Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully V1.0

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Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully V1.0 

Postby Ryu Ushiromiya » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:24 am

Giving good critique and accepting it appropriately Ver. 1.0

By: Ryu Ushiromiya

Disclaimer: I had this idea in mind for a long time. In no way does this guide wish to insult, denigrate or otherwise alienate official or unofficial reviewers in any way. This guide is for everyone, but was made with newbies and people with trouble accepting or giving proper criticism in mind.


Table of Contents


I. Terms of Use
II. What is critique?
III. Why critique is mandatory
IV. Being a good critic
V. Receiving critique gracefully
VI. Tips
VII. Critique in AAO
VIII. Conclusion and References

I. Terms of Use

You are free to use this guide however you wish as long as I am credited and you let me know if you will use it.

II. What is critique?

Critiquing is the simple act of judging not only the merits but also the faults of a product, item, document, art piece, or other things. In other words, it is the act of finding errors and mistakes within something. It is usually taken as extreme prejudice, however.

III. Why critique is mandatory

Critique is absolutely mandatory in all of your endeavors for one reason: by detecting your flaws, you are able to correct and improve upon yourself, therefore making you a better person. Is it easy? Let's find out below.

IV. Being a good critic

Let us begin by explaining (at least from my point of view) what good criticizing is.

    Destructive Criticism/Nitpicking/Complaining/Faulting something because you disliked it

    Destructive criticism is exactly what it is, and also the most common form of criticism: you concentrate on finding the faults, but you don't mention the virtues, or compliment the person. This is incorrect. Not all people can take this kind of criticism. Some people might be sensitive because they might have some sort of mental disorder that impairs them a little from understanding criticism (like me, I confess.) Or they simply are too sensitive. Also, this sort of criticism can also be seen as complaining from the critic. It's almost like saying, "You must change this because I didn't like it and doesn't fit with Ace Attorney customs." You're not supposed to say that, jerk. You are supposed to say the correct thing: "While I liked how you used this, you might have to change it because this map doesn't follow the correct Ace Attorney method. Please ask someone for help on the matter." Hold your tongue. Don't just attack: STOP. THINK. THINK AGAIN. THINK A THIRD TIME. LET GO OF YOUR TASTES. THEN you may speak. :) Also, there is an important thing you must remember: never keep your standards too high. This can hurt the person receiving the critique in many ways. You have to understand that not everyone operates or understands like you do. Also, don't scold the person, or attack the product or thing in question just because it has flaws. Also, if you have any kind of snide remarks about how it doesn't "meet the standard", shut up and keep it to yourself. Once you do this, you're on your way to becoming an excellent critic.

    Constructive Criticism

    This is the correct method for giving a critique. Great critics don't always slam or detect the errors in something and let it go as if they're expecting you to take it like a man (hence my issue with movie critics.) Great critics use the knowledge and skills they possess to explain what you may have done wrong or may need correcting, and at the same time uplift, inspire and above all, motivate you. This is defined as having a compassionate attitude to spur you on to improve or move on with no regrets. In a sense, this is where some of the best teachers and friends succeed. An excellent critic will avoid using harsh, strong or judgmental language, and will drop his preconceptions or standards, instead helping the person to improve or do his best. You're not supposed to make the person feel bad: Compliment their good work. Expand on what needs improvement and give a concrete reason as to why. Don't just expect the person to take it easily: be sensitive to the person if he or she has a history of being sensitive with the issue.

    What about self-criticism?

    Personally, if you're like me and you have issues with the subject, don't. You'll do more harm to your mind and body than most. If you can think you can take it, go for it. But if you get obsessed with it to the point where being extremely self-critical harms you and affects your daily life, stop and get help immediately.

V. Receiving critique gracefully

This is the hardest part of the guide so far. Accepting or understanding critique is extremely hard for 90% of us. We'll cry. We'll get mad. We'll defend ourselves. We'll attack someone or something. This is bad. Really bad. Even if there is no real merit to the "critique" of the person (i.e. a story wasn't featured on a newspaper because the editor hated it), it's not worth it to lash back. That is incorrect behavior. Violence never solves anything... even though it feels so good to just let it all out and basically go "Let the bodies hit the floor" on the person (nice Drowning Pool song by the way. :calisto: ) But trust me, even if it's therapeutic to lash out and scream, it's just not worth it.

Not everyone takes critique wisely that easily. It's extremely rare to see someone taking critique in stride and using it correctly. That is why it's important to take a deep breath before looking at the critique and calm down. Read the critique. If it makes you mad or frustrated or sad or anything bad, STOP. Close the window immediately. Go away and do something different to take your mind off of it. Do some breathing exercises. Read a good book. Do a prayer. Drink some water. Vent with a friend over MSN or the phone, then stop and calm down. Don't go back yet. Try getting a nap. But calm down. After a couple of hours, then you may go back and reply to the comments- even if they were very mis-demeaning. I recently learned an excellent approach to harsh critiques: don't say anything to it. Instead, say thanks. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they got a bad grade on a test. If you get a rude post, or a really harsh judgment, don't just attack or leave a reply. If for example you get a post here in AAO (I had to do it eventually) that says basically something like, "This trial is not good enough to be featured. The plot is a mess, the contradictions are illogical, and the maps are absurd," don't say anything. Leave it alone for a while like I mentioned before. Then when you are calmed down and you've thought, leave something like this as a reply: "Thank you very much for your time and for reviewing this trial. Could you please explain what aspects of the trial can be improved upon?" You might be surprised at the results.

VI. Tips

    -Meditate on this and apply it for whenever you critique: "Never write a letter when you are angry." --Chinese proverb.

    -Choose your words and tone very carefully: it can make the difference when you evaluate something.

    -Be nice: no one likes a smart ass jerk.

    -Be humble, no matter what your role is. Humility is a sign of personal excellency.

    -Respect the person's background and beliefs and choices when critiquing or replying to a critique.

    -A critique is not a personal attack on you: it is an evaluation of your creation, NOT your personality.

VII. Critiquing in AAO

    -If the trial maker in question is a newbie, respect that. Don't compare them to the more established trial makers. Don't even dare say that a trial isn't as good as what is already featured. EVER. Regardless of its state. It doesn't help the person at all- or the critic. It makes them feel even worse about their project instead. This also applies to more established trial makers: don't compare them to others. You're not evaluating Bad Player's Silence of the Turnabout. You're not complimenting any of Hodou Okappa's work. You are evaluating the new trial you saw. Don't compare it to other works- not even mine, LOL. :calisto:

    -Don't just state the flaws of the trial: note the virtues as well as what you genuinely liked. If there was nothing you liked, at least say what was done well.

    -Don't be quick to dismiss characters as being slightly OOC: remember that these are fan cases. Authors can take some degree of creative liberties when it comes to characters. Look at the Mia Fey: Ace Spirit Attorney series, or The Omniscient Game.

    -Don't just look at how hard a trial was: this includes contradictions, investigations, trials, etc. Remember that plot and story are just as important.

    -If a trial wasn't fun to play, don't say it sucked, or just that it needs work. WHY does it need work? WHY did certain features not work? Explain yourself, and always be nice.

VIII. Conclusion and references

Thank you very much for using this guide. Please let me know how it has helped you! :D Below are a couple of references on the subject. :)

http://zenhabits.net/how-to-accept-criticism-with-grace-and-appreciation/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Meph » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:26 pm

That was a good guide. People are usually alright with accepting criticism here, but it can get bad sometimes (mainly when some people give criticism). :)
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully 

Postby Blackrune » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:04 pm

Well there were some rare cases here where criticism could be misunderstood as "making fun of the trial". They rarely pop up, but they happen.
Seeing how a major part of this section has to do with giving/receiving opinions/criticism, this is definitely an important guide to have.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Bad Player » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:33 pm

It's a good guide, but there's one thing I disagree with...

Ryu Ushiromiya wrote:-If the trial maker in question is a newbie, respect that. Don't compare them to the more established trial makers. Don't even dare say that a trial isn't as good as what is already featured. EVER. Regardless of its state. It doesn't help the person at all- or the critic. It makes them feel even worse about their project instead. This also applies to more established trial makers: don't compare them to others. You're not evaluating Bad Player's Silence of the Turnabout. You're not complimenting any of Hodou Okappa's work. You are evaluating the new trial you saw. Don't compare it to other works- not even mine, LOL. :calisto:


Now, I think this is good most of the time, but not when a trial is under review to be featured. Then it needs to be evaluated of its merits, also with respect to trials already featured, irrelevant of the author. It must be compared to the other featured trials; perhaps not critically, and only on a general level (ex. "If you play some other featured trials, you'll see the music start/stops are a bit tighter than in your trial"), just to be sure that it's at the same general level as the other featured trials. It also doesn't matter if they are a newbie or not. It's unfair to have a lower standard for a newbie to get his/her trial featured, or to be stricter with vets.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby mAc Chaos » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:49 pm

This is good guide. Although I agree with BP that if you want your trial to get featured, then you have to be willing to accept more thorough criticism and accept it if the trial isn't good enough. The entire point of a featured trial is that the bar is very high, so that means a lot of otherwise great trials will miss the mark. You do have to compare them to the other featured trials, to get a feeling for what level of quality is required.

Henke is probably the one who could use this most. ;p But his criticism is always right on the mark. Just hilariously blunt.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby SwagmaWampyr » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:52 pm

He's doing better with that. He's still blunt, but he doesnt seem as rude about it. Which is the way to go about it.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby henke37 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:56 pm

I don't compare trials to featured trials. I simply want problems taken care of properly.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully 

Postby Ping' » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:10 pm

A programmer's mindset, in other words =)
Without necessarily wanting to generalize, I often find that programmers are perceived as more blunt and less tolerant of errors/flaws than other people, even when it's not their true personality. It might be because programming requires a very thorough work ethic most people don't have. Or maybe I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I think a lot of the validity of criticism depends on context. If you're talking to someone you don't know and who's new at what they're doing, you need to be more tactful than with a friend who knows you think highly of him.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Ryu Ushiromiya » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:16 pm

First of all, thank you all for reading and appreciating my guide. But I should take the time and explain myself with regards with one paragraph that has been largely misunderstood.

BP and mAc: I understand your point, but that's not what I meant to say. Of course trials under review must undergo a certain level of scrutiny and review before they are featured. I'm just saying that other featured trials shouldn't be used as a crutch or excuse just to say that a trial cannot be featured at the time. The real standard of AAO, IMO, is how well thought out and playable a trial is, not how other people do things in general. Hence, my issue with a comparison.

BBlader's issue with henke: No comment.

Ping': Precisely.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Jean Of mArc » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:54 am

This is a great guide, Ryu!! I think it would be very helpful to a lot of people outside of the AAO community too, as it applies to anything that evaluates work or art. I would say that everything you wrote was worded clearly and is helpful to everyone who is trying to do any creative piece of work. Well, the only odd wording was "Destructive criticism is exactly what it is"... Haha. What do you think?

Haha, I like how The Omniscient Game is shown as an example of OOC... I would say (and I hope others agree!) that in this case it stands more for Out Of Context, rather than Out Of Character, as I tried to have the characters be in-character, but the situation they find themselves in to be completely different than usual- much less serious, clearly.

Anyway, your guides are appreciated... it's too bad things like this are unlikely to be read by anyone except those who are fans of AA games and have specifically found this site. Oh well. :P
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Ryu Ushiromiya » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:27 am

The wording is exactly what it is. :calisto:

Thank you for your kind words. I'll definitely make some more guides in the future: and those will be related to literary techniques in AA.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Mimi » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:47 am

Great guide. I wish I could have seen this when someone criticized my fan fiction.

I remember being angry and forcing myself to degrade the person a "meanie" and calling their fan fiction bad. They had called it immature writing and it felt really hurtful.

But now that I look back on it, I do agree with the person, but I still think people can word it better. (=3) At least, that's what I always try to do.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Ryu Ushiromiya » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:52 am

Aww, thank you! (=3)

A key problem on the Internet, from personal experience, is that we tend to take it too seriously and literally, especially critique and opinions. One key mistake in your criticism can alter the meaning permanently- hence, our ragequitting when we're criticized. That's why it's best to leave it alone and calm down a bit, like I said. :3
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby SuperGanondorf » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:55 am

Which leads to another good point- if you feel someone is being a little harsh with their criticism, say so. No need to be confrontational, but if you think somebody is just being mean, you should tell them so. More often than not, they just came off sounding the wrong way, rather than intentionally being insulting, and letting them know that will help them improve the habit in the future so it doesn't happen again. Everybody's happy.

And this is indeed a very good guide. Not that I have ever had any problems accepting criticism or anything...

Just kidding. But this is seriously a great guide, useful for both critique-getters and -givers.
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Re: Guide: Giving good critique and accepting it gracefully  

Postby Ryu Ushiromiya » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:58 am

Thank you! :D I've done what you said, but the person criticizing adopted a very confrontational attitude. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. My guess is it doesn't work with everyone.

I hope it helps people, reviewer or not alike. (=3)
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