1. rikithasta
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    rikithasta Member

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    Sarcasm in critiques

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by rikithasta, Dec 13, 2009.

    I critique here, and I 'beta' for another group. I try really hard to leave constructive critiques, and if I don't think it's constructive I don't bother.

    However, I'm a sarcastic and awful person. I try biting my tongue but it doesn't always work.

    Should I just not critique until I sort my problems out, or do you think constructive sarcasm is acceptable?
     
  2. Evil Flamingo
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    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I think sarcasm is more acceptable with someone who knows your reviews, but other times it can be misinterpreted and turned into bad rep for you. As far as I'm concerned though, sarcasm makes me laugh, and if it's constructive, I could care less if it's there or not. I really believe that this is just a matter of who your reviewing more than anything. Rip mine up with sarcasm because it brings out it's own kind of points, but with other more fluffy people, try to hold it back.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've read through a few of your reviews (as a mod, I have to) and yes, you don't exactly pull your punches.

    But...

    I would infinitely rather receive a review that is obviously thorough and well contemplated than a thin, wimpy, overcooked noodle of a review.


    "Wow. Awesome. Great read. Keep writing."

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Critique the writing, and don't pull punches. However, and this is a major however, this site demands respect toward other members at all times.

    Sarcasm usually does not come across as respectful, so I strongly suggest you leave it out of your critiques.
     
  5. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I didn't see anything in your reviews that crossed into sarcasm. I agree that sarcasm has no place in reviews, but yours seem particularly well thought out and thorough. You might just be too concerned with hurting someone's feelings. As long as you crit the work and not the person you should be fine.
     
  6. rikithasta
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    rikithasta Member

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    Thank you for your thoughts. The aftermath of Nanowrimo has been testing my limits the past few days. ("It's your job to spell check my work Riki, not mine. Why should it be my job to edit my own work?" She actually said this)

    I know what you're saying Evil Flamingo, but it's so hard for me to tell what people are like online.

    I can see what Cogito means about sarcasm and respect. I don't mean to be disrespectful, just the opposite really.
     
  7. TragicJuliet
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    TragicJuliet Senior Member

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    Sounds like how I talk to poor Kas. Editors really are taken advantage of...

    However, on topic; i agree with everyone - you really just got to know who your audience is. Sarcasm, especially in text, is hard to decipher from just being mean. And writing is a delicate private thing for most people so if on a review they see someone being sarcastic it would probably lower their self esteem
     
  8. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think sarcasm works among friends, verbally, in the pub. It might work on very few occassions written down but only between two people who know each other well.

    Everyone has sarcastic thoughts as they read inexperienced posts, especially from people with an inflated view of their importance. However, I think its immature in the extreme to follow it through in a critique.

    On the whole, I admire people for trying, and their efforts shouldn't be rubbished for a cheap ego boost. And there are other ways to get a point across.
     
  9. Sound of Silence
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    Sound of Silence Member

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    You're not the only one, hun.;)
     
  10. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    I think it depends on how sarcastic you are and if your tone is readable. For example, if I write a review, sometimes I'll leave a sarcastic remark or two in it, if the story is right. However, I never insult the person. If you find yourself being more insulting than helpful, perhaps you should take leave.

    Oh, I know the feeling.
     
  11. Thetalpha
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    Thetalpha Member

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    I'm very sarcastic too but whether I keep that in my reviews depends on who I am reviewing for. If I am reviewing for someone who hasn't got much self-confidence as is, can't laugh about himself and tends not to be able to be read between the lines I don't; same goes for reviewing for people that don't speak the language I'm reviewing in (which is going to be English, German, or, seldomly, French), because they tend to have difficulties understanding the language in normal meaning - how are they supposed to identify sarcasm? Especially regarding the lack of vocal tonalities in written reviews which would normally be able to point to sarcasm.

    Or, in short, you:

    * MUST include it if you're a socially incompetent egomaniac with profilic disorder who takes pleasure in hurting others emotionally (oops, now I was being sarcastic *blush* ;))
    * CAN include it if whoever wrote the piece you're reviewing will definitely understand the sarcasm and find it hilarious, and/or if the guy is a pal of yours who knows you and won't be hurt by it
    * MUST NOT include it when you're reviewing works of foreigners and/or sensitive people that don't tend to cope with sarcasm very well
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    On this site, you had better curb the urge to post sarcastic critique.

    Seriously.
     
  13. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I agree with Cog. Sarcasm has no place in any type of critique. It rarely even has a place in any online communications, because most people can't read sarcasm from the written word and are bound to take it personally. I learned that from years of online forums, most people don't get sarcasm...even in person, and most people are insecure and take everything personally. So, to sarcasm, just say no.
     
  14. Delphinus
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    Delphinus Senior Member

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    Sarcasm is as useful a tool in critique as in any other type of prose, which is to say not very useful at all unless you use it with both erudition and wit. Otherwise you can come across as insecure, and the entire critique can be ignored by the recipient. It's quite likely that your target is feeling sore from your criticism anyhow, so rubbing salt into the wounds is very bad and can destroy an otherwise good critique unless done lovingly and knowingly.
     
  15. Cosmos
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    Cosmos Contributing Member

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    I have never really seen the point in being sarcastic in a critique. If you really have issues with what they've written that you're unable to keep your comments to yourself then simply don't respond to it. I may enjoy critiques but I'm not so desperate for them myself as to take a bonk on the head at the same time.

    Suffice to say if you don't have anything nice to say...well, you get what I'm saying.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are times when there isn't much positive you can say. But delivering bad news is not the same as sarcasm. You can be supportive in giving suggestions for improvement, even if much of what you are saying boils down to, "You should really scrap this and start over."

    Sarcasm, though, adds an element of hostility to the critique, whether it is intended as such or not. And in my experience, even sarcasm billed as "just kidding" often has a more aggressive agenda behind it than its originator will openly admit.
     
  17. Cosmos
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    Cosmos Contributing Member

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    Indeed, I feel that oftentimes (not always, but often) that sarcasm is borne from a place of feeling superior and thus the sarcasm is created to belittle the one it's directed at. Between people who feel they are equals they generally never degenerate into sarcasm since they know the other will "get it". But when it's sarcastic it usually used to convey to others how obvious the point is and therefore how stupid the person is not "getting it" already.
     
  18. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    The best reviews I read and receive (and hope to write) demonstrate a genuine respect for the integrity of the writer, regardless of how polished the writing actually is or is not. I think the absence of respect is pretty transparent when it's delivered, and I'm not sure a critic who doesn't feel that respect can easily disguise an attitude of condescension, even if it falls short of "sarcasm," which I don't think is either necessary or useful to anyone, really (in a critique).

    In my view, a writer who's brave enough to post a story at all has at least courage on his side, and I truly believe that risk-taking is a key element in good fictioneering. On the other hand, a writer whose posted story has not been given even a cursory check for spelling and/or grammar, IMO, suggests a kind of disrespect for his or her readers, as well. So, to some degree, the knife cuts both ways.

    I don't often see (here in this forum) much in reviews I read that I'd identify as frank "sarcasm." More often, I see readers trying very hard to express their honest criticism in the best light they feel they can give it. For the few that seem to me to fall short of respectful, it's usually more a matter of not taking the time to show that respect for what the author has actually done, or not perceiving the writer has actually done anything that's respect-worthy. I think that reflects more on the critic, though, than on the writing itself.

    I guess I believe if sarcasm feels necessary--or even tempting, for that matter--that's probably a review that need not be delivered at all.
     
  19. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    I would simply be careful. You don't want to start a flame war with the other person. Just make sure that your sarcasm is obviously sarcasm and you are fine. :)
     
  20. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    Again, the problem with sarcasm on the internet is that it is easily misinterpeted and you don't want to start a flame war. Perhaps you can write down the comment, and then delete it before you post.
     

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