META/POLL: The Purpose of Criticism

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Tue Feb 19 08:45:21 PST 2008

On Feb 19, 3:04 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> On Feb 19, 1:47 am, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at> wrote:
> > On Feb 19, 4:45 am, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> > > On Feb 17, 8:34 pm, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at>
> > > >  And, yes, Tom, the negative comments you make can easily be
> > > > made about your own writing.
> > > Because I somehow have trouble accepting valid negative criticism?
> > I don't have a problem with valid criticism.  I have a problem with
> > criticism which is more focused on its own style and wit than
> > validity.
> I don't think I'm guilty of that, but you didn't really answer the
> question.  The implication, at least as I see it, is that I can't
> accept negative criticism.  I'd like to think that I can.  I try to
> explain myself as best I can, and sometimes I'm wrong and sometimes
> I'm right and sometimes I'll just agree to disagree.  But.
> I don't think I've ever thrown a fit or cried foul when my work has
> been criticized-- at least not in the past three or four years.  I'll
> gladly cop to being an idiot when I a teenager, but I think I've
> matured past that.
> And I'm not implying that you've thrown a fit, and I'm not trying to
> escalate this into a full-blown flame war-- I'm just asking you to
> clarify your statements here and elsewhere.  The general drift that
> I'm getting is that:
> 1. I am a hypocrite.  If this is something you meant to say, I'd
> appreciate it if you clarified it with some examples so that I can
> respond to them.  If this is a case of me misreading one of your
> statements, please tell me so that I can drop it.
> 2. I accept negative criticism poorly.  If this is something you meant
> to say, I would also appreciate some examples; if this is me
> misreading it, then tell me and I'll think no more on it.

My response hasn't arrived (yet?) but the gist of it is that your
question was along the lines of "Are you still beating your wife?" as
my comments above said absolutely nothing about your ability to take
criticism.  My comment was that some of the criticisms that you would
make of my work would be better suited to criticisizing your own
work.  Yes, frankly, that does make you hypocritical but perhaps not
in the way you meant.


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