Re-posted and cleaned up from my response to deviantART's Community Relations "Moonbeam" regarding the contest on her journal page:
Hello again. Thank you very much for your impassioned and resolute stance regarding the world of deviantART and it's relationship to the EVE Online Community. I can only imagine what it must be like to have posted so many replies to so many irritated commentators and still carry a smile (if that is indeed the case).
If I came across as overtly harsh or overly-direct in my previous comment I must apologize. Thank you for your response to that. I have spent the better part of six hours immersed in the EVE and deviantART cross-debate between our two websites, between the world here on dA and the EVE official forums, trying to gain some sense of cohesive understanding behind this contest fallout.
All I am able to find is a sense that those who were judging in this contest, though mighty in artistic background and critique levels, may have been lacking in the very background that was most important for the ultimate target audience of the winning design: the Players of EVE Online.
I believe that is our great divide.
The ultimate flaw to this judging system, and thus contest, is that this was not simply a design contest at all, but was judged as such by outsiders. This was, rather, the creation of a major, integral addition to a living, breathing universe known as EVE Online. This is not an average art contest with a few rewards to keep people happy. The EVE players themselves do not ultimately care if their individual design wins. But they care very much about other contestants, giving credit where it is due, and seeing that the best ship wins. That is what is being missed in what your staff and members might perceive as overly-harsh comments by some EVE players here on deviantART.
It's NOT that the EVE community does not care about the current top-15 contestants and designs. They may be critical of them, why they are there at the top, and what should or could replace them. But the real issue is that the EVE community cares too much, and may sometimes go too far in expressing it. However, that alone should clearly show you the level of love, respect and joy these tens-of-thousands of people share as a single, vibrant EVE Online community.
They care about every single other worthy design beyond the fifteen you selected here, and including these fifteen. In-game, they would just as easily shoot each other in the back for a big enough reward or to defend their corporation, but would never betray a worthy competitor in a contest to design the BEST ship such as this.
They want the best ship to come out of this, but to have the best ship for EVE, it must be judged through the eyes of someone intricately familiar with that universe. Speak with any EVE player and they will tell you they want the greatest, coolest, most awe-inspiring ship possible. Because they want to fly it. Arm and fit it. Kill something with it. Live in it. And say "I fly THAT." Ships ARE an expression of your character in EVE, not just the "shield and sword," they very much ARE your character. And the EVE Online community is passionately involved in this contest because of that fact.
You have heard your fair-share of ugly comments, I'm sure. Even those that may seem to criticize many of the top-15 entries. But they are not simply criticizing those 15 entries, they are telling you how badly they want something else, how badly some other design really deserves to be in the top-15. You cannot inject ship designs into the EVE universe, force-feeding the EVE community what your "art experts" see as the top-15 most aesthetically pleasing designs without a single clue as to what this impassioned, vibrant community needs and wants.
I feel that it is obvious now that the judges did not posses enough knowledge or background understanding of the EVE universe, seeing what was selected into the top-15, to warrant them being judges for this particular contest. They may be incredible artists or critics, but they did not have the background or interest in EVE Online to select a winning design that would ultimately speak to all of the EVE community as being representative of the greatest ship design in the contest FOR EVE Online. Not the greatest ship design in the contest, again, the greatest ship design in the contest FOR EVE Online. FOR. EVE.
Again, I feel that is the great divide here. And it seems much of the community is manifesting that into a tiny concentrated micro-warhead of a debate right now. Again, I believe this stems from a lack of background or interest by these judges in the world of EVE, the ships of EVE, the characters that are our players and community. The wars. The blood. The treachery. The corps. Popped pods and long rides home. EVE Online very much is NOT World of Warcraft, Guild Wars or Final Fantasy. In fact, I believe quite a few EVE players reading this cringed at that comparison.
It's a way of life, a way of life that your judges very much might have been missing the point of, completely. And thus, those judges may not have been the most qualified to judge this particular contest. Art is art, and EVE is EVE. They are two similar, but dramatically different things. One cannot judge the other, but this is exactly what has happened, to the benefit of deviantART and the frustration of the EVE Community.
Knowing the EVE community, and knowing CCP, this issue will likely steer itself down many different paths over the next few days. I expect it will find it's resolution one way or another. But it is important for those that are not intricately familiar with EVE Online to please respect our community, and do not judge the EVE players based on a few rough comments on this website. Many thousands of EVE players and community leaders are mad as hell that the world they love, the game they love, was not at all represented in this contest. In your journal comments I understand your frustrations with some of our community's comments, but it is only because they expected so much more out of this contest than was ultimately delivered.
Thank you again, Moonbeam, and I hope you are able to find some peace in the fact that you have an entire universe full of stark-raving, EVE-loving lunatics out to get you. But, seriously, best of luck, and be sure to drink plenty of water. Hydration is extremely important under stressful circumstances, as any decent pod pilot would tell you.
Listening to: Tom Petty
Reading: Glen Cook's "The Black Company - Silver Spike
Playing: Dragon Age: Origins
Eating: Rice/veg/tuna "goulosh"