Critique vs Criticism

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by jks9199, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Critique: evaluate in a detailed and analytical way
    Criticize: find the faults with or about something

    Please remember that there is a difference. Many times, we find ourselves criticizing posts and videos when they ask for a critique. Critiques are generally factual and objective, though they may own opinions within a critique. If you want to stay on the right side of the rules and friendly spirit hereabouts, review your post before you hit send, and make sure that you're offering a critique rather than finding fault.
     
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  2. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Actually JKS, when we are offering a critique, we are engaging in criticism. In fact the words critique and criticise can be used synonymously. Please refer to the definition 1c as well as definitions 2 and 3 below taken from Merriam Webster online:

    Full Definition of CRITICISM
    1
    a: the act of criticizing usually unfavorably <seeking encouragement rather than criticism>
    b: a critical observation or remark <an unfair criticism>
    c: critique
    2
    : the art of evaluating or analyzing works of art or literature; also: writings expressing such evaluation or analysis <an anthology of literary criticism>
    3
    : the scientific investigation of literary documents (as the Bible) in regard to such matters as origin, text, composition, or history
    See criticism defined for English-language learners
    See criticism defined for kids

    Nevertheless (i.e. semantic nit-picking aside), I totally agree with the point you are making, namely that often a poster is asking for a helpful critique and useful criticism, and instead they are met with harsh and unhelpful negativity. It doesn't fit with our goal of creating a welcoming and "friendly" forum.
     
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  3. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    Nice posts and I agree with both of you. Thing is though, and yes I am being negative to pose a point, do you really belive that threads are going to stop going south. Was pretty shocked to see a long term members post yesterday. Don't think there is a need for friendly warnings when a post was made in jest.
     
  4. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    As has been said many times, on-line communication has a huge potential for misunderstanding because so much of communication is nonverbal, and a forum is limited to text only. We lose the nuance of tone of voice, facial expression, speech pace, and more. Add in culture misunderstandings, and it only gets worse. Emoticons and smileys help -- but even they can be misunderstood. Even though two members may indeed understand that they are joking with each other, it's not always perceived that way by others and warnings are kind of equivalent to the security staff at an event "wandering by" to make sure that there isn't a problem.
     
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  5. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Yeah, some posts "go south", and sometimes even well-meant comments get misconstrued. In fact, I unintentionally upset a long time member and on-line friend just today. So I apologised. Honestly, if you want proof that attitude --and careful word choice-- makes a difference, check out the Wing Chun forum. It's well known that we WC people can't get along. Except we do ...here on Martialtalk.
     
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  6. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I feel it goes even further than this. Most posters are not asking for 'critique'. They are voicing an opinion and in posting are inviting open discussion. In the past this was one of the main features of MT, although on occassion the boundaries were tested.

    Now we have a number of people with limited knowledge of training outside their own sphere tearing into members posting in their own area of expertise. These people don't ask questions to increase their understanding. They demand answers that support their own view. Rather than help create a friendly environment and a discussion from which we can all learn, we get head to head confrontation. If we are not careful we will end up as 'just another MA forum' like some of the others out there.
     
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  7. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I appreciate that it's coming back up. Thanks, jks9199 for expressing it, and to geezer for bringing it back to the top of the list for discussion.

    Truly, if we "attack the post and not the poster", if we discuss the posts and avoid judging the posters, we'd all be in better shape. Threads wouldn't go south very often at all. If a person has something to add, they should feel free to express it, whether they have been training for days, years, or decades. I've seen some alarming ignorance in my life, personally and professionally, from people who have been at it for a very long time (whatever "it" might be). i've also benefited from profound insight and brilliance by people who are relatively inexperienced.

    That said, personally, I don't think that the threads going South is entirely a courtesy or friendliness issue. I think it's also a clique issue. We have a few cliques, and no matter how friendly and courteous people are, cliques can be destructive. One person says something, and someone else disagrees because of who said it, even if there's a lot of common ground. Intent is misconstrued and sides are taken. And if a person from one clique disagrees, it's not long before the rest of the gang joins in.

    My suggestion, for what it's worth (maybe not even 2 cents), is that we could all stand to be a little more tolerant. Tolerant of ignorance and/or youthful enthusiasm for some (because, afterall, haven't we all been guilty of both in our lives?). Tolerance of a little crotchetiness and a curmedgeonliness for others. And tolerance for ideas that are contrary to our own, regardless of how sensible and "educated" we may believe them.
     
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  8. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    I find it quite sad that Wing Chun practitioners cannot get along. It is prescribed condition!
     
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  9. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    That include my own?
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I don't know. That might be pushing it. :)


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  11. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    The best way to critique, is to use the Oreo cookie effect. Hey, I like that, you could fix this part, but over all it was awesome. :)
     
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  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    That only works if it's sincere and it can quickly erode trust. I call it the hug, slap, hug method to my new supervisors, because that's often how employees feel after receiving this kind of feedback. Hugged, slapped and overall a little confused.


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  13. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    If they realize that you are just using a technique it can cause problems, but some people are better talkers than others. If you haven't already guessed I can be quite blunt. :)
     
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  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Agree!

    We should not involve "YOU and I" in any discussion. IMO, instead of saying, "I want to ...", it's better to say, "you (general YOU) may want to ...".

    When someone asks a general question, you may want to give your suggestion. After all, if the OP can ask his teacher, he won't need to ask here. When you do that, if others may not agree with your suggestion, you don't really need to respond to them. After all, it's the OP who is looking for suggestion. There will always be someone who does agree with your suggestion. To respond to those posts will definitely bring you into endless argument.

    Here is an example and it had happened in the past.

    A: What should I do if ...
    B: you may try ...
    C: What make you think that you are qualified to give any suggestion to A?
    D: That's the worst suggestion that I have ever heard.
    E: Are you stupid or something? You are totally clueless.
    B: ... :(
     
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  15. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Sometime you may not want to express your true opinion. Instead, you just ask questions and let others to draw their own conclusions. This technique may help you to avoid argument. But if you are not willing to express what in your mind, you are not fair to yourself. There is no shame to admit that you are either a liberal or a conservative. This way, people will know exactly where your opinion may come from.
     
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  16. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yup, things that would not be any problem at all face to face can explode online if not careful

    Maybe Wing Chun people are ok but you have to watch those Xingyi/Taiji guys :D
     
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  17. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    'Attack the post not the poster' as a guideline would be IMO fundamentally flawed in that the emphasis is still on 'attack'. Why do we need to attack? What's wrong with:

    Your experience leads you to conclude x.
    My experience leads me to conclude y because ABC. In the light of ABC, you may wish to reconsider your conclusion.

    Part of the problem here is that both in the OP and the following discussion, people make statements that are based on their isolated experience and research, but stated as cold, hard fact.

    People do things differently and understand things differently all over the world. Recognising this and tolerating it would go a long way towards promoting a sharing environment instead of a bitter, competitive one where we all have to prove ourselves right. Always having to win and be right comes at the cost of possibly missing a real truth when it is staring one in the face.


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  18. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Great post.
     
  19. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    But...but... what if they have offended my family and they have offended the Shaolin Temple. :D

    Now to put my more serious hat on, I agree with this post, but there have been occasions, on MT in the CMA section where there were outright lying frauds (lineage claims) or those suggesting types of training that if done wrong are harmful or are harmful not matter how they are done..... how should one deal with that?
     
  20. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    By supplying evidence that casts doubt upon those claims and allowing people to draw their own conclusions.


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