DISCUSSION: Being Rude VS Constructive Criticism

People ask for constructive criticism all the time! I do too! But sometimes people are just downright rude. This could be about art you made, a song you wrote, or even a story you wrote. So my main question is what is the difference between constructive criticism and being rude?

Here are some questions to get this going:

Where do you draw the line between rude and constructive?

Should someone asking for constructive criticism be prepared to deal with rude comments?

Should people be held accountable for being plain rude if someone asks for constructive criticism?

How should someone asking for constructive criticism respond to the constructive criticism they receive?

How should someone asking for constructive criticism respond to the plain rude criticism they receive?


You’re absolutely right! One time I was giving constructive criticism. All I did was give a review based on what I saw and my thoughts based on what I learnt, but she called me a jealous, egotistical, absurd, ugly person. I wasn’t even rude either!


That made me think to add another question to the list!


Constructive criticism is giving advice that can help improve quality and content, yet also help enhance your skills whether that’s in writing, reading, etc for me. But there’s a difference in saying, “this is just bad,” and, “the scene was not directed well, I suggest adding…”

They should be prepared for blunt reviews if the reviewer is blunt, but rude comments are different in my opinion

Yes! It’s different when you’re asking to get a review just to have it bashed

Kindly and calmly. Responding with kindness and composure not only is more mature, but it won’t escalate the situation. It also just shows their character.


Well the difference between constructive criticism and just being flat out rude is the tone you use when pointing out what could be fixed, or added. I’ll give an example, you see how I said “what could be fixed”; well that’s a nice way of saying how you can fix something yet still helping someone instead of saying “you did this wrong, you should have done it…”. I don’t think people should have to deal with other being rude when asking for constructive criticism because they didn’t ask for ur unwanted goddamn stupid comment, they asked for CRITICISM not your disrespectful opinion. However, I do believe people who are rude should be held accountable for their actions because if you’re going to say something, then that’s an issue you should deal with.


I’ve been terrified to ask for constructive criticism because of the rude people I’ve met.

If you want to give someone good advice don’t say things like “I don’t like it” or “it looks a little weird”. Try wording it correctly. For instance “I think the proportions are slightly off, you could improve by”. As a person who sucks at explaining things I know it’s a little hard to get your point across but reread what your typing before you put it out there.

If you ask for feedback be prepared for the comments. Not everyone will sugar coat things because they want to be honest so that they can help you improve.


Agreed! It’s also good to remember that we are all behind a screen. You can be hurt by the rude comments and yet type out your response as if you weren’t fazed. The person doesn’t deserve to know they got to you, they don’t deserve that satisfaction. Just let them know calmly they were rude if you want to addresses it.


I agree, but sometimes it can be hard to tell the tone of text (not always though). What do you think people should do if they aren’t sure what they are about to say could come across as rude or not?


I’m confused what you mean. For clarification do you mean brutally honest comments or ones along the lines of “I don’t like it” or both?


I totally agree and understand where you’re coming from. So basically let’s say someone posted an art piece and asked for constructive criticism. The lines were a bit wobbly and the coloring wasn’t inside the outline, instead of just saying and pointing out what she/he did wrong also try to help them out and always…always add emojis after saying something rude. I feel like emojis can select a tone and even if ur rude it doesn’t seem like that because you’re kinda easing the mood :rage:
(See what I did there, it depends on the type of person as well)


I love the emoji idea! I’v never heard that before but you are definitely right about that.


I think she means get straight to the point because when I give reviews, I give a warning (unless it was through a request that I’m not in control of). Like there’s a difference in beating around the bush and saying:
“Maybe you could add [blah]?”
“That part confused me a little.”

And then being honest:
“This scene serves no purpose because it doesn’t correlate to the storyline, and it confused me. If you want to portray [blah], you can show it through dialogue, [ other literary suggestions]”


I meant brutally honest. I kinda distracted by pizza :sweat_smile:


Completely understandable! :rofl: That makes more sense thanks for clearing it up.


Haha I always use emojis whenever I’m talking about something heartbreaking, malicious, etc because it can lighten up the mood and if you don’t want people to know the truth you can use it as a way to pretend ur joking :smirk:


I think it’s rude to go out and call someone’s work stupid, or ugly, or boring. There’s always a nice approach to everything and you should be aware of that if you’re critiquing someones work.

And if you’re the artist recieving criticism, don’t take it too personally! Some people can be way too blunt and they might come off as rude when it’s not their intention.

Also remember that no matter how good your work is, there is going to be someone who doesn’t like it. Good artwork is never void of criticism


Imo “rude” would be going to someone’s fan mail and just saying like “this story sucks” or sending threats or something. But most of my criticism always refers to things that are problematic or offensive. And oftentimes there aren’t “polite” ways to tell someone it’s messed up to have a character sexually assaulted for the sake of bringing the MC and LI closer together - just as an example. But that criticism is always constructive regardless of tone because it points out ways to reduce harm in the messages a story sends.

Same goes for art and whatnot, really. My criticisms would be around whether the art portrays a harmful stereotype or caricature. And that’s what I would give feedback on even if a content creator wasn’t “looking” for constructive criticism.

On some level, yeah, but mostly in the sense that there are going to be things that sound “rude” when they point to a deeper truth that the creator hasn’t considered or won’t consider. Sometimes people will just say “I don’t like this” etc, which isn’t necessarily productive but any time you put something out into the world, you’ll have to accept that other people have various opinions about it.

Again, all this really comes down to how we’re defining “rude.” I’ve had issues in the past providing feedback around authors using sexual assault as a plot device or racist / transphobic tropes and been dismissed as rude and a hater and jealous. No matter how “nice” I am about it. It’s part of the reason I don’t waste a lot of time messaging individual authors and instead talk about the larger cultural impact of a lot of these themes in a more general sense. Obviously if someone’s criticism amounts to death threats or hate for non-white and non-customizable characters (for example) they should be called out. But the larger issue is that anyone saying anything that isn’t easy to hear is considered rude and that’s not fair when the criticism comes from a place of wanting to hold creators responsible for the messages they send and the themes they portray in their stories.

If someone asks for constructive criticism, they should expect to hear things they don’t necessarily want to hear. If authors just want shout outs or praise, that’s fine but they should be honest about that. If someone has taken the time to explain ways to improve content, it doesn’t mean all those suggestions need to be taken. However, if you receive a lot of the same criticisms, then that might be worth reflecting on. We’re all growing as writers and creators and the best way to do that is to learn to be okay with not always getting things “right” and correcting big mistakes and developing the smaller issues.

Yeah, I dunno. From my personal experience, a lot of authors have said “if you have problems DM me” and when I have, everything has been dismissed (at best) and I’ve been on the receiving end of wildly inappropriate personal attacks based on providing the kind of feedback content creators have asked for. I don’t really bother making a big deal out of grammar mistakes or directing mistakes, etc. sometimes I think certain elements need more development, but those are the things I provide only when asked and I also include the things I think are done really well. If something isn’t super problematic but it just doesn’t interest me, then I just stop reading no harm, no foul. But if I offer criticism about the problematic themes and tropes content creators use, that’s always coming from a place of wanting to mitigate harm. But it’s generally seen as rude no matter what, so I don’t really know how to answer this question as someone who is often seen as “rude” when providing important feedback.


I think it’s important to bring up that at times when people give their opinions on being rude vs making constructive criticism outside of this, it’s often really about what people think should be done when it comes to addressing problematic stories and themes. But to be honest, even that misses the point.

If I’m publicly criticizing a story for the mishandling of serious subjects or something similar, my focus really isn’t on giving feedback to said author - at all. Mainly because (a) I’m more interested in talking to the “third party” so to speak and (b) almost every time, if not every time, it’s obvious that the author is not open to fixing any of the issues.

In that situation, I’m not giving constructive criticism persay nor am I trying to. It’s simply criticism. My focus is on communicating to the third party that something is wrong and we shouldn’t be doing it ourselves or letting it sail by without addressing it.

That being said, I think the most important thing about giving feedback in a review is: whatever you do, make it your goal to help the author get as close to their vision for the story as you can.

Part of that is making it a point to give the person requesting feedback as much as they asked for - no more, no less. So if they ask just for critique about their pacing, you only look at pacing. They ask for feedback on characters, you only look at characters. If they want everything, feel free to bring up anything that stands out to you. That isn’t a hard and fast rule, but the idea is to not have it in your mind that you need to fix everything about a story that doesn’t belong to you.

General life advice: be wary of anyone who prides themselves on being “brutally honest” in all situations and be wary of letting yourself fall into the trap of it too. Honesty doesn’t need to be brutal to be fully truthful. Even if a story couldn’t possibly be more flawed in all its technical areas, it’s important to value compassionate honesty and word your feedback with their best interests in mind. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to being the most intelligent and thoughtful reviewer and/or beta reader you can be.

Likewise if you’re a writer, you need to learn to separate your sense of self-worth from the stories you write. Because if you don’t, even an innocuous comment about poor grammar can cut deep. Writing a bad scene or having a bad idea doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. And even if you are a bad writer, you can get better. If someone is genuinely giving you good feedback and seems to be looking out for you, lashing out is a mistake and it’s wasteful of all the effort they put into helping you.


Constructive criticism gives you the base for an improvement, being rude keeps you on the same level and only attacks your self esteem. Constructive criticism should point on things that can be changed in order to get better, rude comments often attack the art as a whole without helping you in any way.
I think that who asks for constructive criticism should be prepared for rude comments, not because it should be that way, but because people can’t see the difference. I’ve seen a lot of people attacking authors and then telling them that they can’t take criticism, I truly don’t agree with that but unfortunately this reality happens sometimes


Constructive criticism comments on the material itself with evidence and facts to back up the opinion, usually with a suggestion as to how to correct the issue or improve the issue. Being rude is attacking the substance simply because you “don’t like it” and have no actual reason not to or when you attack the author for no reason!
If you don’t like a story because it’s just not for you, that’s fine! Don’t leave a comment saying the story sucks. On top of that, if you don’t like the story because you don’t like the characters or the plot, don’t leave a comment saying “Your story sucks! The characters are so boring and the plot makes no sense!” that’s rude and not helpful for anyone.
Also, attacking an author is never cool. Unless they’ve done something inherently bad there is no reason to attack them and call them names when they’ve done nothing wrong. They’re just trying to write a story man.

To a certain extent yes. Many people get confused with what constructive criticism is and because of that, you will get many rude comments. In saying that, they shouldn’t have to put up with copious amounts of hateful comments.

Depends if they mean well or if they mean to be rude.
Meaning Well: “I don’t like your story, your characters are flat and it’s boring because this story has been done so many times” - this person is trying to advise them that they should change things up a bit and give the characters more personality, however, conveyed it in a poor way.
Rude: “Your story is terrible! I can’t believe you thought this was a good idea! The characters are a snooze fest! Seriously can’t you think of anything better??? THE PLOT IS SO OVERDONE!! Have you really got no creative bone in your body???” - this is just plain rude and there’s nothing constructive in this text.

Be prepared that not everyone is going to agree with what you’ve written and people have different opinions about what is good or not. Take the idea on board, be respectful, and if the vast majority of people are saying very similar things then maybe you should pay attention and change a few things. Don’t get defensive and angry when you’ve asked for constructive criticism, everyone has opinions and you might not always agree with what others have to say.

Ignore them. Don’t engage. There’s no point.