Friday, 8 October 2010

Friend Friday: Constructive Criticism

1. Do you allow comments on your blog? Why or why not? 
Yes.  Because I would like to think that I am not just talking to myself.  I've found allowing comments allows you to interact with other bloggers and you get to meet some amazing people who you look forward to hearing from regularly. 

I find it amazing that in the few months I've been blogging I've met people from America, Latvia, Brazil, Ireland, Tipton and Spain whose blogs I visit and they visit my blog.  Did anyone have a pen pal as a kid?  I had one from Japan.  Now I have several on the go from different countries all united by a love of fashion and who I get to share photos and fashion tidbits with regularly as well! 

I suppose you could just email each other but interacting via commenting is fun.  I've found some great blogs through the comments left on blogs I read.  You get to see who is visiting and commenting and visit them all as well.

2. Do you think at times people leave comments that are insincere or not well thought out? (like the ones who write two words and just seem to be trying to comment on as many blogs as possible.) What's the point?
I once had someone comment and it was clear they hadn't even read the post.  When I googled that person I found she had just copied and pasted the exact same comment on every blog she had visited just to leave a link to her blog.  I didn't bother publishing it.  There is no point in those comments because that kind of thing becomes very obvious after a while.

I've made two word comments like "nice skirt" or something similar sometimes, but actually because I liked the skirt and perhaps there were already so many other accolades in the comments section that nothing else particularly witty or interesting to say sprang to mind.  Or maybe I wasn't feeling particularly imaginative.  But I still wanted to pay the blogger a compliment on what I'd seen.  At least I will have picked out that it was a nice skirt and didn't just post a generic "nice photos, thanks for sharing, follow me...!!"

3. Would you ever leave a comment that could be considered negative?
I have once.  I tried to be very diplomatic in what I said but I'd just read something I found really, really offensive and thoughtless in the post and decided I had to say so.  I left a positive comment elsewhere to try and show that it really was only that statement I found objectionable. 

Later I wondered whether it was worth commenting at all as I'm not sure that it would have really changed the way that person thought and I never returned to the blog anyway as I was so off put by the post.  I have since seen far worse offensiveness on the blogosphere and I now refrain from commenting at all.  I don't see the point.  People will be want they want to be. 

Now I'll just leave and don't go back or start off a Google groups discussion and have an unholy rant to Friend Friday people on my own blog.  I figure if I stand on my own soapbox in my own corner to crow about what I believe than it is up to other people to make their own minds up about whether I can change theirs or not. 

I did notice in the last Friend Friday some bloggers actually mentioned that they had as of that day decided to unfollow some negative blogs.  So just by making them think about an action they'd been doing made them question it and ultimately change it. Yay!

4. Most people claim to like constructive criticism. Do you really and how do you offer that kind of criticism to others? 
Some people are better at taking it than others but I think deep down everyone is sensitive about being criticised no matter how diplomatic you try to be about it, even if you sandwich it between two bits of positive feedback.  How often does constructive criticism actually feel constructive? 

I just discussed this with my boyfriend as we both have to take constructive criticism regularly in various walks of life - primarily work.  We concluded that the only time we ever feel like the criticism we'd been given was constructive was when it is given by an instructor in something physical, like skiing or dancing.  Everything else somehow manages to make you feel small in some way.  Maybe its because physical things are easy to correct then and there and you see the results almost instantly, rather than just getting the "you have not been very good at X, Y and Z" and not being able to do very much about it.  But then again maybe it is because we normally work for psychopaths.

I would be wary of asking for constructive criticism on a blog because that could just be an open invitation to busy bodies who like the process of criticising rather than being constructive.  Just my opinion!  And I think the term constructive criticism as applied to fashion almost implies that there is a right and a wrong. 

I don't think there are any rights and wrongs in fashion and personal style.  The trend setters in fashion are the rule breakers.  Fashion isn't always about wearing something flattering, its also about playing with proportion, flying in the face of conventional aesthetics and turning old style references on their heads.  Start putting limits on it and you remove the freedom to be creative.

I don't leave constructive criticism on blogs because I don't think it is my place unless someone specifically asks me for it and even then I would probably word things as suggestions and leave it up to the person if they want to take that on board or not. 

I would never leave a negative comment on someone's outfit, not even if they wore crocs with socks, because I can say on my own blog that I don't like this kind of look and leave each to their own on theirs.  And you know fashion is meant to be fun, people should lighten up about it and not take it so seriously.

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?
If a blogger is getting a barrage of negative comments just because people want to vent because they are rich, their blog is successful or they just suddenly attract some nasty types who want to pick on them then I can understand a blogger deciding not to allow comments.  It must be unpleasant and demoralising having to read through them all the time and why should they have to?  They may as well go and look in the mirror and slap themselves every day.

There are negative comments that state that you agree to disagree with someone and that could invite a discussion and then there is just pure spite and hatefulness.  And if you have real hate being plastered all over the thing you work hard on and love why should you give those people the honour of ruining it?  It's not nice for other visitors to the blog to read that kind of negativity either.

I'm not a purist about comments being on or off but I must say that I gravitate to the ones with comments because I can leave a compliment if I like something and hopefully interact with the blogger.  If comments are off, or the blogger never interacts that's also fine with me but it is less likely to become a daily read or visit unless the content is really out of this world.  It is just a little bit less engaging because it doesn't feel like there is a human being behind the blog, and the human aspect is what I think most of us like about blogs and blogging.

11 comments:

  1. That's an interesting view you have on leaving constructive criticism. I never looked at it that way! I guess if you're comfortable with the blogger and visit them regularly and always like their style you may feel more comfortable offering suggestions!

    And on your first answer, I too have met some awesome people from oversees (like you!) that I wouldn't have met otherwise so comments are really great in that respect!

    Have a great weekend!! :)

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  2. It's really too bad there are mean people on the internet, or we could all just have fun doing our little hobby and these issues would never arise. Cool answers.

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  3. I always think i'm rambling to myself on my blog, or if someone does visit it's just in passing. So I was really excited you posted the first comment i've received! It was particularly exciting as i've been following your blog!

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  4. I still remember excitement receiving letters from far, far away countries. I also had pen pals. :) Interesting does it still exist or we all have switched to the net?

    About criticism - I don't leave negative comments - I want to spread positivity no negativity. But there have been so many occasions when I was tempted to do that. But as you said there is no right or wrong in fashion :) And actually one of the many things that I really love about fashion blogs is the fact that fashion blogs are the most positive blogs out there!

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  5. I couldn´t agree more in all matters, so I have little more to add.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  6. Perfectly and eloquently said, as always.
    I've often said to my non-blogging friends that blogging is like having a pen-pal. xxx

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  7. You make so many great points!

    This, in particular, is what I love about fashion bloggers—it's the point of it, I think...you nailed it:

    "I don't think there are any rights and wrongs in fashion and personal style. The trend setters in fashion are the rule breakers. Fashion isn't always about wearing something flattering, its also about playing with proportion, flying in the face of conventional aesthetics and turning old style references on their heads. Start putting limits on it and you remove the freedom to be creative."

    ♥ V
    http://www.gritandglamour.com
    twitter: @gritandglamour

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  8. @Grit and Glamour - thanks V! I do think that if people approached reading fashion/clothes blogs with a more open mind and allow people the right to experiment with their creativity you could find more inspiration from what they come up with than things to criticise!

    @Vintage Vixen - it's great isn't it? I don't think we would have been able to entertain quite so many pen pals in the days of pens, paper and stamps as we do with the internet!

    @sacramento - gracias hija! un beso grandote.

    @Ginta - there's something still so lovely about recieving a hand written letter but yes I think the internet has sadly made that a rare occurence these days.

    @MJ - Oh I only make suggestions if the blogger has specifically asked on the post what people think of their outfit or if their readers have any suggestions - and I would only do it on a blog where I've established a good rapport with the blogger.
    I'm always amazed about the internet's ability to bring people from such far flung places together. I could have never imagined this as a child.

    @Cynthia - so true! I hope at least our discussions will have made some impact for the better.

    @I'm not Emily Brown - hope it will be the first of many on your blog - now following yours!

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  9. I'm not going to go in depth about why I had decided to shut off my comments section... mainly because I am 'sitting' on a post about it... I did it to make my blog travels motive and obligation free. (as in I wasn't commenting for reciprocity)

    Plus I don't need the validation but I guess... it's nice to have your sense of style admired, I mean, I don't exactly dress to not be seen!
    ...AND it was rather arrogant of me to assume that my readers can't decide for themselves.

    I have never received a negative comment.

    I am however, amazed at the amount of people who find a No Comments policy 'offensive'!

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  10. I'm 100% with you on the constructive criticism approach. It is so easy to sound condescending and patronising (and coming from a country where it's considered perfectly normal to give unasked advise I rather risk being a bit superficial these days than hurting someone's feelings). 2-word comments are a bit silly and I tend to ignore them. It feels like the person is running around trying to get people to visit their blog, but where is the interaction???
    I just listened to an interview with an actor and when she said acting is about 'sharing the love' I thought: Exactly! That's what blogging is too. It's about taking part in each other's creativity - and that's why the comment function is important.

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  11. @Dusk - I think people should do what works for them with comments and your motive for switching off comments is very interesting. It does make sense - if you don't have the time to fully engage in commenting then it makes it a bit easier to take that approach. Some big name bloggers just allow hundreds of comments to accumulate after posts and never reply to a single one and some people think that's rude. I personally don't see how they could reply to all of them and if they just reply to some it could be construed as rude too. I'm struggling to reply on a timely basis to the few comments I get and can see how it can quickly get unmanageable.

    @SabinePsynopsis - "coming from a country where it's considered perfectly normal to give unasked advise" do you mean Oz? ;)

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Thank you kindly for your comments! Please be aware that comment moderation is on to weed out the spammers and I can only check comments once a day, so please don't worry if you don't see your comment come up at first - it is probably there and will be up later xx

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