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ID: 2149

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May 23, 2009, 11:21 am

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How to be a better critic!

By:

Critiques and critics are a necessary evil. Now before anyone gets riled up, let me explain. No one likes to have their ideas picked apart. But we put our selves out there and hope for the best. Here are some tips on being a better critic.

Here are some tips on being a better critic.

1. I dont like the name of your character.
Ok. We have all been guilty of this at some point. So you dont like the character name. Make some suggestions.  If it is an elven character…and you dont like how a certain name fits…suggest to the person that a more elven name may improve the character. But remember…it’s not your character and names can be changed.

2. Not enough Detail
Ok, this one is understandable. But what kind of details would you like to see? Ask for specifics. Alot of items and such posted are budding ideas. Maybe PM that person and see about creating a dialogue of creativity. Help them expand on an idea. They may be suffering some creative blockage.

3.Patience.
Sometimes when an idea is being posted, the poster may not be aware of the fact that the idea going through their mind isnt completely coming out on the screen. Suggest that they come back in a few days and reread their posts. With a clear mind, we often see things we might have missed before.

4. Like Paint drying
Ok, nothing is more boring than paint drying..except for maybe watching the grass grow. As a critic you are trying to help the person evolve and be more creative. But comparing their work to paint drying…well that is just the wrong thing to say. It is negative and discouraging.

5. WTF?  :shock:  
Ok, we have all seen them. The character descriptions..or plots that barely make up a complete paragraph. The rushed ideas.The post that makes your jaw drop.  Some times simplicity is good…and some times is a big ugly eye sore.
Instead of belittling this small effort, at least give them a slight pat on the head for doing something. Ask them to expand on it more. Flesh it out.  You could offer to help with the idea. Some people work better when they have someone else to share an idea with.

6. That’s Mean!
Ok Posters and Players..this one if for you too. Critics are not here to hurt your feelings. Or to make your idea look stupid. Comments are meant to help you expand your imagination and creativity. I know some may come across as harsh and mean. But dont let that get to you. Accept what the critics have to say. Work with it. Not every idea is going to be gold. If your stuck on an idea…dont be afraid to ask for help. Check out the items and such that get high marks. PM the person that created it, talk with them. Ask them if they would help you with an idea.
Afterall…we are here to grow and learn, to better ourselves and our games.

Ok. I’m done. Now I am just going to sit back and let the raptors jump on this and have some fun.



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Comments ( 25 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Mourngrymn
January 10, 2006, 11:19
0xp
Hey, this is a great thread.

I for one have posted my ideas up here specifically for critiquing. I am an adult and can use critisizm to work out the best. I for one do not mind people saying, hey that isn't good. But what I want in return is. I dont like it, but an idea to fix it would be this... or so and so.

Not to go into great detail, but a simple... hey this sounds cool would help.

I agree with this post 100%.

Good job.
EchoMirage
January 10, 2006, 11:21
0xp
there are two kinds of criticism - constructive and destructive.

Destructive goes like: "Man, that's bad, you're stupid like a brick."
This, uderstandably, just fosters enmity and leads nowhere.

Constructive: "It has flawshere and here, and this is an example of how you could correct them."
This encourages confronting the problem, recieving the aid of one who might have already faced it before.
Strolen
January 10, 2006, 11:25
0xp
Good set of tips!

Will add some of my own when I get to that point.

Thanks for putting this together, hits the mark rather well! Going to have to use it on the new site with a link next to the comment box for easy access!
Cheka Man
January 10, 2006, 11:26
0xp
That is very well written and I will take your tips to heart when critisizing something.
Renee_Strife
January 10, 2006, 11:26
0xp
Not enough Detail.. or maybe the WTF part... not really sure where this would fall under

That is always one thing that normally gets me when I'm browsing ideas or what naught. There can always be a little more added in some areas, but what is also really bloody annoying is posting stuff that doesn't even pertain to what the idea is. Tangents are a big turn off for the rpers of any game I've noticed. I've seen many wonderful ideas go belly up due to this.

So.. yeah.. that's about it from me. Everything else hits the mark in my tired mind and hopefully I'm not repeating anything else that's already been said in a better way than that. Though the lack of sleep makes me unsure.....
CaptainPenguin
January 10, 2006, 11:27
0xp
I don't think that Renee has found the front page submissions, has she?
Voted Ancient Gamer
January 10, 2006, 11:33
0xp
This is a good post that we all can learn from.

Thank you ScorpionJinx for reminding us to be civil. When you posted this we needed it most, though I dare say we have improved with time.

So... When you read something that you do not approve of and you want to flame, flame, flame the poster: Remember Jinx' words and... don't!

If this article had included tips on what to look for in a good post (and not only what not to say) it might have hit the top score. Without that addition this is still a solid 4.0.

Thank you Jinx.
Voted manfred
January 10, 2006, 11:48
0xp
Bonus for the necessity of the article.
Voted Mourngrymn
January 10, 2006, 14:48
0xp
I commented on this back when it was in the forums but have not voted so here you go for nice work. This definately should be taged next to me Respect for Submissions work.
Voted Pariah
January 10, 2006, 16:53
0xp
Well, I think I read over this in the forums once, but reading over it again helps. I think this is possible the quickest any submission has been HoHed. Posted 20:17 AG comments on it 20:33.
Voted Strolen
January 10, 2006, 17:42
0xp
Gotta put this in the Citadel Explained page along with Moon's Five Best Tips for Posting on Strolen's (and Other Places)
Voted Scrasamax
January 10, 2006, 23:07
0xp
This is a good critic guide because it hits on alot of good points as well as being brief.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
January 11, 2006, 3:35
0xp
I agree with Scrasamax, being brief, compact and filled with well executed (good) points is what makes this a good critic guide.

Can't believe I just wrote that.

Anyway glad to see this moved to the citadel.
Murometz
September 15, 2006, 8:47
Only voted
Voted valadaar
February 5, 2007, 10:16
0xp
I think this one needs to come to the fore again.
Ancient Gamer
February 5, 2007, 12:46
0xp
Why, I believe you are right valadaar! ;)
Voted Wulfhere
February 5, 2007, 13:11
0xp
Many people forget how much of our communication is non-verbal. This can lead to an author feeling hurt or confused, when the person posting the criticism had no intent to be mean-spirited.

Witty banter in a comment may be intended to be fun and casual, but the subject of the criticism may take it as belittling mockery. When you are critiquing someone's work, remember:

- They may never have written seriously before; in fact they may be a young teen just spreading their wings. Many of these fledgling authors don't realize that the ideas that they have just encountered (and been inspired by) are actually quite trite and clichéd. They haven't grown tired of world-conquering demons, mighty swords and malevolent necromancers.

- The author may not appreciate or understand their work's weaknesses. My first attempts at writing were very flawed, because I didn't know better. I was fortunate that the writing standards in gaming materials were much lower then; if I had been criticised as coldly as I have seen others torn apart, I doubt that I would have continued past that stage.
Voted slartibartfast
March 12, 2009, 9:13
0xp
Question on the etiquette of criticism: Many times, I come across a submission that is pretty good, but also serves as the springboard for new and different ideas in my mind. In some cases, the new thoghts are pretty far from the original author's intent. I'm uncertain whether it is appropriate to add these thoughts or ideas to the posting's comments, or to instead generate a new post with references to the original idea.

For example, "Nightwitch" comes up with an idea for a barbaric clan of vicious ogres with an irrational fear of small folk.

That's nice, I think to myself, but in terms of implementing this, a single halfling could put a halt to the entire adventure. What if, instead of small folk, the fear was of something even smaller; such as mice? Direct confrontation would leave the PCs heavily outmatched; the true challenge could be to discover the ogres' weakness before their plans to ransack a nearby town can be carried out. You know what? Forget the ogres; let's have the adversary be a single creature, like maybe a great dragon who hides an irrational fear of mice. He goes to great lengths to avoid the chance of contact with mice; building himself a lair up in the clouds themselves.

As you can see, the new thought is quite different from the intent of the original concept.

Would something like this be appropriate to still put into the comments, or should it go under a new post with a blurb saying where the original idea came from?

My apologies if this has been answered elsewhere; after going around and around on the advice posts, I couldn't find anything on this.
Strolen
August 2, 2009, 17:09
0xp
You can do whatever you want! Sounds like a new submission wouldn't hurt at all if it is fleshed out enough. Then using the linkbacks would work perfect.

Ideas would be fine too if you just wanted to throw something out there, but if you are going to take it and spin it, I would do a separate submission and just link them together.
Voted Ramhir
January 25, 2011, 10:30
0xp

I agree completely, ScorpionJinks. And even more completely with Wulfhere. Some of the earlier critiques would have shriveled me up completely. Thanks to both of you.

Voted Murometz
January 25, 2011, 10:36
0xp

Good find, Ramhir! Short, sweet, and a must read.

ScorpionJinx
August 5, 2011, 8:06
0xp

I was not sure of how this piece was going to be received when I posted it. It is a pleasant surprise to come back several years later and see that people like it. Thank you. It makes coming back to the Citadel easier after being gone so long.

I have missed all of you and look forward to rejoining the community.

Voted axlerowes
February 23, 2012, 15:24
0xp

clear, well argued and fair

Voted Kassy
June 11, 2012, 19:30
Only voted

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