From the "X" Files

My Discontented Dreams

O, woe is me. I'm a tad sad, and I think the Deep Dream Generator is the cause of it!

A representation of X's sadness with his recent creations at Deep Dream Generator (DDG).

"Dream of Discontent"

Isn't she a sad creature? Whatever happened to her to make her look and feel this way? How can we help her? What could we do to cheer her up again?

Since publishing "Dream of Discontent", I have found myself coming back to look at this image, scrutinizing it, and wondering why I decided to publish such a dreary, depressing dream? Also, why would I even write a prompt that would generate such an image? It was a bit of a mystery to me.

Sure, my images are usually 'bizarre', and are often even on the 'dark side' of things, but this picture was different. It was downright SAD, and sad isn't an emotion that I tend to eXplore often in my artwork. Why was this image so appealing to me?

At first I thought that it was the weather. Such a SAD image could be the result from me suffering from S.A.D., (Seasonal Affective Disorder). As I type this, it's December here on Vancouver Island, and our winters are always overcast and wet and dreary. Yeah, that's probably the reason!

But today, after looking at it yet again, and pondering the title I gave to it, it suddenly dawned on me why this image and its name speaks to me in the way that they do. My artwork tends to be a refleXtion of my feelings, and apparently I'm a tad sad!

I've come to realize that it's not just the gloomy weather that's been bringing me down. It's also the lack of proper eXposure my artwork is getting at Deep Dreams these days that's doing it to me!

Yeah, yeah, I know. I've been bitching and complaining about the popularity algorithm at DDG for months now, and a fat lot of good it's done for me! But seeing this sad image of mine, and finally realizing WHY it's so sad, has made me come back to the topic yet again, hopefully for the very last time.

Ever since the popularity algorithm at Deep Dreams was changed to reward pictures for their Inspiration Points, my published artwork there has taken a serious beating. The algorithm doesn't really care how many likes a picture gets anymore, but instead rewards it for how many TRY IT clicks it gets.

My pictures always start out great, getting 20-40 likes in the first hour after being published, but as time goes on and they receive no Inspiration Points, the algorithm pushes them further down on the trending pages. And when I say down, I mean DOWN!

For instance, this picture, "Dream of Discontent", at one point had over 100 likes and should have been on the front page with other similarly liked images, but it wasn't. When I went hunting for it, I found it near the bottom of the trending pages. The image above it had only 14 likes, the image below it had 13 likes. It was getting practically ZERO eXposure at DDG, and you sure can't get more likes that way.

To begin with, I was frustrated about the new inspiration points algorithm at Deep Dreams. Then I went through a stage of being downright pissed-off about it. But now, apparently, I'm just sad and depressed about it. I'm at the point where I don't know what else to do, other than to write yet another blog post where I can bitch and complain to anyone interested enough to read about it!

When I tested the BETA Version 3, I sent DDG my comments about it, and on the bottom of my letter to them I told them about my concerns with the like algorithm. When they wrote me back they answered my concerns with the following:

"Interestingly enough the previous email I've answered suggested increasing the weight of inspiration points in our Trending algorithm. However, we recognize that some users invest significant time in crafting their prompts and prefer not to share them. Our aim is to respect their choice while still acknowledging those who contribute their prompts to the community.

Balancing the algorithm is challenging. Relying solely on 'likes' for quality assessment leads to unsatisfactory results. Likes are free to give, resulting in a cycle where users indiscriminately like content to receive likes in return, which can elevate mediocre images to the top. To counter this, we incorporated inspirations into the algorithm. Inspirations require more effort from users, meaning they're more likely to be given for genuinely appreciated content.

We're considering future changes, like introducing a limited daily allowance of 'Stars' for users to award to their favorite dreams, providing a more meaningful measure of appreciation.

Regarding dream display, while currently you can use Deep Style to avoid sharing prompts, we're introducing an option to hide prompts. This will be better and also it will show when you create with pure prompt.

We're committed to refining our algorithm, striving for the best balance between quality and user engagement."

Hmmmm. Frankly, I don't know what to think about this. Is there hope for me in the future? If so, how long into the future are we talking about before these changes are implemented? Do I keep creating and publishing at DDG, even though every time I do so I get frustrated, pissed-off, and depressed? It's a bit of a quandary.

If my artwork could obtain "stars" as well as "likes", maybe that would be a counter measure to the "try-its"? If I could publish my work in the same manner as everyone else does, but still hide my prompt, that would take care of my display issues when publishing with Deep Style. Hmmmm...

So maybe there's hope for me in the future, but it sure doesn't help me RIGHT NOW, and RIGHT NOW (in my opinion) the popularity algorithm at Deep Dreams is just broken and wrong, in so very many ways.

It leaves artists like me feeling overlooked, under appreciated, and yes, downright SAD. And when artists create artwork, these are not usually the feelings that they are generally going for.

There has been a great eXodus of artists at Deep Dreams these past few months, and I'd bet my last dollar that it's mainly because of the updated popularity algorithm and the Inspiration Points that now figure so prominently in it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...

If I, a HUGE FAN of Deep Dreams, is feeling this way, then certainly many others are as well. It's a serious issue at DDG that needs to be dealt with, and sooner rather than later.

DDG's community has already lost several amazing artists, and I imagine it will continue to do so until this issue has finally been resolved. Maybe some of these artists would come back afterward, but somehow I doubt it. I imagine they have really moved on, and have become members of other AI communities by now.

OK, so I guess that's it for today's blog post. Even I am sick of listening to myself complain about this! I'm going to try and leave this subject on the back burner for a while, as just discussing it also depresses me.

I'm sure I'll keep publishing at DDG, as apparently I'm some sort of sucker for punishment, but I doubt it will be with the frequency that I was doing so with in the past. Sorry, I just can't handle THAT MUCH punishment!

Now I guess I'll go look outside at the foggy, wet, grey day. I'll see if that cheers me up some, (sigh). Oh, I know, maybe I could drink copious amounts of alcohol and see if that helps! (That was my attempt at some humour)

ThanX for reading, and I hope you have a happy X-mas season : )


December 16th, 2023