So I came up with something this morning and wasn't going to post about it, but I see some negativity seeping into the site again and thought I'd share an idea with everyone.
The word Critical Thinking came to mind this morning when I thought about the way I gave feedback to people on this site. This is because one of the first pieces of advice I got when I got to the site was from Nick Heyming in his blog about Evoke Points
. In this blog he describes how giving good feedback meant being critical of their idea to provide useful comments. Well this is how I've always been taught to think, and this is also the way I approach things at work as a way to "influence" teams without managing them, so this made sense to me. However, I realized this kind of commenting can have 2 negatives in an online format. First, it's hard to tell how tone, and if you don't know the person giving the comment, it can be taken harshly. Furthermore, not everyone on this site is capable of taking that kind of feedback yet. So I realized I at least needed to be more conscious about my tone, as well as whether the writer seems ready to hear critical feedback. So, I believe I have adjusted a little since realizing this, but I realized there was a group phenomenon that occurs as well. Once 1 person says something critical, it's easy for the tone of the entire group to turn critical. Now, even if the writer was ready to face 1 tough critic, perhaps they weren't ready to face a community full. Anyways, somehow this lead to me thinking about other shows or events that are judged or criticed in a group, and American Idol came to mind.
For those familiar with the old American Idol (I haven't watched since the judges changed), but there were 3 judges which the network tried VERY hard to make it clear they served certain purposes.
Paula - There to always look at the positive to ENCOURAGE
Randy - Technical analysis, who tries to DEVELOP the talent but non-emotional
Simon - Critic....He tells it how it is so the contestants can MEASURE their progress realistically.
I would like to suggest that we at Evoke try to make sure we're providing feedback in this order as I think this is the order of importance to make sure we help everyone get the most out of this experience
DEVELOPMENT - Unemotional critical comments to help the user learn
ENCOURAGEMENT - It's hard putting your ideas out there for others to critic, make sure they know there is no wrong opinion, and that we learn from everything we do!
MEASUREMENT - If it seems that they are well on their way, tell them how far they have to go, or how close they are to having it!