Criticism Guidelines

Welcome to the RPC Authority! If you're reading this, then that means you've come here to see what the guidelines we as a community have for giving and receiving critique. Critique is the most important part of the Article Drafting process- remember, the Curation Team will vote to delete articles they find that haven't veritably been critiqued on the forums.

In order for critique to be useful, there needs to be clear-cut examples and explanations of what an Author has done wrong. Whether it be for the context, premise, or execution of an article, critique will always be appreciated. It is also helpful to tell the author what they have done right as well.

Things to keep in mind when giving Critique

  • Do not let any prior history you have with an article's Author interfere with your ability to give helpful critique. You are here to improve, not sabotage. Some authors may consistently make the same mistake or kinds of mistake- don't hold it against them, use it as an example to help them improve.
  • While you are free to offer your opinion on an article, simply giving just an opinion will prove to be of little use to the Author. Saying things like: "I didn't like the article because the interview log felt weak" is fine, but don't expect much change to happen to the article. Remember, specific critique is the kind of critique that can be acted on- your crit doesn't have to be a full-length essay, provided you're clear with what you think needs changing and how you would suggest changing it.
  • You do not need to refrain from being harsh when it comes to some articles. Sometimes, the "bitter truth" is needed in order to help an article move forward and improve. But keep in mind, there is a difference between being harsh and being an asshole. Some examples of being an asshole include:
    • Attacking an Author personally rather than the article's content. This could be something like "This article sucked, and you're an idiot for writing it"
    • Being needlessly over-dramatic and sarcastic when critiquing. An example would be "And then the monster eats the test subject? Wow! That's so original!"
  • Sometimes, an Author will respond to your critique, and may even "critique" your own critique. When this happens, be respectful and treat it as a peaceful discussion. They might just simply be pointing out misconceptions or incorrect information.
  • While there is nothing wrong with having personal preferences, do not try to enforce your own belief of How-Something-Should-Be-Done. People are free to decide whether or not they want to use a sandbox, or if they choose to write an article in a specific style. This wiki puts an extreme emphasis on freedom when it comes to what Authors want to do with their articles, as long as it fits within our rules and guidelines. The one minor caveat to this is the site's Canon, which is still in the process of coalescing- there's lots of room in the Canon to be creative, but if you see something that seems waaay out of left field (the Authority being directly responsible for the outcome of major world events, or possessing seemingly-infinite resources, for example), feel free to call the Author out on it- in a constructive and polite fashion of course.
  • Do not be intimidated when critiquing the work of a popular or veteran user. They need article critique just as much as a newcomer does, and will appreciate it all the same. The same goes for newcomers. Do not be smug or condescending with new members because of their join date. If they are wrong on something, then offer a reason as to why they are wrong.
  • Do not disregard critique from certain people based off of the knowledge that they aren't as "experienced" as the "good" writers. Newcomers are just as capable of giving good critique as seasoned members are.

Just like how there are guidelines for giving critique, there are also guidelines for receiving critique. Both parts have similarities, in the sense that they both involve being respectful and honest when it is due, but there are also some important differences that Authors should follow.

Things to keep in mind when receiving Critique

  • Be respectful at all times, even when you're being given critique that you disagree with. People are giving you critique on their own time for the sake of helping you, so even if you find critique given to you to be particularly bad, you still need to maintain a good attitude.
  • Be willing to change your article for the purpose of making it better for everyone else. While you might have your own ideas as to what is best for your article, others will have different ideas. There will be cases where you will have to rework parts or sometimes even major aspects, of your article in order to improve it. When this happens, you have to be willing to comply with what the majority wants, otherwise the ratings on your article might be less than favorable.
  • Be willing to polish a draft. Sometimes it can be tempting to get the minimum amount of criticism needed and throw a draft onto the mainlist. It's exciting and fun, putting your work out there. But if you have the time and the energy, it's always worth seeking new perspectives and more critique- you may not be able to satisfy everyone with what you have, but at the very least it gives you a better idea of what people take away from your article.

Remember, while these guidelines are not rules, it is strongly recommended that you follow them in order to ensure that the interactions between the Author and the Critiquer go as smoothly as possible. If you have any questions about these guidelines, then please feel free to leave a comment in the discussion thread, or message a member of our staff.

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