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Submitted on
August 26
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Keywords on deviations were built to be an important tool to help discover artwork. But as deviantART grows and strives to create new ways to discover great content, we’ve found that keywords as we currently use them have become underutilized.  We think we can do better -- and can make a better experience for the community -- by making some changes.

In the coming month, keywords will transition into tags, and we’ll be improving the way they work. Tags will better surface artwork, allow deviants to form communities around topics, make it easier to find other artists and art appreciators, and increase discoverability.  

For example, if you're a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles it can be difficult to know what to search for: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ninja Turtles, TMNT, Donatello, etc.  Public tags provide visibility to see how others are tagging their deviations, which will allow you to align your behavior to the norm, or choose to be deviant!

Getting Started

You’ll hear more about tags in the coming month, but to prepare for the upcoming release now, we wanted to let you know that:

  1. Keywords are changing to tags.

  2. Tags will soon be publicly visible on deviation pages.

  3. Our system will automatically transition some of your keywords to the appropriate tags for better discoverability when tags fully launches (for example, common keyword phrases such as “lord of the rings” will become “#lordoftherings”).

As a reminder, tags on deviations can be edited at any time.  If you’d like to update your deviations before any changes are released, now’s the time to do so!  (Simply visit any of your deviations and click the "Edit" button.  You don't need to add a hashtag before a tag, but you can!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of my new deviation tags look weird.  What gives?

The old keyword field was unstructured, while new tags are all single words.  In the keyword to tag conversion process, we had to do a bit of guesstimation regarding the translation.  A keyword field for "my little pony" might mean “#mylittlepony,” while "sunset australia watercolor" might intend "#sunset #australia #watercolor."  In the event you see a tag that doesn't apply to your deviation, simply remove anything not appropriate.

I can only enter 64 tags to describe my deviation, but I was previously able to enter as many keywords as I wanted.  What gives?

Public tags provide visibility around seeing how others are tagging their deviations.  One of the problems with keywords was that everyone had to invent their own terms or guess what others were using.  There would be many keywords around the same topic -- my little pony, mlp, mplfim, mylittlepony, my_little_pony, fim, friendshipismagic, and so forth.  By making tags public, you'll be able to discover tags that the community is using in a more predictable way.  Having 10 or 20 relevant tags will enable more people to see your art than having 100 irrelevant ones.

Your Feedback

We’re excited to show you what we’re working on, and will be updating you more about the power of tags in the coming month.  
For now, we’d love to hear your feedback:

  • Do you add keywords to all of your deviations? Roughly how many do you typically add?

  • Do you base your keywords on medium, subject matter, or other things?

  • What keywords do you commonly search for?

Let us know how you’re currently using keywords, so we can make the new tags as powerful and as useful as possible.

Add a Comment:
Fox-The-Wandering Featured By Owner 19 hours ago  Student General Artist
I must put in my own two cents here and agree that I'm not entirely comfortable with the new tagging system either. Anytime I go to see if my deviations pop up in the search engine for DA, in which I basically base my keywords on subject matter and sometimes medium, they don't appear and I'm afraid it's because of the lack of spaces in between words, and I'd like to see spaces be in between spaces again, please!  
Hearts-n-Scalpels Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Tags aren't showing up in searches. When will that be fixed?
Kasipallo Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Professional General Artist

If you start to resemble too much other social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr, people start acting like they'd act on those sites: sharing (=uploading) more other people's works, lolcats, movie screenshots, high angle selfies... Is that what you want? First llamas (=like buttons) and now hashtags? And how should I use the search tool now? thelordoftherings / the lord of the rings / lord rings...? Adding '#the', '#and' '#of' on my "tags" is a bit weird.

IFuckingHateShyness Featured By Owner 2 days ago  New member
First youtube and now this. Bring back the old keywords please
straybulletpunk Featured By Owner 3 days ago
First, it is not responsible to change the "public/private" status of anything without users explicit permission.
- remember myspace blogs going public because of a site update?
Im fucking offended and overwhelmed by the idea that anyone would have to go through all of there deviations one by one and edit out tags that they dont want to publicly represent. for example.
If you make a political deviation about police brutality,
you can gleefully enter private tags,

ACAB I hate cops, pigs, police state..

If you make public tags, it will be a representation of what the artist intended you to feel and detract from the experience of viewing artwork and forming your own opinions.

What about #BBW maybe not what you want your image reduced to.

Id settle for private keywords and public tags.
then you wouldnt have to convert everyones keywords and build your tag database from scratch.
#fuckpublictags #keywordsforever
YarTavdhladleklwa Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm having trouble with my tags. When i use them, my Deviations don't show up in searches
Miss-Ag Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
*squeals like a little girl*  love this. "Tags will better surface artwork, allow deviants to form communities around topics, make it easier to find other artists and art appreciators, and increase discoverability."  Big reason i love sharing my work on instagram is because of this specifically. easier to find "birds of a feather" !!
LateStarter63 Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The first I knew of tags was when I added a new deviation.  I found this blog only because I searched on Google for information on dA Tags. How are we supposed to be kept informed of changes?
The lack of a dropdown of recently used Tags/ Keywords slowed the process of submission enormously. 
Then I found that of two deviations added since Keywords were introduced, only one appears in searches.  I think I am lucky that even one of the two was indexed as the numbers being brought up in specified period searches are far lower than expected from past experience.
As a result of a Help Desk enquiry I have been informed that indexing using the Tag system will be operative early this week.  I hope this is true.
baconpancakemaster Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love how everyone is complaining about this.

I also love it when every time DA updates of gets a new feature, everyone hates it.
FakeTearsDryFaster Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I think tags are a horrible idea. This is deviant art, not twitter or instagram.
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