How to Criticize with Kindness ... Arguing Intelligently
9 years ago from Adam Michiels, Director, Digital Strategy & UX
We've been seeing a lot of 'critique' lately, of others' blog posts, in unsolicited redesigns, through response posts. While I enjoy some of it, one thing keeps cropping up: general lack of attention, charity, and honesty when it comes to pulling apart the work of others.
I know many here feel the same way, since every 'redesign' post is met with a host of comments showing where/why the author went wrong.
I thought I'd link to this quick outline, and nice little write up, of Daniel Dennet's etiquette for criticism.
Daniel Dennet is a philosopher, sure (of mind, AI, etc.), but if we're going to argue, he makes some good points about how to do it well:
"How to compose a successful critical commentary:
You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism."
I'm not considering this off-topic, because design is critique of a special sort in itself, I think: good (visual) communication is always saying things better and more clearly than before. This also comes into play in the boardroom.
Maybe a bit philosophical, but it's Friday afternoon after all :)
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