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Friend friday: constructive criticism

I’ve already done a post on critique this week, and have posted about this at length in the past, and I don’t want to bore you all stiff going over the same points again and again. But these questions do take a slightly different approach to what I wrote before, so it might be interesting anyway.

1. Do you allow comments on your blog? Why or why not?
Yes, of course I do, because I love the interaction, it’s probably my favourite thing about blogging. If I didn’t allow comment I’d feel like I was just broadcasting into the ether without any feedback.

2. Do you think at times people leave comments that are insincere or not well thought out? What’s the point?
I think a lot of people leave short appreciative comments on outfit or inspiration posts that don’t have a lot of substance like ‘Love this!’ or ‘You look great!’. And I love getting them and leave them myself all the time. I think of them as little bullets of niceness to shoot off into the blogosphere, just something to let people know that I like what’s going on, even if I don’t have anything very thought provoking to say.

I find it slightly annoying when people leave such a comment and then add the link of their blog at the bottom, because I feel that’s a bit spammy. I try to always visit the blogs of commenters I don’t ‘know’ yet, but adding the link at the bottom actually makes me less likely to visit that person’s blog. It doesn’t bother me hugely though.

I do find it a bit weird when people leave comments that completely miss the point, like they haven’t properly read the post. I don’t get this very often but when it does happen I always think I would have preferred for them to have spent more time reading and not commenting. I do try in my arguments and musings posts to make very clear what the point I’m trying to get across is, and randomish comments make me worry that I haven’t done a very good job!

I wouldn’t know about people being insincere. I’m not sure how I would detect any insincerity, so I mainly just assume that everyone means what they say.

3. Would you ever leave a comment that could be considered negative?
I don’t leave negative comments on outfit posts as a rule, unless the person has specifically asked for feedback, just because style is subjective and I’m hardly the authority on anything. I will write when I disagree with someone on a substantial topic they have written about though. And I wish people did this more – see question below!

4. Most people claim to like constructive criticism. Do you really and how do you offer that kind of criticism to others?
Yes, I like it! I’m not looking for it so much on my outfit posts, just because I know myself when an outfit doesn’t work out from my interaction in the real world and am therefore not really looking for advice online. I would never be upset if someone told me my outfit didn’t work for them though, and I would definitely think about what they said seriously.

I do love a bit of critique on my thinky posts though. I put a lot of thought into them and I love to know what people think, whether they agree or not. It doesn’t even have to be constructive (as in saying explicitly what I could have said differently), it just has to be respectful and coherent. Like I said, critique away, folks!

When I say something negative to others, I try to put something positive if I can to soften the blow. I don’t always though, and I think it’s perfectly valid to simply say ‘I don’t agree with you on this point. Here’s why.’ As long as it is respectful and made clear that you are not criticising the person as a person, you’re just questioning this one particular thing they’ve said.

5. Some bloggers don’t allow comments in order to cut down on negativity. Do you think that is the way to go or are there other ways to deal with the negative vibes?
I’m not massively opposed to commentless blogs but find them of less relevant to me just because I’m interested in dialogue and interaction. Though if the only reason a person turns off comments is because of negativity, I would question that. I have found a lot of fashion bloggers to be incredibly touchy about negative comments, and completely fly off the handle at the slightest bit of non-positivity. I think in general we as the fashion blogging community need to come to terms with the fact that some people will not agree with us and might not even like us. But that’s ok. It doesn’t diminish our value as persons. Just like in real life it’s important to accept the situation and deal with it in an adult manner.

Happy weekend all!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • She is Sara 8 October 2010, 2:36 pm

    I agree with you and I like constructive criticsm. If I am talking about something that needs more explanation, then I need to know! Or if I am wrong on a fact, do tell! The only time I don't like it is when I do a really personal post, unless It's just advice, I don't really need the criticsm, even if it is constructive because it comes off as being kicked while down.


  • Emmett Katherine 8 October 2010, 2:52 pm

    I'm not a big fan of commentless blogs either, a lot of times I learn something from the comments or discover new blogs.

    Everyone is curious about what other people are saying so not having comments can be dissapointing. I can understand however, someone turning off comments because they are getting negative comments that aren't constructive but personal attacks.

  • Louise 8 October 2010, 4:25 pm

    I agree with Emmett and Sara up above. If I receive a negative (not constructive) comment, I will not publish it. I want my blog to be drama-free and a happy place for everyone! The haters eventually go away if I don't respond to them.

  • Amy 8 October 2010, 4:53 pm

    I've found in general that the blogs that seem to attract a lot of negative comments tend to almost ask for it by being negative themselves, if that makes sense? You know, the kind of blogs where whole posts are given over to basically slating someone else's fashion sense or view point, only to then get angry and upset when people post back negatively. Generally the bitchy attitude of blogs like that quickly puts me off reading it but I can understand that if you're writing that kind of blog, you must get a lot of angry commenters (commentors?) and so feel the need to turn off your comments.

    I like leaving comments for other people's blogs and I like it when people comment on mine, it's satisfying to know other people are actually reading my blog and I like interacting with blogs that I enjoy reading, it makes me part of the process somehow!

  • jesse.anne.o 8 October 2010, 5:29 pm

    "I think of them as little bullets of niceness "

    I love this terminology.

  • tess 8 October 2010, 5:57 pm

    I totally agree with you. Commenting is vital to blogging! I wouldn't blog if it weren't for the feedback. I've met some amazing women through blogging all because we were able to start a conversation via comments and generally I find people are nicer here than they are in real life. It's a really safe environment and I appreciate that so why not encourage it through commenting. Of course the few blogger meet ups I've done can be very eye opening because when not online my blogger friends will confess they actually cannot stand some big blog that everyone reads haha. So sometimes I think we aren't as sincere as we seem. I guess its easier/safer to take the high road and not leave negative comments because its not exactly the noblest thing to do online (you cannot judge how some reacts to your comment like you could in a face to face conversation). I don't really appreciate negative comments (not that I get many) that come from completely random individuals who have never commented before, but then decide to rip on me for one post. However most of the "negative" comments I get are responses to a post I recognize might be controversial and they're from consistent readers who I know are nice and respectful people and not just out to knock someone down for the fun of it. Commenting for the most part is positive and can generate some great discussion, so I love it and find it necessary for blogging to thrive.

  • Shallow Mallow 8 October 2010, 8:17 pm

    Love your new purple shoes!

    Just kidding. 🙂 I find comments that were cleary made looking but not reading funny too. At least they enjoy part of my content, even if they're not interested in the words 🙂

    When I first started blogging I felt really uncomfortable doing short outfit-love commments but I am more relaxed about it these days. An outfit post rarely inspires philosophical thoughts but it 's nice to let people know I enjoy their content.

    Always enjoying yours and I do a lot of nodding reading your Friday posts 😀

  • Liv 8 October 2010, 10:56 pm

    I often do the "little bullets of niceness" thing, with a little personal twist. I love getting comments, it reminds me that, yes, there is someone out there! I am a little thrown by those that seem to have missed the point completely, though, especially since my blog is my happy place of pretty images… there's not a lot to lose in the translation.

    And I too am much nicer in the blogosphere than I am in real life. You want the snark, you gotta tune in to the live show!

    Unless the blogger I'm leaving a comment to really knows me I always leave a link because I love it when commenters do the same. I've discovered some fantastic blogs this way. Though pairing said link with a capslocked order to FOLLOW (and not much else) will pretty much guarantee I do nothing of the sort. You're not the boss of me!

  • Diana 10 October 2010, 1:54 am

    When I first began blogging, I vividly remember a fashion blogger posting her black dress for her mother's funeral. Over 80% of the comments didn't even bother reading the post, they commented on the "cute dress". It was one of the first times I realized the force of comments, good or bad.

    Sometimes I don't bother commenting if I have nothing to add, to be honest. My voice would just be an echo in what everyone says.

    Anyways, great post as usual.