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Opinion: We need more criticism in furry fandom

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (12 votes)

Not criticism of the fandom (though that's fine too) but of the material which people post — and not criticism of its topics, but of its quality. We need people to point out deficits in artwork or stories so that they can be fixed, even if it can be tough for the creator.

I've been critiquing art and stories for a number of years now – perhaps sometimes a bit too harshly – and I find it quite depressing how some people react. I don't expect them to be happy when I point out flaws, but some go so far as to delete and re-upload their work to remove criticism. Some furry sites also allow users to hide comments that they don't approve of, or prevent them entirely. That's fine when people are trolling, but you lose something important when those features are used to stifle criticism because the user finds it upsetting.

On the plus side, some users do actually pay attention and listen.

For example I was quite harsh on Kriever's first story, but he later sent me a private message asking for more tips on how to improve next time. That's exactly what we need in the fandom, and I think he deserves a little recognition for it. It's too seldom that anything like that happens.

I'm not the only one to see this as a problem and it's not just furry fandom that suffers from it. As Dwight Garner writes for New York Times:

The sad truth about the book world is that it doesn’t need more yes-saying novelists and certainly no more yes-saying critics. We are drowning in them. What we need more of, now that newspaper book sections are shrinking and vanishing like glaciers, are excellent and authoritative and punishing critics — perceptive enough to single out the voices that matter for legitimate praise, abusive enough to remind us that not everyone gets, or deserves, a gold star.

That sentiment is echoed in Phil Geusz's first post on [adjective][species] that honours Fred Patten for his work as a "gatekeeper" of quality:

The problem, you see, is that the internet is “flat”. Everyone has equal access, in the absence of gatekeepers and the like, and therefore everyone’s work has equal prominence. Yet… The fact of the matter is that everyone’s work doesn’t _deserve_ equal prominence.

If you don't give an honest criticism, then the artist or writer has no idea of how to improve or where their weak spots are. If they don't know, they can't fix them. Similarly, it is necessary to point out the good parts, but right now there are plenty of people who do that (or provide non-specific encouragement). It doesn't help that no mainstream furry sites moderate content before submission, although SoFurry used to.

There have been discussions on SoFurry (both in public and private forums) about whether there is a better way to rate submissions than a scale of five stars. Surely the idea of a rating system is to allow people to sort through works based on their quality? The problem is that most of the time this system just doesn't work; either people only rate five or one stars, they rate according to friendship or the topic rather than the quality of the material, or they are too scared of upsetting someone to give an honest opinion. Many sites have actually done away with ratings entirely, but we're still left without a way of judging submissions — perhaps more of a problem for stories than art.

Critics don't just criticise to be mean or negative, but because they value what artists and writers create. When I told Kriever his sentences were poorly constructed, it wasn't because I disliked him. I love writing and I want his – and everyone else's – to be as good as it can possibly be. I will keep criticising because I love the fandom and I want to see the best possible artwork and stories. Quality is worth striving for in itself; it's also more enjoyable for consumers, and saves their time.

I call on everyone to not overlook flaws, but instead to call them out; not to be mean-spirited, but to help people improve. On the same note, I ask creators to accept criticism and to work to improve — both for themselves, and those who love what they do and want to support them.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I've been flamed a number of times for daring to give (at least what I deem to be) proper criticism on poetry written by furs.

Am I just completely wrong in suggesting that rhyming poets use tools like the thesaurus and the rhyming dictionary to diversify word choice? Seriously, if I think that your poem unredeemably sucks, I will say so. (I haven't needed to, and I don't expect that I ever will.)

I'm pretty sure that the issue is that too many aren't seeking criticism and implicitly assume that everyone realizes this.

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Well that's still better than free verse. They might not be looking but it's the actual rejection of criticism that's a problem. When they object to someone saying how they could improve, often with the defence of just doing it for fun, it says to me that they don't care about what they put out into the world, aren't interested in improving the fandom and frankly don't respect their art.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Well that's still better than free verse.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man. :3

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Part of the problem is derived from the fact that the furry fandom likes hugs, not shrugs. A lot of us are nerds and have spent a good portion of our lives being told that who we are is not acceptable to the world at large, and - in our community - we strive to live by the saying "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". Unfortunately, this means that we choose not to criticize even when we should. Whether it's an overly defensive artist, the artist's fans white-knighting over him, or just generally being ignored, there's a minefield waiting out there for anyone wanting to offer constructive criticism and very little incentive to attempt to cross it.

I agree wholeheartedly that we need to be able to examine, accept, and - if the criticism is found to be valid - heed criticism, but there are psychological and social issues that make this an extremely dicey prospect on a *good* day. The struggle against criticism is a symptom, not the disease, and we need to cure the disease before the symptom will go away. This means people having enough self-esteem to give themselves permission to be imperfect, and then permission to work on correcting their mistakes. This means trusting that your favorite author / artist / what-have-you can fight their own battles, and leaving them to do so. This means that, as a producer of content, you need to have the ability to consider criticism with an open mind, realize that it is about your *work* and not about *you*, and either accept the criticism or offer a rational explanation as to why you will not.

...good luck.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I write book reviews that I hope are constructively critical. But many people write poetry, and when it comes to poetry, I am tone deaf. Enough people like good poetry that I recognize that it is important, but I cannot tell good poetry from bad poetry (unless it is truly awful). We need a good poetry critic in Furry fandom.

Fred Patten

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I wrote a poem a few weeks ago and someone gave advice in the form of another poem. That was awesome.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (9 votes)

Criticism should only be given when asked for. Period. Full stop.

When it is asked for, it should be provided in a polite, constructive manner.

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

Why only when asked for, especially when we are talking about things that are put out for the public to see and read? Furthermore, if you maintain that we shouldn't criticise unless asked for, what about book and movie reviews? What about discussion on actors, cars, restaurants, politicians? Must we again wait for them to ask for criticism? What about religions or the KKK? Is it wrong to criticise what the KKK says or does unless they ask? Obviously I'm taking this now beyond the original discussion but in all those cases it's still criticism and people could still take offence to it.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

I suppose some specificity would have helped here. If you want to review or criticize someone's work that's naturally within your rights. However, it's best kept off of the original submission unless invited.

In other words, do so on your own time and in your own place by way of showing respect to the original artist.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Okay. So you're saying like movie reviews a newspaper. But now how can that apply to the furry fandom? Submissions have the ability for comments where movies don't. You could review in a journal but how is that useful for either the artist/author or the average fur? Art is admittedly easier because you can just look at it but stories require a certain expenditure of effort on the part of readers. If you don't comment on the submission should readers be expected to find a story and then search the internet to find a review of it? If no one reads the review it isn't helpful to anyone because it doesn't give readers a chance to learn about a submission, it doesn't give the author help to improve and, if done privately, it deprives other writers the chance to learn from someone else's mistakes.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Let's say for discussions' sake that I came to your house, didn't like your decor, and made a point to vocally criticize it in front of other guests. Would you consider that acceptable?

The courtesy not to speak out unbidden regarding someone's work should be given in public forums; don't have something nice to say, don't say it. On the other hand, if the artist asks for critique or makes it otherwise known that critique is welcome, offer it honestly but politely.

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I'm meant to be going to sleep now but I checked comments and felt I should reply to this before I go. I think that analogy is flawed in a very important way. Inside "your house" is a private area (which guests do occasionally criticise and that may be wrong) but SoFurry or Inkbunny are public forums. That distinction, I think, must always be kept in mind. I can't come into your house and criticise the décor BUT if you put your house on show then you are opening it to the public and it's fair game. Similarly if you have a private sketch book then that could be immune from criticism as you show it to individuals as a special privilege. What you post on-line is open to the public and it should therefore be free to the public to judge it.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Opening your house to guests is not the same as inviting critique. I should hope that to be obvious.

Offering critique on an original submission without knowing you have approval to do so is rude and impertinent.

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It's not your house, though. It's the site owner's house, which happens to include a gallery of your work. Whether critique is appropriate is arguably up to them, not to you.

If you post work in a place where it is generally accepted that works may be critiqued (like Flayrah), you should expect it. On a place like Inkbunny, SoFurry or FA, it's harder to draw the line. Is the site merely for consumption, or critique? What should the default be?

deviantART provides a means to specify this, but only for paid users. I should push harder for Inkbunny to do the same.

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Agreed; a "critiques welcome" flag would be an incredibly valuable feature.

On sites like InkBunny, SoFurry, or FA, the submission itself is copyrighted by default to the submitter, ergo for most purposes they own said submission and are welcome to police it within the bounds of their ability.

This means that they can hide comments on FA, for example, if they disagree with their content.

Regardless, it's considered by most people impolite to shame someone's choice of attire in a public place. Why should it be any different on a semi-public website?

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I will pester our development team once they come back from vacation!

I don't quite follow your reasoning; your work's copyright doesn't inherently lead to control over the comments attached to it on a website. The copyright notice is provided as a courtesy for your work, not its comments (sites typically don't own copyright over either, just display rights).

Still, most furry websites do seem to have decided that creators should control the display of attached comments – though in FA's case this feature was only added a year or so ago. I'm not sure if they didn't want to do it but were being overloaded by support tickets asking for intervention, or they just didn't get around to implementing it until then.

What is polite may depend on the context. On some sites, it is indeed the case that critique of posted work is expected. Imageboards are an obvious example, but it can apply to more traditional gallery-based sites as well. What matters is the nature of the community and the purpose of the site, both implicitly accepted by uploaders. Sites such as Yerf and ArtSpots whose owners and community were keen on raising the quality of furry art required works to be submitted for critique before entry, though it was less common after acceptance.

(In fact, I once toyed with the idea of building a site called "HateMyArt" dedicated to brutal, no-holds-barred criticism, before realizing people could already use imageboards for that. Might still be a good idea.)

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On FA, each submission is like a house you're renting. The site owners (landlord) can evict you if they have problems with you, but they remain out of your affairs for the most part - hence the control over comments posted to a given submission.

This to me at least is a logical method of doing things.

Other sites may do things differently, of course, but at least on FA it should be assumed that critiques aren't invited unless explicitly requested - hence my original statement.

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Building on Greenreaper's point, it's not the artist's house but the site owners. It's giving the artist a place to display their works, much like a gallery. There the works are still owned by the artist but no one expects no one at an art gallery to criticise the pictures on display. Just because the gallery is no longer physical doesn't change it's nature.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Ultimately the site is owned and operated by FA's staff, yes, however as a user you are responsible for the contents of your page and have the right to hide comments and block users at your discretion.

This arrangement is similar to a multi-tenant dwelling such as an apartment building. I should hope that upon being invited to visit someone's apartment you wouldn't proceed to tell them they should move a painting or a plant to suit your tastes, or even some idea of objective taste such as Feng Shui.

It's simply not your place as a guest to do so.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I think the reason for this debate isn't a misconstruction of the word "ownership" or public vs private, it's a divide in the definition of the word critique.

Critiquing isn't supposed to be "shaming".

Critique is like art, there is good art and bad art. Everyone can do it, few can do it well. So when many people see the word critique the first thing they think of is some person talking down on someone and belittling them, because that's the bad art that is common.

This is why I would disagree with the article. We don't need more criticism as much as we need more critics.

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That's fair, and I agree. The issue I take is with the tone of the article suggesting that artists should submit themselves to critique without exception. Some artists don't wish to do so, and to force it upon them is incredibly rude.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I would agree there is a time and a place for everything. Ironically for some sites the comments were supposed to be for actual reviews but turn out to be simple comments. Like on FF.net it's called "review" but most of the time it's just comments to the author directly instead of an overall view of the work.

Then again, on ff.net all it takes is a somewhat decent plot and grammar to have praise. I was certainly starving for someone to point out errors I made. Only one reviewer pointed those kind of things out with any consistency.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciated having all the "good chapter" and "I really enjoyed this" comments, because I did like seeing people take the time to submit anything (because they are in a minority). However I really liked having some meat on the bone even better. To talk about how it would or wouldn't work with cannon, or things like that.

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Certainly. It's definitely a fair statement that we have too few critics of any type in the fandom, no less decent, thoughtful critics.

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I repost my Flayrah articles as journals and on SoFurry I did have someone distinguish between criticism and critique which perhaps I should've done but I didn't even think of.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

The difference is that you assume that a public place like FA or inkbunny etc is being used as a public place SO that you can give feedback. Some artists post for feedback. Some artists just post to make the public aware of what they do. To assume that everyone who posts is welcoming critique is naive.

If the house example does not work, then say its your clothing. You go out and one of your friends outwardly tells you in front of other friends that you look terrible, you should have worn a red shirt. You wore it out in public, sure. And maybe you're welcoming of that criticism, but if you're not, its rude to do it in front of everyone. If you feel like you're really being helpful, what you would do is whisper it to them. If they responded poorly, next time you wouldn't help. The problem is that in the furry fandom, people feel as if they're CHARGED with a duty to publicly force criticism on all artists and writers. If the artist doesn't like it in public, they argue that oh, sorry, that's the internet, get over it. There's no interest in being polite...the criticizer assumes that because they didn't say "wow, your shirt looks like shit!" that its somehow still polite to do it in public. Its not always just about wording. Most artists post for the sake of public awareness and marketing. Some artists don't mind crit in public, some prefer it in private, and some don't want it at all. I don't understand why that is so difficult to comprehend and respect!

Anyway, I say this because I get frustrated by people feeling like its their duty to critisize, and then get angry when its not received with many thanks. Personally I don't mind crit out in the open, but that doesn't mean that's what works for every artist.

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There's a difference between your clothing and a public website, however. It is considered impolite to criticize clothing in public, because you are not wearing your clothes for the public to view and comment on them (unless you were in a fashion show, which is different). You're wearing clothing because you don't want to be naked. Sure, people show off their different styles and tastes, but that's not the primary reason they're wearing the clothes. On the internet, the whole point of putting your art up is because you want people to see and comment on it (that's half the fun!). And comments can be good or bad.

And, yea, it is the internet. What you put on public display on the internet will be criticized or praised by the public. That's kind of the point. The critic can't read the minds of artists when they want to critique someone, so if they want to say what they want to say, and there's no note from the artist otherwise, they're going to do it in public. A lot if people also post their critiques publicly because they want other people to read them too. If I only read critiques directed to me, I would've barely learned anything.

Bottom line, if a person has problems with others posting public critique, they can either a) ignore the critique, or b) note on the post that they would like private critique or none at all.

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Clothing isn't just for covering up. There's a remarkable amount of personality that is portrayed by clothing, be it a conscious decision or not.

So y'know, the person posting the critique could make sure it'll be received well - be it regarding clothing, interior decor, or art. Assuming it's welcome is an entitlement, and one the fandom has a serious problem with.

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Clothing isn't just for covering up. There's a remarkable amount of personality that is portrayed by clothing, be it a conscious decision or not.

Yes, I mentioned that.

It doesn't matter if it's an entitlement or not, if people can post critique on a public form, they will do it. Nothing is stopping them except the hide or block button. I think I will be rather good for the fandom away. Prepare them at least a little bit for criticism in real life anyway.

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And I can assure you that were I an artist, I would make efficient use of the 'hide comment' and 'block' features as applicable to those who think it's their place to speak out of turn.

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Since we are on the clothing metaphor, I suppose a good way to explain this is that while judging one's wardrobe is looked down upon in the general public. However the lack of vocal criticism does not mean there is a lack of internal judgments. If FA is the public sidewalk of the furry fandom then I suppose that is fair enough, where judging vocally is considered taboo, but you'll have that random stereotypical valley girl come up every once in awhile and go "I can't believe you're wearing that after Labor Day".

But I think the biggest reason it's looked down on to criticize people in a public setting is because the general public tends to suck at criticism in general. My theory therefore is that the feedback is only as good as the setting. If you put your artwork on /4/chan for instance, you're going to get a no holds bard skewering. If you put it on FA, you'll get a quality based upon your watch audience. However more often then not you won't get criticism too much because you're either good enough to get a ton of watchers who are probably interested in anything you do, or you'll just have a circle of friends who watch you who obviously are going to be concerned about crossing some line.

Typically, however, outside of FA and into being a good artist outside such sites, you'll tend to find the better critics. FA isn't a place that fosters criticism, it tends to be hostile toward it. Is this a bad thing? No. They chose to be an art community site not an art improvement site. To improve is up to the artist themselves, you can lead a horse to water, they may not drink it. It's important to have sites to get people who may not have the confidence to get out there and post. However, if the artist want to grow, they're one day going to have to face the critic. If they aren't ready for it they need a place to get ready. They may never be ready, but then they may stagnate their growth. Some artists are complacent with being where they are, perhaps they don't want to reach a higher level.

Like lets say I wanted to move from the public street to a job interview, I obviously would step up my wardrobe for the occasion. However some are fine with just staying on the street.

The reason to create art is as diverse as art itself. One needs to understand the artist as well as the art to provide the correct feedback if they are doing it directly to the artist. It's important to not MOST professional criticism is done to an audience that is not the artist themselves. There is a reason for that, talking publicly through a third party about issues isn't seen as hostile as talking about it to the individual in a public setting. Posting every thing you do on the internet is a relatively new phenomenon so there are a lot of "etiquette" things that aren't set in stone.

Like most things, it's about context, and context like criticism is something people aren't good at.

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However, if the artist want to grow, they're one day going to have to face the critic.

Many artists are their own harshest critic (myself included back when I was considering learning to draw) and have no need of unwelcome criticism to improve. To improve, often one simply has to keep at something.

When an artist has met a wall and truly needs to reach out to the larger community, they often do. But it's their call, and should not be imposed upon them.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Once again, you're ignoring that not everyone (in fact, I'd dare say most people) don't post art to get comments. Most people in the fandom post art so that people will buy that art or buy commissions. Its advertising, not a portfolio review.

Your last paragraph: That's true. Unfortunately, there are SO MANY critics walking around furry websites that think they should get a pat on the back for giving rough critiques as if they did a huge favor, and they use it as a way to troll by trying to incite trouble. They simply refuse to accept that not everyone is looking for critique from some furry on some website that they happened to post something for other's amusement.

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Once again, you're ignoring that not everyone (in fact, I'd dare say most people) don't post art to get comments. Most people in the fandom post art so that people will buy that art or buy commissions.

I think this would be an excellent topic for a future survey. (It should probably be done both at conventions and online, to decrease bias towards professional or amateur artists.)

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I'm weighing in not as an artist, but someone who likes to think they have common sense.

It would be an interesting survey topic, though.

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You'd think people would want the best possible product, and advice on how to get there. *shrug*

Yea, the trolling thing is a problem. Basically both artists and critics (not trolls) have to learn to just accept something.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Critics aren't above critic, don't ever let them tell you otherwise.

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As I read it, the argument is not that creators post in public to attract feedback, or that they will always welcome it when it is given, but that public criticism is beneficial to the average quality of work in furry fandom, and to visitors' experience on a site, regardless of the creator's wishes.

Earlier, Rakuen noted three potential benefits of such criticism:

If no one reads the review it isn't helpful to anyone because it doesn't give readers a chance to learn about a submission, it doesn't give the author help to improve and, if done privately, it deprives other writers the chance to learn from someone else's mistakes.

Only one of these points is talking about a potential benefit to the creator.

Perhaps now you can understand why a person may comprehend the wishes of a creator, yet still not respect them. If they see it as their duty to improve the quality of work by any means necessary, they may encourage a creator to only post their best work in fear of negative criticism, or they may act to decrease the chance that bad work is posted, through moderation or other means — especially if it's clearly deficient and not improved in response to critique.

To take the metaphor to the extreme: if your shirt looks and smells like shit, you shouldn't be allowed to wear it to the con and make us look bad or spoil the experience of other members who have to deal with it. Even if it turns out that we can't throw you out, you can still be an object lesson to others in what not to do.

Of course, this approach has the sole goal of increasing the quality of art and stories in the fandom/on a particular site. This may not be beneficial, overall, to the fandom. It may also not be the best way to achieve this goal. For example, a "popular" front-page filter may filter out the worst work, reducing its impact on a visitor's view of the site's quality.

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Unfortunately, I'm afraid I don't understand your metaphor. I'm understanding that you're saying it as if I'm suggesting rejection of any bad art or writing? Or that since we can't, it is our responsibility to point out how much it sucks so that others learn not to suck?

Granted, I'm not speaking as an author, at all, only as an artist. I could actually imagine that this applies a little better to writers. But it is flat out foolish for general furry fans to think that their criticism on art really helps the artist grow. Unless the artist plans on revisiting the piece in question, I have NEVER once seen a criticism, correct or not, actually be about something that matters. Pointing out a "funny" knee or that a muscle lies wrong is not helpful unless it is a reoccurring problem. For that matter, I'm not sure I've even heard a general fan give crit that was about anything aside from anatomy or perspective, because they simply don't know much more about art. I don't mean to insult by this. For example...when I got my portfolio reviewed from professionals, they didn't point out little petty things. They provided things like that I need to work on focusing clarity around only the point of focus, that I generally wasn't taking into consideration the lighting in the air in the empty space, that my value structure needed work, etc. These are not the kind of criticisms that furry fans give.

So honestly, I don't see how a person commenting on a piece of art about how something doesn't look right somehow teaches a third party to draw better. Unless the critique is coming from a very knowledgeable source, its not helpful to anyone, so I don't see how it could possibly be argued that it helps others learn from mistakes.

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No, I am not saying that you are saying this; I am trying to put Rakuen's original argument (perhaps taken to an extreme) into the metaphor zone that everyone else has been using.

Rakuen views moderation and rating systems that "allow people to sort through works based on their quality" positively. I believe he wants to help people to improve to the point that their work meets a minimum standard . . . but if they won't (or can't), he should at least be able to access/give a critique of the work that warns others of the flaws in the work - and might prefer they not be allowed to post so as to increase the quality of fandom output, making it easier to find good work.

[Rakuen: Feel free to step in if I'm totally mangling your views here . . .]

You can get criticisms of value structures around here too, but it's not quite the same thing. :-)

I don't think public reviews are likely to improve other creators' work. I can see them saving readers' time, though there's a risk that the reviewer doesn't know what they are talking about (maybe we need reviewer reviews?).

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Your response sounds like it only applies to writing. It seems rediculous to think that a criticism on a piece of art saves anyone time or warns anyone of anything they haven't already seen. Like I said, I'm not speaking of an author and this may all apply much better to writing. I can only speak to what I'm familiar with.

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I think I pointed out earlier that art is a bit of an exception with that you instantly see everything. However there are other benefits that were also pointed out. For art a new artist will look at established artists to see what works or what doesn't and they will probably struggle with some of the same things. In those cases if there's a comment along the lines of "Your x looks a bit bad here, maybe you should try doing y" or "For me I found that doing z really helped me improve my x" it is beneficial to someone not involved with the original submission.

For example my drawing ability is low but when you read tutorials or see someone say how they did something then it gives me ideas on how I can improve or, at the very least, let's me learn about or try a technique I'd never have known before.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Oh, don't get me wrong. A skilled artist giving critique or a good tutorial is definately a valued thing most of the time. Most of what I've learned about traditional art has been from reading artists' comments on their art on webpages. Its quite different from the critiques though that you get from the general person.

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Honestly, I'd take any bit of (correct) criticism, even if it just was about anatomy or perspective. Even if it's something I did only one time (like incorrect lighting), a reminder for the future certainly wouldn't hurt. If they want other elements critiqued, they can to go places like CA or CGHub.

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I agree with you, in that I see no harm in hearing it, even if you feel that its unhelpful in the long run. However, we can't expect everyone to be on the same page as us. I know alot of artists who get really personally damaged when they get tough critique, unless they mentally prepare themselves for receiving it, and it kills their motivation. I don't get it, but there are other things in my life that I am that way with.

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Obviously artists/authors/furs interested in quality material should be reading the publication in question! Then again, how much interest is there in short story reviews? (I guess one way to find out is to try ...)

One compromise might be to post your review elsewhere and link to it in the comments. Those who want to see your opinion can then do so; those who don't have the choice to avoid it. If furry sites supported trackbacks, this would be easier, but most don't. Heck, we don't, in part because they're spammed. Might work inside a site.

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>Criticism should only be given when asked for. Period. Full stop.
>When it is asked for, it should be provided in a polite, constructive manner.

Where does it ASK for YOU to criticize this opinion piece? Did I miss something?

Anyways, yes, of course the fandom needs criticism.

I enjoyed the article. Thank you Rakuen Growlithe

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The author's stance seems to be one that encourages unbidden criticism, hence my response. ;)

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Agreed! But people need TRAINING and PRACTICE in criticism. It is REALLY had to be a good critiquer because all critiquing is (by its nature) subjective. It's very hard to get someone who is willing to go "This story goes entirely against what I like but I still recognize it as an AMAZING story."

On my college campus, I both submit stories to be included in my school's literary magazine and critique other people's work. Too often have I seen "Oh wow, this story is terrible" or "This story is really great!" without any sort of constructive critiques (the worst thing is when critiquers drift into analogy: "This story is as bad as a...")

So, I have taken a 3-part policy. First, state the "General Theme of the story", second, state which part of the story made me think to put the story in this context, and thirdly, what parts of the story didn't fit within this context. This allows me to understand my own subjective perception of the story, so that when the artist receives this criticism they can understand my reasons for critiquing them. (and my critique isn't simply: "Fix your grammer and speeling")

I was also greatly moved by Phil's piece: it's the nature of the internet to be open to all, but we're gonna need gatekeepers if we want to find the good stuff.

So, here's an idea. You all know of the Brony fandom at this point; and that fandom has been able to become highly centralized around one blog: Equestria Daily. With a massive team of "pre-readers", they've been able to gate-keep pretty much all of pony fanfiction to hand-pick which ones get featured. Would the furry fandom benefit from this?

So, I end on three questions:
1. How do we get people to be GOOD critiquers, not simply COOL STORY BROs or DIS SUCKS DUDEs? (it took me 8 years of practice to get to the point where I am today. And I'm STILL not too good at it.)
2. Would the furry fandom benefit from Equestria Daily-style market centralization in terms of literature output? (Equestria Daily has raised the ire of MANY writers in the pony fandom, to the point there's even an anti-EQD club)
3. Wait a minute, isn't there something out there like this already? Isn't there some place you can submit your furry stories and have them critiqued by a group of people in an official manner like...you know...we do at my school?
4. WAIT NO I LIED SORRY; what methods do other people use to critique? My 3-part approach has worked well enough for me so far, but what you use?

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There's also the issue of people being able to give meaningful criticism. I've been reading a lot, not to mention dabbling in writing for most of my life, before I was able to provide useful writing advice, and I'm still surprised that I can do it at all. Same for art. And I still find myself not knowing what to say about somebody's work now and then.

Also, I can't blame artists for dreading a review. Some critics go out of their way to be venomous, and once you've been burned by one of those you may never want to bother creating anything again. Yes, yes, that's irrational, but people have feelings. Moreover, I know someone who always has a piece of constructive criticism, and a wonderful manner of expressing it, no matter how bad the work in question. How do you suppose that's possible?

Oh wait, I know: always remember that nobody sets out to create bad art on purpose (except in spite or as parody I suppose). Any mistakes are likely to be honest ones, so treat them as such. Remember that the artist really did put work into their creation, and they really do want to get better. Keep that in mind, and you may find entirely different words flowing out of your keyboard.

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It hardly matters whether you criticize or not if the person in question is not open to listening. Constructive criticism can go a long way towards improving the quality of products but first you need a creator who is open to hearing and using that information and second you need the folks who are criticizing to both know what they're talking about and know how to get it across.

If something is provided free on the internet, art or fiction or whatever, it's more difficult to provide feedback that'll be used - afterall, it's a hobby that gets as much devotion as the creator feels he wants to and can deliver. If something is being sold well then you've got the market helping to provide the feedback, if an artist isn't selling what they're producing at the price they want then they may be more open to hearing what potential clients have to say about their work. The downside of course is the niche market of furry, quite a lot in the fandom can command higher prices than you might expect in a wider audience.

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I tend to fly by the simple philosophy of, if a person doesn't want to improve they won't improve, and therefore I only need to see what they have produced now and know that's what it'll always be, -watch.

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I write public reviews of published works. If a book or a story in a magazine is published, and is for sale to the public, then it is fair game for public criticism. If someone wants me to critique an unpublished manuscript or a short story before its publication, I will send the criticism in a private e-mail.

Fred Patten

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No offense, but this is deserving of a personal blog, not a news page. This is not news, its your personal opinion. If you formatted it as an interview, you might argue that it belongs here.

I encourage people in the furry fandom to hold artists and writers to a higher level all the time. The fandom accepts low quality, unprofessional work constantly, encourages it even, by the despiration to get commissions, putting much more value on quantity than quality. Fantastically skilled artists are allowed to flourish in the fandom while still stealing people's money, skirting deadlines, etc. Of course, artists are not always to blame, since the fandom has created a commissioner/artist culture of low cost, low quality. Even in the best artists, you see this, and its simply because a low cost for a sketch deserves low attention to details and little time spent on each. We can't help that commissioners are not made of money, but personally I will never understand the FA accounts where people post dozens, sometimes hundreds of shit commissions when they could have had half a dozen pieces of really amazing stuff.

However, criticism is not always something people want on FA. Lots of people just do art for fun, or do commissions for an extra buck, and are utterly incapable of taking your criticism as anything other than insult. It is a very close-minded opinion to think that the artists or writers' world begins and ends in the furry fandom, or to think that furry art is so important to every artist that improving is their goal. Artists who do seek improvement CAN certainly learn something from an uninformed crit on FA, but it is not common. The value of a crit on FA typically goes only as far as whether or not the artist is interested in revisiting the completed and posted piece. Artists interested in improvement find the appropriate places to get feedback. This article assumes the average FA browser or furry fan knows a thing or two about analyzing art, and they don't. They may be capable of pointing out a flaw in an already completed piece, but it is foolish to believe that pointing out an anatomy mistake or a perspective issue in one piece significantly helps an artist grow. Did you play an instrument in school? When you're young, you could -possibly- get a constructive criticism from a parent, another student, etc. When that same musician is in college for music, I can promise you that their non-musician parent or used-to-play-clarinet friend cannot offer much of use...they must go to orchestral performers or virtuosos for useful criticism. As both an artist and a professional musician, I feel entitled to use this example. You may occassionally help a bad artist (only if truth they're a "growing" artist, only bad right now) by offering a crit, but the vast majority of bad artists are not actively looking to improve (aka, not "growing" artists). Those that have achieved some level of skill...sure, you may be able to point out a flaw or even 10, but you're kidding yourself to think that pointing out flaws is synonymous with helping an artist grow.

Encouraging people to criticize is LOOKING for trouble. People who enjoy doing it will do it, and people who mean well will put it in a way that is constructive. If the artist is welcoming to it, they will respond positively. If they respond negatively, leave them alone, they (and possibly their art) are not worth it. Encouraging people to push crit at someone who has shown repeatedly to be unreceptive, or doing it yourself, is trolling. Whether or not you are wording it obnoxiously is irrelevant. If you, from experience, know that someone responds in anger or stupidity to a crit, and you choose to do it some more, you're actively seeking that reaction.

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Flayrah is not solely devoted to news; essays and similar opinion pieces are permitted as long as they are clearly marked. (Readers are, of course, welcome to rate and critique such works on their merits like any other story.)

Furries may have many reasons for going for lower-quality, cheaper commissions. They might only have a small amount of money, but want a piece of art now. They might want a variety of depictions that could not be achieved with just a few pieces. They may think it's better to support artists-in-training than it is those who are already well-established (and expensive). Perhaps they even think commissioning artists will make them more popular with the artists or their friends; occasionally it does, though it's not recommended. These reasons are not all entirely rational, but then neither are furries. :-)

Taken to its logical extent, part of the piece's argument is that users should critique the work of bad artists/writers until they improve (or stop posting), for the benefit of other members of the site. This is not a "nice" argument, but it has a rational basis - it does not benefit visitors to have to read through dross to find gems, therefore it is the duty of those who care for the site to both highlight good works, and to seek to improve the average quality of all works through targeted criticism. Some creators may not appreciate this, but their views are rarely known in advance; besides, what matters for the goal is reaching the ones which do, and improving their work. As you say, this hinges on being able to provide useful feedback; but works with obvious, easy deficits are most likely to be critiqued.

Criticism should also be carefully worded to minimize any negative impact it may have on the creator, who is also a user of the site. The risk, as I see it, is that you piss off an artist or writer who is reasonably good - enough for their work to be of interest - but who is lazy/unmotivated and so lets things slip sometimes and is unlikely to improve. In a critical environment, these users may stop posting or even withdraw their existing work if they are also sensitive to negative opinion. In this case criticism may cause a net loss to the site.

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I generally agree with your post, except your last paragraph. You argue that the point of this is to bully artists who are uninterested in improvement to leave websites so you don't have to pick through their crap? I don't honestly think its a bad hope to have a site where its all quality, but it is unfair to bully or critique-to-death someone until they either resign to working harder or stop posting on a site that expressed no ambition requirement. Create a new website if you want all posters to be ambitious. Unfortunately, the furry fandom is often a place that bad, okay, and good artists may choose to make a quick buck without necessarily regarding the job as a career worth pouring effort or motivation into.

If the furry fandom generally demanded and valued quality more (I agree with your reasons for why they don't...doesn't mean I have to agree that its smart!), you would see more of it.

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You argue that the point of this is to bully artists who are uninterested in improvement to leave websites so you don't have to pick through their crap?

In the second-to-last paragraph, yes, partially. In the last one I am saying that if you take the call for criticism to an extreme, you risk the departure of people who were contributing positively, even if not as positively as you wished.

I think the idea of creating a new site for high-quality work (or perhaps promoting work to it) is likely to be more successful than forcing it on an existing one. I have seen people leave furry websites because they cannot stand even the slightest critical comment from others. If criticism were implemented as a policy in any significant way, I expect they would leave the site concerned in droves.

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If you're really the artist Myenia then hi! I'm a bit of a fan. News sites almost all include opinion pieces as well, for example I quote an opinion piece from the New York Times.

You might have a good point with people who are able to give proper criticism. For example in art I'd mostly be able to point out anatomical flaws. I'm not sure I'd agree that's not useful criticism but I can see it's not the same level that a professional artist could give. Even if not significant small improvements do add up. But what you think about a group of reviewers in the furry fandom? Not average users but people who really know what they're talking about and/or are generally acknowledged as good at what they do? Would it be better then if those people's reviews or ratings were given special attention on works? For example someone sees a story with a 4/5 rating by users but there's a separate rating of 3/5 given by a group of other writers? Would that perhaps move past some of your criticisms of criticisms?

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Yep! Sorry for missing that, GR pointed that out.

Its not like it hurts the artist to hear small crits on anatomy and such much, but it does tear them down a little since flaws do happen. If you have any musical training...its just like how a young ensemble may have a few missed notes, but smoothing out missed notes doesn't make it better (of course it would be nice if they weren't there, but it just happens sometimes!). An ensemble can sound good by being together, being in tune, and doing dynamics well, and even with a few slips of wrong notes, still sound good. To point out that the french horn accidentally hit a G, sure it would be nice if they didn't, but it happens. To someone who barely knows music, they may think that a missed note is an important thing to point out. To someone who knows it well, they know that those things just slip out sometimes, and as you get better, they slip out less often, but they still do happen. Good artists may make an anatomy mistake or perspective mistake every now and then, but it becomes less often as they get better. Unless it is a repeated problem, where the artist may have learned it wrong instead of just making a mistake, just consider it like you would a wrong note. Again, because of my significant background in both, I feel that this is a very accurate comparison!

I do think the fandom needs more reviewers that know what they're talking about. I myself have been thinking of getting a private LJ group together(or something along those lines) because I know a number of us who can give and take criticism well, and since generally the fandom (including artists) are easily emotionally injured by such things, it would be nice to have a safe place for this. We use a private LJ for the WWC and strongly request artists to critique other's works while they are in progress, and I think that its created a great environment...for those who are welcoming of the critique. There are still those that are not, even good artists.

So yes, if that existed somehow, I think that'd be nice, PERSONALLY. However, the artists in the fandom are sometimes unwelcoming of it. It makes an environment for all of us where we are afraid to offer it to each other, because there are so many people who won't take it. If that group ceased providing it to those who were angered by it, then great. Unfortunately, alot of people in the fandom feel like its their duty to hound artists until they resign and "take" the criticism. Everyone works differently. So yea, if it was done respectively, I think it would be a good thing.

Then the question remains...are we going to start critiquing fursuits that suck? I'd like the general standard of our fursuits to look nicer. Of course, that would hurt feelings, even if aimed at the makers, it would hurt those who commissioned the suit. Its worth considering this when considering whether or not to critique commissioned work. ;)

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"Hm, your style looks exactly lie that used by Disney in The Lion King; ever think of branching out to develop more of your own personal style? It's a bit more work, but it's usually very worth it."
[blocked]

Furry Pariah

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Basically. Another argument for having public criticism: it will make the artist grow some balls and prepare them for life.

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I welcome criticism on my work even where not explicitly stated. But I wouldn't post it to a place like FurRag, where criticism is the whole purpose of the website. I like the idea of people just enjoying what I create without feeling obligated to criticize (though a "hello!" is always good).

That said, putting your work up on, say, FurAffinity is like hanging it in a public art gallery. To say people shouldn't criticize unless invited is incredibly arrogant. Do you really think anyone is above criticism?

Conversely, though, saying there should be a website only for high-quality art is also arrogant (no offense, GreenReaper). Who decides what is high-quality? Even FA's policy ("We do not permit images which are out of focus, blurry, overly grainy, washed out, poorly lit or incorrectly rotated.") ignores the fact that photos with just such defects have earned awards and sold for ridiculous amounts of money. Technique and artistic merit are different things.

What we need isn't gatekeeping, but ranking/filtering (and curation), and indeed star rating systems work poorly for that purpose. A simple favorite system works better, but it can also encourage people to game the system, er, I mean beg for faves. No wonder Flickr keeps their "interestingness" algorithm a secret...

I don't think there is a magical solution for this problem. All we can do is keep trying.

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To say people shouldn't criticize unless invited is incredibly arrogant.

Please see the earlier discussion regarding entering someone's place and criticizing their taste in decor or criticizing the taste in clothing of someone walking down the street.

You're free to do so, but to do so openly on the spot is the height of disrespect.

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Somewhat tangentially, I'm having trouble finding the difference between the two following statements:

I think this artist could improve by moving this line a little to the left. I'm going to go ahead and post a comment on this submission and let them know my opinion.

I think this person walking down the street to be attractive and provocatively dressed. I'm going to go ahead and whistle at them so they know I find them attractive.

This whole thread reads like someone who feels its their place to impose their will upon others trying to justify doing so, and it doesn't cast a pleasing light on the fandom.

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This whole thread reads like someone who feels its their place to impose their will upon others trying to justify doing so

And you sound like one of those furs who can't take a little criticism that we've been talking about. No offense. And if you really don't see the difference between "You suck!1!!" and "I think you should move that line a little because..." then I guess there is indeed no point in someone giving you criticism.

Mind, if you'd rather monologue than have a conversation, that's your right. But most people seem to prefer the latter.

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I'm no artist, so I don't really have a stake in this other than to speak out against something that's potentially damaging.

As Jimmy McMillan would say: "The sense of entitlement in this thread is too damn high!"

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People should be entitled. I can't conceive how someone could argue entitlement as a bad thing.

Would you rather people be shackled for their words? Be un-entitled to saying what they say, to be entitled to accept or reject what others say?

I don't think the problem here is the asking of more entitlement, it is the asking of less entitlement. If an artist rejects a critic, that is their right. If a critic rejects an artist, that is also their right. They are both equally entitled, as they should be.

I don't think this article is going to cause damage. If some "critic" comes on and acts a fool, people will see it and the artist's rejection will be warranted. If the critic provides constructive feedback and the artist acts a fool, people will see it and the artist's rejection will be seen unwarranted.

This argument is in essence much to do about nothing, to argue that criticism is always or never warranted is foolish because it is a personal act that should be handled (and would be more properly handled) at the local and not "federal" level.

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I can't conceive how someone could argue entitlement as a bad thing.

"She was practically begging for it, dressed like that."

They are both equally entitled, as they should be.

Perhaps in a larger setting, but in places such as FA where an artist posts something in a social setting and does not have an explicit or implied invitation for critique, assuming it is welcome or that it should be posted anyway is conceited.

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Once again, I see that first example as lowering another's entitlement not increasing one's own. Everyone has the right to reject a sexual encounter, to say otherwise is a lowering of another's entitlement.

Being rejected does indeed feel bad, but indeed you can't force someone not to reject you. I don't think it's conceited to believe that one's words are welcome if those words are true to how the person feels. It is conceited to believe that the same words said to hundreds of different artist should be reacted upon the same way. It could just as well be ignorance and not conceit.

It's all about how both parties handle the situation more then "one side" being conceited and the other not. That's the reason these debates usually get so heated. There are conceited critics and conceited artists, just hope they never meet because that is where things get ugly.

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Or, y'know, folks who want to offer critique can simply ask before posting it; or if they can't hold their words, they can send them in a PM.

It's a simple matter of respect.

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Respect is a matter of culture, not a factual scientifically quantifiable substance, and it's hardly simple.

The whole premise of the debate is that some people feel it more respectful to give honest feedback even if it's not entirely positive, versus people who submit who feel it's more respectful to not say anything bad about things they put effort into.

There are two definitions of respect here, which is why there is a clash because the other side is being promoted as being "disrespectful".

For the former I would say if that's how you live by being bluntly honest, you're going to have to learn to deal with people who live by the second philosophy and not take it personally when they hide your comment or tell you it's not welcome there. For the later it's a matter of understanding that though that you can control what people say in "your house" you cannot control what they say outside. To say that you can is then doing unto them what you didn't want them doing unto you.

It's complex, not simple, which is why it's best seen and judged on a case by case basis instead of making generalizations.

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In no way am I suggesting that an artist should try to stifle critique outside of the original submission; just wanted to clarify that.

What I am suggesting is that if someone is considering submitting critique to an original submission without implied or explicit consent, they should stop to consider whether it is their place to do so rather than presuming it is.

(Edited to correct misspelling)

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My criticism of this comment is not to use the block quote if you aren't quoting from somewhere in the thread. It's misleading.

Of course maybe you meant to make a new comment instead of replying to Claud's. But still, block quotes are still typically used to respond to part of a comment, not fabricated quotes for sake of argument

"Doing something like this would be better in that case"

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That's fair. I meant to start a new comment thread and have yet to learn the etiquette of formatting on this site. Unfortunately I no longer have the option to edit the post, but the sentiment stands.

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There is an issue with Flayrah comments. If you post a reply to a comment then post a reply to the main article without reloading the page it adds that to the comment you last replied to. As far as I know that hasn't been fixed yet.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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That explains it. I was wondering if it was my mistake or some eccentricity in the system.

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I think I have an answer now. The first statement is a little strange as it's too specific to be useful but in essence I'll take it to be what I was promoting, a comment directed at helping the artist improve their skills for future use. The second one is not helping a person learn to dress any better (it's actually a lot like just saying "nice art"), so it's not improving a skill, and a person isn't wearing clothes to put them out there. Although clothes are a reflection of a person they are also a necessity whereas posting artwork where everyone can see it is not a requirement for anyone. Furthermore the whistling is seldom directed at the way a person is dressed for any sort of objective reason but to express desire, some would say inappropriately, towards the person.

So they differ both between what the intention is, helping someone improve a skill vs expressing appreciation/desire, and at what they are directed, the piece of art or the person.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Not sure if this was directed at me...Flayrah sends me emails that say you replied to something I wrote but its hard to figure out which is the reply!

If you're taking commissions, or ever intend to in the future, for the sake of making a living, it is just as much a necessity to post the art in a public place to reach an audience! The internet is a vital part of any kind of freelancer's marketing tactics.

I'm all for the ability to disable comments if an artist doesn't want critique. I think that if an artist doesn't want to hear the complaints, there's not much reason they're entitled to hear praise. I'm not saying that its not nice to hear good feedback while also not being interested in getting criticism, but if you're going to open it up for positive opinions, it seems wrong to limit the kind of opinions you're getting. DA allows people to disable comments, and I think that's a great option if someone is unwilling to hear some kinds of opinions.

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You should like Inkbunny, then - it recently added the ability to lock comments (and to freeze individual threads, in addition to the hiding it already had).

When logged in, it's a bit easier to get to comments here because the subscriptions system provides a link that goes to the correct part of the page. I do need to rework that system, though. It's somewhat limited by the requirement to handle both anonymous and registered users.

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It wasn't directed at you but that's no reason not to reply. I understand your last paragraph but the middle one doesn't seem to make sense. Yes, it's a necessity to post your art if you want to advertise and make money but in such a situation feedback is even more critical. If people don't like your art then you won't money so it is in your best interest both to be open to comments to see what people do and don't like and what could be changed to get more money. It wouldn't make sense for Coke to change how it tastes and then ignore feedback (or only listen to the positive feedback) and I don't see how that's any different. A product is being sold to a consumer and the producer needs to know what the consumers likes and dislikes are. When companies are spending thousands of dollars on market research and trying to engage with customers it seems very strange to advocate people wanting to be commissioned to block comments.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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It wouldn't make sense for Coke to change how it tastes and then ignore feedback (or only listen to the positive feedback) and I don't see how that's any different.

This presumes that the motivation of the artist is to profit from their art. Many artists create simply for the sake of creating, occasionally allowing interested parties buy commissions in their style for the sake of it being their style.

Certainly an artist who is interested in broadening their appeal will ask for critique when they are ready to accept it. If they don't, it's not your or anyone else's duty to wave it in front of their face. It's their loss if they can't find enough work.

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If they are posting to get commissions and intend to make a living with art then they are trying to profit from their art.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Right, but what I'm getting at is that there are only certain artists who do so. Many simply enjoy creating and want to share it with the world. :)

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Yes but that's irrelevant here because my comment was in reply to Myenia's. Specifically it was in reply to the middle paragraph where she said, "If you're taking commissions, or ever intend to in the future, for the sake of making a living, it is just as much a necessity to post the art in a public place to reach an audience! The internet is a vital part of any kind of freelancer's marketing tactics."

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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More critcism in furry?

Sounds great to me. You folks can start here:

"FUCK JERUSALEM! Israel has gay marriage and abortion." -- Paden Reilly (Crusader Cat)

http://www.furluminati.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=1038&start=30

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Would you people please stop STEALING MY GODDAMN HEADLINES!

I mean, they're not even that good.

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Lol. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. I would've used something different but the headline is supposed to explain what the piece is about and that's exactly what it does. It'd be tricky to find something else that would work. Plus I liked the way the headline and first line work together.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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I knew I was getting a deja vu feeling here.

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I've created a poll related to this story, please go and vote there.
http://www.flayrah.com/4325/which-best-reflects-your-view-critique-submissions-f...

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Critique of critics is overanalytic, for chittering critters who should get crickets. A pacific cynic or a civic civet might cite this fight as a sticky wicket. ;)

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I have to agree with Myenia, people should have an equal option and isn't always about going for higher quality.

Work isn't always about quality, it's more than just that.. Like personal taste or mix, etc. I sort of feel offended by the article saying we need more of criticism as if Furry is only about quality. And if the Fandom is only about quality, criticism, and not equal for other art and this: "The fact of the matter is that everyone’s work doesn’t _deserve_ equal prominence." I think, then this fandom doesn't sound as fun or friendly, for the others. Even though, it sometimes feel like it's not very open already sometimes.

Although of course, for an artist who likes quality a lot, it's good to suggest to allow honest criticism and to review so the artist can get some tips. Same with the ratings but if we are going for linear ways for the WHOLE fandom (Like the title of this article), then that is a bad move.

No, the fandom does not need that.. Just for the artists who wants the judgement. It needs more honest and open.. More non-linear options. Like how this website needs to have an option to disable ratings. But I have to agree a little about the ratings used just for kind and other, but I only agree to that for people who set those up for proper judging about Quality. But sometimes, it's not always about it for those who just want to draw, not caring about Quality, etc.

Diamond_Man.exe - Not real fursona
Science/Knowledge/Sense > Bias or Biased

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Those who don't want ratings to change their Flayrah experience can turn the moderation off in their user settings, as you have done. Letting you disable rating of your comments would defeat the purpose of the system: encouraging civil discourse by ensuring that people think about how their comments will be received before posting, and allowing the community to enforce their collective opinion of civility.

You can say what you like in your journal. The comments section is a shared space, and operates under different rules.

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@GreenReaper Oh the site said that about the comments part? (This website is supposed to have the ratings on the comments?) I didn't know that if so but I don't know if it will hurt the system to have an option or at least for an whole article (Like how on a YT video, the whole ratings would be off)..

I wanted to have them off in my comments to avoid ratings based off unusual bigotry believes, etc. I do believe it's a good option to have still (To avoid certain ratings) like how YT sort of did.

Diamond_Man.exe - Not real fursona
Science/Knowledge/Sense > Bias or Biased

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

I agree in the sense that creativity is a misconstrued thing. Many people think it has to appeal to a mass, that's not being creative that's being productive, especially if your intent is to sell. Many people also confuse "being creative" with "being intelligent". I remember when the news came out that teens smoking marjiuana caused brain damage there was the rebuttle on how creative it made people.

I can say from experience intelligence sometimes gets in the way of creativity. Creativity is not defined thinking, intelligence more often then not gives you too many rule sets that you have memorized. You think of something cool and then your brain goes, "Well it sounds cool in this fiction project of yours but the laws of physics says..."

Anyway what were we talking about again? Oh yeah. I do think artists should feel welcome, having everything open to critique "equally" will result in the more abstract and smaller audience being skewered by the audience of more general works who aren't interested in the niche. In the end all art is going to have people who like it and people who could care less.

In the end, if you want people to favor your "critiques" or take them seriously, you have to build up a relationship with either the specific artist or the group of artists as a whole. If you're some joe smoe they don't know, they're going to tell you to go.

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I don't think anyone has said it's all about quality. I was saying we should strive towards better quality. Even if your primary aim is different I'm sure most people still value quality. I've never seen an artist lament, "Here's my newest picture but I think it's too good. I just wish I didn't draw so well." You'd be hard-pressed to find something, above pre-school level, where quality doesn't exist or matter.

Also, particularly aimed at Sonious, quality is a property that exists irrespective of taste or creativity. Coraline, Shrek and Spirited Away are all high-quality but are three very different styles of animation yet the differences don't prevent people from assessing the quality. Stop motion animation, like Coraline, is a niche but that doesn't stop critics from recognising when it is well done.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Well, we could of just said people need more criticism in part of the fandom instead of the whole.
Like for the artists who do care about quality. Even if there was most.. Because it looks like the whole article was meant for the whole instead of the Quality part, saying the fandom is all about quality in some sort of way instead.

It just feels like this could lead to a bit of more stereotype to the other artist that is mainly about combining, need some quality but not focus, mixed, etc. Since I think ratings on random paintings can be used for other reasons. Like ratings meant for personal like, even if the quality wasn't that good. Or other reasons. :P We may need some quality sometime to a point to understand though, but not always the main focus or if a person was just creating something funny or so, like if the joke was supposed to be about "Look at the best painting in the world" and all of a sudden, it was just low scribble picture.

Also, isn't a lot of pictures good already? A lot of people might value quality but a lot of designs and all might be there personal taste with it.. I don't think a lot would want to make a more realism design then the taste of it.. Darn it, hard to explain.. Even if they did, I think a lot are good enough, but if they want it better on there own, that's great. Sorry, if part of this paragraph was repeating the other ones.. And I just woke up.

Diamond_Man.exe - Not real fursona
Science/Knowledge/Sense > Bias or Biased

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

It's about the whole fandom because the critique can be applied everywhere. It can be applied to art, writing, websites, conventions etc. All of them can be improved and made better. Maybe there are some artists who don't care about quality but as I've said I'm not sure we should accept that. As I said earlier I think those people don't care about what they put out into the world, aren't interested in improving the fandom and frankly don't respect their art. I think that's a problem.

I don't think you can do that for ratings because if everyone is using a different rating system then the rating system itself has no value. If you consider voting according to how much you like a picture you first need to decide what the point of the rating system is. Is the rating system there to tell people how much others like the submission or is it there to tell people how good the submission is? I think the rating should tell someone how good the submission. It's subjective but useful. A rating of if other people enjoy the submission is rather pointless because people's tastes differ.

Lastly I think you're still not understanding what quality is. Quality has to do with how well the submission has been done, whether it accomplishes it's goals, if it has flaws etc. The quality has nothing to do with realism.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I don't agree it's about the whole fandom. Honestly, I think that is stereotype and just rude to say we need judgement to the whole thing just because quality is all around or it's a "threat" or "uncaring". I'm sorry, but I think it's just closed and linear to not accept others drawings just because it's not quality or "doesn't" improve the fandom, and say we need to judge them anyway. Not everyone want's there's "improved", and it's not every painting is meant to be "improved". And I think it's just wrong to suggest judging to the whole thing when others are not about the quality anyway. Also, I highly disagree that it's a threat to art or a problem. Because creation isn't about quality all the time.

About every art having the possibility of "higher" quality, I don't think all art is meant to be. Especially if it's supposed to be a crappy joke of some random drawing. But even if it did apply, that doesn't mean we need criticism to people who limit there qualities or not do anything about it. In other words: Only part of the fandom needs this; for those who want the judgement.

Also, I think some pictures for practice for Quality can improve already, even the non-Quality purpose ones. Because pictures isn't always about it.

Edit: If this article was also saying that the ratings for other purpose works other than quality doesn't deserve Equal ratings, then I find that offensive because I think ratings once again can be about other things, like for the likes of jokes, theories, etc. Oh and more to your comment again, I think the ratings system still has a point.. Because the ratings were probably meant for interest and guess what, interest is not only about quality only. I think it's just linear bad to suggest to rate others down just because it wasn't about quality. I think ratings is meant for interest of anything than just quality themes.

Also, on the last part of what you said. Yeah I was thinking something like that but wasn't so sure.

I wrote a lot again, I know.

Diamond_Man.exe - Not real fursona
Science/Knowledge/Sense > Bias or Biased

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

From what I've seen; and take that how you will, there are different types of critics. Assumption that some one is a good critic is presumptuous at best and asinine more often. If you are going to give a critic there's several ways to do it.

Personally I prefer to question my own criticism before posting it. Questions such as: "Is what I'm seeing as a flaw an actual flaw or a matter of opinion on my part? Am I coming across as strictly negative or helpful? Am I willing to stay and discuss my comments should the person respond to them?" Separating objective and subjective criticism isn't always easy but if you mean to help someone you should take the time to separate your opinions from things that are genuinely wrong. You should post both but make a clear distinction.

Also if you plan on commenting on someone's work don't just post and forget about it. This doesn't help anything and its irritating. What if the artist doesn't understand something you wrote and wants to clarify? How can they improve anything if they don't understand your critique and you don't explain it more in depth?

When dealing with artists I feel are going to get "Touchy hissy face" with me I try to be diplomatic about it. I don't mean sugar coating or gutting your point to make them feel better. I mean saying it in a way that carries your point past their natural urge to disregard it or run. A great way to do that is to be balanced about it. If you liked something say it, then point out how to make the things you didn't like better.

In the end you can only critic from your perspective. Just as the artist can only create from theirs. Knowing that those two things sometimes never cross is something to remember when offering yourself up as a critic.

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I've released a guide to commenting/reviewing submissions. It's mostly aimed at SoFurry but other than the star rating system, it can be applied almost anywhere.
http://www.sofurry.com/view/523530

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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About the author

Rakuen Growlitheread storiescontact (login required)

a student and Growlithe (Pokemon) from South Africa, interested in science, anime and power metal

I'm a fur from South Africa who got into the fandom through my interest in pokemon, still a major part of my involvement, and writing fanfiction, though now I also try my hand at art from time to time. Outside of furry and the aforementioned subjects I'm interested in science, anime (and am learning Japanese) and power metal.

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