Hello stockers and stock users!
It has recently come to my attention by talking to another CV that some people are having a problem with a particular stock issue. That issue is WIPs. I have no idea who the stock provider was or the stock user (I saw a journal but have long forgotten), and I don't know how the issue was settled, so if it was you, I'm not talking directly to or about you specifically in this journal. This is a good issue for all of us to pay some attention to, and brings up other issues as well.
First, a word to the stockers:
Most of us have in our stock terms something along the lines of, "Show me your finished work."
The problem with this is that if you want to see WIPs that are posted on deviantART, the stock user is probably not understanding that. The word "finished" in your terms means exactly that to them: finished work. The work in progress is not a finished work, and therefor, according to your terms, they do not need to notify you of that use.
I recommend everyone change their rules right now if you DO wish to see WIPs!Now this brings up a broader issue.
I also recommend you go through your rules periodically (now would be a nice time if you're going to edit them anyway) and make sure you are as clear as possible. And there will ALWAYS be someone that is not a native English speaker, or missed something, or just sucks at reading that will note you or comment asking you to clarify something. Help them!! Be available! Try to answer your messages in a timely manner (yes, I know this is hard for a lot of us, that's why I said try XD). And make sure your ToU are easy to find!
I see so many stockers that don't write anything in their Artist's Comments, and then I go to their journal and their ToU are just sitting there. Stock users do not want to go searching for your ToU. Newbies will have no idea where to find ToU. Put a link to your Terms on every deviation you upload. It will save you a lot of headaches.There are a few journals on how to write stock Terms so that they are clear. Here are a few of my recommendations that are gathered from those journals and personal experience:
Do not use the word "please." Use words like "You must" or "Do NOT" or "You are required." These are very clear and can not be seen as a request that doesn't nessisarily need to be followed.
Make your ToU easy to find. Make it painfully obvious. Put a link in each deviation's Artist Comments and surround it with flashing dancing monkeys.
Organize your ToU so that they are easy to read and scan. People will not sit and read an entire page-long journal of rules. They are going to be looking for words like "Outside Use" and "Prints" and "Premade Backgrounds." Putting headings in your ToU is very helpful.
Be short and to the point. No one wants to read a paragraph where the main point is "credit me," but they don't find that out til the 3rd sentence. You should indeed clarify how and where they are to credit you, but make "Credit Me" one of your headings, or some other thing that makes it easy to know what the main point is.
Use headings, bold text, flashing buttons, etc. to get attention to very important things.
Be very specific. If you don't want people putting bugs in derivative works, don't just say "No bugs," say "No insects, arachnids, myriapods, terrestrial mollusks, or woodlice." That way, they won't put a spider in a work because they thought bug only means insect.
It may also be helpful to list things people ARE allowed to do that some other stockers do not allow, such as gore/macabre themes, on/off-site prints, premade backgrounds/other stock. This can help cut down the number of questions.
If you get a ridiculous amount of questions and don't see how they could fit into your Terms, consider doing a FAQ section at the bottom of your ToU.
Include the best way to contact you. Whether it's notes, email, carrier pigeon, whatever. And encourage them to contact you with questions.
If someone breaks your rules, NOTE THEM FIRST. Try to settle it politely and quietly. IF it cannot be settled nicely, THEN take it to the staff. If you take something to them before even trying, they will probably tell you to settle it yourself anyway.
A word to the stock users:
It has always been this way! It will always continue to be this way (unless we all get mind-reading powers. If that happens, we won't need to make art because we'll just telepathically send each other beautiful pictures we created with our minds.)
We must all work together to make this work. We must try to understand each other. This is a very small-scale model for the entire world, if you want to look at it that way.
No one is perfect, so give each other the benefit of the doubt, share kindness, and communicate!