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TOTW: let's try this again, on criticism

First off, I really like good criticism. To me it a sign of someone paying attention and thinking something through. Of course, really, a good compliment can be that too, but even thoughtful, articulate compliments have to get through the fog of "people are just nice," "it's only acceptable to say something kind," etc., so they're more likely to miss that sweet spot of good feedback, when the person receiving it has to step back and think about things (at least a little) differently.

Secondly, if we're criticizing something, we're by definition caring about it. Not caring about something usually means avoiding it, rather than hating on it. All the people who, over the years, have complained about how terrible anews is (especially when they're complaining about the option for anonymous comments), when *they're on anews, complaining anonymously* are not making the point they think they're trying to make.

Here at anews (well, everywhere online of course, but perhaps especially for moderators), we get lots of empty signifiers. Lots of "this is stupid," "this is shit," "you're terrible," and so on. Perhaps talking about us, perhaps about a story that has been put up, perhaps about another poster... none of it means anything without some kind of explanation. And explanation isn't just using more words to say that something is shit, or that you would do it differently. It's expressing that a. you understand the goal of the thing you're responding to, and b. it is either a bad goal (which you can explain why), and/or a bad tactic or strategy for getting to the goal. This requires the person posting to do some thinking before they criticize.

So this week the TOTW challenge is to recount...
what's your favorite thing to criticize intelligently? What's your favorite bit of criticism? What's a story about good criticism that lingers for you? When did you give or receive criticism and there was a surprisingly positive outcome?