Derisive criticism of your work online...?

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LeonDaydreamer
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Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#1 Post by LeonDaydreamer » Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:54 pm

So I encountered this pretty randomly. I recently finished making my first game (Ghosts Are Good Hosts), it's a silly Halloween-themed piece. A girl did a mini review of it for the Itchio Haunted House Jam, which I thought was pretty neat (also it was very new to me, since hardly anyone who is not my friend or related to me has taken a look at my finished work before and said what they thought, much less put it in a video). For the heck of it, I did a search in YouTube, and surprisingly came upon someone else who decided to review my game as well. It was not as kind...

The video is here: Random Flash Games #1

The comments are pretty snarky and sardonic from the get-go. I was a little annoyed by his impatience to criticize everything, but I couldn't help laughing along, because his reactions are kind of funny and it was altogether a very odd experience for me. It's clear he's not the target audience for this kind of game and he didn't approach it with a very open mind, but was really just looking to nitpick and get a laugh, so I wasn't offended. But I was thinking that if his attitude was a little more calm and analytical and he had said some of those things, I might be hurt hearing them, and I can imagine many people would.

On the one hand I'm amused, but on the other, well... artists and writers are pretty sensitive people. It can take a long time before we feel confident in ourselves, and there is no shortage of opportunities to be discouraged along the way. I went to art school, and I know that many of the people I graduated with had to move away from art, because it's not something everyone can do professionally. Many years ago, when I was thinking about starting to do comics, I was very self-conscious about it and I remember telling people that I was going to start off doing something stupid, something I wasn't really invested in. Obviously this was a defense mechanism, so that if someone later told me it was stupid, I could say that I knew that and I just meant for it to be practice. No one ever said that to me, though, until now. And this was for a project I really intended to be good and fun. Thankfully, I had enough people tell me they appreciate it, but I find it upsetting how maybe someone who has less experience and may be more desperately holding on to their dreams of becoming a professional in the field, or even if they're not and are genuinely just doing their best at something they're interested in, can easily be exposed to this kind of nonconstructive derisive criticism. It can really be discouraging, and I remember seeing a post on this site about something similar last year. This is something starting writers and artists absolutely do not need.

Has this happened to you guys? How did you deal with it, and what advice would you give others?
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#2 Post by cath-mg » Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:32 am

I think it does makes some people get discouraged, especially newly starting artists and writers. I myself never really revealed about how much I like drawing or writing until around high school, and even then it was limited only to some people. Some criticism were off-putting and made me feel like a terrible artist/writer, so I never really bothered to show anyone.

However, I have recently made a blog and an account which contained my writings. After running the blog for several months, I discovered that while I did receive some criticisms that made me shut down for some days, I received a lot more compliments and encouragements. So I thought about it and I guess that's just how it is. That's what it means to be an artist, to be someone who creates things. You just can't please eveyone; we all have different tastes and we're looking for different things.

I think derisive criticism just means that someone finds your work (be it art, storiey, game, music, whatever you created) not satisfying from their eyes. And that's okay. Because there are 7 billions people out there and one derisive criticism doesn't mean the other 6,999,999 people would also dislike your work. I mean, even the most popular games aren't liked by everyone. So rather than dwelling on the fact that there are people who doesn't appreciate your work, maybe just focus on how to improve. It takes practice and patience to accept or ignore criticism but it's necessary if we want to get better in whatever we're doing.

Also remember that in case of games, we do have something called the 'target audience'. If someone who doesn't like action games tries playing action games, then it's natural that they wouldn't give good comments about it. So my advice is don't get discouraged easily and just do what you think is fun to do! :)

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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#3 Post by SundownKid » Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:45 am

The advice I would give others is: accept criticism but don't dwell on criticism. You should be wary enough to tell the difference between well-meaning criticism and someone whose opinions are misinformed or malicious, and ignore the latter. And don't take one person's opinions as the be all end all of your work.

In other words, be moderate about criticism. Not being able to take any criticism because you are too attached to your work or desperate for it to succeed, is bad. But, it's also bad to take every piece of criticism to heart as "correct". A creative work will always conflict with SOMEONE's tastes.

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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#4 Post by LeonDaydreamer » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:23 pm

cath-mg wrote:I myself never really revealed about how much I like drawing or writing until around high school, and even then it was limited only to some people. Some criticism were off-putting and made me feel like a terrible artist/writer, so I never really bothered to show anyone.
I know how you must have felt. I was always very critical of myself, more so than anyone else, but when I was just starting to think about becoming an artist it was such a fragile dream to me. A lot of the people around me, even close friends, were very conservative-minded and wouldn't really take me seriously. I wasn't exactly getting discouragement, but until I was actually doing it professionally I can't say many people believed I that could.
cath-mg wrote:I think derisive criticism just means that someone finds your work (be it art, storiey, game, music, whatever you created) not satisfying from their eyes. And that's okay. Because there are 7 billions people out there and one derisive criticism doesn't mean the other 6,999,999 people would also dislike your work. I mean, even the most popular games aren't liked by everyone. So rather than dwelling on the fact that there are people who doesn't appreciate your work, maybe just focus on how to improve. It takes practice and patience to accept or ignore criticism but it's necessary if we want to get better in whatever we're doing.
Of course you're right, you can't expect everyone to like your work. Still, some people have a louder voice and can be hard to ignore. But negative criticism is perfectly fine if it's constructive (or if you can interpret it in a constructive way), you can learn and grow from it. It's important in fact, your first critic is always yourself, and once you create something that passes your standards and expectations you can show it to others and hear about how it measures up to their standards and expectations.
cath-mg wrote:So my advice is don't get discouraged easily and just do what you think is fun to do! :)
I like it. ;)
SundownKid wrote:The advice I would give others is: accept criticism but don't dwell on criticism. You should be wary enough to tell the difference between well-meaning criticism and someone whose opinions are misinformed or malicious, and ignore the latter. And don't take one person's opinions as the be all end all of your work...... In other words, be moderate about criticism. Not being able to take any criticism because you are too attached to your work or desperate for it to succeed, is bad. But, it's also bad to take every piece of criticism to heart as "correct". A creative work will always conflict with SOMEONE's tastes.
Yeah, I think it's important not to take criticism too close to heart. If we don't get the approval we are looking for, we can take it personally sometimes. If something is mean-spirited, it might be best to ignore it altogether, but if someone is just trying to be helpful and there are valid points made, you should probably consider them. I kind of brought this topic up, because I imagined a much younger and inexperienced me getting this kind of review of my work and thought about what my reaction to it might have been. As I mentioned, I used to build up my defenses for dealing with things like this, but in the end it really is inevitable. You can't possibly please everyone, no body does. It's a matter of statistics that the more people see your work, the more will dislike it. They may not tell you, but it's the truth. But hopefully, also the more will approve of it and support you or help guide you in the right direction.

I guess my advice for everyone would be... if you like someone's work, maybe let them know. If you don't, maybe say something constructive about it. As for the creators, the opinions of random people online are by no means any more valid than yours, feel free to question, disagree, ignore, or learn from them. If you are satisfied with your work then it's a job well done, and if other people like it then the better. Not everyone will, though, and that's okay. It wasn't for everyone, anyway. :)
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#5 Post by HiddenCreature » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:58 pm

I'll give you the quick version. The internet is full of people who literally have nothing better to do, than insult random strangers, aka, trolls. When someone insults anything you do, it's not personal, because they'll find excuses to hate many other things for no reason.

I blame the lack of competent moderation in major websites, that reinforce the idea that this behavior won't be held accountable for. For example: I can go on YouTube and make any insult I want, and I won't be punished for it. But let me post a video of a song, and I'll likely get a strike for copyright infringement. Insightful to their true motives, isn't it?

So when someone insults my work, I know there's literally no logic behind what they say. Anyone whose opinion is worth anything, knows how to speak with respect, or not speak at all.

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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#6 Post by Sapphi » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:08 am

Here's something encouraging: some really derisive original reviews of literature we now hail as classic. :)
HiddenCreature wrote:The internet is full of people who literally have nothing better to do, than insult random strangers, aka, trolls. When someone insults anything you do, it's not personal, because they'll find excuses to hate many other things for no reason.
This is also true.

Most people who rip your stuff apart without being constructive are doing it because they feel powerless in daily life and want to have the ego boost of being better than you, even though in all likelihood they have done absolutely nothing to compare (i.e. made a game or written a story themselves). These people have a constant need to focus on what is wrong with others' work, not on how they themselves could create something great. They are the ones who should be pitied the most, because in the end it's they who are always the most miserable people.

Also: if they wrote a long review or created a video, they're creating derivative works from your original work. Their entertaining, scathing review can only exist because you first created something. They literally depend on you to do what they do.
LeonDaydreamer wrote:I find it upsetting how maybe someone who has less experience and may be more desperately holding on to their dreams of becoming a professional in the field, or even if they're not and are genuinely just doing their best at something they're interested in, can easily be exposed to this kind of nonconstructive derisive criticism. It can really be discouraging, and I remember seeing a post on this site about something similar last year. This is something starting writers and artists absolutely do not need.
I also just wanted to point out that there is a difference between creating because you love the process and creating because you're hungry for praise from others. Very often, young artists try to "trade" their art for the love and admiration of others. This results in a lot of fear and unhappiness while creating because they are afraid that their work won't be good enough. If the work is rejected, they will feel personally rejected. This is a fundamentally unhealthy reason to create, because it sucks the joy out of life and makes you an emotional slave to the whims of others. So I wouldn't worry too much about young artists getting discouraged by this kind of thing, because those who do likely need to re-evaluate their reasons for creating in the first place.

If you as a writer or artist truly enjoy what you do, then nobody can take that away from you. You have much more power than your average bitter armchair critic.
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#7 Post by PyTom » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:15 am

Realize that mocking is a form of criticism unworthy of the name.

There's a role for a critic in the community, and it's an important one. It's nice to have someone who you can ask things like - "Of Sunrider, Palinurus, Rising Angels, and Starlight: Episode One, which should I play first? Or "What's a good representative of a modern otome game - but one someone who's more interested in plot should enjoy?" And a critic - either directly, or through his or her reviews - is someone who can help answer that. I mean, I don't read reviews by movie critics to find out that all movies are bad. I read them to find out what's worth seeing this week. If a critic can't give a recommendation, they're out a job. But that doesn't work on youtube, where "critics" are trolling for eyeballs.

So, before getting upset about a critical review, see if it's coming from a real critic, or someone merely pretending to the job.

And either way, a critic can be wrong, and is at best useful - it's the people that take the risk of being creative that count. (See my sig for more.)
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#8 Post by MoonStar » Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:57 am

There is also the saying there is no good or bad publicity there is only paid and free publicity. As example just look at the "bad" publicity games like Mortal Kombat GTA or even Hatred did that "bad" publicity held them back or anything like that? Nope it actually made them more famous it was free advertisement for their games. Also i looked at that video and judging by his sub number and views raging from none to 85max you shouldnt really care what a nobody(troll) says. I got a few reviews like that also but then ppl that liked my game came and told the troll to f*ck off.

This is from my desura page reviews

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My suggestion is ignore the trolls and only respond to those who like your game or have actual constructive critic about it.

On a side note that guy has and is making lots of accounts and posting troll reviews like that everywhere i go :)

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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#9 Post by truefaiterman » Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:51 am

Hehe, I know that feel about posting stuff and being scared :') My first fanfiction was written when I was 11 (I was lucky to be surrounded by patient, intelligent grown-ups, though).

But well, getting to the point, they've already told you pretty much everything you may need to know about this: Not all criticism is bad, not even the negative one, but there ARE trolls who just want to ruin something For The Evulz. You have to accept all kinds of comments, but also don't let them affect you too much. If something seems like good advice, consider applying it in the future, or while practising. If it's insulting or just plain non-sensical/useless, let it go.

You're posting your stuff on the Internet, where the most basic rule is "no filters here", so sooner or later you'll have to harden your skin in order to go forward. And don't get me wrong, I know it's hard, you can have a thousand "thumbs-up" and a single "thumbs-down" and you'll probably spend the whole day thinking about that one guy who maybe MIGHT be right and perhaps your work isn't worthy and I've been wasting my time and what am I doing with my life and-oh crap it's 7AM already and I didn't sleep?

Of course that was exaggerated :P But it does feel like it, specially when the derisive criticism doesn't feel like trolling.
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#10 Post by LeonDaydreamer » Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:12 pm

Sapphi wrote:Here's something encouraging: some really derisive original reviews of literature we now hail as classic. :)
That is precious, thanks for sharing that Sapphi! :) I think this should be shown to all starting writers.
Sapphi wrote:I also just wanted to point out that there is a difference between creating because you love the process and creating because you're hungry for praise from others. Very often, young artists try to "trade" their art for the love and admiration of others. This results in a lot of fear and unhappiness while creating because they are afraid that their work won't be good enough. If the work is rejected, they will feel personally rejected. This is a fundamentally unhealthy reason to create, because it sucks the joy out of life and makes you an emotional slave to the whims of others. So I wouldn't worry too much about young artists getting discouraged by this kind of thing, because those who do likely need to re-evaluate their reasons for creating in the first place.
This is actually an issue that probably deserves its own topic (and I wouldn't be surprised if it was out there). I think people can have very different reasons for why they create, I know I have a very complicated cocktail of emotions that drives me. If you are doing this as a hobby then you can be fulfilled with just doing it for yourself, you don't need anyone's validation because the process is what matters, but if you are trying to do this professionally then the opinion of others becomes very important. Their approval or lack thereof can show you how close or far away you are from your mark. I'm somewhere in between. This is a creative outlet I discovered not too long ago, a part of me wants to share my stories and not have them wither away in my mind, and also a part of me wants approval from others that what I'm doing actually means something to someone and I'm not wasting my time; and a part of me wonders if following on this path might lead me somewhere really new and interesting. You make a good, if dramatic point when you say depending on your reasons for creating, 'it... makes you an emotional slave to the whims of others.' That might be an extreme way to put it, but if you're putting yourself out there, I think in some small way you can't completely escape this feeling (at least I can't, I probably wouldn't have started this topic if I could :P ). If I show my work to someone, I couldn't say I don't care what they think about it.
PyTom wrote:So, before getting upset about a critical review, see if it's coming from a real critic, or someone merely pretending to the job.... And either way, a critic can be wrong, and is at best useful - it's the people that take the risk of being creative that count. (See my sig for more.)
Nice sig. :)

Another point brought up by some of the others is the issue of MST3K (or mocking critique), which really my example falls under. I love Nostalgia Critic and Cinema Sins, but if they were taking a look at our work, their job wouldn't be to offer anything constructive, it would be to tear it to shreds in the funniest way possible. And the rule that seems to be emerging in this thread is: if there's nothing constructive in it, then it's nothing you should be thinking about.
truefaiterman wrote:You're posting your stuff on the Internet, where the most basic rule is "no filters here", so sooner or later you'll have to harden your skin in order to go forward. And don't get me wrong, I know it's hard, you can have a thousand "thumbs-up" and a single "thumbs-down" and you'll probably spend the whole day thinking about that one guy who maybe MIGHT be right and perhaps your work isn't worthy and I've been wasting my time and what am I doing with my life and-oh crap it's 7AM already and I didn't sleep?

Of course that was exaggerated :P But it does feel like it, specially when the derisive criticism doesn't feel like trolling.
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#11 Post by RotGtIE » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:49 am

It should be noted that a "troll" in the context of unpleasant internet-based interactions is not "anyone who has ever said anything which has upset me." Trolling in the internet sense is nothing more than intentionally provoking someone with no serious agenda except to generate a reaction in that person from which the troll will derive amusement. If the person has anything serious to say or their own agenda to present other than having a giggle fit over your overreaction to their prodding, they are not a troll.

Do not jump to label people as trolls for the crime of saying something which happens to upset you. For one, this behavior will serve to lock you within a bubble where no criticism can reach you. Another problem is that this is an overreaction, and actual trolls can smell you overreacting to someone who isn't even deliberately trolling you from miles and miles away. You might as well set out a nice juicy steak for the wolves and cover it in A1.

Don't bother yourself over the tone of someone's criticism. Take it under advisement insofar as you are able. Preferably, you should try to open up a line of communication with your critic to get them to elaborate on their criticisms if you felt that they were too brief or unclear, and ask them what they think you could do to improve. If they have nothing to say at that point, there isn't much you can do other than note their unsubstantiated opinion and give your work another once-over.

In the end, you should be your own harshest critic anyway, so nothing anyone else has to say to you should be able to top what you've had to say about your work. If the harshest criticism you're getting is external, you might want to start being tougher on yourself.

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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#12 Post by xelestial » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:40 am

LeonDaydreamer wrote:
The comments are pretty snarky and sardonic from the get-go. I was a little annoyed by his impatience to criticize everything, but I couldn't help laughing along, because his reactions are kind of funny and it was altogether a very odd experience for me. It's clear he's not the target audience for this kind of game and he didn't approach it with a very open mind, but was really just looking to nitpick and get a laugh, so I wasn't offended. But I was thinking that if his attitude was a little more calm and analytical and he had said some of those things, I might be hurt hearing them, and I can imagine many people would.

Has this happened to you guys? How did you deal with it, and what advice would you give others?
If the criticism isn't made by your target audience, it's almost always pointless. If it's made by people who truly love the genre and are interested in your game, you must take it and consider it. It's nerve wracking, but anyone who gives constructive, well-analyzed criticism is someone who's really thinking about how to improve your story.

In my opinion, this is the only criticism you should accept. Someone who's trying to improve your story. If anything sounds like it might be the least bit true, then think on it and decide if you want to accept it.

By the time anyone's given me criticism, I always find I had a sneaking feeling of what was wrong with the story that they pointed out anyway. Anyone who gives you less than well thought-out, constructive criticism is either not your target audience or your target audience are not actually writers and have no clue what they are talking about. (Never assume that they do know what they're talking about either). It might be hard to take, but as long as it strikes me as true, I will take it and try to improve it.

My biggest frustration is when people say "well ________" but it was intentional and I'm building the story and if they'd just wait, they'd see what I'm trying to do! But of course, that's just another form of invalid criticism too, because it's uninformed.
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#13 Post by Wittmann » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:20 am

I think there's a difference between in-context criticisms, such as someone criticizing how something was phrased, versus a criticism from outside of your target audience about the concept itself. We had a couple "Let's Plays" done, and you just have to take criticism with a grain of salt, and recognize that a lot of people want to poke fun at what they're playing since that's what people like to see.

We just respond to criticism with extreme sarcasm and people seem to like the self-aware nature of our marketing.
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#14 Post by Tentacles » Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:30 pm

For an example of what I experienced:

Bad: 'Visual novels are entirely composed of last minute character's social mistakes in the part of all visual novels.' -- Like yea, maybe that's kind of the point of that one visual novel, but not all visual novels are like this.

Good: 'You might consider expanding on the detail of this one scene, is this part is not particularly fleshed out.'

And yes unfortunately I personally bore witness to someone using the Bad, but more often it's the Good.
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Re: Derisive criticism of your work online...?

#15 Post by Kumiho » Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:16 pm

If it's constructive criticism, then no matter how derisive the tone may be, I think it's important to go over it and learn from it. Maybe you disagree with their comments--that's perfectly fine. But reading criticisms as objectively as you can is perhaps the greatest way to improve your work.

If the criticism serves to mock rather than to help, though, you can safely forget about it and bask in the knowledge that you are a better and kinder individual than whoever wrote that crap. (Granted, even if the criticism is malicious, many of their points may still ring true & you may be able to learn/grow from them. This doesn't necessarily mean their message as a whole is true, nor does it mean your work sucks or deserves mockery.)

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