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How Should You Criticize People On Your Blog?

Have you ever been the target of criticism and felt crushed? Then you might have been the target of insults and a harsh judgment, or perhaps the object of some well-intentioned constructive criticism.

Jen McClure makes a plea in her post, “A is for "Authenticity," Not "Asshole" - A Call for Civility in the Blogosphere,” to the blogging community to think before pressing the submit button on their blog posts when it comes to criticizing other people. Otherwise Jen suggests people who do not blog will come to associate blogging with, "opinionated sniping, complaining, name-calling, undocumented accusations and profanity." Jen suggests this is not good for the discipline of blogging and that bloggers should before rising to someone's bait, take a few steps back, contact the person, privately and discuss the other person’s concerns in a mature manner.

Jen asks bloggers to stop cyberbullying, by being positive and kind. There is even a "stop cyberbullying day," that you can join, developed by the national crime prevention council. You should see the video on their website, the scene opens with a crowded auditorium, and two teenagers, one teenager reads out a list of faults of the other teenager, and you see the reaction of the audience and teenager, mainly shocked silence. The message is that if you would not say such negative things out loud why are you writing them on the web?

I can certainly agree with Jen that is a good idea to act maturely. I do think it is okay to give your opinion and criticize other organizations and people. I think the way in which you should conduct criticism is through either positive or negative constructive criticism. I've written about this before in developing my idea about the curmudgeon meter, the idea that a rating for people who complain about other bloggers and organizations, except such criticism may fail to do anything because it is unconstructive when laying out the facts would just suffice.

Factors that go into making the curmudgeon meter were:

-Sticking to facts

-Level of personal attack

-Level of importance of the incident

-Is there a pattern of disagreement between one blogger and another?

Wikipedia defines constructive criticism as the process of "offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one."

I think key to this definition and Jen's point is how the comments are delivered, are the comments friendly or confrontational? Here I am not saying that all criticism should be positive, but that if you are going to criticize, try to deliver the criticism in a constructive manner.