Author Topic: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement  (Read 5115 times)

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Lysitheia

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Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« on: March 30, 2009, 02:25:12 AM »
1) Determine whether it's your place to step in. Do you have a dog in this fight, so to speak? Does it affect you, and were you asked for your imput? If the answer to both is 'No', it might be a good idea to bite your tongue.

2)Be polite. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

3) Be compassionate. If you don't like being told something you've made/believe to be true 'su-ks', then it will probably upset the other person.

4) That said, be honest.

5) Respect the fact that others will disagree with you, and you might not be able to change their minds.

6) Give concrete reasons. Saying X thing is terrible is much less helpful than " I feel as though X isn't working for me and this is why."

7) Understand that most everyone has a 'hot button'. Common ones include religion, politics and the way people raise their children. It's very likely a bad idea to involve yourself in this aspect of other people's lives unless clearly and specifically asked to. ( The sole exception being if you have a reasonable suspicion children are being abused or mistreated. That changes things).

8)When giving critique of someone's creation, keep in mind that taste is highly subjective. You might think X is the worst book ever written/picture painted/movie filmed, but that doesn't make it objectively bad.

9) Know when to bow out. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, no matter how clearly wrong it seems to others. Sometimes arguments reach stalemates and it's better to agree to disagree.


Hawkwatcher

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2009, 03:41:36 AM »
Make sure that you are selective in your criticism.  Do not nit-pick everything that the other person does. Do not criticize that person's choice in hair, makeup, clothes, toothpaste, etc.   

Be careful about criticizing others in front of their peers.  In some cases such as a writing class, it is appropriate to give constructive criticism.  However, if you are going to criticize another person about a sensitive matter, you should do so in private. 

For those on the receiving end of the criticism: do not ask for another person's honest opinion unless you are willing to hear it.










Black Delphinium

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2009, 06:04:16 AM »
Once you've walked away or agreed to disagree, that is it. Unless something major comes up(you change your opinion to the other party's, the same thing happens again(and it isn't an accident), that kind of thing), let sleeping dogs lie. Rehashing old arguments will make you look fixated.
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Hawkwatcher

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2009, 10:44:52 AM »
If you are in a position of authority over another person, you should be very careful how you criticize that person.  Employers, teachers, and even parents need to realize that they have a captive audience so they have to be careful not to abuse their authority.

An employer obviously has the right to criticize an employee's job performance.  However, an employer should not tell an employee that she is wrong for liking a certain football team.  While no one in his or her right mind would argue that a parent does not have the right to discipline an unruly child, a parent should not criticize a child for liking ballet instead of football.   

whiterose

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 02:04:57 PM »
No matter how bad you (and others) think a given person's creation is- do NOT mock it.

I am not talking about satires and parodies a la Weird Al who parodies everything. I am talking more about mocking a specific person's creations because you have a vendetta against the person for unrelated reasons.

Yes, it has happened to me.
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Lysitheia

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 03:28:10 PM »
Understand that if a person is giving you sincere criticism, there's probably a reason. Which isn't to say the other person is always right; on the other hand, if several people all gently and clearly raise a certain point with you, the chances they're 'just jealous' are pretty slim.

In the same vein, no one is obliged to like something you've created. If you put it out for public consumption, there's an excellent chance you'll hear things you don't love about something you've worked very hard on. This is in no way 'unfair', 'mean' or 'getting picked on'. This is how creative people improve their art. If you truly can't bear to hear anything less than glowing praise, then submitting it to a venue that encourages hard crit is not a good plan.

RooRoo

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 09:15:34 PM »
I'd like to combine #2 and #3.

2./3. Be polite. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The other person won't react any better to hearing that their opinion "su-ks" than you will.

"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2009, 09:29:33 AM »
Raising the volume of your voice does not make your opinion more valid than those around you.  You may feel passionately about your point of view, but the conversation will not be benefited by becoming a public spectacle.

Hawkwatcher

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2009, 11:11:41 AM »
You should also give the person a chance to respond to your criticism.  I have participated in and attended scholarly conferences where commentators comment on papers and then allow the authors to respond.  However, I was unfortunate enough to participate in conference where the commentator did not allow the authors to respond. I thought that the commentator was very unprofessional.

snowball's chance

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2009, 11:47:58 AM »
On the receiving end -- don't look for offense.  When you know someone is trying to compliment you sincerely, don't get angry because it was stated awkwardly or not how you would have phrased it.

Examples: "Congrats on your weight loss!  You look wonderful!" doesn't mean you looked awful before.

"You are very pretty, you really look like [insert name of celebrity you personally find unattractive]" is still a compliment, because obviously the complimenter feel's Celebrity is attractive.

whiterose

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2009, 11:56:11 AM »
When you are criticizing an employee's performance, do NOT criticize unrelated things. Whether prejudiced (like person's hometown/ethnic background), personal (like a person's temperament), or anywhere in the middle. At best, this is highly unethical and unproductive. At worst, this is illegal.

Again, it has happened to me with a boss from hades...who ironically was NOT born in USA territory while I was, yet had the gall to tell me to "go back where I came from" due to "cultural expectations".

I am SO glad to not be there. Counselor said that some of the things she said were things a 20 year old troll posts on a message board to start a flame war- not something a 50 year old professional tells a brand new employee!
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TylerBelle

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2009, 03:08:46 PM »
If you are needing to express your opinion on a matter, let it be yours, don't model your views after someone else's simply because you are trying to impress them. For it could backfire on you and you may have to do some back-pedaling, and that'll only make you look foolish.
Always be on the lookout for wonder. --E.B. White

paladin

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2009, 01:49:56 AM »
I would add that if you must contradict someone, the polite formula is to ask "How can you be certain about that?" and then calmly state your reasons for thinking otherwise.  Becoming upset, saying something along the lines of "You don't know what you're talking about!" or worse, accusing the other party of lying, is not productive, but is a good way to make enemies.

Jolie_kitten

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 12:28:01 PM »
Well, this has to do more with logic/critical thinking than actually with etiquette, but here's an interesting article: http://www.paulgraham.com/disagree.html ; I personally see it not only a matter of logic but also of politeness not to contradict anyone with a level of disagreeing less than DH4
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magician5

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Re: Etiquette of criticism/disagreement
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2009, 08:15:11 AM »
Something I should have learned long, long ago, both regarding giving criticism and receiving it: "Nothing is often a good thing to do and always a good thing to say." (Credit for that goes to Will Durant)

And, as I have figured out over the years, regarding someone's disagreement with you or poor opinion of you: you don't have to win. Declining to fight the battle isn't the same as losing, and it's usually a lot less taxing on the emotions.
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