Friday, September 7, 2012

On Criticism on blogs


There may be people who are thrilled about receiving a negative comment about their blog posts. There may even be people who may go singing and dancing around the house when someone dislikes what they have written. Why, someone may even call out his friends and relatives for a party to celebrate the fact that someone has found errors in his blog post. I, however, am yet to meet even one of these wonderful beings; not even in zoos and museums.
Given my limited exposure to the world I have always gone on the – possible mistaken – impression that negative criticism makes people unhappy. Given that blog posts are made available for free reading, I have always tiptoed silently out of the blog when I did not particularly like them. After all, no one was holding a gun to my head and threatening my life if I failed to make a comment.
The only reason to make people unhappy by criticizing them is if such criticism can make them improve. A negative comment on a blog post can help the blogger improve only if it specifically cites what is lacking in the post and, if possible, how it can be improved. Comments of this nature on my blog – though they do not give me a thrill of happiness initially – make me thankful to the commenter since he has cared enough to spend time on trying to improve my abilities.
With one exception! Recently, I received a comment on one of my posts – that it was coincidental and how he liked my previous post better! The second half made me think that the first part was not merely commentary but was meant critically (Of course, I also thought that the commenter could not have been fool enough to think that I wrote the story without realizing the coincidence in it!).
Now, when a person sets out to make a negative comment on fiction, I prefer that he knows something about the craft of writing. A coincidence is a cheat on the reader only when it pops up out of the blue to solve a knotty problem set up in the tale by the author to tantalize the reader. When the entire tale is about what happened after the coincidental meeting, coincidence cannot be criticized. If he meant that the conversation thereafter was coincidental, he had not bothered to read the story with any attention because there is nothing in the story that says that the speaker did not realize who her audience was. Someone who gives himself unwarranted credit for his own perspicacity has always impressed me badly – but then I do realize that I may not be typical.
When I comment, I still refrain from mentioning my suggestions for improvement in the blog itself – preferring to mention it in private to the blogger. Almost all ideas relating to reader reactions are a matter of taste. I have the humility to understand that my own tastes may not be the mirror of the tastes of the world and I would rather not allow my comment to color the perceptions of other readers.
Again, with one exception! I found another commenter with the irresistible urge to be honest on other people’s blog posts when it came to negative comments and not necessarily constructive. So, I decided to see if he could take what he dished out. I had found something concrete that I wanted improved on his post and, contrary to my usual practice, I put in the comment on that post. As far as reactions on his blog to my comment went it did seem as though he could take it too. Then I found that he had felt the irresistible need to be honest on a ten day old post of mine hosted elsewhere!! Looked like I still had not found that elusive person who was rendered joyous by negative criticism!
I am sure that no-one can be foolish enough to think that comments like “You could have done better” or “Your story seemed disjointed” endears the one who so comments to the writer. Nor indeed can I see how these comments help the writer to improve himself since nothing is mentioned about what could have been done better or why the story seemed disjointed. If I am in a very generous mood, I can only think of these comments as emanating from people who think they have a duty to express their feelings on blog posts regardless of whether their confidence in the validity of their comments is utterly misplaced.
In my working life, I have come across very many manipulative bosses. Their idea of managing is to make comments like “I expected more of you” and “This letter can be written better”. This is a sort of posturing of superiority without any concrete demonstration of it that is expected to keep the subordinate on tenterhooks always seeking his boss’ approval. I have always reacted very badly to this sort of underhand manipulation even when I was being paid to go through it. In my ungenerous moments, it seems like these commenters behave exactly in this fashion and it sits ill on me to take this sort of posturing from anyone, leave alone from people less than half my age and with far lesser writing credentials than would warrant their assumption of superiority.
I have never been a votary of the belief that honesty is an adequate excuse for rudeness and much less in the assumption that rudeness is necessarily a demonstration of honesty. A belief in your own abilities is self-confidence but when it has to be buttressed by putting someone else down it is brashness. And, from the diatribe here, one can see that brashness is not one of the qualities that I love in my fellow human beings.
Lest it be thought that all my comments were like this let me hasten to add that it is the very fact that most of the people who commented on my blog have commented positively (or not at all! And the absence of comments has always been sufficient indication of a blog post gone wrong!), which made these comments stand out. There have been a few who have commented critically with concrete reasons and they have my thanks. I have been blessed, touch wood, by an absence of flamers of the personal sort.
I have no intent to have people admire their perspicacity and superiority in the mirror of my blog at the cost of putting me down. If you have something positive to say, I shall of course be ecstatic. If you have something concretely negative to say, I may not be happy when I read it but I shall nevertheless feel thankful for it in time. Otherwise, in case you did not know it, you can actually walk out of the blog without commenting! There are really no penalties for doing so, believe me!

63 comments:

  1. Creative criticism is always welcome,although the kind of comments you have mentioned should surely be refrained. People just have to post something probably thats why they just post at times.
    Informative post indeed.

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    1. If people like the sound of their voices, why allow it to echo in my house? :)

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  2. I cant tell you Suresh how true is this. I had a reader on one of my stories where he said that I used so many big non everyday words that the charm of the story was lost.

    Later I was shocked to know that one reader thought that my story was copied from some legitimate author - though when asked he failed to cite the source!!!! :(

    I was truly upset! Your post touched a sensitive cord here!

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    1. Probably will touch a sensitive chord with quite a few people. Surely I am not the only one getting irritated by such comments :)

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  3. Completely agree with you. Those who comment that this could have been better would not have even read the post completely. Secondly nobody comes back to read the reply. For me there couldn't have been a better timing for this post as I am facing the same issue of comparison without people getting into the soul of the story.

    By the way, this post could have been better Suresh, your topic at places seems disjointed .... he he he ... :)

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    1. I assume that is a joke Amit :) :) Else, I'd hv to write a post about you :)

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    2. :) ... If you write a post about me, that will be a privilege, even if you rip me apart in that.

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    3. Mmmm! Now that makes me feel very good indeed!! You just lost your chance of getting ripped apart :) :)

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  4. This is true of real life too, Suresh. Blogs are a microcosm of life, I guess, which is why such self-appointed critics make the rounds of blogs. I don't comment on posts I don't understand and like you said, 'tip-toe out of the blog' double quick :)

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    1. I know, Zephyr, and, like I would in real life, I thought it necessary to tell the self-appointed critics that their actions are not welcome nor do their comments make me admire their acumen:)

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  5. I have come across a few such commentators. Although I understand when people put comments for pointing out my mistakes but some of them make no sense. For example, a commentator pointed out in one of my recent post that I have written 'University in diversity' instead of 'unity in diversity'. I wanted the Earth to open up and swallow me but I was very thankful that this was pointed out. In another instance, a commentator wrote a whole poem to make me understand that my post was really bad. :(

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    1. Like I said, I have only gratitude for people who have concrete comments on errors or suggestions for improvement. My irritation is only with oh-so-superior comments that tell me that my post is not so good without telling me why it is not.

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    2. Exactly... my point too...If you want to point out flaws, do so specifically... not vaguely just for the sake of feeling superior!

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    3. And no, I don't comment to feel superior(and that's just about me). I write what I feel. And from now on, will be definitive about it.
      And I completely agree with Suresh when he says- If people like the sound of their voices, why allow it to echo in my house?

      hmhm.... The past one hour as I try reading though all the related posts though continuous power cuts- I am learning a lot. I can understand the writer's mentality when he reads a vague comment. yes, I have had a few of those. And no, I do not want to be one of them.

      When I wrote on Suresh's blog- I did not write about the story as such, I just wrote what I felt. And I should have been clear on that as well as I should have written what I would have found compelling and good.

      I thanks Suresh for putting up this post. hahaha.... Too many thanks to Suresh I suppose!! :D

      But I realize that a vague comment is as bad as it gets and will not leave any comment without proper justification and the clear reason on why I felt like that.

      To know, my first vague comment that started everything and Suresh's reply- Kindly follow the given link.

      http://jambudweepam.blogspot.in/2012/08/yesterdays-and-tomorrows.html?showComment=1347023971763#c4989687891870605214

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    4. You give yourself too much credit, Muthu :) Yes, you certainly were one of them but there were others too who built up the pressure that vented in this post.

      When you do choose to give criticism, understand again that your tastes in literature really do not belong - according to me! If I like humor and someone writes a serious tale, there is no real point in my telling him that I prefer humor. It is going to improve him in no way.

      For me, the only valid criticism is something that will tell the writer exactly what would help him communicate what he wants to communicate in a better manner not to tell him what I want him to communicate!

      And of course a comment that is tantamount to telling him you do not like his post and nothing more is worse than useless - it is insulting!

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    5. hmhm... No, I never told you- that I did not like your post. Whats with all the hard statements? I would still like to say that- I loved your story. And I made a mistake- when I let my personal tastes flow into the comments. I get it.

      No, I am not telling you what to communicate. Kindly read my comment on yesterdays and tomorrows. I respect that there are several ways to tell a story. And I am never a judge of what's better. Not everything works for everyone. That's why perspectives exist.

      And no, I did not mean to critique you. Why should I? I just wrote what I felt- that's it.

      Please, don't use hard statements (like the last line of the above comments). I respect you and your writings and honestly wondering what I did to antagonize you this much.

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    6. Understand that all the replies were written before your reply about getting the point about not letting personal tastes flow into other people's posts. So it is the same point getting reiterated.

      The last line was in continuation of the previous paragraph where I was saying what my ideas about acceptable commenting was! It was not meant to be directed at you specifically. You can see that, even in the post, I do not label your comments under the general insulting category:)

      I can understand how you may have got the impression that that was also targeted at you and I apologize for that.

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  6. hmhm.....

    Well, haha. Honestly I couldn't help smiling. A post about my own comment. (yeah, I am second fellow in the post - the one who went to comment on a 10 day old post). No, I am not writing this comment to justify nor to antagonize. Just trying to find more about myself. that's all.

    Firstly, Yes I am honest in my comments and not always constructive. Honestly, till now, I have not followed up my comments to see the reply. If there is one thing I am learning now, is always be precise and definitive in the comments section and always to follow up to see the reply.

    No, I don't really enjoy negative criticism but I enjoy writing and If it can be improved, I am all ears. when I write something, I don't want good comments, I just want to take you reading, along for a good ride. Something you will remember. I don't really want to be remembered but I want the reader to remember and recall my stories when he faces a similar situation.

    And with regard to the comment that I gave and the discussion that I led to- you can find it in the following link

    http://floating-diamonds.blogspot.in/2012/08/in-defence-of-ram.html?showComment=1346848059707#c6983135394625288459

    I sincerely believe that- If I cannot take bad criticism then I am ignoring the fact that I am not always right. I have thanked Suresh for his comments on my blog and would like to do so here again.

    Also, If I would have been vague and callous in my previous comments, I need to change. And I will. If I cannot accept when I am in wrong, I lose the privilege to point out some one.

    And If you want to read the criticism that Suresh gave on my post- kindly visit this link.

    http://www.average-everyday.blogspot.in/2012/09/the-silent-melody-short-story.html


    (I am open to discussion. The power outrage in TN is a bitch. Mu power just got cut. posting and logging off)

    If there are typos, kindly forgive.

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    1. I see I missed out on the fact that you said that you do not comment to feel superior in your other comment. But that is precisely the impression you leave when you allow your personal tastes to dictate your comments (seems as though you consider your tastes to be superior to the writer's) or when you give comments like '...some nuances are missing' and do not deign to point out what you think was missing. So if I have communicated that something is wrong about the way you comment my purpose is served.

      If you did read through this post carefully, you would have noticed that I did mention that my interpretation of what the comments meant about the mindset of the author of the comments depended upon whether I was being generous or ungenerous. So, the gamut of my interpretations includes a genuine comment giving unknowing insult :)

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    2. No, I don't really think my tastes to be superior to anyone. Kindly don't say such hard statements with ease. Yes, I agree I did let my personal tastes into the comments. Its just the way - I felt. I did say I respect your ending. I just mentioned an alternative. Nothing more.

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    3. Please bother to read my comment properly, Muthu! I only said that you leave that impression. When someone says 'seems as though such and such is true' it is not tantamount to saying that 'such and such is true'! (Had I said 'You seem to consider....' then you can take me to task about saying hard statements with ease! As a good writer I expect you to appreciate the difference in the usage of English!)

      Any writer writes his own story. If you would not write it that way and you mention that your ending does not work for me and the ending ought to be like this, then the impression you leave is that your ending is better than mine in your opinion. Which is why I said do not comment about your literary tastes on other people's blog posts unless the comment is positive.

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  7. Hi Suresh

    I know how that can feel ....siimply using some adjectives instead of pointing out the exact thing to be improved . ...

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    1. Mmm! Actually one of the comments on one of your posts was also a trigger for this post Jaish! :)

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  8. Guess criticizing constructively is an art to be learnt..:)

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    1. Yes! And if one has not learnt that art it is best that one chooses not to comment critically, in my opinion!

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  9. Very well put. To stretch an analogy, I once lost my temper at a friend cum client, in public, 'cos she had put herself in a dangerous situation. A couple of days later as we finished discussing a project, she said, "If you don't show grace in public, and scold in private, people will think you are in the wrong, even if you aren't." I took that lesson to heart and I have tried ever since to deliver positive, uplifting critiques wherever possible. Not to say I may not have made mistakes, but gentle pats on the back work better than raps on the head, in my experience.
    By the way, the Jain festival of Paryushan is coming up next week, and like they say "Michchami Dukkdam", which translates to "Forgive me if I may have in thoughts, words or by actions, intentionally or not, caused you any hurt or pain."
    Those two things pretty much define my Zen online and offline :)

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    1. Quite right, Sandy! As for me, I am of the previous generation and think that an assumption that your POV about another's work is valid enough to be broadcast to the world is a sign of overweening ego. Even where I feel something is wrong about someone else's work, I do feel that maybe there is an alternative POV about it. So, when I do not like a story line, I do not feel it right to comment that the story did not appeal to me. After all, blog comments do not cover all possible readers and any such comment from me could only make the author unhappy without indicating anything concrete about the general perception about the work.

      And, yes, I prefer spreading happiness around and hate the idea of making people unhappy unless I am sure that there is purpose, favorable to the other person, to doing so. Which is another reason why I cannot understand and tend to dislike people who so casually spread unhappiness around without even bothering to see if any purpose is being served by it. That is the reason why I wrote this post.

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  10. A very interesting and thought-provoking post, Suresh. My two bits to the discussion here.

    I comment only on those posts that I understand and like. If I can contribute to an ongoing discussion or share my experience, even better. If its a blogger I know and I feel that something is missing, then I send a separate mail.

    Recently, I read a post on a very well known travel blog that got my goat -- I found it very condescending and one sided and on an impulse commented. I gave my viewpoint on the topic concerned and generally said there are different ways of looking at the same thing. My comment was very politely worded, to which the response I got was such that it implied that it was because of people like me that there were people like her. Well, I learnt my lesson, know that I should not have commented when the that blogger's one-sided viewpoint was so clearly spelt out. Never again will I do this again.

    I take this opportunity to know your views on book reviews here, Suresh. I have reviewed books on my blog. These have been from my own collection and as part of a book review programme. In the case of the former, I was able to pick and choose the ones I had already read and loved. In the case of the latter, while I could choose the book, I didn't know what they were going to be like. My reviews have been honest (some have called it harsh). Do you think negative reviews should not be posted at all?

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    1. As far as blogs go, Sudha, my points are 1. The comment is on the concerned blog and does not serve as any pointer to the general public, who may never have visited the blog 2. Blogs are for free and, therefore, if it does not meet your expectations you have no reason to vent any ire. The main and, possibly, only consumer of a blog comment is the author himself. Thus, if you will make a negative comment and render him unhappy it has to serve a positive purpose for the author or else you are merely being sadistic.

      The same rationale does not apply to books. The author and publisher are in a commercial situation and the readers pay for the privilege of reading a book. A book review serves as a pointer to the reader about whether it is worth buying a book. The reviewer has to, above all, be honest with the readers. If a reviewer's reviews are being followed by a certain section of the readers, it is even possible that they trust her tastes to mimic their tastes. So, not only a negative review but a review based on the reviewer's own tastes is in order if that is what is warranted by the book.

      Of course, a book review that is balanced - in terms of pointing out the good with the bad, offers suggestions for improvement as well as delineates where the opinion is a matter of taste rather than a flaw in the book is far better than a mere negative rant.

      I know the book review that got you much flak recently and I certainly do not think that it was a rant! It falls well within the definition of what I would consider a good book review.

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  11. If there was one point which will linger in my mind long after I have read this blog

    When the entire tale is about what happened after the coincidental meeting, coincidence cannot be criticized.

    Blog is a medium of free expression more so for amateur writers like me who may never get published. Thus, a blog is expected to have all the inconsistencies one can expect in a piece of writing viz., grammar, expressions, etc. As long as a blog is not outrightly dangerous to the society, it need not be commented upon. Everbody is unto himself is relevant to blogosphere.

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    1. When a critic writes something in a bid to improve your writing, he ought not to be blamed in general - in my opinion. This comment, however, would in no way have improved me since the criticism itself was misplaced. Which is what I had mentioned.

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  12. I completely understand. I have seen a blog where a reader left specific comments on what exactly should be improved. I was so envious. In that case, it was someone known to the author. And then I started getting some good critical comments from some co-bloggers who I have grown friendly with. I know that kind of constructive criticism really helps! I recently left a similar note on someone's but then the response I got to it seemed to be completely sarcastic. I couldn't make out if she was serious or sarcastic. I decided not to give it more importance, but secretly decided that like you do, 'tip-toe'ing is probably the best! After all, not everyone takes it in the right spirit.

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    1. Mmm! Like I said Deepa, even I prefer to give constructive criticism in private - and non-constructive criticism not at all! A lot of what we like and dislike is a matter of personal taste, thus to assume that it has some generic validity is to think too highly of ourselves :)

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    1. Thanks Jen! Always thought I was not alone, now I know!!

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  14. Hi,

    I agree, if you do not like a post, do not read. If you like you, you say so. If you like it a lot, make more noise and if you find some faults, please do put it politely and by politely, I mean like a pro.

    What is irritating is, when the critic has typos on his feedback :)

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    1. Mmm! I also mean that it is a fault that you find merely cos you do not like that type of story, it is better left unsaid :)

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  15. no harm in good criticism... but i moderate my comments to keep trolls out :P

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    1. Of course, Ash! And I'd go a step further - good criticism is actually a great help!

      I prefer not to moderate - too much work, particularly if you are out of action for a number of days, as I would be when I am off on treks. So I am only serving notice that any such comments shall be summarily deleted in future :)

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  16. Suresh,

    We have a saying, "Kutta Bhonkta Hai, Haathi Chalta Hai"

    let those people bark. dont pay much of attention to them.

    -MD
    http://mdrpune.blogspot.in/


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    1. True! Par kabhi kabhi log anjaane mein comments chodthe hain bina soche ki uska impact kya hota hai! Tho ek baar bolna tho padtha hai ki yeh teek nahin hai. Phir bhi aise hi karte rehte hain tho hi unko bhonknewaale kutte samajna sahi rahega!

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  17. Another gem, I see the quality of expression very well settled in your writeups. We learn as we move. It is a way now a days to draw commenters, be it neg. They are pleased with the traffic. One goes to his site many times to see what he has replied. He git the hits he needed.
    I think I too have to do something to draw you comments.

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    1. Ah! PL! That's a sorry way to draw visitors and comments :) And, as for me, I am not impelled to do it that way unless I am unsure about why the commenter commented in the manner he did. I start ignoring him totally if I am sure that the intention is manipulative or rude.

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  18. Ohho suresh, what's up? Looks like something and somebody seriously hurt you...:) just kidding...hope I am not one of them...I know how it is, when you get negative comments...luckily, I didn't face any such so far...since I have a very few readers, I know almost all of my followers...:) I think this is the first time, you have come out so openly being the very polite person you are. ..:)

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    1. Yes, this is probably the first time! Actually, it is more irritation than hurt! The problem with being polite is that it gets your goat when others do not bother to be so. I thought I'd let people know that I do not appreciate rudeness :)

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  19. This is indeed subjective. What is nice and what is not. What is excellent and what is mediocre is all a matter of taste and choice. I don't give comments on improvements unless someone specifically asks me to and at the same time, One should know which criticism to pay heed to and which ones to avoid. If a person wants to really improve, he would know if he should take it seriously or not. Anyone can be rude, but it takes someone to give a balanced view at the same time pointing out the vice and the virtues in a well meaning way! :-)

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  20. Quite an interesting discussion ...Well I was on a poetry site and believe me comments like "language can be improved" or "Bad Grammar" do not go down well with the Authors . When an author publishes his/her work on a website ...he/she just wants to share a part of himself/herself and they are not looking for some English or Moral Science school teachers with a red pen and a ruler in hand :)But these can be made in private and the there's always the much neglected "message" box :) But people these days take each others' walls and space for granted...Time for us to learn the "netiquette" :)

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  21. I wish I had more time to discuss this one,still I would like to share this incident,recently I read a fiction on one of the popular blogs out here and somehow I guessed the ending of the story in the middle itself,and hence the stort lost its charm for me.But never the less I liked the style and all I wrote was the same thing that I lost interest in middle,but I loved the narration.
    As expected I am out of the circle of trust (which is huge and expanding)
    p.s. no enquiry will be entertained about the identity of the blogger...:)

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    1. I certainly disagree on this! If you found you friend has an ugly face do you pat yourself on the back for honesty if you tell her that - unless you can tell her a way to improve her looks? Why, then, this sudden urge to be honest about other people's work if it will only make them unhappy without telling them anything about how to improve? It is not like in blogs you get every reader commenting about their views so the writer can get a complete idea about how good her post is - and, certainly, even if all readers commented, the writer cannot still be sure that it is a representative opinion.

      In my opinion unsubstantiated opinions of taste have no place in blog comments.

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    2. To each his own I say,If i could help in improving the face of a friend I wouldnt fall short of doing so,and there is a very thin line between constructive criticism and downright negative opinion.Im not saying sugar coat or something,but if you have the will to share your views with public have the stomach to digest the opinions....of course its upto the author to decide whom to listen and whom to delete.I would not put up my work for exhibit if I can not take a little bit of criticism in good spirit....
      But in the end TO each his own.

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    3. First read what I have written - both in my piece and in my reply - and then comment. If your criticism is constructive i.e if yr friends looks will improve in the metaphor, then there is a point.

      By the way, you want the author to take the criticism in good spirit but looks like you have the guts to give unsolicited negative criticism but not the stomach to digest the consequences :)

      Knowing that there is a thin line between constructive criticism and downright negative opinion, if you choose to tread it then do not be upset if you become unpopular.

      If you actually are going to take comments like "I expected better than this" and 'Not really interesting" etc. on your blog posts in good spirit, I am willing to oblige :):) Just do not claim that it will make you happy - cos I'd hate to know a liar. :)

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    4. First of all I Will gracefully bow out of that bloggers circle if he couldnt take a little honest opinion,trust me Ill have no issues with being unpopular with that person.And all i said on that post was that I could predict where the story was going,but I actually loved the narration and mentioned that as well..
      If Im mentionting the thin red line I obviously have no intention of crossing it.I did not refute what you wrote in your post,God knows I have never written "i expected better than this" or "bad grammar" coz even I slip sometimes.I only stuck to the constructive part of the criticism.And certainly negative comments will not make me happy never the less they might help me in improvising....Truce.

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    5. May be the only disadvantage with the written words is that they dont convey the tone,emotions may be not the tone...so if I came across like disagreeing with your POV,I was not...but this crticism doesnt have to be in black or white...

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    6. It can hurt you when someone criticizes your criticism, so naturally it can hurt the blogger when someone criticizes her post. If I were to write the criticism that you wrote at all I'd say "Loved the post. Maybe it would have been better if the ending had been more difficult to guess!" In fact, I'd have not written that at all unless I could also say how it could have been done. If you write "Loved the narration. But the story lost its charm because I could guess the end in the middle itself" or some such thing - it is hurtful.

      I am only pointing out that criticism also has to be mastered as an art. You feel that the blogger falls short because he writes expecting positive reviews and gets angry when his expectations are belied. Well! You criticize expecting it to be taken in good spirit and when your expectations are belied you get angry with the author - so what's the difference between you and the author? Except that you proactively hurt him and he only reacted!

      When you make a point on my post - where I have accepted that constructive criticism is welcome - and say things like 'To each his own' - then it is but natural that I assume that you have misunderstood my post and my comment.

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    7. And, btw, I get upset about thought processes and not with the person concerned as a person. I have seen this attitude about honest criticism on blogs and all that - but, simple unsubstantiated opinions on blogs are like collaring a stranger on the road and commenting about his looks! It is never welcome even when it is constructive. Even with friends, mere negative opinions are only hurtful without being useful. I could never see the sense in spoiling someone's day without anything useful to him and plead honesty as a reason.

      I know that this '...criticism is to be taken in good spirit' argument - have heard it ad nauseum - but I am yet to meet that mythical person who does not get hurt by negative criticism!

      Witness the fact that when I even criticize your comment on MY blog you get upset - despite your 'good spirit' argument!! How much more hurtful it is on your blog where people who know you will also be coming and reading!!

      The intent in replying to your comments is to let you know that it is not a rare minority of bloggers but a vast majority of bloggers who would be upset with such criticism. If you think it is fine to have them upset, then that is up to you.

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  22. For the most part, I do agree with you! Especially, if someone's coming over to your space to criticize you - and without giving supporting evidence at that! Wondering if I have been guilty ever of the crime myself anywhere. I will re-tweet Sandy's 'Michami Dukhadam' for that sole reason - because I don't know if I have - on anyone's blog. I think different people react to comments differently. With some folks who comment, if the person is known to the author, then the same comment from him might be taken more "usefully" compared to if it was by someone unknown. And it also might depend on the state of mind - both of the person who comments as well as the author. But all said and done, if at all we have to leave critical comments (even if designed to help) - a quick simple message would probably be best!

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    1. I give negative criticism, if at all, only to people I know because only they can see if it is worth considering seriously. And, when they are people I know, I can and do give them the criticism in private and not on the blog. If I do not like their post I exit the blog silently.

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  23. Once I got a comment on a story of mine that dismissed it with a, "But there are so many bike accidents in Tamil movies"
    I have still not understood why that should make my story any less/better. I mean, do Tamil movies have monopoly over including bike accidents in their story line or what? But the commentator never bothered to explain anything more. I call him the Cryptic Critic :)

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    1. Hahaha! We find all sorts of critics - still searching for the one who discriminates between his own personal tastes and the quality of a piece :) Most seem to think that there is no difference :)

      Thank God I hvnt found too many critics :)

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