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A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 04:03   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

My work has a saying.

'Don't be NICE'.

Now I work for a coaching business who specialise in leadership. But thats not relevent.

NICE to me, now means

Nothing
In me
Cares
Enough
to tell you the truth.

Now. How does this relate to what I'm going to say? Well.

Just today I posted in a topic where I said what I really thought, not in a rude manner, but my exact feeling on the issue, reasons for that feeling and I did it in such a way that it didn't implicate anyone else.

Someone said that what I said was harsh. It may have been but I was telling the truth.

Please, can people not hold back when posting. If you have a negative comment then say it! But do so in a constructive way, or in a way that backs up why you say it. People have a fear of the truth, and of telling how they really feel.

I can think of several topics where people have said that someones painting is great when in reality it looks like they dipped it in house paint and threw it against a wall then took to it with a high pressure hose. You know that you can say things as they are.

For example.

Poster:
*Insert pic of really poorly painted model here*

Comment 1: That looks great! Could use a little work on shading but it's good for a start.

comment 2: Honestly. The model is poorly painted, you have obviously not undercoated it, and it is chipped. You also have several really big mold lines and some of the colors are washed out.

but don't let this bring you down!

some tips on your next model, Undercoat it and make sure you get it covered. This will drastically improve paint quality and will hide any little errors.

Water down your paints a little bit and apply the color in layers. *insert link to tutorial or example*.

*continue post in this fashion*



Now. Comment 1, is crap. Don't give people false hope. If a model is poorly painted don't say its good. Even if it was their first attempt. Only say a model is good when it actually looks like they put effort into it and took their time.

but dont say its a crap model and leave it at that. Comment 2 is a good example or telling it straight and helping someone in a fashion befitting a decent poster.

Posting in this way should see an increase in not only the quality of posts and improvment of people but it should also see less obviously bullshit posts.


[hr]

The same principle can be applied to list building, battle reports (where they have only pics or something, tell them that more written content would get better reviews next time etc). Dont hold back but dont be a prick about it.

Be ruthless in the way you post, but be fair. People will never improve if you tell them that their crappy post is good!
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 04:45   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

I support this effort, but don't go as far as Wargamer unless you actually ARE Wargamer, in which case it seems you are exempt from most of this stuff about being mean in terms of being punished.
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 05:06   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

The entire point is he's saying it's not mean. It's meaner to make someone think that a crap paint job is good. Everything I've posted on here has been criticized to hell and I thank everyone who does, because they also give suggestions. That's the main reason I post pictures, not to show off but to get advice.
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 19:28   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

Actually I have to disagree 100%. What you think is just being honestly harsh, could be quite off putting for the member who is posting the pic. Putting pictures of personal work online is stressfull for many, unless someones like Gareth or Komrad there's always the chance of someone saying "that's shit" and even if your not being that abrassive being honest comes second to making the poster feel good about putting their work up and encouraging them to do so again even if you think it needs a lot of improvement. In your example I'd say Comment 2 is more likely to scare the OP away from posting again in future than it is to do anything to help them and that's not what we want.

A better thing to say is:

"Well done putting up pics of your models, they're a good start but there's always room for improvement. For instance... (begin tips section)..."

Your not lying, or hiding the truth, what's important is to simply build up the posters confidence first by congratulating them on actually posting their work and then go on to things they could improve. Your giving the same advice as you would while being harsh but the way the post comes off is immensely more encouraging and the advice is a lot more likely to be followed.

Coaching is another matter but that attitude does not translate to online I don't think.
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 19:54   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

I have to agree with JD (GoreChild) in this. Yes, it helps to be positive overall in your commentary, but glossing over the (often glaring) flaws of the subject matter in favour of not hurting the posters' feelings serves no purpose but to build false hope and delusions of grandeur. Which get leveled, in an all-the-more hurtful manner, when the poster gets comments from someone who (or somewhere that) favours accuracy over amicability.
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 20:23   #6 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

I agree with Vash, but I understand what Gorechild is pointing out, but I guess it's just the way we are, some of us might not like to harshly critisize the OP's not so good painting skills, because we don't want to be seen as mean or bad people, and put them off or make them leave (1).

(1) - I don't think there has been an instance of someone leaving because of harsh critisim, but I'm just speaking my mind.
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 21:37   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

Although comment 2 looks rather harshly worded, I agree totally with what JD is saying. When I post a model up in Showcase, I'm looking for constructive criticism - while a thread consisting of merely "wow that's amazing omg" replies does one's ego wonders, it doesn't actually help you improve. And if that's all a not-so-good painter gets when be posts up his models, then rather than learning ways to improve his work he just thinks "well everyone thinks it looks great as it is, so I won't bother trying to make it better". And that's not exactly the sort of attitude that wins painting competitions. Just look at the ATT forums - while they're not as lax as here, some would say elitist even, you can be certain that you'll get a lot of useful constructive criticism when you post your models up. I'm not saying we should become ATT, but I am saying that constructive but not overly harsh criticism is far better than unfounded praise, and makes the praise you give seem more genuine.
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 21:52   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dra'Tuisich-Novae
I have to agree with JD (GoreChild) in this. Yes, it helps to be positive overall in your commentary, but glossing over the (often glaring) flaws of the subject matter in favour of not hurting the posters' feelings serves no purpose but to build false hope and delusions of grandeur. Which get leveled, in an all-the-more hurtful manner, when the poster gets comments from someone who (or somewhere that) favours accuracy over amicability.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indrick Baldeale
Although comment 2 looks rather harshly worded, I agree totally with what JD is saying. When I post a model up in Showcase, I'm looking for constructive criticism - while a thread consisting of merely "wow that's amazing omg" replies does one's ego wonders, it doesn't actually help you improve. And if that's all a not-so-good painter gets when be posts up his models, then rather than learning ways to improve his work he just thinks "well everyone thinks it looks great as it is, so I won't bother trying to make it better". And that's not exactly the sort of attitude that wins painting competitions. Just look at the ATT forums - while they're not as lax as here, some would say elitist even, you can be certain that you'll get a lot of useful constructive criticism when you post your models up. I'm not saying we should become ATT, but I am saying that constructive but not overly harsh criticism is far better than unfounded praise, and makes the praise you give seem more genuine.
I'm not talking about comments saying "dude that is teh best eva!" that's not helpfull at all. What I mean is to build up the OP's confidence by congratulating them on actually taking the chance to put up their work even if it's not very good and then give them comments to help them improve. That is hugely different from saying their skills are great or that the models need no improvement, the difference is rather than starting the comment on a negative front by saying the models aren't good, the post is started on a constructive front by congratulating what the poster did well, then moving on to ways to improve what's not so good. It's not to build false hope or delusions of grandeur it's to make criticism constructive and encouraging rather than deconstructive and discouraging. Which harsness, no matter how well intended, more often than not does.

IMO any comment or criticism should ALWAYS begin with what the poster did well, even if there really is nothing other than that they posted the work in the first place, that's still something you can congratulate them on positively. Encourage, not discourage, no matter how well intended telling someone bluntly that their skills are poor is negative and discouraging and more likely to stop them from posting their work in future or trying to improve than do the poster any good.

In my opinion harshity is never, ever necessary what so ever and doesn't help anyone.

@Kakashi Sensei, actually I have seen people leave sites because of such comments and more commonly stop posting their work.

A few examples:

#1 Unconstructive praise:
Quote:
That's great dude!
Not constructive, not helpfull but ego building...

#2 Harsh critique:
Quote:
Frankly it's bad, the shading needs a lot of work and the paint is thick...(que extended advice)
Constructive in advice but very discouraging in tone, unlikely to encourage the OP to improve or encourage further posting.

#3 Encouraging critique:
Quote:
Nice job posting up your work, that can be a difficult decision. The posing looks good and the color scheme works. The paint looks a little thick though, try mixing some water in with your paints next time and doing several thin coats rather than a few thick coats. The highlights are also a bit thick, try working up from a less contrasting color gradually rather than going straight to a bright highlight... etc.
Rather than starting off negatively, the OP is congratulated on what was done well and encouraged to improve on what wasn't done so well. Overall the OP feels better about posting his/her work and has friendly encouragement and advice to improve and is much more likely to post future work, hopefully with attempts at improvement that can be further improved by even more constructive advice gradually.

The point is harshness even if it's meant to be constructive can often do nothing more than make the OP give up. Like unconstructive advice can give an OP dellusions of grandeour, harsh advice can just put them off the hobby entirely and that's not good at all, not by a long shot. Just like you don't want someone thinking "well if it's so good I guess I don't need to improve" one equally doesn't want anyone thinking "well I guess if my stuff is so poor I should just quite."
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Old 11 Mar 2009, 22:25   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

I...
Hate...
Extremes...

Sure, useless 'teh awesomz' aren't helpful. Neither are the inevitable "your stuff is all shit' posts, likely made in an attempt to "balance out" the useless posetive posts.

Here, we are faced with the extremes of:
A: 100% Supportive, 0% Constructive (aka: u is teh super paintzorz)
B: 100% Constructive, 0% Supportive (aka: It's not good because of xyz, you need to do 123 to make it good.

Let's face it, extremes are a bad thing. There isn't a problem in the history of the world that is best solved by launching yourself wholesale to one side and crushing the other entirely. IMO, the best aproach to any situation is from a neutral standpoint.

In this case, so it's not Golden Demon quality... but so what? let's assume for this example that the person has made an effort to paint the model to the best of their current abilities. To say "That's a good job for a begginer" is not a lie, and in most cases won't build illusions of grandeur. IMO, the fact that the person in question put in the effort in the first place makes it a sucess. The fact that they have posted it asking for suggestion shows that they do wish to improve. So, if were trying to help the OP, our job is to help them improve while also telling the truth.

The truth:
The model isn't the best, but isn't the worst
The model could use improvement
The painter doesn't know some things that will improve their painting
The painter has at least asked for help

Not the facts:
You weren't Kandinsky from the moment you popped out of your mother's womb either
You have, after time and development, become a better painter
You can tell this person some things to help them improve

In order to do our job right we want to both encourage them and help them improve. Problem being that constructive in an improvement context is always by definition negative, and that the first thing a person reads 'sets the tone'. So if you start with 'you're not good at this, this is how good people like me do it' you are being very discouraging and many people won't read posts that have 'set their tone' in this way. They probably wont follow your advice either, so it's been a waste of time for everybody.

If you start posetive, you establish that you are on their side. If you maintain that tone, they are more likely to believe what you say and act on it. By all means, point out the flaws, but this is still more pleasant in a 'this is what you could do to make your model better' way.

In fewer words: Best of both worlds, be courteous and supportive, but most of all helpful. Start with the supportive, because as decent human beings, we aim to be as pleasant to each other as possible seeing as how we like to be treated likewise. (Although a great proportion of the population doesn't seem to see it this way, TO has always been a cut above the status quo... in general)


In the fewest words? I agree with Vash...
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Old 12 Mar 2009, 01:05   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few points on critisism, commenting and effective posting.

I've made this point on a similar topic to this before but I think that if you're posting up work for criticism on the internet, you need to have a certain amount of thick skin. We can debate, until kingdom come, about the 'best' way to deliver criticism but the fact is - we will never agree - and if you post up work for criticism, then you are going to receive responses which you will personally not like. And there is nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you will be flamed and that is unacceptable but you need to be able to differentiate between what is an unconstructive flame and strongly worded, yet well meant criticism.

Now, that said, I have to say that I do have quite a few issues with what you've said, Gorechild, and they can be most easily explained by having a look at the post you did make which has caused you to make this topic. I think it's fairly obvious that that post is this one:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoreChild
Either way you have far too much time and no real life.


To have that much warhammer is honestly a waste. You'll almost never use it all. And have spent far too much time and money on getting it to this stage.

I do commend you on the effort, although I feel that effort could have been much better spent doing other things.
Now, you said in your original post, Gorechild, that:

Someone said that what I said was harsh. It may have been but I was telling the truth.

The problem is - what is the truth? It was your opinion that the member in question had spent far too much time on his Warhammer models - but that opinion doesn't make it the truth. And that member showed you, quite convincingly I thought, in his next post that he actually does have a life.

There have been times, in the Serious Debate and Discussion board, when I have privately thought that someone has posted a view which has shown them to be completely ignorant of the topic that they are talking about. That is my personal opinion. But by your argument, it would seem that I should have the right to post, in response to them, something like the following:

'You are an ignorant twit. Go and research the topic properly before you grace us with your stupidity again.'

Harsh but true surely? Well...if I (or anyone else) were to write such a thing, they would be quite rightly smited for flaming.

Now you, Gorechild, talk about criticising someone's paintwork in your original post. However, you must surely see that there is a clear difference between such painting related criticism and what you said in that topic. You tell someone that something is poorly painted because ultimately you want to show them how to do it well. However I cannot see any such constructive benefit in simply telling another poster that they've wasted their time by collecting and painting so many models. And telling them that they have no life is unacceptable.

So, in conclusion, I'm sorry but I think that your post crossed the line between harsh yet constructive criticism and flaming.
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