Hi. I'm just making this post because I've noticed a tendency (not necessarily on this site) for some reviewers to be a little...unhelpful, when critiquing others work. I'm not complaining for my own sake, as I've yet to post anything here, but I think clarifying what should be included in a review may help some who are new to critiquing. 1. Don't assume the writer you're reviewing is a newbie. They may or may not be new to the craft, but making them feel inexperienced doesn't benefit them much, and implying you're own work or experience is superior doesn't do anything but make them feel badly. 2. Couch your comments with some good manners. Nobody says you have to lie about your first impressions of the work, but coming off as insulting and offensive only discourages the writer and/or makes them angry. In that case, your purpose of "helping" is defeated, since an angry or discouraged writer is unlikely to heed your advice. 3. Of course it's important to note any errors you encounter in the writing, but soften the blow a little by trying to find something you liked about the writing, even if it's only the character names or the writer's use of description. 4. This isn't contradictory to #3, even if it seems like it at first. Be honest. Telling someone their work is great and needs no revision isn't helping them improve any. The trick is telling them in a way that encourages them to work harder, rather than in a way that makes them throw away their notebook. 5. Be concise. Give particulars. Telling someone, "I liked this" or "This didn't work for me" is a waste of their time and yours. Be sure and list the things you did or didn't like about the piece. I'm not jumping down the throat of anybody in particular. It's just that sometimes when reviewing the comments of my fellow reviewers, I find myself wondering if they're reviewing for the right reasons. Often, the impression that comes off is that they review only to show how much they know and how experienced they are, rather than to encourage and otherwise help their fellow writers improve their skill. I know this is usually not the case. Most of the time, we're all just in a hurry when we review and don't take the time to phrase things as we mean to. That being said, let's keep in mind that receiving reviews (especially insulting or contradictory ones) can be very upsetting and confusing. So let's add a little encouragement once in awhile, shall we?