A Guide to Courteous Critique (plus rant!)

Haterade LogoEveryone needs to be able to give valid critique every now and then, lest we end up with a friend embarrassed before the nation when Simon Cowell pronounces her tone deaf and fat (then despite listing “female” on her entry form, he continues to inform the world that our friend is most certainly a “dude”). Terribly devastating, as you can imagine. And all because you never learned how to tell your friend that she really wasn’t a great singer.

But contrary to popular belief, critique doesn’t equal criticism. Plus it’s not as simple as “calling a spade a black icon that looks sorta like an upside down heart skewered on a stick. It’s takes some skill and practice. Like anything you have to practice, it’s best to start with the basics.

That’s what we’ll be addressing here on the Green Porch over the next couple of weeks in our four part guide to giving courteous critique. Here is what you have to look forward to.

Part One: Compliment Someone, Stupid.

Part Two: Get in Their Head Before Their Jock

Part Three: Haterade is for Sipping

Part Four: Jackasses Will Always be With Us

To get us started in the proper vein, I thought I would include a short rant about how ludicrously inept most people seem to be at offering proper critique. In true blogpost, bullet-rant form, here are my five things a critique isn’t and should never been confused with:

  1.  A tweet is not a critique.
  2.  “I liked it,” is not a critique.
  3.  Spell check is not a critique (nor is grammar check).
  4.  Critique is not an opportunity to mock someone’s ineptitude, or to stroke your own ego. If you need to blather on to feel smart, write a book rather than critiquing one. (Or start a stupid blog for goodness sake).

For those of you critiquing my blog post, you’ll notice I said, “five things a critique isn’t.” Well Mr. and Mrs. Smarty Pants. The fifth one is for you to post in the comments.

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