Sorry for the absence. Was tired.
Interesting idea. First of all, I think that in order to properly criticize something, you should be familiar with it. If you read something and love or hate it, then your reaction is based on your own experience. But if you love or hate something you haven't read/seen/heard, then you're speaking from ignorance.
But then there is a second level; those who haven't experienced it firsthand, but have heard about it from reliable sources can make an informed decision as to whether they want to experience it themselves, but who aren't qualified to express their own opinion about the quality of the work itself.
Hmh...I don't fully agree. First because some things can be criticized based on their concept alone, and other things can still be criticized even if you didn't watch/read/play/etc through all of it. You read a fragment of it, or hear about it from a reliable source, and you can emit an opinion on that fragment and on the whole story for having that part. Yes, you may not have the bigger picture, but depending on the criticism being emitted
, this can be enough. My point is, one can't determine that every piece of criticism coming from someone that didn't experience the work is hogwash, but experiencing the work definitely improves the criticism. (note: this last part doesn't apply to paedo-filth and such)
Nice that you brought up this issue, though, because as it was mentioned in the following posts, there is a clear and interesting contradiction that appears in some people: "You can't criticize something you didn't experience"
and "if you don't like it then why are you reading/playing/watching it?"
. It's rather fun to note that someone that uses both of these mutually exclusive phrases just doesn't want anyone to dislike the work in question, and believing only in the second phrase doesn't make sense; criticism would not exist at all or it would have to come from people who didn't experience the work. As for the phrase applying to serial works, It depends. Sometimes people can follow a work and continuously complain about something because they like other things about the story, so they would prefer that to be changed rather than abandoning. Also sometimes even a Hatedom
can have good points.
Nothing but positive feed-back is as damaging as nothing but negative.
Yes, and I would go even further and say that nothing but negative criticism is much more useful than nothing but positive. All positive criticism is nearly useless because it comes off as mere adulation (could maybe make the author feel better, but hardly make him improve the work); while a very caustic criticism, even if you don't take it at face value (you should not) can show what were the things that disgusted the person who made that review, and this can be an interesting thing to reflect about. Is there some truth in what the complainer said? Did he overreact or not? Was it just because of a personal preference of his, and do I really want to cater to people with such opinions?
The problem with caustic criticism is that it can turn into a verbal beatdown for the author and/or fans, which disrupts discussions and is not civil at all. Not all harsh criticism is a verbal attack, though.
Most important part of the post because it applies to these very forums, and I would like mods to notice it:
On the fora, however, which are much easier to keep under control, I don't think there has been any disagreement that criticism is entirely okay. I spend a lot of time on the Glee thread, for example, and we do almost nothing but complain about our favourite show.
I agree completely about this part. I would even go further and say that arguments in our forums are started more often by people who can't receive criticism than by the complainer. The problem lies in that some people then believe that the criticism was the trigger of the argument, when the problem was that someone else was not willing to refute it in a civil way and thus used Ad Hominems or just told the complainer to shut up. I think there isn't any logical reason for the No Negativity rule in the forums, which includes the rule against "complaint threads".
Criticism even makes the threads healthier, as is the case with the A Song of Ice and Fire
thread, for example. There is a poster there, ginger, who dislikes a lot of things about the books, and to add (supposedly) insult to injury, he has a lot of unpopular opinions about characters, and he's very vocal about it. Most would believe that the thread sunk in a terrible Flame War
, but it was not the case. Each time ginger appears on that thread, the number of posts go through the roof, discussing the parts that he's reading at the moment, etc. and when he's not there, people speculate about what his reaction to future events will be.
Also I think that the most interesting discussions I saw here were debates caused by someone criticizing something.
Edit: added some parts and fixed typos.
edited 29th May '12 5:31:43 PM by Anfauglith