I wish NCs would desist from putting their network up to be critiqued if they are unable to take criticism when it is offered.
Again and again NCs invite comments on their site only to go bananas when they receive comments that are not to their liking. They then attempt to defend their site as if it had been attacked out of the blue by an aggressor. Somebody will offer some suggestion such as "make your link buttons smaller", and they will respond, in an aggrieved tone, with a justification of their decision to have big link buttons.
Most of them seem to want or expect encouragement and approval rather than criticism. Others use the critique forum to promote their network, and have no interest in the critical responses and advice they receive.
The other thing is that replies which are deemed to be too honest and direct are deleted by the Ning moderators (in fact I have just had one of my posts deleted because I pointed out that a site being offered for criticism promoted bigotry and racial hatred. I was told that my comments weren't "helpful" or "respectful" - which seems to imply that we are supposed to be helpful and respectful to racists). It's as if we are expected to sugar-coat our comments in case anyone takes offense. Be critical, but not too critical - like teachers dealing with three year-old children.
I have a better idea. Don't offer your network to be critiqued if you are liable to be offended by criticism.
I think it's a two-way street - people need to be able to take constructive criticism - and people need to GIVE constructive criticism, not tear sites apart. PLUS, when people explain WHY a certain feature is a certain way - that's not an overly defensive reaction.
Come on, people. Give and take is a good thing, if given with mutual respect.
I wasn't advocating "tearing sites apart".
But if I put a network up to be critiqued, I'd prefer to be told flat out that it was crap rather than be humored like a 3-year-old and told that it "needed a little work", or something equally condescending. Yes, I'm all in favour of constructive criticism, but not instead of honest criticism. Too often critique forums are nothing more than mutual admiration societies, where people ask other people to critique their sites when in reality they consider them be perfect.
Maybe it's because I moderate a TV station's Website where abuse of anonymity means nasty potshots from the bushes, but I see FAR more nasty rude comments than i do folks trying to be a bit judicious and helpful in their critiques. I'm not talking about being dishonest, I'm talking about being specific - you have color schemes that are really hard on the eyes, and you should limit yourself to 1-2 typefaces, etc. - than to tell someone who's clearly been working hard that their site is 'crap.' Too many people who do that seem to relish in making someone FEEL like crap with their comments. And that's too bad. You CAN be honest AND still pass along the same information, if done in a spirit of help and not ripping the site and the person who created it, IMHO.
Although I live my life with the preference that people tell me the truth, like knowing where I stand with a person, want no hidden agendas - - I can't imagine that anyone would want to hear flat out, "Your site is crap." I understand that you're probably thick skinned enough to take it in that manner. But, most people are not.
My honest thoughts on the topic,
One of the best posts I have seen in a long time Click here and I am referring to myself as much as anybody. I need to read this about every hour because it easy to be a consumer rather than a producer. Heck, I shouldn't even have time to critique. Thank you J. Wings. You were right I would thank you for this.
Also this is one really good video about how to tell someone they are racist. It easily has applicable in many areas of communication including constructive criticism. It easily goes beyond just the topic being talked about. Click here to check it out if you wish.
Well there's two elements here, too, Russell. Perhaps some folks would be better served with private notes if they are intensely negative - unless folks are into 'shaming' the seemingly innocent who didn't know they'd have their nose bit off for asking what others think of their site.
I think you make a valid point Bob. Which is why I think the word "Critique" may not be the best word for the subject title. If this discussion forum is what I feel it was started for. I'm not really sure what I would change the title to.
However, as you pointed out, the word critique appears to open one door to many posts I've read. "In what way would you criticize my site?" Meaning you will get nothing but negative feedback. Which many appear to be about the subject or theme of the site. I don't think that's what the Creators are looking for that participate in this.
The subject or theme of a site has already been chosen by the Creator and doubtful to change. With that part being the starting point, ...there's no doubt that the rest of the site will be developed around the same.
I love this post. So true, not only of Ning Networks but every non-profit that throws up a web-site, FaceBook Group, or social network because they've been told they "have to have one". If you offer an honest evaluation you get a hurt puppy dog look and they stop talking to you. If you don't want my opinion don't ask me!