A good critic uses as much force describing what something is, as well as what it isn’t. Good criticism of a work or any effort and attempts in development serves one intention: to give the initiator of the work more points of view and be of assistance to them in creating their next set of options.
Bad criticism utilizes the prospective presented by someone else’s work to make the critic feel intelligent, greater or better about themselves, things that have nothing to do with helping the receiver of the critique. Given the difficultly of creative work, it would seem that giving and receiving useful feedback should be a significant part of what writers, designers, developers and others are educated to do. The idea of objective measures runs in opposition to all we know about the history of man made things. To objectively evaluate how excellent and terrible anything is would require not only that the world is objective, but that the inhabitants in it are objective. There is no book, website, etc. that is universally be fond of by everyone. Some people may be more educated or well-informed than others, but this doesn’t make their opinions objective.
To evaluate how excellent or terrible something is involves understanding about the intent of what the thing is trying to do. If you show me a chicken recipe that you’ve made, and I criticize it for not tasting like an ice cream, there’s an inequality of intention in what we’re trying to gauge and evaluate. Unless the intention of the work is clear to everyone “I want to bake a cake”, good criticism is unattainable. There are a never-ending number of intentions and objectives in the universe, and if two people can’t have the same opinion on what the creators’ intentions are, real communication is impossible. It might be fair to say that the intentions of a work should be obvious in the work itself: A television should look vaguely like something that is used to broadcast programs for entertainment, information, and education. But in the case where the intentions aren’t clear, critics have a choice: they can trust the creator and invest more energy trying to sort out what the intentions are, or they can believe the most terrible about those intentions and begin criticizing what they don’t understand.
Respect and Mockery don’t mix well. To offer good criticism must be an act of respect: an act of communication with the goal of helping the other person do better work, or understand their work better. If you are determining sentences and comments to be mean or sarcastic, the intention of being helpful is unlikely to be served. It’s completely doable to offer criticism, commentary and advice without any negative energy attached: it’s just so uncommon that we see it done properly that most of us don’t realize it’s doable, much less more useful.
Discovering a convincing criticism doesn’t mean that it can be fixed or is worth fixing. In various circumstances, responding to one type of criticism will just make the work exposed to another type of criticism. A law that is firm and threatening could be made in opposite of it, but then another critic could say “it wasn’t solid and effective enough”. And in some cases, fixing a particular problem will cause other problems that are worse. Until the creator investigates the choices offered by feedback, it’s impossible to know whether responding to a piece of criticism is possible, much less likable.
Criticizing and giving feedback should be a considerate activity. If you’re offhand, arrogant, unconcerned, and rude or irritated while giving feedback, you’re probably making one of the suppositions mentioned above and not giving very good criticism.
I’m not saying that finding or pointing out an error or mistake isn’t useful. On the contrary, it’s very important. It’s just that of equal importance in understanding the value of a design, script, instructions, law, etc. is to know what isn’t wrecked, or God forbid, what’s actually done brilliantly. What you want to do when you are offering criticism is to live up with careful judgment and evaluation.
Before you speak, comment, react please find out first the intentions. If you don’t know the intention of the work it’s very difficult to offer careful evaluation and judgment. If I don’t know what the creator is trying to achieve, how can I possibly offer any commentary that’s of value? Now it should be the creators obligation to inform me of what they’re trying to do, or tell me that they think it should be obvious in the work, but if they don’t there’s not much hurt in me asking “What are you trying to achieve here?”, and it will save everyone much effort and anguish. If the problem is at the intensity of intention, conversation will follow at that intensity instead of attempting (and failing) to sort out intentions at the intensity of precise design alternatives.
Please break the idea that anything you like is good, and anything you don’t is bad. If you can’t separate your personal preferences from more conceptual analysis of a kind of work or idea then you will hardly ever provide much useful feedback: criticism is not about you. It’s about the work you are viewing and the person that made it. Your personal preferences only get in the way of providing the work with useful information. Learn to see the good and respectable attributes in work you do not like: they are there if you let yourself see them.
Now, when receiving a criticism, remember that the sooner you hear a question or criticism of something you’ve created, the greater your ability to do something about it before it’s finished. Make it your obligation to find out what opinions there are of what you’re doing well before it happens. Give yourself the opportunity to benefit early from others’ perspective and think things through. But do know how much feedback you can handle: you don’t want your work driven by other people’s opinions, but you do want to give yourself the chance to benefit from them.
Neldy is a Wife, Mother, Writer and an Entrepreneur. She started this blog on August 2016 because she enjoys writing her thoughts, researching a lot of things, and meeting interesting and inspiring people.
She is working on a magazine blog entitled WhichCraft. Its main mission is to inspire all people to love their craft, and pursue what they love to do. The site’s aim is to amplify the voices of the people who love their craft, spreading inspiration and positivity around the world.
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