The process of criticizing someone with the intent of changing their ways for the better. As opposed to Destructive Criticism, which is meant to "tear a person down", Constructive Criticism operates with the aim to "put the person on the right track". It should be used carefully, as utilizing Constructive Criticism is like walking a tightrope, where the person you're criticizing is busy hurling watermelons at you from the ground, with the aid of some mechanized hurling machine.

The notion of constructive criticism has great importance here on E2, where the goal is to make the E2 database a high-quality source of information. (No, I'm not looking for an Everything Ideology War with that last statement. Feel free to constructively criticize me though!)

For instance: You see a node and you dissaprove of it for what you feel is a valid reason. You downvote it. You move on. This is terribly unconstructive! This is like getting a paper back from a teacher that you possibly worked very hard on and thought you did very well on only to find that you failed. Not only that, but there is no explanation as to why you failed. How are you supposed to improve? You know you did something wrong, but what?

It's even worse on E2, because there is no way to tell who downvoted you. That means that if you downvote something, it's your responsibilty to notify (/msg works great) it's author and tell him or her what it was that warranted a downvote. If you don't want the person to know who you are, take advantage of the Everyone Project and do it anonymously. Don't fool yourself into thinking that downvoting a bad write-up is improving E2. It's only half of what you can do to truly improve E2.

I have just recently gotten to Level 2 (Novice), which allows me to vote. I have actually tested this theory, and found that people respond very positively to this kind of constructive criticism.

If you're going to send criticism to a noder, don't just say "j00r n0d3 sux0r3d, p4001! im v071ng j00 d0wn!" Don't just say "Writeup good." or "Writeup bad." If there are egregious factual errors, point them out and send the correction. If the writeup needs links hard or links soft, say so, and don't forget to explain pipe links to newbies. If the formatting is bad, give the reasons and suggestions for improvement. If spelling and grammar errors muddle the meaning, make it clear exactly how they do so. Generally, sending a link to a section of the E2 FAQ or Everything University is much more helpful with a short explanation.

If you receive criticism, criticize it yourself before accepting it. Is the critic verbally abusive, making attacks on your person rather than your writing? Does he say "Your writeup is wrong/bad" without any reason? Feel free to ignore the fool. Does he evenly and fairly deal with the shortcomings of your writing (rat bastard that he is)? Then reevaluate it in light of the criticism. If you disagree, TELL your critic WHY you disagree. Debate; if his suggestion won't hold up, then there's no reason for you to accept it.

Is the critic a powerless low-level noder? That doesn't mean he's automatically wrong. I have seen a God happily accept a valid criticism of one of his Latin translations, in a case where the newbie's facts were correct and his were mistaken.

In short, just remember that you are not perfect, and in a forum like Everything2, you are bound to encounter someone more knowledgable about than you about some subject. Be brave in debate and honorable in defeat. You'll be a better writer for it.

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