I do a lot of surfing around the 'Net, and I fully admit that I am a slut about getting skins for programs I use. Winamp, or Trillian, for instance...I just can't stop getting new skins for them. I may dump some off from time to time, but that's my addiction.
So, I go to Winamp.com and Deviant Art quite a lot. Lots of cool stuff. Both of these sites, like so many others, allow you to 'log in' and become a member of the community (not that you get anything special except for updates and spam). It seems that the main reason you would do so, is to be able to offer your own reviews of the skins and artwork that other community members have put up for public download.
Sounds good, right? A little 'feedback from your peers'? And we are all brought up with the teachings that you cannot trust the authorities, they are lying to you. So, sure, give those 'members' some input, some control. Make them feel like they are getting something, contributing something.
Go to Winamp's site sometime, and browse through the skins for download, and check the 'user comments' sections. You may see the occasional praise, but most of them, regardless of the ACTUAL quality of the skin, are detrimental, scathing, venomous spite. Now, I happily admit that a lot of the skins there ARE shit. Some 14-year old gets hold of a picture and a skinning proggie, and thinks he's an artist. I think the staff are being fair by allowing them as well, so that is their bitch. But there are people just commenting for no apparent reason; hell, just looking through the most recent skins, there seems to be some running joke IN THE VARIOUS COMMENTS, about someone named Eric Yang, and the fact that he doesn't like girls...what this has to do with Winamp, I cannot begin to guess.
Deviant Art is even worse. If you happen to be a member of DA, then my apologies, but you shoudl either be ashamed of yourself, or at least embarrassed at your connection to the site. These guys won't even LET you contribute in any way unless you are a member. ANd, frankly, those that do comment do not impress me. MOst of their comments seem designed only to keep their numbers from swelling by stifling up and coming artists and tearing them down, but praising the ever-lovin' FUCK out of their own little clique.
In short, while I'm sure the concept of allowing the public to express their opinions on things like this is a cute idea, I have to deviate from my normal 'free speech' attitude and say this needs to just be quietly ended. Face it, the public is a bunch of stupid sheep, who cannot be trusted to choose what they are eating, doing, or wearing in any given day unless the media tells them. Add to that the fact that half the 'Net users are little angsty teen/preteen assholes who can't be trusted to be objective, and out of the other half, most of them can barely understand their own computer much less USE the damn thing. This only leaves the rest of us, and do you want power held by such a small, cocky group? Of course not...that's Amerika's problem in the first place!