How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

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Shoko
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Re: How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

#31 Post by Shoko » Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:00 am

There is so much bad writing in the world. Go look up any random review site for movies, books ect, and most likely 90% of what's reviewed will be called trash. And that's just what's 'professional' writing. Your own bad writing is nothing special in and of itself in this context, just another drop of bad in a sea where people are trying to find good. There's no need to feel personally attacked by these criticisms though, as the writing you make is completely separate from you. Good writers don't mean good people, and vice versa. It's all just words our brains take way too seriously. If you can either wade through these comments or block them out in order to achieve what you think is good, that's all that matters.

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Re: How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

#32 Post by Tempus » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:58 am

Angelee wrote:Now that just makes me feel bad for liking the button... I'll put one in my signature as well once I figure out how I actually have something to critique...unless you decide to take it down or something.
I actually can't take it down since PyTom added a tag for it, IIRC. But I wouldn't take it down anyway since that's a rather spiteful thing to do. Don't feel bad if you like it or find it useful. It's just my opinion has changed since I made it and I think there's a better way to go about things, that's all.
trooper6 wrote:I like the button, myself. Not everyone here is here for critique.
While that's true, it's logically disconnected from the conclusion. Not everyone is here for all sorts of things. I'm not here for a lot of the posts I wade through, yet here they are. When I advertise commissions here sometimes I get messages from people who clearly didn't read my post at all. Does this mean we should create a "read this post" badge because people receive these types of messages? I'd suggest that's absurd yet that's exactly what we're doing with critique. The people who message me asking questions that are already answered in my post are not trying to annoy me any more than someone giving a critique is trying to hurt someone. Instead of educating creators about critique and its role in the community we're catering to their ignorance.

We've got the cart before the horse—it should be that receiving critique is the default. Anyone who happens to feel upset by a given received critique can be encouraged and supported. Indeed, there's no reason a critique cannot be supportive itself—I see giving critique as a potentially friendly act. It costs nothing for someone to add to their critique, "welcome to the community," "good luck with your project," to explain that they're not trying to tear them apart or being mean-spirited, and so on. I think a good example of this is LateWhiteRabbit's posts—they always clearly communicate a friendly, "I'm here to help you" attitude without being condescending. This idea that people need to be protected from ideas which contradict their view of the world is what's actually harming people, not the occasional out of line critique (which people are usually quick to point out is not appropriate). Nor does the presence of critique mean that all posts need to be such.

Further, the idea that the critique is for the OP exclusively is fundamentally flawed. This is the unspoken assumption behind the Honest Critique initiative. (Or maybe it was examined and I forgot!) I have read many, many more critiques than I've ever received. Similarly, I've watched many more debates than I've participated in. I'd suggest that, as a rule, people consume more criticism in their lives than they ever receive. This means that a given piece of criticism addressed to one person has a potentially huge multiplier when posted in public. Everyone can see it and everyone can learn—it becomes a public resource, like a tutorial. When you have a culture where it's assumed that critique is unwelcome until explicitly signalled, that multiplier has the inverse effect—no one can learn from the mistakes of one person because other people didn't feel it was appropriate to critique them. (Of course, critique isn't exclusively about unearthing mistakes; it can examine the good, or the interesting too.)

And yes, it's probably inappropriate to have scathing, argumentative critiques or really, really long ones posted directly in someone's thread, but I don't see why a more benign kind shouldn't thrive. It really feels like we're those awful parents who always praise their children and then become surprised when they grow up with no confidence upon encountering the reality that maybe they have flaws. That attitude contributes to the stigmatisation of mistakes. The solution is more encouragement, more education, and more support, not less critique.

[I'll stop thread hijacking now.]
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Re: How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

#33 Post by trooper6 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:55 pm

I have to disagree Tempus. I'll repost here something I said in a thread of Obscura's:

"This board does many things, but one thing it does is serve as a place for publicity for micro-mini-indie-developers. If you are a developer for whom this might be the only place you are relying on to get people to play your game...you may not welcome a critique that is negative. You could see it as a threat to your livelihood. If I ran my own review blog/site, I would say whatever I wanted...but here it doesn't feel right with being given permission considering how much could be at stake."

You say that this site is for critique, but I don't get the feeling that everyone uses these boards for that purpose. I strongly get the feeling that some people do not want critique, they want to advertise. Some people may want reviews, but not critiques. It seems to me that people are here for a variety of reasons, and not all of them include getting and acting on critique, no matter how positive or constructive it might be framed. Because of that, I don't want to critique if that is not what someone wants. I'm big on explicit consent. So I prefer to get an indication that a person does actually want critique...and honest critique...before I go through the work of doing so.
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Re: How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

#34 Post by Googaboga » Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:24 pm

^I agree that most likely not everyone here wants critiques.

But either way, I'd say that someone having the button is probably best taken as a nudge in the critique direction and not having it is best interpreted as meaning nothing.

To me, the button is something you can use to put a point on it. Here's a sort of random example of what I mean; it's like at the end of Youtube videos. People sometimes ask you to press the 'like' button if you liked the video. It generally goes without saying that if you really liked the video you will hit the 'like' button, but they say it anyways because vocalizing it might get some people who wouldn't have 'liked' the video to 'like' the video.

Maybe that wasn't the original intention of the button, but that seems like a safer way to use it/interpret it. Since, in the end, people who have the button might not truly be prepared for a full critique. And some people without the button may not have room in their sig, some might not know where to get the button/how to add it, some might think they don't need that button to get feedback, etc.

[Sorry for being off-topic >.>]
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Re: How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

#35 Post by Mad Harlequin » Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:58 pm

Tempus wrote:Further, the idea that the critique is for the OP exclusively is fundamentally flawed. This is the unspoken assumption behind the Honest Critique initiative. (Or maybe it was examined and I forgot!)
We're allowed to go ahead and change "is the unspoken assumption" to was, right? Remember, symbols change, and in this case, the desired meaning was probably never uniform to begin with, since, to my knowledge, there was no formal agreement drawn up stating "This is what the button means, and it can never change, ever!"
I have read many, many more critiques than I've ever received. Similarly, I've watched many more debates than I've participated in. I'd suggest that, as a rule, people consume more criticism in their lives than they ever receive. This means that a given piece of criticism addressed to one person has a potentially huge multiplier when posted in public. Everyone can see it and everyone can learn—it becomes a public resource, like a tutorial.
I realized this the minute I walked into my first English class.
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Re: How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

#36 Post by Vogue » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:13 pm

Critique is only useful if the person on the receiving end understands the framework of whom they're being criticized by. It's why I can freely discard the opinion of someone like Roger Ebert when he says that games can never be art. He was too old and jaded to understand the medium, so his criticism isn't useful to me (other than illustrating than older generations have a more difficult time accepting interactive experiences as art). Likewise, if I receive criticism on my writing that I haven't invited, I have a harder time understanding the context in which my work is being examined. Compounding this issue is that most people aren't emotionless robots. We invest our egos into our work, and criticism can often seem like a personal attack. I think it's incredibly important to get feedback--honest feedback, the type that hurts to hear--but only from people whose tastes and opinions we are at least somewhat aware of, and can substantiate their opinions with examples. Hearing 'wow it's great!' or 'ugh it's total shit' often ends up being little more than noise.

When a work is considered finished and people review it as a product rather than a work-in-progress, this all is slightly less an issue since most people can accept that kind of criticism as consumer opinion.

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Re: How to Deal with Shame as a Writer?

#37 Post by trooper6 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:29 pm

I want to add for the record, when I speak about not being comfortable giving detailed critique without the button or a pre-existing rapport with the creator, I am speaking only for myself. Other people can do whatever they want to do.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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