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Don't Dish it Out, If You Can't Take It (1 Viewer)

Firemajic

Poetry Mentor
Staff member
Senior Mentor
What is the value of a critique? None, if it is ignored, ridiculed, made fun of, and belittled and opens the door for the opportunity for a personal attack on members and mentors....
I cant tell you how many back slapping, atta boy, good job! blah blah comments I have made on thousands of mediocre, bland uninspired poems... not once was I ridiculed for the praise! Oh my!!! all those "thank you"s .... oh the appreciation!. But the problem arises when real constructive, helpful critique and comments are offered.... wow, it is time to kill the messenger! Seriously... and the very ones who cant take constructive comments are the same ones WHO DISH IT OUT! Check yourself... Ask yourself "WHY"... Why does any negative comments inflame you, disturb you... Now, ask yourself why YOU can dish out negative comments.... how does that work... how does this attitude help, support and inspire.... sooo, to keep the feathers from getting ruffled and precious, empty egos intact, should the critique be modified to fit and cater to the ego.... What value is there in empty praise like "GOOD JOB!! "I enjoyed your poem! Is that what the poetry thread is all about? Is that the direction we are to take? Are the Mentors being muzzled.... I think so... What happened to the serious poet, who welcomes a strong critique... read the poetry thread, and tell me, where THAT poet went....
 

H.Brown

WF Veterans
Fire I don't think the mentors are being muzzled at all, I think that certain members need to realise that not everything is there to be hatefull or mean. I for one would value your critiques if I wrote poetry as how else are you to improve if everyone tells you everything is amazing.
 

Firemajic

Poetry Mentor
Staff member
Senior Mentor
Fire I don't think the mentors are being muzzled at all, I think that certain members need to realise that not everything is there to be hatefull or mean. I for one would value your critiques if I wrote poetry as how else are you to improve if everyone tells you everything is amazing.


I appreciate your kind words... but you are part of the 2% that wants to improve.
read the threads... DarKKin is one of the most brilliant critics along with sas, and time after time they have been ridiculed, accused of being rude, nasty, stupid, illiterate ect... Offer praise, and you are thanked, applauded, and held in high esteem...
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
The stuff I post is designed to withstand broadsiding by critique because I know what I dole out when I critique a piece. I don't pull punches. I comment on the work. And I do take other's observations into account when I do get comments back. Writing is blood, sweat, practice and revision. It isn't sunshine and rainbows, anyone expecting that really has no clue about writing, nor does it demonstrate a willingness to further one's craft. Forums like this, their core purpose is furthering one's understanding. Shop talk on the craft, not empty platitudes. Those serious about their craft should not have to pull up short and pander to refrigerator posts.

Bedrock foundations. Some of us have them. And those foundations show through in constructive critique, where the logic, the reasoning behind it is sound. Casual posters hit the wall of stone and it can take them completely by surprise because they have little or no understanding of what true critique is. A tool. Not an attack.

I've been on the receiving end of more drama over critique 'attacks' than I care to think about, both in real time and online, and there is one unifying factor. The recipient makes it all about them. The critique is mean and unfair...Yada, yada, yada. It's about the writing. The reader knows nothing about the writer. Good Grief! Call Caesar's legions to help build a bridge. If you don't agree or like a critique either defend the writing with a coherent why, or say thank you and move on.

'Because I said so' reasoning does not and never will hold water for those old enough to ask why.

- D.
 

H.Brown

WF Veterans
I appreciate your kind words... but you are part of the 2% that wants to improve.
read the threads... DarKKin is one of the most brilliant critics along with sas, and time after time they have been ridiculed, accused of being rude, nasty, stupid, illiterate ect... Offer praise, and you are thanked, applauded, and held in high esteem...

I have seen this Fire however why should the few marr the expirience for others. There are plenty of our members on here that would say the same things as myself. Now in relation to the critiques we have to remember that not everyone is as mature or confident in their own ability to have their work dissected, or are just not ready to hear/read at times the harsh and honest truth.

However as we keep going along we see who can handle your words and who can't I think at times we need to make allowances at times, new members can be a bit touchy when recieving critique. I hope that things imprrove in the poetry thread but don't deny your wisdom to everyone.
 

Firemajic

Poetry Mentor
Staff member
Senior Mentor
I have seen this Fire however why should the few marr the expirience for others. There are plenty of our members on here that would say the same things as myself. Now in relation to the critiques we have to remember that not everyone is as mature or confident in their own ability to have their work dissected, or are just not ready to hear/read at times the harsh and honest truth.

However as we keep going along we see who can handle your words and who can't I think at times we need to make allowances at times, new members can be a bit touchy when recieving critique. I hope that things imprrove in the poetry thread but don't deny your wisdom to everyone.

Thank you again for your kindness... I do try to tailor my critique to the skill level of each poet... I expect more from a seasoned poet than a novice, so when I critique, it is geared toward their skill level.. I want to inspire confidence... but at the same time, it must always be honest and respectful...
 

H.Brown

WF Veterans
I agree Fire it is how I give critique in the prose forums. I always try to offer honest and detailed critique. My style is to sandwich the bad between the good critique if that makes sense.
 

Pete_C

WF Veterans
I think it's fundamentally simple. For me, I am honest in what I say as a part of a critique, but I also accept that I have my own preferences, tastes, biases and faults!!! If people accept what I say for what it is - my opinion - I don't care if they act on it, dismiss it or disagree with it. I am also happy if they want to argue with it, so long as it's done in way that benefits someone; if not them, then maybe another writer.

If they quibble or are rude or disrespectful, I make a mental note to not bother reading their threads, let alone commenting on them. If they're right about what they say to me, I can't help them anyway so I simply ignore them.

I also see many people who will post a poem, receive several comments containing good advice, then they'll post another and another, all showing the same issues that have been highlighted. They just keep on posting without trying to revise or improve their work. Again, it doesn't take long for me to ignore their posts.

There are also those who want in-depth critiques but simply post on the threads of others with smart-arse quips or one line 'Brilliant' type posts. I won't ignore their posts, but I tend to not really put my full effort into their work.

When I first joined WF it was carnage; there were more cliques than a cliquey thing and if you criticised the wrong poem you had their inner circle on your back. It wasn't pleasant, but there were a core of good people so I stuck around (believe me, I think every clique was on my back because of my critiques; Olly even started a thread which was a collection of some of my comments and encouraged others to post their best ones). Only a few of those good people remain today, but they've developed very well.

Internet writing forums will always attract a solid chunk of flotsam, some real turds and a handful of gems. Why let the turds drag the place down to their level? Stay true to your purpose, give good critiques, and know when to ignore people who are not worth the effort.
 

midnightpoet

WF Veterans
There's something about the internet that has spawned toxic people who hide behind anonymity to spew hatred and encourage conflict; a few of those people have been here but usually don't stay long. As Pete said, learn to ignore them and don't feed the trolls. It's not like they are small paranoid countries with nukes. Maybe they'll actually grow up and learn something.

Accepting critique with professional courtesy and grace is a learning concept apparently - I learned it a long time ago and it has served me well. Kudos to the mods here and everyone who wants to learn (something you're never too old for),
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
Fire, you know how much I value you as a mentor and your sterling work encouraging new poets. I know poetry is your passion so for you to start this thread concerns me...

What is the value of a critique? None, if it is ignored, ridiculed, made fun of, and belittled and opens the door for the opportunity for a personal attack on members and mentors....

We have too many members just pooping on the poetry boards who do not reciprocate by way of critique. If they had to stop and offer feedback they would be less flippant and more respectful. I don't care if someone says to me: Oh I enjoyed your poem. Great..., thank you :) BUT why did you enjoy it. Was there a particular line you like and if so why? They should make an effort beyond 'Good Job'. Critiquing is a skill which takes time to develop.

On a personal note, I know how many times I reread a poem, then dissect it line by line before I leave feedback. It does not matter if the poet agrees with me as my suggestions are only my opinion as a reader, and it's their poem.

to keep the feathers from getting ruffled and precious, empty egos intact, should the critique be modified to fit and cater to the ego.... What value is there in empty praise like "GOOD JOB!! "I enjoyed your poem! Is that what the poetry thread is all about? Is that the direction we are to take? Are the Mentors being muzzled.... I think so... What happened to the serious poet, who welcomes a strong critique... read the poetry thread, and tell me, where THAT poet went....

The mentors or indeed any member should never feel muzzled and if they do we take it backstage and discuss. We need to know. If anyone feels they are being bullied, please let us know. If you receive malicious PMs let us know.

If certain members cannot handle/don't want critique they start a WF blog or post to Tavern Poetry. Critique should not be modified to cater for egos. There is also no value in the 'Good Job' comment brigade. So no, it is not the direction we should encourage....

What happened to the serious poet, who welcomes a strong critique... read the poetry thread, and tell me, where THAT poet went....

Are we referring to one thread or poets in general? We have plenty of poets who welcome and value serious critique, myself included. However, I post to the workshop boards... the clue being 'workshop'. I want to work with fellow poets to not only improve my poem but technique in general.

but you are part of the 2% that wants to improve.

I think we have a lot more than 2%, Fire :)

quote_icon.png
Originally Posted by H.Brown I have seen this Fire however why should the few marr the experience for others. There are plenty of our members on here that would say the same things as myself. Now in relation to the critiques we have to remember that not everyone is as mature or confident in their own ability to have their work dissected, or are just not ready to hear/read at times the harsh and honest truth.


However as we keep going along we see who can handle your words and who can't I think at times we need to make allowances at times, new members can be a bit touchy when receiving critique. I hope that things improve in the poetry thread but don't deny your wisdom to everyone.

Hannah, I agree.
 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
Considering what makes a poetry workshop or forum.

1. When the writer can realize that a critique in a workshop is just a suggestion; they just might be getting close to being the master of their own work. That the readers are part of the craft as one of the humanities. And that they have all the final decisions

2. A real workshop critique should never speak of the poet/writer at all. It should be directed toward the work as a presentation to be interpreted. (personal attachments to work in a workshop, is the art of the crybaby.) Real poets expect the diversity of life itself and in all commentary concerning their writing. After all that is what make poetry a humanity — human experience. Listening opens the gates.

3. If a poem is to stand on it's own merit as a unique bit of writing, where should that take place? In the workshop if you truly have the writers with a diversity of worthwhile poetic understandings and information. Draw on all resources to create a strong poetry workshop. Encourage all who offer the greater depth of concern.

4. The writer should find out through work shopping weather the poem in question has merit before it's sent out to any publisher. And everyone in the workshop should be considered as a contemporary with nothing to lose of gain in offering their suggestions and opinions about any presented work on that forum/workshop for the benefit of all other writers being open to critique at the same time.

5. Negative and/or positive are not relevant at all if the critique is directed toward the presentation and not the writer. For what is truly needed are real reasons for making any suggestions or changes. Without them the workshop is nothing at all but a pretend romance. The writers themselves can choose what works best for them in the end. They always own the poem. One doesn't give up ownership because it's open for critique in a workshop.

6. Compliance is not part of any critique in any poetry workshop or forum. Face that reality from the start. The person that thinks they are forced into compliance as the correct response has an overwhelming ego problem. Get over it.

7. Any suggestions should be thanked if you ask me; it doesn't matter if it is liked or disliked, agreed upon or disagreed upon. It is just the consideration for your contemporary that took the time to think about another person's poem as a complete presentation who offered what might improve the poem pro or con.

8. Face it — cutting is a part of the reality of rewriting. If you don't want to rewrite it; don't post the poem. And suggesting something doesn't hurt anyone when the final decision always rests in the writer's hands through ownership of the poem. A suggestion is just a suggestion, nothing else.

9. Poems posted on any workshop or forum should always be considered works in progress. What poet whats to rework a poem they consider finished? None that I know off. So any personal attachment is really out of whack with reality. Workshops are for the open posting of poems for considered improvements and nothing else. Bring in finished work, and you are opening the poem up to real scrutiny of the highest kind in any workshop. You are asking for it to be torn apart. And it will be done if it's posted. You are asking it to be looked at as a work in progress.

10. Workshops are for tearing poems apart and analyzing them at length for all their hidden secrets. Knowing a bit about form/content is something that dose help one offer a good critique for another as well as receive a critique from others. And anger should never be a part of the workshop if the comments are directed toward the presentations and not the writer/authors/ and/or poets. It's far more about the acceptance as part of the group. Learn to trust those that offer you insights about your writing even if they tell you what you don't want to hear at times. That is part what makes a workshop worthwhile.

a poet friend
RH Peat
 
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H.Brown

WF Veterans
Considering what makes a poetry workshop or forum.

1. When the writer can realize that a critique in a workshop is just a suggestion; they just might be getting close to being the master of their own work. That the readers are part of the craft as one of the humanities. And that they have all the final decisions

2. A real workshop critique should never speak of the poet/writer at all. It should be directed toward the work as a presentation to be interpreted. (personal attachments to work in a workshop, is the art of the crybaby.) Real poets expect the diversity of life itself and in all commentary concerning their writing. After all that is what make poetry a humanity — human experience. Listening opens the gates.

3. If a poem is to stand on it's own merit as a unique bit of writing, where should that take place? In the workshop if you truly have the writers with a diversity of worthwhile poetic understandings and information. Draw on all resources to create a strong poetry workshop. Encourage all who offer the greater depth of concern.

4. The writer should find out through work shopping weather the poem in question has merit before it's sent out to any publisher. And everyone in the workshop should be considered as a contemporary with nothing to lose of gain in offering their suggestions and opinions about any presented work on that forum/workshop for the benefit of all other writers being open to critique at the same time.

5. Negative and/or positive are not relevant at all if the critique is directed toward the presentation and not the writer. For what is truly needed are real reasons for making any suggestions or changes. Without them the workshop is nothing at all but a pretend romance. The writers themselves can choose what works best for them in the end. They always own the poem. One doesn't give up ownership because it's open for critique in a workshop.

6. Compliance is not part of any critique in any poetry workshop or forum. Face that reality from the start. The person that thinks they are forced into compliance as the correct response has an overwhelming ego problem. Get over it.

7. Any suggestions should be thanked if you ask me; it doesn't matter if it is liked or disliked, agreed upon or disagreed upon. It is just the consideration for your contemporary that took the time to think about another person's poem as a complete presentation who offered what might improve the poem pro or con.

8. Face it — cutting is a part of the reality of rewriting. If you don't want to rewrite it; don't post the poem. And suggesting something doesn't hurt anyone when the final decision always rests in the writer's hands through ownership of the poem. A suggestion is just a suggestion, nothing else.

9. Poems posted on any workshop or forum should always be considered works in progress. What poet whats to rework a poem they consider finished? None that I know off. So any personal attachment is really out of whack with reality. Workshops are for the open posting of poems for considered improvements and nothing else. Bring in finished work, and you are opening the poem up to real scrutiny of the highest kind in any workshop. You are asking for it to be torn apart. And it will be done if it's posted. You are asking it to be looked at as a work in progress.

10. Workshops are for tearing poems apart and analyzing them at length for all their hidden secrets. Knowing a bit about form/content is something that dose help one offer a good critique for another as well as receive a critique from others. And anger should never be a part of the workshop if the comments are directed toward the presentations and not the writer/authors/ and/or poets. It's far more about the acceptance as part of the group. Learn to trust those that offer you insights about your writing even if they tell you what you don't want to hear at times. That is part what makes a workshop worthwhile.

a poet friend
RH Peat

Very well said RH Peat. :)
 

Firemajic

Poetry Mentor
Staff member
Senior Mentor
Fire, you know how much I value you as a mentor and your sterling work encouraging new poets. I know poetry is your passion so for you to start this thread concerns me...
PiP, if you think this thread is in any way inappropriate ... I will of course delete it.





On a personal note, I know how many times I reread a poem, then dissect it line by line before I leave feedback.***** It does not matter if the poet agrees with me as my suggestions are only my opinion as a reader, and it's their poem.
Right, it is their poem, and I do not care if they take any of my suggestions... however, a personal attack should not be launched .... no one deserves to be belittled, called names, told to leave, ect.... that takes this to another level, a mean, bullying, spiteful, ugly level.
It is sad when other members are so quick to jump in, when they have no dog in the fight, and turn a simple critique into a pissing contest... I am a mentor and I am a mentor for a reason... because I love what I do. It is not about ego, I do not think I know more than anyone else... I assumed we were all adults, and could exchange ideas and creative thoughts, through a RESPECTFUL dialogue....











.
 

aj47

(he/him)
WF Veterans
I think there are some points to be made.

A critique is of the work, not the author. If an author is taking something said about the work as a personal affront, they need to breathe deeply a few times and remember that it is their work and not their person or their character that is being scrutinized. As an author, if you don't want people to look at your work, then by golly, don't post it on the internet.

Now if someone assails the person or character of an author, that is not a critique and is a personal attack and against forum rules. Should anyone see this, the proper response is to click on the little triangle warning symbol on the post and report it. The staff are not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnimuchofanything. Looking away or pretending not to see it is a silent vote of support for the behavior. If not you, then who?

If someone says something about your work that you disagree with, that is perfectly okay. They are bringing their best game to try to help you improve. They may not see something from the angle you do or they may not understand why you did what you did. You can express your disagreement with their ideas, concepts, suggestions, etc. without getting personal. This is true for everyone here. When you see someone crossing the line and attacking the writer of a critique, report it. This does not make you a snitch (this is the internet and everything here is going down in public and staff will see it at some point). What it does is hasten justice for the wronged party.
 

andrewclunn

Friends of WF
There is only one time that I've considered questioning some criticism I got on this forum one one of my pieces in a harsh way. It's the context for the criticism that made the particular criticism problematic, but also I cannot reveal that context without making it abundantly clear the situation I'm talking about. Sometimes, SOMETIMES, it actually is an issue because criticism is more than that (and I"m not talking about harassment here). There's a case I'd like to make here, but I find myself unable to without naming the particular case (which I'm obviously not going to do). So while it's true that people should be able to take criticism, and most harsh reactions to it are overreactions, I don't think that's a hard and fast rule.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Basics for me in any crit. though to be honest I don't crit as much in poetry as would be good for me.

Start by saying something nice. I am not saying tell lies, but even if there is nothing good to say about their writing you can still say it is good to see them taking part and joining in, and there is usually something which is worth praising in the writing, like what it is attempting.

"I don't crit as much in poetry as would be good for me." A good crit. will stretch the critter's intellectual muscles, sniping is simply making throwaway remarks on the whole, very few people really stretch themselves to be unpleasant. If it is a considered, relevant, comment it should be acceptable even if it is negative, but back to my first point, it will be more acceptable if it is preceded by something positive.

There is a principle that people like advertisers and politicians use that works very well, if you want someone to accept something new you give them two pieces of information they can agree with first; they call it pace, pace, lead. It does not have to be obvious, 'It is good to see you in the poetry thread, and that you have posted your first poem ...' That may simply look like guff, but they know it is the poetry thread, and they have posted, and I said it is good to see them which says something pleasant to start. It is not a waste of time if it means the person then reads the rest of the post and takes it on board. On the other hand there is the 'Jay Greenstein post', the poor man has something that is probably worth saying and reading, but manages to say it in such a way that I am willing to bet the vast majority of people simply skim it at best, (sorry, Jay if you read this, but you should consider studying a bit of rhetoric. Having a point is essential, but rhetoric helps get the point across.)
 

sas

WF Veterans
Laughing. I absolutely love how Jay Greenstein gets to the point. I never miss his comments because he backs them up & is astute about what it takes to be a good writer. He gets to the rat killin'. Wish he wrote poetry. He could kill my rats, anytime. I'm not fond of gratuitous compliments that are obviously placed to soften what is going to be said, and recognized from a mile away. True work shoppers shouldn't need them. As I've said often, I don't need them (so, skip with me). Guess I look at workshop as I did work. Get to it. Get it done. Try to get it right. One's efforts for others ARE the kindness.
 

Phil Istine

Staff member
Global Moderator
Laughing. I absolutely love how Jay Greenstein gets to the point. I never miss his comments because he backs them up & is astute about what it takes to be a good writer. He gets to the rat killin'. Wish he wrote poetry. He could kill my rats, anytime. I'm not fond of gratuitous compliments that are obviously placed to soften what is going to be said, and recognized from a mile away. True work shoppers shouldn't need them. As I've said often, I don't need them (so, skip with me). Guess I look at workshop as I did work. Get to it. Get it done. Try to get it right. One's efforts for others ARE the kindness.

Although it sometimes feels like I'm reading a cut and paste job from another of his crits, sometimes I need a bit of repetition before the message sinks in :) . And a book he keeps recommending does seem to have some value for me.
Still, why waste time varying the wording when exactly the same issue(s) might apply? :)
Seriously, even though I don't always like the way it feels, it does motivate me to think more about my writing - so maybe that's not so terrible.
 
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Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I'm not fond of gratuitous compliments that are obviously placed to soften what is going to be said, and recognized from a mile away. True work shoppers shouldn't need them. As I've said often, I don't need them (so, skip with me). Guess I look at workshop as I did work. Get to it. Get it done. Try to get it right. One's efforts for others ARE the kindness.

I see the point, and I probably would be less concientious when I am dealing with one of the 'Old Timers' I know, but with a new-comer or someone I don't know well I think it is worth the effort of phrasing things so they will be taken on board and considered. If it helps get the point over I don't see it as gratuitous, any more than taking the effort to show the reader in an interestesting way, rather than just telling him, getting on with it, and losing him.
 

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