Created By: FallenLegend on January 12, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on November 24, 2015

Understanding And Dealing With Criticism

A guide to help people understand and deal with criticism

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Trope

I dunno the section this will be So You Want To ?. But is safe to say it isn't a trope or and idiom

Work in progress

Feedback is more than welcome :)

"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds."
The ratio of critics to creators is something like 10, 000:1. The ratio of good critics to bad: 1:10, 000, where "good" means "Helps to advance the art.

Everyone has an opinion. But nor everyone's opinion is worth it.

Every person has incredible ideas inside them that need to be expressed and due to the diversity every possible opinion will be held by at least one person. Sometimes even something as simple like "chocolate" will raise opinions, as you may have already discovered. Some people will hate chocolate, some people will hate it, some will eat it with moderation and of course some people will love it but maybe only for it's smell.

As you can see every subject will raise and opinion. Even when two people see exactly the same thing, they will perceive a very different thing. What for someone is Glass Half Full for another one it is a Glass Half Empty. Despite the number of opinions there is always only one objective truth. In this case that truth is is that the glass has water. Opinions are only true for the people that is giving them.

A big problem with criticism is that opinions get confused with facts. For example let's suppose that you hate a particular tv show

To be continued

Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • January 13, 2012
    TheHandle
    There is a specific brand of destructive criticism that an author should be wary of. Some readers will profess to offer "genuine criticism", in the form of some very unhelpful, very insulting and aggressive material. Occasionally, they may make a disproportionately small amount of good points. This, according to them, would redeems the whole thing. They will expect and encourage their targets to wade through much harmful, hurtful and often fallacious nonsense in search of that nugget of truth. It's not a very courteous thing to do, when making your point quickly, concisely, precisely and politely is just as efficient, and may indeed take less effort! But some would say that would not be as entertaining...

    If you take their advice that you need their criticism, and actually read it, they will deny any responsibility in hurting or offending you. According to them, any offense is self-inflicted, since you chose to read that of your own free will.

    If you choose to ignore their advice because it conflicts with your values, principles, and policy, you will be accused of being willfully bad. If you choose to follow it, you will be accused of a lack of artistic integrity, and of being too easy to sway.

    This is, in fact, the most predictable modus operandi for someone who isn't actually interested in helping others improve their work, only in pushing themselves up (and entertaining an audience) by taking others down a peg. One could call this "intellectual bullying". It is very common on the internet. So Stay Frosty, children. And now you know!
  • January 13, 2012
    SKJAM
    Let's try something a little less hostile, shall we?

    • Everyone has their own life experiences that influence how they react to stories they read, see or hear. Sometimes this is technical expertise that the writer may not have, so they can spot anomalies in subjects the author only knows through research. Other times, it may be a more emotional, subjective experience that gives them a different perspective. Taking this into account makes the writer more capable of taking criticism graciously--and every so often, the new perspective is worth examining in the story.
  • January 14, 2012
    TheHandle
    ^Okay, how about now?
  • January 14, 2012
    SKJAM
    Yep, much clearer and helpful.
  • January 14, 2012
    CharacterInWhite
    Generally speaking, "constructive" criticism follows a formula of "X in this work is good, but Y could be done better." The suggestion for improvement is usually (though not always) paired with a compliment towards something the critic thought was done well. This formula makes the creators of the work a bit more receptive to the input, especially if the critic can properly articulate the aspect of the work that has caught their attention. When properly done, constructive criticism can be very encouraging as it communicates existing aptitude paired with a goal for the future. When improperly done, it's a thinly disguised insult and it's less likely to "work" in terms of the creator changing their ways.

    Of course, the best thing a creator needs to remember is that no matter what you do somebody will hate your work, and somebody will love it.
  • January 15, 2012
    SKJAM
    Another important thing to remember is that formal training in literary (and related fields) criticism is rare. Most of the people critiquing your creative work are enthusiastic amateurs at best--and thus will often be clumsy in their criticism, or miss the point, or insult you when they meant to be encouraging.

    Note that if large portions of your commentators consistently miss your point, and especially if a majority do, this is often a sign that you need to make things clearer in the text.
  • January 15, 2012
    chihuahua0
    This blog post has some good information on identifying and dealing with unconstructive criticism.

    You should talk about: why there's criticism, identifying good and bad criticism, how to find it, and how to deal with it and apply it.
  • January 20, 2012
    TheHandle
    Spoilered because I'm not sure it's on topic. Additionally, there's some works that are "subtle" in the "opposite-of-Anvilicious" way: the problem when an author refuses to come out and say what they think lets the less savvy readers draw their own conclusions, often drastically missing the point. This is especially bad when the work contains characters that are very opinionated about their own points of view and shown to be "cool": some readers will automatically understand the author endorses the views of the "cooler" character, or even that it is in fact an Author Avatar performing an Author Filibuster in an Author Tract. Code Geass and Methods Of Rationality get this a lot, for example.

    Tropers in particular get a lot of flak from certain people for erring on the side of caution when it comes to criticism, sometimes preferring not to criticize at all rather than clearly express how much they dislike a work (or some aspects thereof) and why. While I personally find caustic Sue-Sylvester-brand criticism to be merely an excuse for bullying, I think taking something stupid and doing the exact opposite isn't necessarily smart.

    Therefore, I would suggest that we not only give pointers on how to take criticism, but also how to dish it. Too often have I avoided reading a friend's work for fear of giving unhelpful, worthless or even harmful criticism. I'd like to undertake this task without fear or apprehension, so some advice would be welcome.

    ^ For instance, the article you linked to links to this and this, which are awesome.
  • January 20, 2012
    SKJAM
    • Be aware that if you have not mastered the spelling and grammar of the language you are writing in, it will be this above all else that commenters will focus on to the exclusion of all other aspects of the work. Therefore, if you want constructive criticism on anything other than spelling or grammar, you will need to fix those before publication.
  • January 21, 2012
    Arivne
    This might be good as a Useful Notes page.
  • January 21, 2012
    TheHandle
  • April 28, 2013
    Noah1
  • April 29, 2013
    TheHandle
    This thing is OLD
  • November 24, 2015
    Noah1
    Yet another YKTTW Bump (seriously, this is important)
  • November 24, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    Now we have a page for Constructive Criticism, though this could be seen as a sister page.
  • November 24, 2015
    Koveras
    SoYouWantTo.Deal With Criticism? I'd hat that. We have non-genre/non-trope entries on that index in the meantime, like SoYouWantTo.Be Original.
  • November 24, 2015
    Folamh3
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=y42vekfs69vbckyr5ttmlfvb