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Call for opinions on Constructive Criticism...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Brian Mosley, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    as we're continuing with the PAD project, many of us are getting to know each other quite well... we have a fantastic, friendly vibe going on... and it's getting to the point where we're ready to accept constructive criticism in the spirit to which it's intended...

    I've started to put "C&C Welcome and appreciated" beneath my PAD entries - to let everyone know that I'm happy for them to suggest improvements to my images, but this isn't formalised across the board... so I think we need a discussion here, to decide whether we should offer constructive criticism, and how we should do it.

    What worries me a little, is that well intentioned, constructive criticism could be misdirected. misinformed or misinterpreted... leading to bad feeling.

    On what basis do we think criticism is valid?

    Just thinking aloud here - would appreciate some help please... what do you think?

    Cheers

    Brian
     
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  2. Chris

    Chris Mu-43 Rookie

    My thoughts exactly. I'm in no position to offer any real feed back, but I know there are some very sharp eyes veiwing what we post, and although, I'm flattered by all the lovely comments, I feel the best way to develope is to hear the good AND the bad....

    The biggest hurdle to placing constructive critisim, is, as you say, a persons reaction to getting it. This could be another good excersise in thoughtful critique? Buffering the bad with some good usually goes a long way :biggrin:
     
  3. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    892
    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    One of our playwriter once wrote "sans la liberté de blâmer, il n'est point d'éloge flatteur"[*], and I think there's a deep truth here. I'm all for C+C myself.

    Mauve

    [Beaumarchais, Les Noces de Figaro - translation attempt : "Where there is no freedom of criticising, there can be no flattering praise"]
     
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  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    This is a good thread to explore.
    I feel that one should at all times be respectful and sensitive to a persons feelings.
    There are many different levels of skill and knowledge on this forum, not just the PAD.

    To be constructive is a very ambiguous concept. There will be different ideas of what constructive means. To be rude is not ambiguous at all.
    I would hope that if some one ask for C&C, the person responding would not post discouraging words on the open forum. We have PM for that.

    So, feel free to ask and to give but just remember, the idea is to help the person see an improvement not to make them embarrassed on an open forum.

    The idea of the PAD is to inspire it's followers and provide input from other followers. To critique is nice but it must be in an uplifting mode.

    I am not saying that showing someone the mistake is wrong, just the opposite.
    To show someone the mistake and the way to correct it is actually inspiring.

    No bashing allowed any place on the forum......
    shooter
     
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  5. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    I agree that constructive criticism can be worth while in the ways that you've outlined, Don. One has to remember the old saying "There's no accounting for taste." when it comes to giving and receiving constructive criticism. Just because I may not "like" someone's subject matter or view of the world, it doesn't negate their freedom of expression and the means by which they choose to express it.

    One must be wary of hubris when one is criticizing another's efforts of creativity.

    I think if we were sitting together in a Photography course - and not a basic one - that it would be a very different experience all together. However, we are not, and it is very important to use discretion and diplomacy and remember why most people are here. Inspiration and encouragement doesn't have to mean it's always boring pablum that's being posted but comments should be done in a positive manner. And finally, I think one needs to remember that we come from a wide variety of countries and cultures and that the written word is not always the easiest...though it's certainly our means of communication, so we just have to bear this in mind when posting our comments.:flowers_2:
     
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  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I've been involved many times in forums and other places providing critiques to photos, and it's a very, very difficult thing to do. It's not only a matter of setting basic rules on how to critique (if you are going to have consistency), but there's always the ever present danger of upsetting people because you have a different vision than the presenter, and that's just with non-controversial photos.

    There's also the added pressure over a period of time to provide, or keep providing, feedback even if you don't feel like doing so; it can become quite a workload. And if someone's photos get more responses than someone else's, you run the risk of getting someone's nose out of joint. It can become a double edge sward of no mean proportions.

    I'm not saying don't do it, but be very aware of the potential consequences.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
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  7. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Just don't be RUDE...bottom line.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The thing is, with such a mix of cultures, rudeness can be interpreted in many ways (even within one's own culture, if the skin is too thin), so the very fear of being rude, may stifle valuable comment. As I said, it's not going to be an easy ride.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
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  9. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    798
    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    Lisa
    Having taken photography classes on and off for nearly 40 years. I think it is always important to find something positive to say in a critique, even if it is a the worst photograph you have ever seen say something positive then point out constructive ideas that could improve the photo.
     
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  10. ahuyevshi

    ahuyevshi Mu-43 Veteran

    454
    Feb 9, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
    You all suck... There is my opinion... LOL!!!! I love you guys..
     
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  11. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Whadda you know...yer from New Yawk....
     
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  12. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Everyone, except our pal Boris AKA ahuyevshi has made very good points.:biggrin::tongue:
     
  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Tsk....I resemble that remark...Boris and I are just getting started....

    I don't think Rude can be misunderstood. I know we have a mix of cultures and that's the beauty of C&C. Differing ideas. But if ya ain't got nuttin' helpful to say, don't say it...

    As the Great Master once said to Kane...
    If ones words are not better than silence, one should be silent...
    on that note, it should be very obvious that I don't subscribe to that saying...
    good night all....
    shooter
     
  14. ahuyevshi

    ahuyevshi Mu-43 Veteran

    454
    Feb 9, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
  15. ahuyevshi

    ahuyevshi Mu-43 Veteran

    454
    Feb 9, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
    PS... I'm still thinking about my PAD for today... I suck
     
  16. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    i one intends for the critique to have purpose and perhaps even be absorbed and utilized by the shooter one is seeking to aid , then diplomacy , and kindness is important, in fact its likely that some of the wiser sages among us [ you know who you are] can with some empathy for the plight of the newbie of the artistically clueless, will help another human being grow and realize more beauty and meaning in the journey we all share .


    im not saying we should be all singing kumbya in unison , but there is a good way of suggesting a crop or compositional arrangement or black and white conversion , and there is a bad way .......

    all it take to have the difference , if for true empathy to be employed
     
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  17. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    One thing that might be considered, and maybe help in the critique process, is for the submitter to first explain what they were attempting to achieve, what they did to get there, what they struggled with, what they thought they achieved and what they thought they did not. That way one has a baseline from which to start, as if you had set the assignment and can see it from that perspective.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
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  18. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    I post regularly on 4 photo forums and agree with Ray that constructive criticism can be onorous. I offer it when I think I can add something - otherwise make a more general comment. On one of the other forums there is a dedicated area where critical feedback is allowed and all other areas are critical feed back free. Currently on that forum there is an active thread bemoaning the fact that most feedback is too 'nice'.

    For this forum I agree with Brian that adding "C&C appreciated" or similar is the way to go for the present.

    One thing I miss here is the member post count which sometimes suggests skill level and can determine feedback and yes I know we all have low counts on this young forum.
     
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  19. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    send all your views to me and I will censor and modify them as i feel it necessary, I will then post them on your behalf under a non de plume - do you trust my "northern" grit - we call a spade a shovel

    As I used to say at work - "this will be a very difficult job and to be successful we will need to work as a team and that means you will all do as I say"

    Seriously, my view is that C + C will be useful and it is something that most of us want, it can be done in a structured way within laid down parameters or can be completely free style.

    To be beneficial it should be constructive and benefit all concerned whist having as much honesty as possible.

    I agree totally with Don's sentiments and I respect these and the views of others who have far more experience than me in such matters.

    Maybe the way forward is to decide yes or no to C + C - a vote maybe? - and then the more experienced amongst us to suggest how it can be implemented within acceptable parameters - with an initial "softly softly" approach to see how it works - start with something simple but within a scaleable structure

    The PAD project is a success - it is going well and growing, (which in itself may present logistic problems, IMHO), but bringing in new dynamic elements cannot be a bad thing to consider as long as honesty and respect prevails.

    I don't have the answer - but you guys must have enough experience to provide sensible pointers as to (a) way forward
     
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  20. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    As one of my bosses used to say (in a roundabout way): 'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.'

    Cheers

    Ray
     
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