I recently read a short blog post titled Saying the Difficult Things. It was trending on HackerNews and spawned an interesting discussion.

People wrote that certain cultures are more direct than others, mentioning Dutch as an example of directness. Some said that being direct and unfiltered is a way to go, while others showed more appreciation for the somewhat filtered and more nuanced type of critique.

When it comes to receiving critique, I would choose directness and rawness all day long. That doesn’t mean I want to deal with assholes and sadists though. 

If you comment on something I’ve done with “This is complete shit!”, without backing that up with at least one “why”, I will label you as an asshole, but…

If you comment on something I’ve done with “This is complete shit because x/y/z!”, I will thank you for your feedback. Hell, if that “x/y/z” is detailed and you put some thought into it, I’ll buy you a beer!

I’m not saying you should start your critiques with words like “This is complete shit”, and I think that you should always be polite and considerate towards people. Not just while giving them a critique, but always.

What I’m saying is that when you work with me specifically, you can be brutally direct and honest. You can even use adjectives that society deems unacceptable. You don’t have to sugarcoat it, and you don’t need to start with something positive pulled out of thin air only to ease me into the shit part. Just tell me what exactly is the part that’s shit and why.

PS. I wrote this so I can share it with all the people I’ll be working with in the future.