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Thread: Critical -

  1. #1
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    Critical -

    I think this word has acquired a negative connotation -

    But why?

    To me, it implies judicious evaluation (thank you, Merriam Webster) - and I do not see/understand how that is a "bad" thing.

    I think most of us are "critical" of our work - again, I do not see or understand how that is a bad thing.

    If we did well, I think we should be proud of ourselves.

    If we see that there is "room for improvement" - well, awareness is a good thing. We may or may not choose to do - or be able to do - anything about it. Some skills can be improved upon - for others - what we did was as good as it's going to get. And that's okay, too.

  2. #2
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Well I guess it all depends which definition of the word "Critical" that you use.
    Cambridge dictionary has one of the definitions as "expressing an opinion about something or someone, esp. a negative opinion"

    When I google "definition of Critical" the very first hit is an online dictionary that defines it as 1. Expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments and 2. Expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of literature, music or art.

    I think most of us use the word critical in the above contexts so that is where it is used in context as a "bad" thing, or more appropriately a negative thing. As to why many quilters are "their own worst critics" in that they are quick to point out their own mistakes or perceived short comings, I often think it is a sort of "defense reflex" so as not to have to endure the sting or barb of someone else pointing it out. If the maker points it out first (even though many viewers of the quilt won't even notice the perceived mistake) it is their way of letting viewers know they are well aware of the problem and there is no need to point it out as the maker already has.

    There are loads of other reasons too. Being humble, avoiding pride, being self critical themselves or having lower self esteem or modesty. In the case of modesty there is also the occasional false modesty where the self criticism is actually a veiled attempt to get compliments.

    I know I can be very critical of my own work and it sometimes takes other people to make me realize that what I did was really pretty good and I should be proud of it. I now try to make a conscience effort to not point out a chopped point or the color placement I think was completely wrong once the quilt was completed.




  3. #3
    Super Member Kassaundra's Avatar
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    I agree w/a caveat. I agree the only way to improve is to look at our current work w/ a critical (and reasonable) eye. I think the vilifying of the word critical comes from a changing "PC" society where everyone gets a participation trophy. That being said we should never offer unsolicited "critical" advise to others work just b/c they post pictures of it. And if they ask for a critique it should be truthful and tactful, given in a way we would want to receive it.
    Last edited by Kassaundra; 04-27-2018 at 09:07 AM.
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    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    I think Kass is 100% correct. I personally have not seen a negative connotation attached to criticism except when it is unsolicited. Not everyone posting a picture on the Board is seeking “helpful” criticism. Maybe it is a first quilt and he or she is just proud to have completed it. No need to rain on their parade by pointing out flaws. If input is requested, by all means point out areas for improvement. Tips on how to improve are especially useful. Doing so by PM instead of publicly is tactful. Try to be kind rather than right.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

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  5. #5
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    We've been doing some house painting and I notice every little thing. It drives me nuts. However, once things are put back I forget all about what was bugging me. I'm pretty much the same with my quilts. A critical eye can be a good or bad thing.
    I worked as a Critical Care Nurse and that's a whole different story

  6. #6
    Super Member PamelaOry's Avatar
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    constructive criticism is so different than malicious criticism. I agree that one way to stay out of the later is to avoid offering unsolicited critique.
    There is talk in another thread about creating a specific board just for gathering constructive criticism. I like the idea. That way, those that want it can get it without the ones offering it feeling or getting criticized for offering it!

    Also keeps the integrity of the main boards as a supportive cheerleading community.
    Does that make sense?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PamelaOry View Post
    constructive criticism is so different than malicious criticism. I agree that one way to stay out of the later is to avoid offering unsolicited critique.
    There is talk in another thread about creating a specific board just for gathering constructive criticism. I like the idea. That way, those that want it can get it without the ones offering it feeling or getting criticized for offering it!

    Also keeps the integrity of the main boards as a supportive cheerleading community.
    Does that make sense?
    Makes sense to me -

    I think there are times when a person is saying - this needs to be fixed/changed - no one needs to say that it is "fine" - when it isn't - just suggestions for how it could be fixed or changed - even "crazy" suggestions sometimes have some merit

  8. #8
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    The first thing I think of is some poor soul in the hospital.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  9. #9
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    Actually - I also think of "critical" as some situation that needs attention now - my house just exploded - someone had a heart attack - someone lives in a flood zone and the water is rising - - - -

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    Context is key. Technically the word "critical" has multiple meanings, and I think all involve some aspect of negativity.

    Critical thinking skills are most definitely positive. The ability to analyze the pros and cons is something that can be taught. But there again, analyzing the cons is part of the skill (the negative parts of a situation, proposition, piece of literature, etc).

    Critical care--needed for patients who would certainly die without it (and might, in spite of it) . Negative outcomes are feared.

    critical spirit---harsh, fault-finding, unable to see the good in someone or something. Nothing positive about a critical spirit.

    Oftentimes the word "criticize" is misused for the word "critique." If I asked to be critiqued on something (my work ,my outfit, my writing) I am asking for both positive and negative feedback. No one in his right mind asks for criticism. By the same token, if someone asks for "constructive criticism," he or she should be ready to accept it, regardless whether it feels more critical than constructive. Not everyone knows how to be tactful.
    Last edited by zozee; 04-27-2018 at 03:08 PM.

  11. #11
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    Context is key. Technically the word "critical" has multiple meanings, and I think all involve some aspect of negativity.

    Critical thinking skills are most definitely positive. The ability to analyze the pros and cons is something that can be taught. But there again, analyzing the cons is part of the skill (the negative parts of a situation, proposition, piece of literature, etc).

    Critical care--needed for patients who would certainly die without it (and might, in spite of it)

    critical spirit---harsh, fault-finding, unable to see the good in someone or something

    Oftentimes the words "criticize" is misused for the word "critique." If I asked to be critiqued on something (my work ,my outfit, my writing) I am asking for both positive and negative feedback. No one in his right mind asks for criticism. By the same token, if someone asks for "constructive criticism," he or she should be ready to accept it, regardless if it feels more critical than constructive. Not everyone knows how to be tactful.
    Last edited by zozee; 04-27-2018 at 03:46 PM. Reason: duplicate post

  12. #12
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I try not be critical of someone else's work. I am very critical of my own work until I can't make it any better. Then I just accept it as it is.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  13. #13
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    'Critical' hasn't acquired a negative connotation, but it has a negative connotation as its first meaning. I look at my own work with a very critical eye, and I assume most people do the same with their own work, but pointing out the flaws in someone else's work is another matter. If someone shows me their quilt, I assume they're expecting appreciation for what they accomplished. I would only point out flaws in someone else's work if they specifically asked me to do so, and even then I would tread lightly.
    Lisa

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    conscience effort to not point out a c
    I think you meant conscientious. Which is to do something according to conscience; scrupulous. We'll blame that on auto-correct, and I love your post. The one who has the right to be critical is the judge, and they usually find something good to mention along with pointing out what could be improved. That's what they are there for.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

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    Quote Originally Posted by maviskw View Post
    I think you meant conscientious. Which is to do something according to conscience; scrupulous. We'll blame that on auto-correct, and I love your post. The one who has the right to be critical is the judge, and they usually find something good to mention along with pointing out what could be improved. That's what they are there for.
    I think that writer probably meant a “conscious effort” which makes sense to me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by junegerbracht View Post
    I think that writer probably meant a “conscious effort” which makes sense to me.
    Makes sense to me, too. Thanks!
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  17. #17
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    This is exactly what I think of.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston1954 View Post
    The first thing I think of is some poor soul in the hospital.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Quiltlady330's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=bearisgray;8048383]I think this word has acquired a negative connotation -

    I think you're right. It doesn't quite imply critique which I think is very helpful if done in the right spirit. Who of us wants to be known as the Quilt Police?

  19. #19
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    I haven't seen the thread for a special board for offering Constructive criticism -- I don't think that is a good idea -- it smells too much like online sites broadcasting "teen bullying" and has been known to result in serious negative psychological impact on young teens and others. Even if I were qualified, which I know I'm not, being a rank amateur, I would not want to participate on such a board, in any capacity. Sorry -- JMHO

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