Relative Absence of Constructive Criticism in Polite Society

constructive-criticismPeople are polite, in general. I find that it’s very rare to get criticism from friends and co-workers on work I do that relates to a field they have some expertise in. The feedback I gather up usually has to be from indirect cues. What I get is a stream of compliments of various degrees of sincerity and it’s my job to decipher the actual state of the person’s mind. I guess that’s the way of the polite world, but I wish it was was more direct and clear. Constructive criticism is an art form that most people are not very good at (including myself). It’s hard to tell someone what essentially is just one opinion when that opinion has a potential of hurting their feelings.

My close friends will tell me when I’m full of shit, but there’s not enough of that. I don’t mean that I would change my actions based on people’s criticism, but I would like to be aware when I’m swimming with the stream of opinion or when I’m swimming against it. In the latter case, I would need to put a little more effort into the swimming.

The internet, as it evolves, is changing all that. As people are putting their real identities online, platforms for providing critical feedback are popping up all over the place. Facebook is one example, but their are more niche sites like StackExchange where experts can gather to disagree in a constructive (albeit heated form) while backing their comments with their real-world identity.

Anyway, this is an official notarized request for people to call me out on things I say that may be stupid, ignorant, misinformed, or just confusing, and I’ll try to return the favor.

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