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How harsh is too harsh?


Guest Minto

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Guest Minto

Just curious as to what the general consensus here for critisism is. I'm a natural-born snark, so at times when I've read something over I'm inclined to say something that has the potential to be taken completely the wrong way, which is part of the reason I never comment on art/stories. It's definitely not that I don't appreciate the effort that the authors/artists put into their stories, because I do. I'm just hesitant because what I might say could be seen as rude, even when it really isn't meant to be.

So what comes across as rude/harsh to you? Would a comment like "I liked it a lot but you could do such and such a thing to improve next time" be taken as an insult to you if you're an author or artist? And even if you're not, where do you draw the line anyway?

(I probably came across as seeming like I wanted to snark at someone's art/story and was waiting to see what would be taken wrong, but that's not the case. O_o; Just genuinely curious.)

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Just curious as to what the general consensus here for critisism is. I'm a natural-born snark, so at times when I've read something over I'm inclined to say something that has the potential to be taken completely the wrong way, which is part of the reason I never comment on art/stories. It's definitely not that I don't appreciate the effort that the authors/artists put into their stories, because I do. I'm just hesitant because what I might say could be seen as rude, even when it really isn't meant to be.

So what comes across as rude/harsh to you? Would a comment like "I liked it a lot but you could do such and such a thing to improve next time" be taken as an insult to you if you're an author or artist? And even if you're not, where do you draw the line anyway?

(I probably came across as seeming like I wanted to snark at someone's art/story and was waiting to see what would be taken wrong, but that's not the case. O_o; Just genuinely curious.)

Well, first off, as you start posting more and more (not just as feedback, but anywhere on the board) people will get to know you better and get a sense for you and the way you are, so that will help. Of course, having this post here to explain a bit, also helps because now, say if you were to give me feedback on something, I can sort of get a sense at how you meant it.

For the example you gave, the only thing I would do differently would be to change the last part, into something like, you might want to try this for next time.

However, that's not the worst thing I've ever seen in response to something (not necessarily here). OF course it depends on what you are criticizing...the example you gave would certainly be good for something that is a grammar or stylistic issue although not so much for something that is more of an author preferance thing.

It really depends on the author/artist. Some people are more comfortable posting than others (and some of us are more comfortable in certain fandoms/pairings). The important thing is to be honest. For example, if I write something that completely sucks, I want someone to say something (although maybe not flat out that sucks). Just think of what you want to say and how you'd like it said. I can't speak for all the artists/authors here, but most of us are open to hearing criticism as long as it is constructive. I love getting feedback and concrit on stuff I write as it lets me know if things are working in the story and if it's something people are interested in. So, if you're going to criticize anything, have something to say and suggestions for possible improvement.

I write because of these insane muses in my head that will torment me unmercilessly until I get it on paper, but, speaking for me, it's always nice to know what people like/don't like. And after awhile, you start to build up a bit of a skin when it comes to comments (at least I have) where if someone doesn't like something, it doesn't devastate me anymore. Granted if I'm posting something I'm nervous about (like if I actually write something 18+ which doesn't happen often), I'll post in the beginning of the fic that I'm nervous about it and ask people to be gentle.

Just don't be outright mean and I think you'll be fine. Hope this long rambling made some sense (I tend to do that)

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Well personally I think that criticism shows that the person actually took the time to read your story thoroughly. You know, enough to point out where things could be improved. I sort of take it as a compliment sometimes.

Same with art, they took the time to look at it with a critic's eye. That could be good.

Unless of course you're inclined to tell the person in question that their story/art smells like the rear end of a hog. :drool: That's a bit too harsh in my opinion.

I think you should go ahead with criticism, I think it helps the person further improve their writing/art skill. But please don't smack them with rude comments. I don't think you would but I have seen it happen. It's not like it doesn't exist or anything.

By all means say what you think, just be conscious of the other person's feelings too. Internet or real life, words can hurt.

I know this is probably babbling and crap. Thanks for reading if you've come this far. :drool:

Goodluck

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I welcome criticism on my works, if it's constructive and technical crititicism.

It also sort of depends on your criticisms. If someone looked at my art and said "Hey, you drew the feet backwards you know" (which...I don't think I've ever done, haha!) I'd be inclined to first laugh, and then go back and fix it. If someone said "Dude, you can't shade for crap" I probably wouldn't be so kind, because that sort of thing can be a matter of opinion.

Likewise, if someone said "The story would be easier to read if you spaced between paragraphs" that would be fine. If someone said "The second chapter was boring. Where was all the sneezing?" I'd ignore it, for that also is a matter of opinion.

The general rule is, artists usually want to improve. We also have feelings! More so due to the nature of THIS forum, where some people can be hesitant about posting fetish-related stuff that can be very personal to them.

My personal rule is to find SOMETHING to compliment about everything I look at, and I rarely actually criticise work. Works done here are usually for fun, so I want people to feel good about what they are sharing and to want to share more. Also on the internet, it's sometimes hard to tell the AGE of the person who is posting and you don't want to accidentally rip apart a 12 year old for not producing a masterpiece worthy of the nearest museum. And people don't always have English as a first language and you wouldn't want to tear apart the grammar of someone who actually put in a lot of effort to craft with a language that's not their own.

You might want to keep the critic side a little quiet until people get to know you, because you don't want people to form incorrect ideas about you being mean. :drool:

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I think that what everyone else has said is right on.

I personally like constructive criticism.... and for me constructive is the key. For me that is what KK was talking about where it is something that I actually CAN fix... (not.... "I hate this fandom", "Not enough sneezes", "I hate that pairing"- because I can't change those things without changing the whole story- and that is more a matter of taste)

For example I was writing a Bridget Jones story on here and someone noticed some "Americanisms" in it. I think that they were nervous about pointing it out. But honestly I was SO happy that they did that- because I wasn't intentionally putting them in- and I'd rather not have "Americanisms" in a story that is set in UK with UK characters. So I asked them if they'd mind proofing my story for me. Everyone was happy.

I will admit that it is difficult for me to take more generalized criticism, especially if there isn't Anything positive that the person has to say. I've seen people (not here) Really rip on a story (not mine), and ok... maybe the story wasn't great, and maybe they should have used a beta, but... even the Worst story that I've read that I decided to comment on- I tried to say... "Ok... this is why this seems out of character... (used specific examples) maybe if you gave us some background (backstory) as to Why the characters had such a sudden change."

Another thing (which has been brought up) that I think is important is if the person Wants constructive criticism. If it is someone's first time posting a story or artwork- then I'd say that needs more gentleness. Same with if someone makes you a gift- Obviously!! Because, believe me... even the people that Really want to grow and improve- you they feel unappreciated- they won't want to do it again... you'll kill the inspiration.

The goal- for me with constructive criticism is to help someone (that wants help) to become better and to make them feel appreciated but to help inspire them to go to the next level.

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Beware of ramble waza! :) Some of this might come out wrong, but I never claimed to be a writ---oh, wait.... :blink: CRAP! *flee!*

AHEM.

First and foremost, I believe anything that can be construed as "negative" criticism should not be posted publically unless the writer or artist has specifically asked for it. If you feel you must say something, a private message is much kinder. I am open to suggestion on everything I do, but that does not mean I will do it. :laugh: Stubborn says what? Still, I do not mind hearing what others have to say about my work as long as they are not picking due to personal preference. I will flat-out ignore that.

Moving on....

This is a rather touchy subject for me, but not in the way that one might imagine. As a moderator, if I see a comment like, "well, that was good, but you should do this next time," I'm going to be inclined to message you and ask you to reword your commentary because such statements can be construed as rude. It also sounds a bit a selfish because some writers, while they enjoy feedback, write because they want to do so. They do not write for the praise of others. They do it because they enjoy writing. Of course, there are those who do write for the reader response. There is nothing wrong with this at all. My point is that writers/artists do what they do for various reasons.

Personally, I write for myself. If someone else does not care for my work, that is their choice. Forgive me if this next part sounds a bit arrogant, for it is not meant to sound as such. I am far more likely to blow off a comment such as the one you mentioned than take it to heart because hey, I'm not writing the story for you. I am writing it because my Muses demanded that I do so. I choose to share it with others because I want people to experience what I felt when I wrote it. Some people enjoy it and some do not. The ones who do not enjoy it? This may sound harsh, but I honestly do not care what they have to say about my work. I am comfortable with my ability to translate words into story format and therefore, unless the criticism is very grammatically particular, I tend to ignore it. Why? Usually, what one might "criticize" is a matter of preference of stylistic composition. One may enjoy a story for its plot, characters or even comedic value. THAT is personal preference.

Personally, I do not like to criticize the writing of others. That is MY opinion of their writing. It does not mean that there is something wrong with their writing just because I do not agree with the way the story was written. I think unless one is going to criticize the mechanics of spelling and grammar, if you do not enjoy reading something, stay silent.

Also, you state that you are "snarky." I do not that think that is a word that I would use in this context. "Snarky" is not the same as "objectively critical." "Snarky" is rather sarcastic manner of speaking. If you were "snarky" with me during a critique of my fiction, expect me to return the favor. :blink::) "Snark" is not a good tool for criticism at all. It comes across as if you must somehow put the work down for the benefit of their own ego. Hey, I am pretty snarky myself. *points to title under avatar like a retard* Snark is funny in the right situation, but I do not think this would be one of them.

Remember, the writers and artists here are posting their work to share this fetish with you. They are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. Personally, if I write something, I put a lot of myself into it and it is a bit like me sharing a bit of my soul at times. That's a very personal thing.

Sooo, here are some things that I think should not be criticized:

  • Style. If you do not like the style of the piece (artistic or written) that is a PERSONAL preference, not something that can be objectively criticized.
  • Language semantics. Honestly, different people use words in different ways. Sometimes, English is not even the writer's native tongue. Don't play semantics with a writer. It's rude.
  • "To Be Continued." Fussing about unfinished work is generally not a good way to get a writer or artist to do more of it.
  • "That's great, but it should have been THIS character!" If I see that? I am going to ask you to edit the comment. That is a personal preference and the WRITER or ARTIST decides who/what will be written or drawn.
  • "The story should have gone this way." Says who?
  • "I'd like it better if it was a boy/girl sneezing." Personal preference. Do not do it.
  • "You need more sneezing!" Preference once again....

Here are some things that may be a bit better to criticize, if you must:

  • Tense switching. That often makes a story difficult to read.
  • Major grammatical and/or spelling errors.
  • Overt use of inappropriate characterization.

I actually get far more annoyed when I see people criticizing others (and not myself) in a rude manner. I can handle what others have to say about my writing. I compare it to my own thoughts and the thoughts of other commentary. If they match, then I agree. If they are far off base, I tend to simply move on. However, when I see someone "picking" on another writer or artist, I get irritated.

Soooo, if you made it through this ramble, you get a large, gooey piece of pie dripping with steamy goodness! If it drips on your shirt, I'm gonna laugh at you, though. Probably point at you, too. Maybe even take a picture. :blushing: You have been warned...

~Aku

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Aku... you are awesome.

I seriously hadn't even thought about the fact that the critique that I got was via im. And the only ones that I've given- I have been Specifically asked. Well.... ok... one I wasn't specifically- but everybody was dogpiling the person because they wrote *not here* REALLY OOC (not just Slightly... or debatably) and I was trying to praise the positives and make positive suggestion of how if they Wanted to connect with more people with the story that getting into how the changes occured might help.

Your not to crit. list... I really like.

If I see something that I'm not keen on that is part of that list... I just don't read/look at it. If I do then I don't comment. Because seriously if everybody wrote or drew the same 4 characters in the same style it would be REALLY dull.

What kind of pie? *rubs hands with glee*

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*throws two cents in*

everyone who posts art/stories here has a different motive for doing so, and has their own reactions to criticism. some people are capable of handling "snarky" comments, but really, i think its just cruel to say them. unless a person has asked for criticism, i wouldnt assume that they want it. a lot of posters, myself included are VERY sensitive about what we post, and are very insecure, but we do it in the hopes that someone else will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing/drawing it. and if someone just begins to pick my work apart, without me having asked them to, i will get upset.

i know that people have different thematic prefences, but if you dont like the characters or plot in something, or the scene depicted, DONT COMMENT. i think its better to remain silent if you dont have anything positive to say. and from my personal experience, if you comment my work, and even if you say something wonderful first, but follow it with "it would be better if..." i will forget anything else you said..and remember you for the criticism... i try to only say positive things to people, to encourage and validate them. if there is a different way you would like to see something, why dont you ask them if they would do something like that for you, maybe even trade them for it. i woulnt mind if someone asked me to write/sketch a similar situation with characters X,Y,Z....that to me, is flattering that someone liked my style enough to want to see it again in a different way. and sure, that could have been commented with "this would be better this way" but i find that by appealing with flattery or some such similar thing, it comes across much more polite and diplomatic. not to mention, it dispells any rudeness issues.

i would love to see you posting more and giving people feedback, but i would caution you to keep in mind, not everyone can handle criticism as well as others. and the purpose behind feedback in general is to encourage and help others to improve. but somethings are just a matter of personal preference and dont need to be improved just because they dont fit every readers ideal. when in doubt, i would say merely compliment, and if the critique is not asked for, dont add it.

there is nothing wrong with being a bit snarky. we all are at times (i have just gotten my greenbelt in snark courtesy of Akutenshi-Sensei) but there is a time and place for it, and shredding someones work that they put time, energy and love into i just not it. the longer you are here, the more you will develop your persona, and in time, your particular sense of snark will probably be welcomed and accepted, but now, when people dont know you well enough to understand how you mean things, it may only come across as rude and mean. i would just keep that in mind. well, that is only my thoughts on the matter, take them for what you will. i do hope that you comment more, and that you interact with all of us, and that you get a full experience out of being here on the forum.

chui

*takes two cents back as i am poor*

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Here chui, have five cents.

i'm going to write a SHORTER version of everything that's just been said :rolleyes:

Minto, i'm glad you asked.

I dont know about other people but if it's JUST critism and no expressed gratefulness? I get rather pissy :blushing:

Both stories and artwork take a fair amount of time, and considering you're doing it for someone who just asked, when you dont even know what they LOOK like, is pretty good on the artist/author's account.

I'm not saying requesting is bad, i just think that a good amount of ass-kissing is in order as well.

"That's good, but..." really doesn't cut it for me, im afraid. Maybe that's just me.

As in technical critism or another point of view, im all up for that! The more the better! But just something like,

"Great, can you do this now?" As if they're collecting them ( i know a FEW people who do this... i name no names :bleh: )

or

"Thanks, but she doesn't look like shes really sneezing"

Sucks :rolleyes:

Im mainly talking about artwork here but im guessing a similar thing applies in stories... :blushing:

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I think that the same thing applies in stories in a way.... thankfully people don't seem to just automatically think that a writer can write a story nearly as quickly... which is an advantage compared with requests for art. But it's assumed that if you know the fandom for instance that Obviously you can write it. Instead of the "not looking like they're sneezing" it's more likely that someone would complain about how much plot that they had to wade through to get to the "good stuff".

I can't draw to save my life (thankfully I don't think that I will be called upon to have to do that anytime soon :yes: ) and I think that the artists around here are absolute INCREDIBLE. Such a variety of styles but just amazingly awesome. And I feel bad that you guys get people acting like you should just be able to draw Anything at the drop of a hat- and should draw 837492374 pieces of whatever the other person would want. They almost act like you guys don't have inspiration or artist block too...

Anyway... you're comment about the collecting thing made me laugh "gotta collect them all" :yes: Am odd. hehehe

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They almost act like you guys don't have inspiration or artist block too...

oh, trust me. Artists block exists :nohappy:

NOT a nice thing to have... like trying to draw with a blunt pencil :hug:

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Well personally I think that criticism shows that the person actually took the time to read your story thoroughly. You know, enough to point out where things could be improved. I sort of take it as a compliment sometimes.

This pretty much sums up how I feel about it. It's nice to get the whole "great story" thing - always nice to be apprectaited, but constructive criticism is the only thing that will make you a better writer. (And you don't have to take everything to heart, but it's nice to know how your work is being percieved - especially if it's not how you intended.)

"You suck" and what not is just stupid. It's not even that it's rude, but it's just pointless. Only idiots post stuff like that anyway.

And BTW, Akutenshi-chan... Very good idea on the "don't do this way" list.

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Well personally I think that criticism shows that the person actually took the time to read your story thoroughly. You know, enough to point out where things could be improved. I sort of take it as a compliment sometimes.

This pretty much sums up how I feel about it. It's nice to get the whole "great story" thing - always nice to be apprectaited, but constructive criticism is the only thing that will make you a better writer. (And you don't have to take everything to heart, but it's nice to know how your work is being percieved - especially if it's not how you intended.)

"You suck" and what not is just stupid. It's not even that it's rude, but it's just pointless. Only idiots post stuff like that anyway.

And BTW, Akutenshi-chan... Very good idea on the "don't do this way" list.

Thanks! :nohappy:

I still have to disagree about criticism in general, though. Unless it's a technical/grammatical issue, pretty much all criticism is "opinion-based." That's why I generally dislike "movie critics" or any other sort of critic. Their opinion doesn't affect mine. I find that I like what most "critics" hate and hate what most "critics" like. If you ask me, it's a stupid job, getting paid to "criticize" something that isn't even your work.

The author/creator is ALWAYS their own worst critic, anyway. :lol:

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The author/creator is ALWAYS their own worst critic, anyway. :)

You know... I think this is very true, most of the time. When it comes to things I consider myself good at, I am totally my own worst critic. (I'm a much harsher judge of my performance at work, for [a lame] example, than almost any of my bosses have been.)

BUT - I'll admit that I really don't know if I've written something good/worthwhile or not. Mainly 'cause I don't consider myself a very good writer - yet. (You don't have that problem... Not that my opinion will have any bearing on yours, but you are a wonderful writer, Akutenshi-chan. :wub: ) I just write what I'd like to read myself... But then... would anyone else like to read it?

I don't know... in the area of writing, I'd say I still prefer feedback - good or bad. If its good, I'd like to know whats liked about it, and if it's crap (more often the case, although I can sometimes recognize my own crap :cryhappy: ) I'd like to know what I can do to get better. Of course the I'd rather the criticisom come from an actual writer and not some whiny little troll, but I can always throw out what I can't (or don't paln to) use. I guess I'm still very much in the "I want to be better at it" phase.

There is one thing worse than crticism (as I've found out recently)

:nopity: pityparty :nopity: pityparty :nopity: pityparty :nopity: pityparty :nopity:

and that's no response at all! :lol:

But now I'm being the whiny one!

Oh well. It all for fun anyway, right?

:zippy:

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is COMPLETELY off topic, but I have to say this:

Niceguy, this must be at least 4th time I open this topic just to see that pityparty.

HILARIOUS! :)

--

Well, I could comment on topic as well when I'm at it :lol:

One could say that I'm used to criticism, but there's still a wide range of reactions. I used to write poems (ofcourse in Finnish) before, and I didn't have any problems with criticism whatsoever - I participated this circle of young writers, and the man leading that group was famous of really harsh criticism bordering insulting. He made the most of the people cry, many of them repeatedly. But after the first shock it was never a problem for me. University-related criticism - it depends how well I know the people criticising my work. The more secure I feel around them, the better.

But here? First, it requires me a lot of courage to even create anything, to open up and mess with my fetish. It requires even more courage to post anything. So basically, I guess that I would be terrified by (almost?) any criticism, even said in a nice and positive way. Even if I know very well that it's stupid, I would most likely think that it meant: You're stuff is no good and you're not needed, scram! And I would, actually! :drool:

If the criticism came via PM, it would be different, of course.

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This is COMPLETELY off topic, but I have to say this:

Niceguy, this must be at least 4th time I open this topic just to see that pityparty.

HILARIOUS! :drool:

--

Well, I could comment on topic as well when I'm at it :P

One could say that I'm used to criticism, but there's still a wide range of reactions. I used to write poems (ofcourse in Finnish) before, and I didn't have any problems with criticism whatsoever - I participated this circle of young writers, and the man leading that group was famous of really harsh criticism bordering insulting. He made the most of the people cry, many of them repeatedly. But after the first shock it was never a problem for me. University-related criticism - it depends how well I know the people criticising my work. The more secure I feel around them, the better.

But here? First, it requires me a lot of courage to even create anything, to open up and mess with my fetish. It requires even more courage to post anything. So basically, I guess that I would be terrified by (almost?) any criticism, even said in a nice and positive way. Even if I know very well that it's stupid, I would most likely think that it meant: You're stuff is no good and you're not needed, scram! And I would, actually! :omg:

If the criticism came via PM, it would be different, of course.

Glad you liked the :laugh: pityparty :laugh: . >:D

You know it's strange. Now that I've read your post (and some of the others that are basically against the idea of posting critiscm) I think I'm coming around to that school of thought as well. But then my POV has changed a little as well. My previous two posts in this thread came right after I had submitted either my 1st or 2nd fanfic. For some reason like two days had passed before anyone posted a comment, and during that time I was wondering if the lack of response meant that no one liked what I had done. At that point, insecurity aside :lol:, I think I was ready to take even a harsh critique, just to understand what the deal was. Well... the deal was wasn't really being patient or realistic. But now... I've submitted a few fic's, I've gotten a decent bit of (positive) feedback, and even a few PM's and comments in my blog. (So no more worries about no response anyway!) But now, I'm not sure how I'd take actual criticism. I suppose someone would have to be very diplomatic about it (and you're right a PM may be prefferable to a post, but then it also could be worse... At least if some is a jerk in a post everyone else knows about it! :lol: ) But the more I think about it... I don't think I'd have the diplomatic skills needed to write a critique that wouldn't potential upset the author, and so I think you and Aku and the others are probably right... Basically "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything."

As much as I'd like to be a better writer, I don't know how discoraged I'd be if someone not only told me my stuff sucked, but then showed me exactly how and actualy had a point. :)

:bleh:

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  • 3 weeks later...

*Decides to chip in*...*have a french fry*

Personally, I have no problem with constructive criticism. I'm pretty insecure about what I write, but I'd always rather have ways to improve than nothing at all. However, I'd have to agree with people who have said that 'it's good but' doesn't really do a lot. You forget the 'it's good' and focus on the negatives, which doesn't help the insecurity problems. I'd rather have the 'I really liked THIS bit...but I think next time you could try...'. If you keep both plus and minus to specific items I'm more likely to remember and work from it.

I love Aku's list of things to comment on. It's basically a case of 'if you don't like it, don't read it, but I don't want to hear about it' for the don't criticise list. And a lot of that does come down to why people write. I'm not that clear-cut about it - mostly it's for my own pleasure, but I like other people to enjoy it as well, so I'd welcome concrit for those reasons. I have the greatest admiration for people who can write coherent stories in a secondary language, and I would never dream of correcting their grammar out of respect for the effort they made, unless they specifically asked for it to learn from. I can't even write coherent sentences in my first language often enough!

Anyway, my mom was taught when she became a teacher that a good ratio of praise to criticism is 2:1. I think in Britain that's gone up to 5:1 now, but I guess that's because no one did the 2:1 anyway. I think that's the same with this - if you include more praise than problems, then you're less likely to be remembered for the criticisms.

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As to how harsh is too harsh - there's no answer, except on a case-by-case basis. Some people cry and moan over nothing, some people have hearts of iron - be prepared for backlash whenever you write a piece of criticism, and you're set. Just try not to break any forum rules, that tends to really piss people off.

As to whether to post it or PM it... again, at your discretion. Be prepared for the hurricane, though, if you piss people off. It's all about knowing how to take what you dish out, because anyone who can't do that sucks, plain and simple.

-tys

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