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White Knights and Why They're Harmful

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 2:34 PM
This is quite a huge/concerning topic, and I know that not all deviants share the same point of view, and I respect that. I'm sure that there are many other journals touching upon this subject, but because I personally have had very bad experiences with it, I want to inform my watchers about it myself! Hope it helps some.


White Knighting

So, for the past year or so I've noticed that some people saying that they specifically dislike  a lot of "popular" dA artists due to the overprotective behavior of their watchers.

I personally find it very sad that people are turned off by my artwork simply because they associate my username with "[my] white knights".

There's no way I can possibly control what my fanbase does or says, and this can lead to some very awkward situations and conflicts on my end.

Don't get me wrong...I love each and every one of my watchers, in fact without you guys my artistic life would be incredibly more lackluster. I'm sure many other people feel this way too. But there is no denying that some watchers can take things too far when it comes to "defending" their favorite artists against thieves, trolls, and tracers.

I've seen some very nasty things said to others due to alleged tracing/stealing/trolling. Name-calling, offensive/vulgar slang, and even death threats are tossed around like it's nothing...and that just isn't right.

Is art theft bad? Yes, of course it is.
Trust me, It sucks having your artwork stolen all the time, not to mention it is copyright infringement.
Having your work traced?
Even though it's acceptable by dA standards, I personally find it very distasteful to use someone else's art to selfishly pursue your own gain.
And trolling?
Definitely annoying, but let's face it, anyone who trolls usually has some sort of superiority/insecurity issues anyways, so not much to get upset over.

But guess what?
The only person who should be seriously dealing with these situations are the artists themselves -- there is no need to lash out at thieves/trolls/tracers on behalf of the artist that you idolize.

 In fact, trying to take on the role of a "savior"usually only makes the situation worse.

When a bunch of "rabid fans" mindlessly defend their idol without a second thought, not only does it makes the white knights look foolish, but also the original artist themselves. In fact, this is a surefire way to damage your favorite artists' reputations. And I'm sure that's the LAST thing you'd want to do, if you truly care about the artist!

 Now, when passerbys see the artists' name come up, they'll think "Oh, so-and-so, isn't that the guy with the crazy, bloodthirsty fans? Yeahh, I'm staying away from them."
It makes others afraid of interacting with the original artist out of fear that they'll be somehow attacked by the white knights.

"You are who you surround yourself with", as they say.

Also, by trying to take a situation into your OWN hands instead of simply letting the original artist know privately, you are disrespecting the original artist by not letting them have a say in the matter and trying to act on their behalf. Artists can handle themselves; they don't need their own personal armies to come to their rescue over small things! :nod:

You are not doing anyone a favor by acting hatefully!


Also, please don't get "white knighting" confused with those who calmly correct misinformed statements about an artist, or those who warn an art thief that it is against dA's rules to repost artwork without the original artist's permission.

For example, this is not white-knighting:
Person: "Omg liek I heard Billy is such a terrible person, they turned down some guy's commission cuz they thought the character wuz ugly!!!1 wow what a self centered asshole!"

One of Billy's watchers, in reply to Person: "Hey there! Actually, Billy did not accept that person's commission because the character they wanted drawn had a lot of neon colors in it. Billy speicfically wrote in their Terms of Service that they do not accept neon characters, that's all!"

But this IS white knighting:

Person: "Omg liek I heard Billy is such a terrible person, they turned down some guy's commission cuz they thought the character wuz ugly!!!1 wow what a self centered asshole!"


See how foolish the BOTH of those people look now? Don't put yourself on the same level of the hater. ;)


If you are ever feeling harassed or bullied by a "white knight", I would recommend ignoring and  blocking the user, and maybe even report them depending on how serious it gets.
I have had to report several malicious users on my page in the past, and have had positive experiences with the staff in dealing with them.
Cyberbullying is not tolerated as lightly as it was a couple of years ago.

Depending on your level of comfort/familiarity with the original artist, you could let them know about the harassment as well.
Perhaps they can speak privately to the white knight and ask them kindly to stop.

Also, if your artwork is ever directly stolen, there is a VERY easy way to get it removed.
Simply file a DMCA complaint to dA.
If you can prove it's your original work, the staff will have the theft's taken down within a couple of days.It also often results in the thief being banned from dA, which is a bonus!
No army of white knights necessary :)

And just remember:

"Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding."

- Mahatma Gandhi

la-chess: la-white-knight la-chess: la-white-knight la-chess: la-white-knight 

Add a Comment:
LoneWisp Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They don't listen. 
Even though my evidence is HUGE. They are still being horrible to me. 
xXTuff-PegasisterXx Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know right? They are very harmful. I'm dealing with one right now, infact. Apparently, this one likes to spam comments.
MR-DEWiiTT Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
I'll remember this if I get popular among others and if I'm targeted for an opinion.
G4M3RTHYST Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG!!! Finally, someone who knows something about what white knights are and what happens to them online.

I can agree... White knights might harmful toward people if not careful.
TheLordFelix Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Finally someone says something omg
it has always bothered me when watchers lash out in awful ways it makes me sick.
Azurewhiterose Featured By Owner Edited Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I agree white knights are harmful.I mean what do people get out defending someone on the Internet?It's so stupid I can't stand white knights.I once wrote a crit..I am not gonna name any names but the artist overreacted to it.. She acted like she wasn't upset but she clearly was..Her girlfriend white knighted against me over a simple suggestion..

No matter what I did I couldn't get through to them so I just gave up.They clearly couldn't take criticism.I wish she had that listed on her front page or somewhere then I wouldn't have gave her one..All I recommended was for her to study anatomy..She didn't have to flip out and say I was rude for giving suggestions.That's no reason to get bent out of shape.People have to realize that they can't please everyone.I have no respect for artists like that.

She could have just said that she didn't want it rather then going over the top like that.I wanted to help and I love giving suggestions for an artist to improve..There isn't many I've seen who can take criticism very well at all.I don't know how anyone can improve if they hide their art behind a bunch of lies and think it's perfect when it's far from it.

 If they don't judge it themselves, just shy away from criticism and thinking that it's perfect then they will never get better..That is very damaging for an artist's growth.The sad part was that the artist I am talking about was selling their work..That was very concerning and since I been watching her for awhile I had to say something..Her art wasn't improving anymore...I was just worried I really wanted to see her improve.Like they say you gotta know the rules before you break them..When it comes to learning basics I mean.. No one can simplify things right without knowing how it works.

I don't give much criticism nowadays because I am afraid the artist might flip out if they don't say they take criticism or not..This is just one of the stupidest things to white knight over..I will never understand that.They may think they're defending the artist but they don't realize how foolish they're being.. An artist who wants to sell their work and wants to be a professional but can't take criticism does not have my respect..It would be different if it was just a hobby.Just my two cents.
LadyMalvoliosander Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015
While I haven't seen anything like this myself I totally agree with your opinion about critique. It drives me mad when people ask for critique on stuff that was obviously a five-minute scribble then allow others to send them spammy critique full of 'OMG best charrie everrrrrr!!!!!!!!! LOLZ I LOVE IT JUST KIDDING AHAHAHAHA YOU 5 OR WAT!'' and yet everyone still rates it as 'fair'. Critique is all about improvement as you say.
Azurewhiterose Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I love crit but, I don't get it that often. I really love suggestions and hearing what people have to say. I only had a few good ones so far. Studying from reference, drawing a lot and even having someone to draw with helps a lot and makes it fun. Yeah, it's not something that often happens.

 I was surprised. Critique is for improvement not an ass kissing. Praise is nice to hear but, they don't give much crits here and it's like when someone does they flip out. It gets boring after awhile if I am not learning anything. :/ It's important for an artist to keep honing their skills.
Adam-Walker Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015   Writer
White Knights are NOT harmful. They're funny.
kirawo Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
not when they tell the targeted person to kill themselves- it can really have an effect sometimes, but they are pathetic, yes. ;;
Adam-Walker Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015   Writer
Yeah, sometimes they're harmful.
Azurewhiterose Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Student Digital Artist
LOL xD I guess they can be. They must have nothing better to do.
Adam-Walker Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015   Writer
It's funny how they're like "WHY YOU NO TAKE ME SERIOUSLY?????!!!!!!" but in text talk.
Azurewhiterose Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Student Digital Artist
:rofl: "y u no take me seriously? D:" Yeah, it's amusing. :iconisayindeedplz:
Adam-Walker Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015   Writer
I have a playlist of more examples of what white knights are also like.…
BluSilvrPaladin Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Good to know I'm not a white knight, and the term is just thrown at me when people don't like me backing up my friends' points of view. Thanks for this.
IluvWinxandRandyCunn Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That example actually made what was a so-called white knight apparently not one.
ryan1147 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I agree White Knights and White Knightery are the best and I will straight up murder anyone who says any different with a flaming metaphorical sword of some sort.
FluffyFluffBear Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I didnt know what a white knight was on DA so this is good to know for the future 
Thank you witchpaws~ <3
VixenDra Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
To me, the worst white knights are those who attack anyone who 'dares' to write an honest (and acceptable in terms of language - not everyone is a native, right?) comment which is not ass-licking... And which doesn't ignore the artist's official 'don't mention anything about this or that aspect/topic'. They behave like if they had full rights to speak and attack on behalf of the addressee:/
As for art theft, I don't mind black knights if nothing else works to prevent the thief from stealing arts(but I'd prefer they just notified me my artwork was stolen and mass-reported the user for constant stealing). In other cases, I wouldn't appreciate having these white knights doing nasty attacks behind my back. I know how much I hate mass attacks myself and how much it upsets me I can't even have a word to the artist or a whole army mass-harass me for that... Even worse if the artist joins the war instead of cooling it down:/ - seems it's mosty typical for furries and children or infantile adults as far as I noticed...
Pencil-Stencil Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
in other words, you don't want to be defended by a rude child who takes things personally and doesn't know how to politely correspond with someone they don't agree with, because their idiocy reflects on you :)
witchpaws Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   Digital Artist
Most people do not want a few crazies (children OR adults) trying to act on behalf of them in an abusive manner. :) Artists can handle themselves.
Pencil-Stencil Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
of course, but you can mostly experience this from children/teens on internet.
witchpaws Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   Digital Artist
I suppose that's why dA has an age requirement of at least 13 years and older :P
WindieDragon Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
While I agree with what you're saying, I have to share a time when I felt a public callout was a very necessary option. Years ago, before the ability to search by images was really a viable option, I came across somebody here who took large res images from all kinds of people on pixiv and uploaded them here as "free wallpapers". I took care to craft a, short, polite, and non accusatory comment explaining that it's against the rules here and they should remove it if they don't want to get banned. The person responded rudely and blocked me immediately. I wasn't familiar with the genre of art, but it was apparent that no two images had the same style, and they were all very well done. While it wasn't an actual journal, I did post a comment in a very visible place telling people to report this person and any images they recognized. I wasn't the only person to politely tell them the rules. He had blocked plenty of others before me, but it wasn't until that callout and the flurry of attention that he actually got the message.

On a related note, I've had several instances of drama and callouts directed at me from a psycho user (over me declining a Pokemon battle/trade with them) and I never posted a single public comment about it. (Well, until just now :lol:.)
RoadZero Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A public callout is okay until it's reasonable and isn't full of hate and unnecessary sarcastic bashing.
PrinceAlister Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Agreed and I never white knight, only stand up for what's right if I see wrong being done but I have been mistaken for a white knight in the past for correcting arguments or warning those that have broken the rules because I am friends with a couple popular artists and my watchers have been accused of white knighting also even though I've had people come o my page just to post rude commentary and I don't even know them or what  they are referring  to or talking about. However if my watchers see something happening on my page and say something that's not exactly something I can control though most of my friends and such are well behaved and don't threaten anyone. I find this journal useful to also help define what white knighting is and isn't since I have been accused of this along with a few of my watchers. I hope this spreads fast and people can read it so they can properly identify the differences~
IchigoMurasaki Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
And this is why some people in general hate using deviantART because, of "overly protected people" on the Internet. I want to get popular myself one day but, I don't want White Knights protecting me for no particular reason what-so ever. There really is no reason to bash on someone just because, the commissioner didn't like what he/she asked for it's not like we as people are "mind readers" and manipulate what they are thinking of correctly the first time.
TheseKrimzonFlames Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
Thank you for this.
AomiArmster Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
i wish i had more sense of using the blocking shenanigans back in the day, had i used it from the start, i could've avoided such intensive drama llama mayhem.  really weird when they come out of left field tho, even if the whole situation was valid and reasonable to begin with. no hope for a goon, i say.
303Rellymaster Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I'll definitely keep this in mind. Thanks for the information. :)
Tesvp Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014   Digital Artist
I've been seeing that a lot lately. I agree that it is wonderful there are online friends and fan-base to defend your artistic ownership. But yes, unfortunately... there are some pretty nasty occurrences. I have seen a lot of cussing, name bashing, and some white knights saying that the trouble-maker or disagree-er is basically a worthless waste of breath. Plus, that bit where they tell the person their art is poop compared to their favorite artist that they're defending.

I think it's best just to outline that reporting should only be done by links/screen shots.

I like to call it "White Knight Syndrome" it can be good and it can be bad but ultimately, it does color the artist. 
But no, you're not the only one whose thought about that xDD I thought about posting something similar myself.
IzzyMarrie Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Appreciate the good read.  Very informative, and honestly, I guess I never really read a whole bunch of some of the comments on the more popular artists in my watch list.  So I haven't seen way too much trolling or hate comments being handled by 'white knights', but I can see it happening.  So it's great you're politely letting people know why it's bad, and giving people a nudge in the right direction on how to handle things
Silver-Aeska Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
Wow, I've never heard of a White Knight before.
Thanks for raising awareness.
Felizias Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
These are some really good samples. :nod:
Thanks for posting this! (Why has this been all over DA lately again btw? :no:)
axynthic Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
ShaozChampion Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist
ah this is a interesting term, but sits well none the less.

Thanks for bring this to light ^^
Hagaluz Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
White knights are kinda annoying ; - ;
When someone had their art stolen or some other scenario,  I just leave it be, because im sure the original artist can deal with it... if they want. :iconmingplz:
Dancer40320 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Student Artist
I haven't heard this term before, however I did find out about it from damaimikaz. I've seen this happen before then, not often, but i've seen it happen before. This really shines some light on the topic.
SinCommonStitches Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Your totally right. Typically if I have the white knight issue (which I haven't I never TELL people about anything/ if they find something that is on them like you said.) I warn the person about it and link to my faq and say its a ban-able offense on my page. Just cause I don't have the time to deal with it? idk
LadyBeelze Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
heh xD i watch a very skilled artist, but whenever this person makes streams or stuff like that, i barely say something because this 'white knights' even talk by this artist.. no talking when an art thief steals something from it: they turn the thief into pieces DD8 i almost feel bad for them
Exovare Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, wow. Interesting metaphor there on the bottom. White knights in chess.
Kitsune0Jester Featured By Owner Edited Jul 28, 2014  Student
White Knights are the good defenders?  Guys, don't play fire with fire. It will end up in burning the whole earth in the end. Don't lash out in anger. Just instead, take a deep breath and put your reply in. That's it.
Thank you for making a journal about this issue. If we're going to defend someone, at least do a good job at it. And no, not by trolling. Just handle it over to the staff.
I thought White Knights were actually good. I need to do more research on this.
pomskies Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Student Filmographer
thanks for making a journal about this ! :D
its very good you addressed this issue
Nichrysalis Featured By Owner Edited Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
A white knight is the sane defender....

The overreacting defender would be more of a moralfag. Know your internet.
witchpaws Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014   Digital Artist
Well, it's SUPPOSED to mean a sane defender, but here on the good ol' interwebs, the meaning has been twisted to the exact opposite.

For instance, here's the Urban Dictionary definition of a white knight:
"White Knight
On an internet forum, a person who defends a member who is clearly wrong, usually with the hopes of gaining brownie points with said member. Often seen as negative behavior."

But on dA, just replace "a member who is clearly wrong" with "an idolized artist". :P
Petalierre Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've heard about this 'White Knighting' somewhere and I thought it was a good thing, but I'm glad I know the truth.
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Finally, some of the big artists around here start spreading awareness on this issue.
I hope this reaches more people on the site here and people start realizing how senseless this kind of behavior is, and how damaging this actually is for the artist they're trying to defend (ironically). It'll make DA a better place :)
witchpaws Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014   Digital Artist
Wow, I didn't even realize that you had written a journal on the exact same subject just a few days ago, what a coincidence!
I really hope so too :)
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