like to help with SeniorMentors with the literature and fanfictions! 

And oh goodness, I just went on your profile, and looked at some of your artwork! I must say, you have a talent! I've never been too good at drawing, to be completely truthful. Writing was always my strong point, as you can probably tell by how I have to write an ESSAY when I talk to someone! >w<
PolarisAstrum's avatar
The queen of late replies returns. Sorry!

Nah, we're not better than everyone else, we're all still regular human beings :B
Well, maybe you can't help out with SeniorMentors, but I'm sure you can find someplace where you can do the same thing without having to be a senior xD And if there isn't such a place yet, why not create your own?

Haha, luckily art isn't just about drawings and paintings (it would be a quite duller world if it were!). I really appreciate the compliment, thank you, though I don't really believe in talent. To me it is all about skill, and that is something that can always be improved upon, so anyone can be an artist of whatever sort if they really want it. We all have our strong points!

I tend to get carried away as well :giggle: Which is also why I take so long to reply to stuff some times, if someone takes the time to write something more meaningful, I want to make sure I do the same.
SnazzyDoodle's avatar
Thanks for using my comments, I'm glad you found them useful! :la:
flornographer's avatar
Thank you for giving real motherfucking answers that deviated from the norm. ;)
Astralseed's avatar
Thank you for contributing such great answers :heart:
Confession time: until I read this I didn't actually know seniors existed... (Yes I'm new, couldn't you tell?) but from what I'm seeing seniority kinda sounds like super amazing badge, somebody gives it to you then... Ta dan!! How come people sometimes think of it so differently? And once your an senior are you sort of obligated to be always on deviant art, and helping people (not that that would be a bad thing!)? Sweating a little... 
Astralseed's avatar
I think I didn't really come across any senior members during my first year or so on the site.  It wasn't until I got more involved with the community that I started seeing them and getting to know some of them a bit better.  
As Erzsabet has already said though, there are no obligations for seniors to continue logging in and doing what they did to earn them seniority.  
Erzsabet's avatar
Being a senior doesn't mean you are obligated to do anything. It's a recognition for services that you have done for the site, but not an expectation for anything in the future. It's not a position like a Community Volunteer or Staff that has a time limit or specific obligations expected of you.
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In