Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Impressionistic vs. Fact-Based Criticism

There are two categories of critical comments you'll receive as a writer or blogger: impressionistic criticism and fact-based criticism.

The first kind is the worst. Impressionistic criticisms result when one of your readers has an attack of narcissism and asks "what does this mean to me?"

The most pathetic example of this kind of criticism is when a reader skims your post, takes one sentence from it and responds to that sentence only in the form of a scathing comment. Comments like these can be safely disregarded, or handled with a condescending response. My personal favorite is "please reread the post."

Fact-based criticisms, on the other hand, are an objective response to what you've written. A fact-based criticism is based on the reader asking "what does this mean objectively?" You should crave these types of criticisms because they help tighten up your future writing, and they help you make your arguments more coherent and compelling.

Narcissism can be found nearly everywhere these days, and it should never be tolerated. Make your readers respond to you on a factual level. Don't indulge them, especially if they refuse to use basic reading comprehension skills.

Once again:

Fact-based = What is it objectively?
Impressionistic = What is it to me?