Author Topic: Constructive criticism: How to give it and how it should be taken.  (Read 16425 times)

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Offline BrotherBryon

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Constructive criticism: How to give it and how it should be taken.
Noticed a lot of flaming going on the boards here lately and it seems to all orient around the same thing. This has lead to a lot of negative distraction and really has made a thread like this kind of needed right about now.

How to give:

First off the work of FSU relies heavily on the work of team members and contributers and as such involves a great deal of time and effort on their part. So opening up a comment with something along the lines of "I don't like it" or "Its deviated too far from retail and I hate it" are widely seen as slaps to the face by the artist and isn't a good way to get their attention. Instead open up with identifying something you like about what the artist has done before moving on to things that you think could be improved. This tells the artist what was well received and limits the sting of negative feed back. Keep in mind too much negative feedback has only a few possible outcomes either the artist feels their work is not going to be appreciated and gives up or they get defensive. It's important to strike a balance of feedback to both encourage the artist to continue and to take suggestions seriously.

Next are comments that are bland in nature, simply stating one does not like it is useless to the artist and better kept to oneself. If you have parts you don't like be specific and if possible make suggestions as to how those parts may be improved. This gives the artist more info to work with when soliciting feedback and might possibly spark a whole new constructive rampart.

Last is timing, Telling an artist they need to go back to mesh building when they are well into other phases of the project is just insulting. It's like telling them to throw out everything they have done and start over to some degree. Instead limit your commentary to the phase at which the project is currently on. If you were too late to give commentary at the earlier stages of development that is your own fault and should not be passed onto the artist with only one exception. The artist didn't post a screen shot or status update before moving to the next phase. This is the ONLY time commentary about a previous phase of development should be acceptable.

How to take:

People have opinions and no matter what you do some one is not going to like what you have done to the retail design. Take criticism for what it is and try not to make it personnel. Sure you are going to get useless and sometimes overly negative criticism but this is the stuff you need to learn to ignore to keep your own sanity and vision for the project on track. Getting in a pissing match with someone over stupid comments is a waste of time and effort better spent doing other things. If necessary let a moderator know of any overly zealous trolling and let them deal with it.

Always keep a look out for good ideas and don't be afraid to even try a few you might think are stupid at first. Sometimes you may not like the result you get but you still may find a few good things that can be incorporated into your work that you may have not thought of before. Always keep a backup of your previous work when trying out new ideas that way you can easily revert to a previous point if it doesn't turn out well. I like to save multiple stages of my work as I go along just in case I don't like how something goes.

Keep in mind it is impossible to make every one happy but it is possible to get a balanced reaction of the community if you view criticism with an open mind. Discard the bad and some what extravagant suggestions and look for the intelligent well thought out opinions. These are the ones that have weight and should be taken seriously in the end.
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Offline Zacam

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Re: Constructive criticism: How to give it and how it should be taken.

Made a Stick for Great Justice. An we were just talking about this on internal, you psychic. We'll have more to say here soon.
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Re: Constructive criticism: How to give it and how it should be taken.
Even positive feedback can be constuctive, as well. For instance, instead of saying:

"I just jizzed in my pants!"

you could try saying instead:

"I just jizzed in my pants because the colour scheme reminds me of FS1, which creates a nice connection between FS1 and FS2."

or something to that effect. It's good to know why you like something, both for the artist and the critic.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 02:23:54 pm by bobbtmann »

Re: Constructive criticism: How to give it and how it should be taken.
Start with what you respect or like before you say what you hate.
Always end you conversations on a positive note: even with hope; or at least not angry.
Be willing to tear down and build with the same breath. Helping people sometimes is the best way to help yourself.
Make your opponents stronger, such that when you challenge them: You come up the their level and become stronger yourself.
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