General

Constructive criticism

Greetings my fellow retro fans! It’s raining outside and I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee watching the raindrops clash against the windows. I find the sound of rain very soothing and for some reason it always makes me want to write something, anything.

I could write about another update about my work on Annie since I have already been working on it today but I also don’t want to overdo it and rather wait until I have some substantial progress and new screenshots to go along with that.

Instead, I’d like to discuss the importance of constructive criticism. I have released quite a few projects so putting content out there and anxiously waiting for people to comment and give feedback is something I’m not unfamiliar with.

I recently came across a thread on a forum where a brand new project was presented. The author of the project posted a downloadable demo of his work and requested feedback from the community. This particular thread caught my attention because it quickly turned into an argument between the author and various people fro the community where the actual point of the whole thread (giving feedback) was entirely ignored.

How could this go wrong so fast and easily, I wondered. Now, I must say for the most part I receive positive comments and really good and constructive feedback on my released projects. Thanks to the feedback, I’m able to continuously improve myself and my work and allow myself to grow and release better projects. There were a few instances where I read some negative comments about my work as well. I don’t have a problem with that since everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and you just can’t please everyone but I do tend to avoid replying to particular comments that hold absolutely no valid arguments.

The author in the thread however, succumbed to the negativity that only a few members of the community injected into the discussion. He reacted aggressively to their partially unfunded arguments with childish replies, thereby completely ruined the opportunity to get what he was looking for in the first place. From the moment of his first reaction on the negativity to the final comment just before the thread was removed, there was absolutely nothing that contributed to the thread anymore. Since many people disapproved the reactions of the author, it will take a long time and quite some effort to make this right.

I completely understand that you’re proud of what you make and people don’t always know or appreciate all the effort that went into your work but keep in mind that, just because you’ve implemented something that is brilliant for the engine or program you work with or something that took a huge amount of effort, some if not most of them don’t know or don’t care about the technical side of things. They look at your project purely from a visual standpoint and base their feedback on just that.

Since I’m 34 at the time of this writing and I’ve experienced quite some things during my life, it’s easier for me to keep my calm and don’t fall into the trap of pointless discussions. If you deal with negativity in a professional way, nobody will blame you for this. Some people just want to stir things up, regardless of all the valid counter arguments you may provide and my best advice is to just ignore them. Do dare to look at your work from a critical standpoint, focus on the positive comments and take constructive criticism to heart. In the end, everyone wants to improve and listening to the reactions of others will definitely help you to achieve this.

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