What to do when someone writes a technical article and says you are doing it wrong.

before posting an angry comment full of logical fallacies about how they are wrong, stop and seriously consider that they are might be right

before posting an angry comment full of logical fallacies about how they are wrong, stop and seriously consider that they are might be right and if what you were going to post is just going to expose your lack of competence and/or self-awareness.

The truth hurts!

The amount of insult you are feeling is inversely proportionally to how much you know that you they are probably correct, at least more correct than wrong. You might not even know why they are correct, but you know it hit a nerve and you are angry.

Experience taught me this!

I originally went to study art after high school, commercial art to be specific. Apple introduced the laser writer the end of my freshman year, and I saw the writing on the wall. Let the #ageism comments begin.

The hardest part of commercial art, mechanicals, had just been completely commoditized and I added a video production/animation major as insurance. Which was a good idea, I was right about commercial art salaries cratering, video took another couple decades.

But, how did I end up writing software professionally for almost 40 years.

I wrote my own 3D animation modeling and rendering and machine control automation software as a means to an ends. Long story short, I realized I like working with machines more than people.

Why is all this relevant?

Well the first thing they teach you in art school is how to give and take criticism. Both constructive and non-constructive. It is crucial to your growth as an artist and growing your career.

Everyone has an opinion about art, and you have to learn to consider all of them. So you can separate the constructive from the non-constructive.

Even the ones that insult you the most, especially those. Understanding why they insult you the most is very important to your growth as a person if nothing else.

More importantly you have to learn how to give constructive criticism.

Anyone can yell "you are wrong" to the void. Those with experience can tell someone they need to change and back it up with logic and reason without resorting to Begging the Claim and other logical fallacies or ad hominem attacks.

There are four types of criticism.

There are four types of criticism and you need to learn how to tell the difference between them. Because, only two of the types are worth your time considering.

There is positive and negative criticism, and there is constructive and non-constructive. Thus you can have four distinct types.

Which types do you consider and which do you ignore?

Constructive criticism should always be considered, both positive and negative. Non-constructive criticism, which is the majority of what you will get from random anonymous internet is easy to disregard, but can be hard to ignore. Especially about things that are empirical and not just opinion based.

How do you tell the difference.

Constructive criticism does not just tell you that it agrees or disagrees with you, but why and gives an alternatives to whatever is being criticized in a measured informed manner that sticks to the topic and is not littered with logical fallacies.

This is the big differentiating factor.

If someone agrees or disagrees with you and their reasoning is based on one or more logical fallacies then you should realize very quickly it is a waste of your time and ignore it and move on.

But with publishing on the internet, it gets really hard to just ignore misinformation, especially misinformation that can make your peers make mistakes and by extension make your life harder and your chosen career worse.

I think we all have a responsibility to correct or at least call out misinformation that makes the internet worse.

Critical thinking, Debate, and formal Logic is no longer taught to the general public.

Public schools used to have debate clubs. Teachers used to teach how to learn, how to think about things objectively and logically and identify logical fallacies. Not only in others debates or reasoning but in your own.

I think that is why the Dunning/Kruger Effect seems to be on the rise.

It was always there, but putting a name on it and how to identify it formally makes you more cognizant of it.

Now they just teach how to take and pass tests. DotCom bubble certification farms proved that is worse than worthless to our industry.

I did my own research!

The massive audience and scope of the internet has made a lot of the problems with people that do not have these skills much worse.

The populist idea that everyone has an equal weight opinions about subjects that require formal study, are extremely complex, and nuanced or require years if not decades of experience in them to understand, much less master is a huge problem.

Doing "your own research" usually means, "I read a few things on the internet that confirm what I am already thinking", confirmation bias is extremely seductive.

So, this is a criticism of criticism, which kind is it?

If you made it this far, then I hope I made it Constructive, if your receive it as positive or negative, is probably up to confirmation bias more than anything else. So this is my attempt at a solution

So before you leave a comment

Re-read this entire article for comprehension, then write your comment, but before you publish it. Delete it. Then re-read this entire article again, write your comment. Delete it. Re-read this, and then consider if you really have something to unique to contribute that has not already been said. Re-read this article.

You get the idea, when and if your comment becomes constructive, publish it. If it isn't constructive and just a salad of logical fallacies with populist dressing, you are not making the internet (and the world) a better place.