Member Guidelines

Hello, Art Colonist! We are thrilled to have you on board. Before you dive in, please read through these Member Guidelines, which are designed to make The Art Colony a fun, friendly, safe environment for all members.

A. Communication & Conduct
B. Art & Uploads
C. Spamming
D. Conflict Resolution
E. In the Event of Guideline Violations:

  1. Low Tolerance Policy
  2. Warnings & Account Termination
  3. Notes

F. How to Report Guideline Violations

A. Communication & Conduct

1. Be polite, friendly and respectful in all your exchanges with others. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

2. Being a member of The Art Colony is like being a guest in someone's home. Enjoy yourself and make yourself at home, while respecting the rules of the host (that is, respecting these simple guidelines).

3. Remember that words can be easily misinterpreted over the Internet. Strive to communicate clearly at all times.

4. Behavior such as rudeness, bullying and harrassment will not be tolerated. If a member appears to make rude or harassing posts or comments to you or to others, ignore them and contact a moderator if you feel the member's comments are out of line.

  • Examples of "harassment" can include (but are not limited to): giving another member unwanted attention after they have asked you to stop; making repeated demands of another member or a moderator; etc.
  • Examples of "rudeness" can include (but are not limited to): giving others negative, non-constructive feedback on their art or in answer to their questions; belittling anyone for any reason; etc.

5. Offensive language will not be tolerated. Members who use offensive language may have their accounts terminated without warning.

6. "Drama" will not be tolerated. The Art Colony strives to be a site of peaceful, positive communication and people who cause trouble in any form will be removed from the site.

7. Spamming will not be tolerated. Please take a moment to read more about what constitutes "spam" to ensure that you do not inadvertently break the rules.

Please inform a moderator if you feel that a member is breaking any of these rules. Don't feel shy and do listen to your gut feeling - if you think someone is stepping out of line, it's best if the moderators are made aware of it, for the sake of maintaining a harmonious community.

Please see the section titled "Warnings and Account Termination" for our policy on handling guideline violations.

B. Art and Uploads

1. Please note that any images you upload into the "My Artwork" section of your profile page will also appear in the Site Gallery. Images uploaded to forums or blog posts will not appear in the site gallery.

2. Please do not upload photographs to the Site Gallery. While the Art Colony administrators do love photography, there are already a lot of high-quality photography sites and communities on the Internet, so we aim to keep this site focused on arts and crafts created by hand. (Photographs of artwork is of course okay - this rule is referring to fine art photography, vacation photos, family photos, etc.)

3. Digital art is accepted, as long as it fits the following definition: "Computer-generated art that is created by hand (i.e. using a tablet, stencil etc), either from scratch or from a reference source."

Under this definition, photographs that have been slightly tweaked (photo-edited) are not accepted as "digital art" (i.e. running a photograph through a few Photoshop filters and displaying it as a finished work of digital art, or using a stylus to move pixels around on top of a photo. Since this process essentially involves editing a photograph, it falls under the category of photography).

Please note that The Art Colony does not have any kind of prejudice against or dislike of these types of images, it's just that edited photographs fall outside the scope of this website. One reason we don't allow edited photographs is because many members will assume that the entire image was hand-drawn from scratch and therefore praise the image for its realism, which is unfair to the digital artists who do painstakingly create realistic digital images from scratch, which takes a lot of skill and technical ability.

Click here to read more about the distinction between digital art vs digital photo editing, to help determine whether your images belong on this site or a photography site.

If photographs are discovered in the Site Gallery, you will be asked to remove them or a moderator will do it for you. This is to ensure that the Site Gallery contains only hand-created art and crafts.

4. Please note that since this site focuses on art, it's not the proper place to share your personal photographs (such as family photos, vacation photos, etc) - unless you want to allow others to paint or draw from them, in which case you can add them to the correct category in the Reference Image Library. You can also share personal photographs in the "Hanging Out in the Studio" forum, where non-art discussions are allowed and encouraged, as long as you also discuss why you are posting the photo (and don't just post the photo with no explanatory text).

5. Art depicting or promoting nudity, sex, violence, hateful or discriminatory themes will be deleted without warning. The rule against nudity is not The Art Colony's preferred rule, but since this site is run on the Ning platform, we are bound by their terms of service which prohibit the posting of nudity. We acknowledge that depicting nudes has been a prevalent, well-revered practice in art for several millennia (and continues to be so), however we don't want to run the risk of having our community shut down for not following Ning's guidelines, so nudes are not allowed.

Ning defines nudity as any image showing the following body parts:

  • Women - nipples, genitals, buttocks
  • Men - genitals, buttocks

The moderators take this definition literally, so images in which the above-mentioned body parts are visible will be removed.

6. Only upload your own original art that you had a direct hand in creating from scratch, and not anyone else's art. The Art Colony takes copyright very seriously, so if you upload art other than your own, you may receive a warning or face suspension. Members are responsible for the images they upload and as such, may be held liable if their images are found to be infringing upon another's copyrights. This rule applies to all areas of the site, including but not limited to: the gallery, blog posts, forum posts, group posts, etc.

  • This rule means that if you are a gallery owner, or member of an art collective or any other group of artists, you are not allowed to post the artwork created by the members in your group, even if they give you permission. You may only post artwork that you yourself had a direct hand in creating from scratch. The Art Colony is a site where individual artists can gather to share and discuss art, not a place for galleries or collectives to promote the work of their members.

The moderators reserve the right to suspend members without warning if they upload other people's art and claim it as their own and/or if the member lies about it when asked directly by a moderator.

7. Members retain all rights to the artwork they upload to this site. If you are interested in "pinning" a member's artwork on Pinterest - or displaying a member's art in any way, online or in tangible form - you must ask permission from the artist before doing so. While many artists appreciate the extra exposure brought on by pinning and sharing, please respect that some artists do not want their work to be pinned or shared on Facebook. If you don't wish for your art to be pinned or shared on Facebook, etc, please include a statement in the description section of your art to let others know this.

C. Spamming

The Art Colony operates a strict "no spamming" policy. As a community for artists, by artists, the main purpose of this site is to share your artwork, discuss art, and help others – not to sell artwork, self-promote, or advertise goods or services.

However, The Art Colony acknowledges that it is natural for artists to want to self-promote and "plug" their art, website, exhibitions, items for sale, etc.

  • This type of self-promotion is only acceptable on your profile page or in the "Strut Your Stuff" Group, where you may provide links to your website, your blog, your Etsy shop, your Zazzle shop, your art courses, etc.
  • This type of self-promotion is always unacceptable when it takes place on the forums, in groups other than the "Strut Your Stuff" Group, in private messages (unless asked directly), or on other members' profile pages, portfolios, blog posts or artworks.
  • In your portfolio(s), blog posts, and in the description of your uploaded artwork, you may include one subtle sentence or phrase indicating that a piece is for sale (for example: "This artwork is for sale here" with a link to your Etsy shop) - but please avoid a pure sales pitch in your image, blog post or album descriptions (see below). Remember, this site is mostly frequented by artists who are looking for ideas, inspiration, and connection with other artists, rather than people who wish to purchase art.

Improper behavior:

Spamming can include:

  • Sending messages (bulk and/or individual) with the sole purpose of inviting people to look at your art, your website, your online store, to follow you on Twitter, "like" you on Facebook, join your Facebook group, etc.
  • Posting these types of spam messages on other members' profiles, albums, or artwork.
  • Forum posts that involve self-promotional language or advertising (unless they are posted in the "Strut Your Stuff" Group).
  • For example: "Please look at my website to see my paintings for sale" or "Check out my online shop where I sell paintbrushes and other supplies"
  • Forum threads that are started for the sole purpose of advertising or self-promotion will be deleted, unless they are posted in the "Strut Your Stuff" Group.
  • An example of self-promotion would be starting a thread titled "Learn to Paint with Joe" with post content reading: "I'm Joe, visit my website for painting demos!"
  • Two examples of advertising would be starting threads to write: "Here are 10 of my recent paintings. Contact me for purchase info" or "I create custom canvases - check out my website."
  • Blog posts that contain advertising for courses, art supplies, or other goods or services will be either deleted without warning or edited by a moderator to remove the advertising content.

The Art Colony does not serve as a source of free advertising, with the exception of the "Strut Your Stuff" Group, which has its own set of rules that members must follow if they want to participate in that group. Those wishing to advertise their courses, art supplies or other goods or services elsewhere on the site may contact the site administrator to discuss advertising fees and options.

Acceptable behavior:

You can promote yourself as much as you want on your profile page, where can include links to your website(s), your blog(s), your other social networking accounts, your online shop(s), etc. You can list your upcoming exhibitions, competitions you are entering, etc.

If you upload artwork that is for sale, in the image description you may write something brief such as "This painting is for sale - contact me for details if interested" or provide a link to where the item may be purchased. Please avoid a lengthy sales pitch however, because that type of language doesn't fit with the spirit of this site, which is mainly for sharing ideas and inspiration rather than seeking sales.

You are encouraged to share your art and art achievements (such as features in newspapers, an award you just won, etc) - just avoid salesy talk. Use your best discretion.

The "Strut Your Stuff" Group is the only place on The Art Colony, aside from your profile page, where you are invited to post about your new art for sale and/or other types of self-promotion. Please read the "Strut Your Stuff" Group Rules before participating.

If you have any questions about what is or isn't spam, contact a moderator.

What to do if someone sends you spam or posts spam on your profile, album or artwork:

Contact a moderator or post on the Site Help forum, providing as much detail as possible, including the member's name and how they spammed you.

Delete the spam from your inbox, profile, album or artwork.

D. Conflict Resolution

If members find themselves involved in a conflict, they are advised to work it out between themselves, bearing in mind that words and intentions can be easily misunderstood over the Internet. The moderators do not mediate disputes because it is often too difficult, time-consuming and confusing for a third party to figure out what has caused the problem.

If you find yourself involved in a conflict that cannot resolve peacefully, you are advised to discontinue communication with the other member. If they are on your friend's list and you've been communicating privately, tell them that you no longer wish to communicate with them and that you are blocking them from sending further messages. Then go to their profile page and click "Block messages", which appears in the upper left of their profile page, underneath their profile pic. Do your best to ignore the person if you see them posting elsewhere on the site.

If the conflict happens in a public location, such as in the forums, a blog post, etc, then the moderators will encourage the members to either work out their differences in private, or risk receiving a warning for causing drama. If there is a member who is clearly at fault for causing the conflict, that member will receive a warning and/or face removal. Moderators reserve the right to remove any argumentative content that appears in a public location if they feel it does not serve any useful purpose. Likewise, if any argument appears in the comment section underneath a member's artwork, or in the comment section of a member's blog post, etc, that member can request that a moderator remove the argumentative content.

If a member approaches the moderators about a conflict they are experiencing with another member, the moderators will reply that they have made note of the situation and will discuss the matter privately in Moderator Central. For privacy reasons, the moderators will typically not go into detail about what, if any, action will be taken with regards to the other member.

E. In the Event of Guideline Violations:

Part 1: Low Tolerance Policy

The Art Colony is run by a team of dedicated volunteers who spend time on the site every day approving pending applicants, assisting members, and helping to keep the community safe and pleasant for all members, as well as taking care of other moderating duties. None of the moderators are paid for the time they spend on The Art Colony, but they do it because they love the idea of this community and connecting with other artists in a fun, friendly environment. Some of the moderators have full-time jobs and/or families, and all of the moderators have other responsibilities outside of The Art Colony.

For these reasons, The Art Colony has a low tolerance policy towards members who cause problems in any form by breaking any of these Member Guidelines. It takes a lot of time and energy to deal with members who cause problems, when there are much more productive and meaningful things that the moderators could be doing instead. Life is short and time is precious, so the easiest solution for dealing with problem members is to remove them from the site.

Here at The Art Colony, we've so far been blessed with an amazing bunch of well-behaved people, most of whom instinctively understand how to treat one another with courtesy and respect. For those members, these guidelines will come as common sense.

Out of all the members on The Art Colony, only 0.0007% have ever been removed from the site. This number shows that the moderators do not remove members from The Art Colony willy-nilly (that is, without due cause). If someone is removed from The Art Colony, it means there is a good reason (or reasons) and a lot of thought has been given to the matter.

Out of all the members on The Art Colony, only 0.001% have ever been involved in any type of conflict on The Art Colony that has required moderator intervention or oversight. That means that 99.999% of our members instinctively know how to get along with others online and never require assistance from the moderators in resolving conflicts or understanding the rules of proper behavior.

These numbers show that our community is very peaceful and well-behaved on the whole, and members who cause problems stick out like a sore thumb. The following section describes what happens to those 0.0007% - 0.001% who cause problems:

Part 2: Warnings and Account Termination

The Art Colony strives to provide a useful service to its members in a harmonious online environment. Membership in The Art Colony is free and is therefore a privilege, and not a right. To this end, The Art Colony reserves the right to suspend, delete or ban members who do not comply with the Member Guidelines or Terms of Service.

If a member is found to violate these site guidelines or terms of service, The Art Colony will typically issue one warning detailing why the member's behavior was inappropriate, along with a notice that the member's account will be terminated if he or she continues to behave inappropriately.

If that member violates site policies again, or refuses to communicate directly with a site administrator in a rational and respectful manner about any issues involving the member's behavior and/or actions on the site, his or her account will be terminated without warning.

  • Example 1: If a member receives a warning and responds by telling the moderator that she/he has "no right" to issue a warning or threaten removal, this is considered disrespectful to both the moderator and to the rules of The Art Colony, which apply equally to everyone. If this happens, the moderator(s) may at their discretion remove the member immediately from the site, because it is unacceptable for any member to imply or declare that the rules don't apply to them.
  • Example 2: If a member receives a warning and, instead of communicating directly with a moderator about it, posts a complaint in the forums or elsewhere, this is also considered disrespectful and the member may be removed for attempting to create "drama".

If the moderators deem that a member's actions warrant immediate removal from the site, The Art Colony also reserves the right to bypass the first warning and suspend and/or terminate a member account without any warning at all.

When a member is removed from The Art Colony, all of their content (artwork, discussions, profile page, etc) is removed as well.

If a moderator issues a warning or removes a member, the decision is final and is not open to discussion or debate.


Most of the following will come as common sense to the majority of our members, but due to the behavior of the 0.0007% who have had to be removed, we've added the following notes to further explain certain points of this guidelines relating to conduct, warnings and removals.

(1) If a member publicly creates drama, harasses another member, or behaves in any other inappropriate way (for example, in a forum, group or blog post, or in the comment section of a member's artwork or portfolio), then the moderators reserve the right to publicly post a warning in that location asking the member to stop. This lets the rest of the community know that the moderators are aware of the situation and are taking steps to eradicate the bad behavior.

Members should also realize that any conversation that occurs in a public location on The Art Colony is not considered a "private" conversation between those involved, because everybody can read it. Therefore the moderators reserve the right to step into a public conversation to issue warnings when needed.

(2) The moderators reserve the right to delete - at any time - posts or threads that contain harassment, bullying, obscenity, spam, etc.

(3) These rules of conduct apply equally to everyone, and no exceptions will be made for those who claim not to understand the rules due to mental illness, social learning difficulties, language barriers, age or any other excuse. Likewise no exceptions will be made for those who claim not to understand "how" their behavior is against the rules, or claim that they "had good intentions" or that the moderators are "wrong" in their interpretation of events, because the moderators don't pass out warnings frivolously - warnings are only issued when there is a clear violation of any of these guidelines.

If a warning needs to be given, the moderators will explain the reason for the warning, but they aren't required to engage in a lengthy dialogue if the member doesn't understand the reason for the warning, because we feel that these guidelines are quite simple to understand. If the member who received the warning doesn't understand the difference between good and bad behavior, then that member doesn't belong in an online community. Good behavior is simply common sense!

(4) The Art Colony is under no obligation to allow a member to stay if they break some of these guidelines but otherwise exhibit good behavior. For example, it is not acceptable for a member to harass another member and expect to get away with it, just because he or she has been helpful towards other members. Likewise, it's not acceptable for a member to act in a passive-aggressive manner, for example by both insulting and praising another member with the assumption that one act cancels out the other.

(6) If a member is rude to a moderator, it counts just as if the member was rude to any other normal member. A member can't act rude towards a moderator and expect to "get away with it" just because they disagree with the moderator, or for any other reason. If disagreement arises, the parties involved must express their opinions and viewpoints in a respectful manner. Arguing with a moderator is the same as arguing with any other member, which means it can be considered "harassment" and depending on the circumstances, may be grounds for immediate removal.

(7) It's not acceptable for a member to assume that they have a "right" to be a member of The Art Colony even if they break the rules. As mentioned earlier, membership in The Art Colony is a privilege that can be revoked, and not a right.The Art Colony is a privately-owned community with a set of rules designed to make the site safe and welcoming to all members. Being a member of The Art Colony is like being a guest in someone's home - you follow their rules and conduct yourself accordingly, and if you can't do that then it's time for you to leave. We acknowledge that members may form strong friendships on this site and may therefore feel that it is unfair if they are removed for violating the rules - however, these rules are here for a good reason and if a member doesn't understand that, then they don't belong on an online community.

(8) If a member is removed from the site and other members publicly discuss the incident, the moderators reserve the right to edit the discussion to remove the member's name, as it is unfair to the member's reputation to have a public discussion about his/her removal.

The moderators may at their discretion privately contact members who are publicly speculating about the whereabouts of a removed member, to inform them that the member was removed for violating the Member Guidelines, but no further details will be given.

(9) If a member is removed or suspended from the community and reapplies using a different identity, the moderators reserve the right to terminate that member's new account without warning.

(10) Members should understand that they aren't privy to what's involved behind the scenes in running an online community like The Art Colony, and that the moderators have good reason for the policies and procedures outlined in these Member Guidelines. The Member Guidelines are not open to debate. If a member disagrees with any of these guidelines, or disagrees with any of the moderators over these policies, the member is welcome to leave The Art Colony by visiting his/her Settings page, and clicking "Leave The Art Colony".

Forum Guidelines

Before you post in the forums, please click here to read the forum guidelines.

F. Reporting Guideline Violations

If you feel there is a member who is violating any of these guidelines, please click here to let the moderators know so that they can investigate. Please use as much detail as you can to explain the issue.

The moderators will discuss the information you provide in Moderator Central but for privacy reasons, they may opt not to tell you what, if any, action will be taken with regards to other member.

In general, please be patient if you have contacted someone (whether a member or a moderator) and are awaiting a response. There may be a number of reasons why a member or a moderator is unable to respond right away. Moderators will try to respond within 24-48 hours of your inquiry, however, since moderating is a volunteer position and unexpected circumstances may arise, it may take longer to receive a response, depending on the nature of your inquiry.

G. Have fun!

Thanks for reading these Member Guidelines. Welcome to the Art Colony!

Last updated by Thaneeya McArdle Nov 2, 2014.


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