At the current time, work generally stands on its own for me: the creative act(and all human endeavor, really) is not something that stems fully from the mind, it also stems from the heart/emotion and other aspects of human ‘being’ which aren’t always corrupted by the same influences that corrupt a human ‘mind’ by itself(and it’s impossible for any one human to judge whether another human being was using their mind, their heart, their soul, and whether one or all of these parts were corrupt or not, and at what specific time it all happened… humans are too complex, and they change all the time: one could even say that every single person is an asshole at some point… some of us just get caught more easily).
Case in point: @ioflow performed a questionable act of censoring/deleting content here. @ioflow’s ‘work’ of moderation could call into question his entire character if that one single act or ‘work’ of moderation does not stand on its own: was it a harmless mistake? did he react too quickly and emotionally without thinking it through as to how you can’t keep things positive simply by censoring everything that may seem negative? if so, is this indicative of how his style of moderation shall go from now on? is he not capable of learning from the mistake?
actually, most forums would discipline the moderator who made such a mistake by taking away their privileges of moderation(at least the ability to ‘delete’ things); i doubt we will do that here on these forums… because we don’t judge the person by their work, nor the work by the person, and we respect everyone’s capacity for change and growth… if we didn’t behave this way, i wouldn’t be allowed to post here at all anymore considering all my trolling mischief on these forums
(<-hey! look at that, these forums have a middle_finger emoji… how ironic, too: a middle-finger stands on its own! )
This does NOT mean, however, that one couldn’t make more detailed and context-specific decisions about how to interact with any ‘work’:
a painting by a rapist might not gain much appreciation by me if the act of their rape is too present in my mind while witnessing the painting(even if the painting involved no rape itself)…
then again, there may have been rapists and murderers cheering in the audience applause i hear on Johnny Cash’s “At Folsom Prison (Live)” album, and by buying the album(many times over and over again in different formats over the course of my life), i have, to some extent, supported the idea that even those criminals in that prison deserve some form of respect and consideration(as this is what Johnny himself was implying by playing there for their benefit and entertainment in the first place).
The question itself, “Should the work stand on its own?” is actually kinda ‘meta’: i think there is no black-or-white/yes-or-no answer but whatever answer a person comes up with will both stand-on-its-own and be inseparable from the person answering the question. If I say a work stands on its own, it’s not like my mind will always see it that way. A work can stand on its own, just as an audience’s perceptions can stand on its own just for that one work, and then change later in response to a similar work in a similar context, because time inevitably ushers change in all forms, and allows nothing to stand on its own eventually
But, in my humble opinion, there can be no “should” to any question which involves such vast subjectivity as is involved in the perception of art.