META/POLL: The Purpose of Criticism

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Wed Feb 20 22:26:04 PST 2008

On Feb 20, 12:31 pm, tem2 <gfishb... at> wrote:
> On Feb 17, 1:23 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> > In your opinion:
> > 1. Is this basically how feedback can and should work?
> It seems a problem when you see nothing lacking from a story but you
> also don't find anything that specifically interests you, so that all
> you have to say is, "I read this story and it was funny."  Sure, it's
> good to know that a story is being read and appreciated, but an empty
> review isn't particularly helpful to the author or to readers.

You're right about that, and I'll try harder to deliver the goods in
the future.

> > 2. If not, how should one provide feedback?
> If the review really is meant to provide feedback, it should always
> include something specific that you liked or disliked--a line of
> dialogue, a punchline, a character description--or some question or
> speculation raised by anticipating future plot twists.  It doesn't
> have to be more than a single sentence as long as there's at least one
> real observation in it.

True, and I see I've been selling you short as of late, and for that I
apologize.  I have thought about mentioning all the things I found
amusing or entertaining, but that would result in basically quoting
all the lines of text between and including the first line up until
the last line. :-)

> Well thought out critical feedback is helpful to any author, even if
> the feedback is on somebody else's stories.  There is a lot to learn
> from somebody who is well-enough read in a given genre that they can
> develop informed opinions that can be backed up by specific examples.
> You do that well.

Thank you.


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