There are a large number of sites out there where people can post sites, designs and even code for others to look at. Most of the cases people ask for ‘feedback’ or for people to suggest how to improve something. This is referred to as asking for critique.

Critique is not limited solely to web, everything is exposed to critique, in this article, I’ll be focusing on it in the web industry as that is what I know most about:

When I was first starting out with coding, I was always answering people’s questions with code. Most of the code that was written was basic, and anyone could write it with their eyes closed. But I was learning – or I thought I was.

The best thing happened to me ever, and that was someone saw my possible potential and asked me if he could advise how I can improve my code. I realised that before this moment I had never actually learnt anything. Sure, I’d learnt what to write, but not how, or why to write it.

I was grateful for this. This critique helped me improve my skills. I started indenting code (I had previously deemed it a pointless thing to do), I used sensible variable names, I understood many cross browser nuances, and more…

I have in the past spent ages writing out large comments on Forrst explaining to someone what they should change about a design. How they can improve their code or even to the point of completely rewriting it for them and explaining how and why I have changed things.

This is provided to people in the same way that I was provided the guidance when I first started. I do this because I hope those I provide these suggestions to thrive off it.

This is where the issues start to show. This is why I, and others I know, are a lot more reluctant to provide critique.

No one can handle the truth…

A lot of people that are starting out, and posting things for critique want to hear that it’s amazing, and that it gave you wet dreams for the next week. They want to get on the front page or be the most popular post, or get the most likes.

A lot of people are grateful for critique, however I think I have come across a lot of people that are actually less grateful for it. Either replying with ‘thanks’, or ignoring what you write.

If you are asking for critique, and I take the time to write it, I’m writing it to promote some discussion, to help you learn. Don’t be a dick and throw it back in my face by writing a half-arsed response, ignoring it or deleting your post.

Don’t ask for critique if you are not going to accept the bad critique that you might get with the good critique. Critique is most probably being provided to help you improve your skills and not to attack you. So swallow your pride and accept that it is to help you, and is not personal!

As an aside, critique that is not backed up with reasoning is pointless. Don’t just say you don’t like something, say why, suggest how to improve it.