Anyone who creates stuff for a living can tell you that criticism is a necessary tool for sculpting your craft. Anyone that creates stuff for a hobby can tell you that criticism is usually a downer.

The Black and White Nature of the Internet.

Over the course of publishing The Far Side of Utopia, I’ve received quite a lot of feedback – some of it from people who frothed with hatred and some from who just wanted to let me know I was doing a good job. This dichotomy perfectly represents the internet’s bent toward extremism is, in turn, perfectly reflected in the two reviews I’ve received over the years. One, a glowing and optimistic endorsement by one of our readers, Delta-v. The other, a scathing review by a site dedicated to scathing reviews by a fellow over at “Bad Webcomics Wiki”.

Intellectually I know how to handle both kinds – appreciate the positive reviews, and parse the negative reviews for actual content lodged in the bile and not let them get to you. Intellectually I know that on the internet opinions tend to swing to the extremes because it’s a medium that lends itself to echo chambers and reinforced opinion. Intellectually I know that only someone that loves or hates something will bother to review it. In practice it tends to be somewhat bitter pill to swallow when you have something ranting about how your work is shit.

A Hobbyist Creator’s Guide to Reviewing work:

Criticizing something is not bad. Even if you have the need to point out the flaws of being their work, this can be an intrinsic part of helping a creator get their work to the next level. Publishing your criticism on public forums walks a dubious line.

I’ve created a chart to help people navigate that line:


Realistically if your interest is actually in informing the creator of the flaws of their work, an email conversation can get you much further. Adopting a friendly and conciliatory tone can get you so much further. When you start from the position of declaring from a podium that their work is basically shit, it’s going to take a saint to read next paragraph as serious criticism.

My Response the Content Review Itself:

Hmm. Yuuup, more or less.

Okay, folks, we’re done here.