Couple of years or so I’ve been doing this blog. I’ve answered 10000s of comments here, and many more conversations elsewhere on other blogs.
So whilst I wouldn’t say I’ve seen everything, I’ve seen a lot of the social side of blogging.
In the main bloggers here on WordPress are the salt of the earth. I am, and continue to be overwhelmed by the positive communications and people I’ve had the privilege to interact with here. It’s a far superior place to be than Facebook et al, in my opinion. But I do accept people have their own personal preferences about where they like to “hang out” – each to their own.
ADD to that plenty of contrast with other real and virtual social networks. I’ve blogged recently about a young man who asked my advice about the pessimistic/sceptical people he worked with. My advice, be positive in you yourself, and play the game when required, but don’t make the pessimist/the sceptic – “WHO YOU ARE”.
New bloggers – New bloggers DO make a lot of mistakes. I know because I made some of them myself. Many of the mistakes are forgiveable I feel, provided there’s charm involved, and humility. Being able to admit we’re wrong, and not desperately needing to be right, are endearing qualities in most people’s eyes.
I’ve heard this phrase “Constructive Criticism” recently. What it seems to mean is having free reign to say what the fuck you feel like, wherever you feel like saying it. This is not “Constructive Criticism” to me, more verbal diarrhoea. It also demonstrates perhaps a lack of empathy and understanding of how other people work, what makes them “tick”. Empathy or lack thereof, I’m led to believe is part of sociopathy and psychopathy.
Also fake empathy isn’t the same as genuine empathy. That is – saying the right words doesn’t make them empathic, or you an empathic person.
What Constructive Criticism Is
Constructive Criticism is :
1. Helpful to the person receiving it. That means that the person receiving it also has a say in whether it’s constructive or not. If they don’t find it constructive for whatever reason, then it’s not constructive. After all how can it be constructive if they didn’t find it constructive ?
Example Not Constructive – “I just started blogging and I’m completely new to the internet and computers. I think your blog’s web design is shit, it’s not very modern and I don’t like the colours.” … Moron …
Example Constructive – “I’ve been a web designer for about 15 years now. You’ve a great site here. For me doing this day in day out, what I feel could improve it would be the use of ‘flat design’, it’s what almost all my customers are asking for.” … provided I’m actually interested in people’s opinions on my web design, this might be helpful, especially if I hadn’t heard of ‘flat design’, which obviously I have.
2. It’s generally worded in the positive. People tend to use positive reinforcement prior to making the negative part, if there is one. In instructing divers we’re taught to criticise in this way. My example is actually “more critical” than we’re taught to teach student divers 😀
Example – “Don, I liked the way you handled the topic of constructive criticism. You raise so many valid points, particularly in explaining what is and isn’t constructive. But for me you glossed over talking about sociopathy, a more detailed exploration would have been really helpful.”
3. The giver is an expert, or an expert in the eyes of the receiver. Or at the very least they are peers and consider each other as such. I touched on that a little in the example for (1) above. Basically I’m not all that interested in someone’s criticism if they don’t know what they are talking about. Knowing what they’re talking about usually mean they are easily recognisable as knowing what they are talking about.
Example – I get a comment from someone who calls herself “Auntysocial” (real lady I’ve spoken to) relevant to a social issue I’m discussing. She’s charming and polished in her communications. She has an avatar picture, and on visiting her blog I see interesting posts on social issues. I’d be interested in what she had to say.
Example – I get another comment from “Ihatemylife”, who blogs like a wall of words about how hard things are for him. It’s just one long continuous rant about how life’s so unfair, and how he hates just about everyone and everything. No avatar photo. Seems like a random anonymous blogger with nothing real identity wise. To be honest I couldn’t give a flying fig about his commentary on a social issues (or anything else), the guy clearly has no experience !
4. The giver has a genuine authentic positive reason for sharing their criticism. They’re rooting for you to improve, learn and become all that you can be. They may see mistakes in your work they’ve made themselves and learnt from (therefore empathic). They want to ADD to what you’ve written/created, not take away from it.
Example – “I’ve worked 25 years in customer services. You raise some great points, many of which I chuckled over having seen first hand myself at work. However, one of the most important things I learnt, which you didn’t mention is … bla bla bla …” … left on my post about “Customer services” and something that I hadn’t thought of, great that’s an empathic constructive criticism right there.
5. A problem/issue/difference of opinion and a proposed solution for it is given. I touched on that in (4) above. An “expert” knows what the problem is and also what they think is a feasible, reasonable or even elegant solution.
Example – “Don, I see you have trolls come to visit you occasionally – they’re annoying little critters at times. I was head moderator for a 100000 member forum, for a number of years – and believe me I saw every possible bad behaviour there. A blog gives you more control over comments than a forum – you didn’t mention just putting them in the spam queue, this would be an effective solution when you get someone attempting to troll your blog.”
6. Reputation I touched on already, but it’s worth mentioning on it’s own. So what others say about a person (and what they say about themselves) has an impact on whether the receiver will accept as constructive or not. Reputation IS VERY subjective, often a bit like a game of “Chinese whispers”. But it shouldn’t be ignored because people OFTEN refer to it when making character decisions about a person.
Example – I get a rude/weird comment on my blog, with a personal criticism – “Your shit donny boy”. I do some research online, and find out what he’s said and also what others have said about him. I discover many threads that he’s tried to troll, tried to embarrass or manipulate others, with many others complaining about him. My eventually conclusion is to leave a “non-comment”, or not reply at all. I filter out the comment “personally”, because there’s nothing useful or constructive I could see coming out of his mouth (or keyboard). AND everyone’s know I’m awesome, so he must be wrong 😀 Perhaps he was talking about “my shit” after all, rather than being an illiterate over friendly moron.
OR ALL THIS PUT ANOTHER WAY – Get yourself a copy of “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. It’s the closest thing to a magic pill for charm that I’ve read.
What’s non-constructive/destructive criticism is where the above constructive aspects haven’t been met. So no point in writing the opposite out in full !
It’s useful and helpful to study the archetypes who use destructive criticism, which leads me on nicely to …
“Blog Tits” – Destructive Personalities In Blogging
Personally, I’m more interested in the whats and whys behind destructive criticism – so I’m doing a series on the personalities I’ve met along the way – “Don Charisma’s Blog Tits”
I’ll be introducing some of the personalities (“Tits”) involved who might try to make you believe their criticism is constructive, whilst actually having a negative ulterior motive towards you.
You can’t kid a kidder they say …
It’s the “who’s who” of who might try to pass off destructive criticism as constructive criticism. Underscoring that the intent of the criticism giver is a critical factor in determination of whether criticism is constructive or not. That’s partly why I’m doing it … AND …
“Blog Tits” appeals to my sense of humour, so more for fun than serious 😀
Blog tits was originally part of this post, but it was getting to be as long as the Gettysburg address, so I took them out, my tits that is … for you to enjoy later …
Coming soon on DonCharisma.org – BLOG TITS 😀
Dealing With Blog Tits
AS I ALREADY SAID THE MAJORITY OF WORDPRESS BLOGGERS ARE LOVELY, WELL ADJUSTED PEOPLE … it’s a minority of people I’m talking about who try to pass off bad behaviour (or whatever else their “game” consists) as constructive criticism.
Personally I generally err to the side of caution and take people with “a pinch of salt”. Assume that they are good people genuinely trying to be helpful. Generally that’s enough rope to let the unsavoury hang themselves, plus the genuinely good thrive in a positive environment, so it’s a win-win for me.
Sometimes, I can see right through a scheme from the get go, in which case I might engage for sport (thanks Auntysocial, that was useful !). Or more usually just walk away, because my experience is that their bad behaviour generally comes from their own past pain, which had/has nothing to do with me. Also I don’t really want to be a present contributor in making their lives more difficult than they already are.
Walking away is often therefore the right thing to do (depending obviously on the context). Although adult human beings do also need to stand up for themselves – in the face of tyrants, and others who mean to cause harm to us, our families, loved ones and friends.
Constructive criticism isn’t just whatever a person blurts out of their mouth, that’s verbal diarrhoea. There’s plenty of indicators of what is constructive criticism, but basically empathy and respect are evident, and an authentic desire to be of service to the receiver.
Constructive criticism depends on the intent of the giver, and also it’s constructive or not based on what the receiver thinks of it (or how he or she perceives it). Moreover, if the receiver doesn’t think it’s constructive, then it’s not, regardless of the intent of the giver. A humble and empathic constructive criticism giver knows this, and accepts it. “Fair enough” he or she would probably say, if his or her criticism wasn’t received as constructive.
Simple naming something “constructive criticism” doesn’t necessarily mean it is. It’s probably more likely that if someone had to name it as such, then it’s not.
A destructive or manipulative criticism giver will complain if you overrule (or don’t accept) their so called “constructive” criticism, and stress FIRMLY that their criticism was indeed “constructive”. Obviously that says more about them than it says about you … and also you’ve learned for SURE that it’s not a constructive criticism by this point, and probably an ulterior motive is in play.
So easiest way to call them out is to tell them it’s not constructive and see how they react 😀
Light the blue touch paper and retire to safe distance – you may be in for a display of fireworks ! OR not – half the fun is the not knowing exactly what their response will be, or how far they’ll go embarrassing themselves in order to cover up their true intentions 😀
Serious, moi ? … LOL … don’t be ridiculous, I’m a lover not a fighter !
ULTIMATELY – when I’ve received genuine constructive criticisms, I’m very often eternally grateful, especially if someone taught me something valuable.
I’m also grateful for receiving what’s not constructive criticism, because I learn a great deal about who I don’t want to be involved with and how to see them coming in the future.
I’ve also found that my critics help me to add a little mystery and intrigue, with a pinch of “bad boy” to my reputation, which never hurts for us dudes 😀 … and they also help make great effortless blogging for me !
Over to you …
Resources & Sources
Photos courtesy of Pixabay CC0/Public Domain
Unless otherwise stated everything here is (c) DonCharisma.org, all rights are reserved.
Notes for commenters:
Comments are invited. BUT you are reminded that this is a public blog and you are also reminded to think before you press the “post comment” button.
Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, non-argumentative, constructive and related, or they will be moderated. If you feel you can’t comply, press the “unfollow” button and/or refrain from commenting.
I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.
Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.
Warm regards, Don Charisma