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How to comment, criticize and give feedback!

User avatar jensreuterberg
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Ok so you have an opinion on some design work being done! Awesome! Seriously, no human is an island and we all need feedback and suggestions.

But how do you write it so it has the best effect? Now criticism is an art form in itself because its so easy to just be a negative force instead of a positive one when what you're doing is criticizing anothers work. Well just follow these golden rules of diamond thumbs of criticism below!

Design is tricky!
This is because often its seen as a wholly subjective area where taste is the only bit that matters. Someone might post something you don't think fits your personal taste - then try to locate what is the areas where your tastes differ and what works for both. If the "taste bits" are exchangeable, say the color of a panel something that can easily be changed post-production - then mention that. Be gracious about your taste and others.

It takes allot of courage to post ideas and suggestions!
Please remember that. When someone posts something they are doing it nervously. Its scary posting something and being "judged" for it so be nice and supportive. "Supportive" is relevant. By showing support you are building a community and that is way more important than any design work ever can be (and I say that as a designer btw). Open Source works because we know the power of a community - so be a good member of it.

If you can't say it nicely and respectfully, don't say it!
There is a myth that as long as you can through up the defense "I'm just being honest!" everything is forgiven. Now honesty is fine - but respect is key. Telling me I have a big honking nose might be true, but what am I taking away from that comment? If its not based on respect then what does it matter if its honest? The Wil Wheton Law applies.

Saying is silver, doing is gold!
"X sucks!" is a BAD comment. It shouldn't even be written, its that bad.
"X is bad because of Y" is a MEDIOCRE comment. Sure it can be written and it supplies some information - but you can do way better.
"X is bad because of Y, what if you do Z to fix it?" is a GOOD comment because it not only defines what you think is bad but gives a suggestion on how to solve it.
"X is bad because of Y, so I did Z to fix it - what do you think?" is a GOLD STAR comment. Not only do you suggest a fix, you have done it and present it!


KDE Visual Design Group - "Sexy by default - Powerful through cooperation"
User avatar jensreuterberg
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jensreuterberg wrote:Saying is silver, doing is gold!
"X sucks!" is a BAD comment. It shouldn't even be written, its that bad.
"X is bad because of Y" is a MEDIOCRE comment. Sure it can be written and it supplies some information - but you can do way better.
"X is bad because of Y, what if you do Z to fix it?" is a GOOD comment because it not only defines what you think is bad but gives a suggestion on how to solve it.
"X is bad because of Y, so I did Z to fix it - what do you think?" is a GOLD STAR comment. Not only do you suggest a fix, you have done it and present it!


For everyone planning to criticize work - go through this list mentally before clicking "submit".

A lot of the people here may not be designers - they may be contributors and yes the work isn't polished or perfect sometimes and that's ok. This place is about helping out by assisting projects get their design up to snuff - BUT its also like one huge brainstorming session where ideas are tested, tried out and played out fully.
The majority of the VDG are sitting hacking away at Plasma Next - we may not post that much in the public forums but we all read them. Every damn post.

This isn't some "good guy designer" statement - this is just savvy work practice.

When you post publicly your mockups doesn't have to be perfect, your ideas doesn't have to be totally solid and your sketches doesn't have to be exact - you are doing it right anyway. You are actively contributing - perhaps not directly but your idea may bring up another idea or change to fit into another. You are contributing and you're heroes for doing it. Never forget that.

When you criticize - do it right or stop posting. Criticism is relevant and good but BAD criticism is not. If you don't know the difference, check out the list above again. "Good" and "Gold Star" are relevant, important and actual Criticism (Go you! Well done!). Most "Mediocre" and all "Bad" criticism is in fact just your ego that likes to look of your own text on the screen. You are not contributing but you're just damaging the positive effect of having this forum. Stop posting.

(If you think the bar is a lot higher for criticism than mockups and suggestions - you are absolutely right. Criticism is trickier and more difficult than most assume)


KDE Visual Design Group - "Sexy by default - Powerful through cooperation"

 
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