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Friday, May 27, 2011

on criticism and critique

On Sunday evenings I often attend a twitter chat called #blogchat. One regular topic is blog review. Bloggers will submit their blogs for review along with either questions for the group or insights into their vision/mission of their blogs.

As with all critiques (especially online ones), these can turn personal and even mean-spirited. However, given the nature of text based virtual communication and the brevity of twitter posts, I do think the potential for misunderstanding is even greater as sometimes the negativity is unintentional.

In conversation with a few members of the group, it did make me think about critique. What is true in art is true in all other critiques. Critique is not just about criticism - the goal of a good critique is to HELP the person being critiqued. It is not to demean them or discourage them. Unfortunately, many see critique as the chance to be a "critic" - a chance to slam someone and be very mean, under the umbrella of critique.

A good critique:
  • Gives the receiver of the critique insight into how people understand and interpret your work (think of it as UX - user experience - and usability)
  • provides thoughtful feedback - bad or good are irrelevant words in a critique
  • identifies problems and questions
  • suggests solutions and address questions or concerns from the person being critiqued
  • is not personal but focused on the work
  • provides the receiver of the critique a chance to address questions
  • is honest without being mean
  • focus on the positive BUT not avoid the negative
  • is subjective - everyone has a different opinion, life experience, and knowledge


Real Life Mad Man said...

Hi Robin,

Margie Clayman here - sorry it took me so long to get over here!

You make really good, really important points that are worth remembering in the online world. Criticism can be really helpful, but if not done effectively, it can also do great harm.

robin said...

thanks, appreciate your thoughts. ;-)