5 Reasons to be Critical of Other Bloggers

By Guest Author

This is a guest post by Bob Bessette. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

This post may be considered edgy to some but I am here to say that I am not a rebel. Just read any of my posts and you will conclude that I am not a malcontent, a dissident, or a troublemaker. Probably my biggest fault is my brute honesty so I sought out one of the largest blogs in the universe to get my message across. Daniel Scocco has allowed me the honor of guest posting here on DailyBlogTips so I am taking advantage of his vast audience to speak my mind.

I read a lot of blogs and I am growing tired of the mutual admiration society. I think a lot of my fellow bloggers are becoming complacent. We are too concerned with how we will be perceived rather than speaking our minds. We are too concerned that the popular blog owner will be offended if we offer up criticism that comes straight from the heart. We’re afraid of being ostracized from the masses of commenters who have nothing more worthwhile to say than “Great Post!”, “You hit the nail on the head with this post”, or “You are a true inspiration to me and my life!”

I think we need to be more critical of other bloggers no matter how big or popular that their blogs have become. Why? Well, let me tell you…

1. We must be true to ourselves

If we disagree we should be true to our convictions and speak up! When I was just starting out with my blog I criticized a very popular blogger in the comments section of another blog who was reviewing the popular blogger’s book. Before I knew it the popular blogger responded to my comments which I thought was really cool. He didn’t respond with vitriol but with an honest reaction and counter-argument. What a refreshing concept…

2. Constructive criticism helps the Author

If I write a post I want my readers to be honest in the comments. If they don’t agree with either a premise that I made in a post or something I said, I want them to let me know. In fact, it’s the critical comments that I remember most because these are the ones that I tend to think about more than the others. Believe me, I welcome any comments on my blog but when someone takes a different stance or offers more information I find this really helpful. I belong to a few different blog forums and recently I asked other members to critique my blog site. I got a number of responses from members praising my site but it was the constructive criticism that I remember and it helped me to make positive changes to my blog.

3. A dialog will be fostered

When I criticized that popular blogger back when I started out, I have since been able to foster a relationship with him. I started a dialog that day and it has continued to grow. I think this is the true spirit of blogging. We can foster a dialog with people we have never met but have a common passion.

4. We’ll keep each other honest

I think that some popular blog owners feel that they can do no wrong. They feel that their words are pearls of wisdom and that their readers are blessed to be reading them. Well, I’m here to say that it’s not their fault! It’s our fault. It’s our lack of being critical at the risk of being called jealous, spiteful, or resentful of their success. We must continue to keep each other honest by offering up our true feelings in the comments and we’ll all be better for it.

5. Our blogs will improve!

As this New Year begins I have goals for the coming year that are based around my blog as I’m sure you do as well. All of these goals are pretty much geared toward one thing: improving my blog. We need to hear from our readers what they feel is good about our blog and what they feel needs improvement. Ask your readers and they will respond. If we are all honest with each other and give our opinions in a responsible manner then we can all improve as bloggers.

In the movie Wall Street the lead character Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, had a memorable quote that was “Greed, for lack of a better word, is Good.”

Well, I’m here to say that “Criticality, for lack of a better word, is Good!” Let’s all be critical of each other, no matter what you feel the consequences may be. Any blog owner who can’t take criticism isn’t worth subscribing to. Let’s step it up this year and be true to ourselves, foster the dialog, offer constructive criticism, keep each other honest, and improve our blogs as a result.

Bob Bessette writes a blog called Totally Unique Life. His blog is geared toward practical advice and strategies for life, work, and play.

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52 Responses to “5 Reasons to be Critical of Other Bloggers”

  • Vikas Gupta

    This is a good post. I find bloggers are so busy admiring each other (it is common to find comments like ‘a great post’ and whatnot on pedestrian posts in the blogosphere by blogging buddies of the blogger)!

    Here is a suggestion for Daniel! The favicon of this blog needs a makeover. The low resolution DBT on white background doesn’t look good. Sharply written DBT in deep blue colour without that white canvas will look better.

  • Leah

    Hi, Great post! No criticisms lol

    Couple thoughts: First, I see typos on some great posts in great blogs, frequently. I am way too new in the blogosphere to be comfortable even mentioning it to anyone, but I see them. Since I would be super appreciative if someone would tell me if they see typos on my blog, I hope that others would appreciate the same from me (I think an email would be best for this, but maybe not, I don’t know how others feel).

    Second: this helped me with a post I have that I know is controversial, and I know it will not earn followers for me. I had a lot of people rip it to shreds recently on a semi-private forum, and I appreciated that because I see now where I can revise so my message is more clear. It still won’t be popular. But so what? I’m not going to take it down, though I was tempted. I’ll deal with honest criticism if it comes along (it will probably be buried by the time I get much traffic though!).

    Thanks, good stuff. Also glad to find your blog and your roof article lol I need help with mine!

    Leah

  • Bamboo Forest – PunIntended

    I’m feeling what you’re saying. No one should ever fear disagreeing with a blog in the comment section. I think being critical is a great thing. And I love when the consensus is challenged. Not challenged for the sake of being noticed, but challenged because the author sincerely believes there’s a problem at hand.

    More challenges, less agreement. Word?

  • Adrienne

    Great post. I’m in the process of writing a post that may not go over well. I’m still trying to figure out how to structure it so my point is clear.

    Usually, when I do disagree I don’t bother commenting but I’ll will now. You’re right. Most bloggers want opposing opinions. It creates conversation.

  • Eric C

    First, i don’t think people challenge others because a lot of people don’t say stuff worth challenging. It just isn’t interesting enough.

    I totally agree with you. The main powers of the blogs on blogging world are way too insular and way too interconnected. I think it keeps them from being as interesting as they could be. Of course, there are notable exceptions.

    Finally, you use too many exclamation points.

  • Annemieke

    I absolutely agree with the overall idea in your post. I also think it is really important to be critical about what others say. But I think it is important to process it yourself before bringing it into the world so to speak.

    First I think there is a difference between criticism, feedback and judgement. When you ask for criticism on your blog I would call that feedback and it is different from someone who offers that same criticism out of the blue.

    Then I think honesty is important but there is a large difference between being bluntly honest and being respectful.

    And there is also the problem of confusing facts and opinions. On both sides.

    But then I absolutely think that how someone handles criticism is most interesting. Reading a lot of blogs lately, I have seen some very impressive reactions on criticism.

  • Bamboo Forest – PunIntended

    @ Eric C: You write,

    “The main powers of the blogs on blogging world are way too insular and way too interconnected.”

    I think that’s a very interesting point. A thought provoking one.

  • Heather(eatwelleatgreen)

    “Criticality” is a horrible word.
    I think the idea of comments is to contribute to the post. A comment can agree with the blogger, but still add something to the discussion. “Great post, I will bookmark this” etc don’t add to the discussion.
    Unfortunately, if people do make a critical comment it too often elicits the opposite response to what you received, ie vitriol rather than a counter argument. This makes people less likely to challenge the status quo, and so on it goes.

  • HIGHNURSE

    I AGREE WITH YOU AS THE RIGHT BLOGGER DOESN’T WRITE TO BE THANKED.BUT he write to be useful and learn others

  • Bob Bessette

    @Leah – honest criticism is the best type of criticism. I also agree with you on the typos issue. It is my biggest pet peeve..Good luck with your controversial post. And thanks for looking through my blog!

    @BambooForest – Yes, more challenges, less agreement is good! I am glad to see, at least initially, my post is being taken in the spirit that it was written…

    @Eric C – thanks for the comments on the exclamation points. I don’t usually, but I think I was really emotional while writing this post. Daniel, BTW, is one of those exceptions…

    Best,
    Bob

  • Bob Bessette

    @Adrienne – Go for it. We need to foster the dialog but, I agree, it’s all in the wording of the article.

    @Annemieke – Good point on the differences between criticism, feedback and judgement. I also agree that how you criticize is very important. I think you can offer criticism out of the blue in a respectful way without being solicited for it. At least I do at times.. 🙂

    @Heather(eatwelleatgreen) – Not sure what you mean by saying Criticality is a horrible word. I think we have to be critical, in the proper manner, so that the discussion can be continued. We also learn a lot at the same time. Thanks for commenting.

    @HIGHNURSE – I agree that us bloggers don’t write to be thanked but to express ourselves and our viewpoints. I enjoy hearing the critical comments…

    Thank you all for your comments…

    Best,
    Bob

  • Chris Peterson

    I agree with your article. I also always judge about what other say I mean whether they are giving negative or positive remarks. Before that I think twice again before publishing.

  • Bob Bessette

    Hi Chris, I think we all just have to say what we mean and do so, in a respectful manner. I think that as long as we do this, a good discussion can be started.

    Best,
    Bob

  • Bob Bessette

    Hi Vikas Gupta,
    Thanks for your comment and your constructive criticism for Daniel. I am glad that you agree with the premise of my post.

    Best,
    Bob

  • Mike Anderson

    Well said. I think that the desire for traffic sometimes influences people to kiss butt as well. We try to ride the coattails of the guys that made it. That can work for a few, but maybe you should consider the road less traveled as well.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • Hal Brown

    The idea here is sound. I think discretion and tact are the two major factors in criticizing anyone, blog or otherwise.

    I rarely give advise if not asked to give it. Several times I’ve been flamed for “pointing out” a different viewpoint or possibly something about the blog. In fact, other commenters may be worse about this than the blogger.

    There are a couple of A-Lister bloggers I have dropped for this very reason. I don’t comment to fight with people. And if I make a comment that is misunderstood, taken the wrong way, whatever, I try to make it right – once.

    My personal opinion is, if you must sound off, be prepared for the consequences. Ask yourself, am I adding to or subtracting from this blog? Does anyone really care what I think? Is this just another opinion?

    I think the favicon looks fine. 🙂

  • Cathy

    I used to teach middle school reading and writing and worked very hard at creating a writing community. It is important to note that in order to achieve community you must first reach a level of trust and be able to give and recieve feedback openly; this is not often the case in a public arena. It is important to teach how to read critically and pose questions thoughtfully and respectfully, while at the same time, encouraging the sharing of ideas and opinions with others-no easy task!
    So I have a couple questions: How do we cultivate an environment that encourages writers to take risks? As writers, how do we respond to comments in order to elicit the kind of feedback we need to improve our writing?

  • Karen Marcus

    Your post has helped me to articulate to myself something I’ve started to notice as I read posts, especially by well-known bloggers, with nothing but gushing comments. As much as I love gushing comments on my own blog, I do hope that my readers and other bloggers will let me know if there is something I’ve stated with which they disagree. It seems to me that respectful disagreement is a great way to add richness to the discussion and help bloggers become better at their craft.

  • Steve

    I have been getting these spam comments with criticism of my blogs. The spammers think that I will post their spam so that I can rebuke it. It’s much easier to click the delete button.

  • Bob Bessette

    @Hal Brown – I care about what you think because you are another opinion. Any blog owner should care because you have taken your precious time to read a post. Isn’t this the spirit of blogging? Fostering the discussion. That is a good point you make if you ask yourself am I adding or subtracting to this blog. I guess that is in the eyes of the reader. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    @Karen Marcus – I couldn’t agree more. I have read some posts by A-List bloggers that just weren’t worth reading and I see everyone “gushing”, as you so aptly put it. We only have ourselves to blame for that so hopefully some people who read this post may think otherwise before the full-on gush… 🙂

    @Steve – spam is a whole other matter. Constructive criticism is what we are looking for.

    Thank you for commenting. I am happy with the responses thus far as I was a little leery of possibly a backlash due to misunderstanding the spirit of the post.

    Best,
    Bob

  • Jen

    Great to see you here again Bob and well done on addressing something I am sure a lot of us notice.

    I think for me if i have a criticism or feedback, I don’t say it unless I feel very strongly, in case it is misinterpreted. Sometimes I think if I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all … tho if I think it will make a difference or someone asks for my opinion directly, I will be honest.

    I hope I too can take feedback, positive and negative .. I think it’s a healthy thing to be able to deal with both equally.

  • Bob Bessette

    Hi Jen,
    Thanks for your comment. I just thought it was healthy to broach the topic out there with the blogging world. I agree that not many people will give their opinion if it appears to be too critical. I hope maybe, after reading this post, we may see more constructive criticism. I am really happy how people are responding to my post. It sounds like a lot of people were thinking what I actually wrote about..

    Best,
    Bob

  • Steven Richardson

    I’ve found that a lot of people think if they don’t kiss your bottom in a comment then they will be deleted and banned from the blog. Not true, I welcome all types of comments on my blogs.

  • Bob Bessette

    Hi Steven Richardson,
    Every day I hope more people read my blog. If someone comments, so much the better. Any comment, apart from being downright nasty, is welcome. We all want readers and not everyone will “kiss my bottom” as you so aptly put it. And that is great. We all want our blogs to be read and we want people to express their feelings in the comments. Tell me what I said that was wrong. Tell me what you feel. It’s nice to know that you also welcome all types of comments.
    Thanks for commenting.

    Best,
    Bob

  • Web Marketing Tips

    I do not believe in throwing direct stone but however,

    When you will see hundreds of comments with good words only than you lost interest on them. One comment which come up with new words or should I say against your thoughts than you would love to read them … because he is the person who does not believe you are right and from here you work starts to teach him that yes you are right by explaining your thoughts, your logic …

  • Ryan

    Hi Bob,

    There’s a difference between being critical and offering suggestions. Semantics perhaps, but the tone with which you present a critique is important.

    If I disagree with a blog post I’ll make a suggestion that I feel may help them. Or I’ll just share my viewpoint. Ultimately, it’s 2 people’s opinions.

  • Ben Moreno

    It does not surprise me in the least that bloggers don’t speak their mind. Blogging has moved away from it’s original intention. The reason being is simple.

    Blogs like ProBlogger, John Chow, Shoemoney and even DailyBlogTips, are very popular and because these blogs are about “How to Blog” and making money from blogging they have steered blogging into a different direction.

    Of course I am not just blaming them, there are many more. There are millions of blogs out there created for the sole purpose of trying to make money. Many of them claim to know how to teach you how to make money, or become a blog star, etc.

    Blogging should be about speaking your mind and being completely honest when reacting to information. If everyone did that, we would be able to see what is really going on in the world and see how people truly feel and how they perceive the world. It might just give us the information we need to solve many of these world problems.

  • Amit Banerjee

    Bob..no doubt your post shows guts but the thing is: You can’t expect everyone to be fair and pour down words that comes from the heart. We will always have “Great post” ” This site rocks” type of comments and that’s the way it goes.

    It takes courage to criticize, especially when someone is just starting out and wants to make his mark on the web. The thing is: You can get attention and foster dialogues with bloggers by listening to your heart but in some cases, they may lead to negative influences. (just my opinion)

    By the way, I am not criticizing your article and trying to …(you know). You thought is good and you know what ! It’s really engaging.

    Thanks

  • Belinda Munoz

    I hear you, Bob. This post speaks to me on so many levels. I certainly remember comments and e-mails whose sentiments don’t agree with me and they help me become a better communicator/writer. I crave those comments because they seek to engage, but I’m not a big enough blogger so I don’t get many of them.

    I read blogs as I feel there is a lot of wisdom out there but I also look for thought-provoking posts that I sometimes feel is lacking in many voices especially those that become popular. I think that when a blogger rises in popularity, there is a leader-follower dynamic that we slip into which, sadly, reminds me of the ego-stroking that goes on in high school.

    Having said this, I remain hopeful that the discourse will broaden and stay open in the right places. I know many bloggers who want to blog/write for a living (and they should if that is what they want to do). But I hope that all the intelligent readers who read blogs demand more and get more of what they deserve. Otherwise, all we’ll see are copycat third-rate productivity blogs which we all know we don’t need more of.

  • Bob Bessette

    @Web Marketing Tips – I agree. The person that does not agree with you are the one that you will start the discussion with.

    @Ryan – the fact that you will make a suggestion to the other blogger is great. Others will think it but will not write it. You foster a dialogue based on your input.

    @Ben – very thoughtful response to my post. I tend to agree with you. It seems to be all about the money rather than the discussion and the learning. I hope that people speak their minds more often, as you do. Thanks so much for your input. You make a lot of sense..

    @Amit – I agree that it takes some courage to criticize and some people do not want to even respond unless it it positive. Hence, the lack of constructive criticism. I don’t take your comment as being critical, just reacting to the post with your heart.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Best,
    Bob

  • Stephanie – Home with the Kids

    No! No criticism! It should always be sunshine, rainbows and unicorns!

    Now that I’ve gotten that out, I have to agree. Constructive criticism is useful no matter what you do. If you have trouble taking it, grow a thicker skin. There are always going to be people who disagree with you on some things. They’re not all crazy or malicious. They just disagree.

  • Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend

    Bob, you’re on my radar, in my feed.

    I have a NSFW term for “mutual admiration society” but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

    In a nutshell, I agree with you.

  • Kent @ Leawo

    Honestly speaking, the ideas given in this post coincide with what I have been thinking, and I fully uphold the author’s points. Writing a blog is naturally a social interaction, a way to make friends and hear different voices. If we are obsessed with only pleasant flattering voice, in the long run, we will totally miss the point of blogging. In my blog, the day after day superficial compliments in the comment section have begun to make me sick. I don’t think any more of them will add value to my blog at all. They are frustrating and boring. I hope this post will be read by more people. This will hopefully create a positive resonance in the circle of bloggers.

  • Kent @ Leawo

    In addition to my previous comment, I would like to warn us bloggers against being too comfortable in waiting for constructive criticism. In my humble point of view, since constructive criticism is a good thing, fewer than half of the people won’t just give it to somebody they don’t know. So we have to make the initial force to kick the ball, criticize other’s blog post with our genuine viewpoints and invite them to do us the same favor. This is the almighty rule again: give before you take.

  • Melvin

    This is insanely true (sorry for not disagreeing w/you). Thats the main reason why people think bloggers are kind people. because mostly they just agree with everything.

    In my blog, sometimes I test my community by posting controversial posts. One that I know will spark a good debate on something and Im glad my readers disagree with me and have their own say.

    You can easily see bloggers who are uncritical on big blogs like this where people mostly just comment for the sake of commenting.

  • Chester

    Constructive criticism helps the Author, I agree on this. Nobody’s perfect. Inputs from the readers/ co bloggers are way helpful to improve one’s writings. It’s for your own good. Great article today.

  • Robby G

    There are right ways to criticize a blogger and wrong ways though. When people just come out with it and completely argue with you without any real proof or without being constructive, it really serves no help for anyone. It’s gotta be done with some class. But I do agree that if it’s done correctly then it gives the blogger an idea to make his blog better for everyone else to enjoy.

  • GoBusiness101

    “We must be true to ourselves”

    This is what’s all about

  • Annemieke

    @Bob: You said: “I think you can offer criticism out of the blue in a respectful way without being solicited for it. At least I do at times..”

    I agree, but I think there is a difference between discussing ideas and discussing appearance. To stay in the blog world, I think it is different to react on what someone wrote and react on the blog itself.

    Like in a discussion with someone in real life. I think it is fantastic to discuss ideas, but it is getting weird if someone would start criticising your cloths or your habits.

    I think it is the same with blogs. I think for that kind of criticism, there has to be some context. Like where you ask for that.

    But discussing the ideas from the post is what blogging is all about. And indeed does not have to be a asked for, as long as it is done with genuine respect.

    Personally I find that a very important distinction, although at the same time I can see that there might be exceptions. But for me it is important to see the difference.

  • Bob Bessette

    @Stephanie – sunshine, rainbows and unicorns!, I love it… Disagreement can be a really good thing. I hope to see more of it.

    @Dave Doolin – Thanks for the encouragement and the subscription. You’ve been in my feed for a while…

    @Kent @ Leawo – great comments, but I disagree with you! (kidding…) I’m glad to see that you and I are on the same wavelength. I wanted to post this on a popular blog because it is a message we should all heed.

    @Melvin – another sympathetic voice, thanks. I like your idea of posting controversial topics. I would like to visit your post but, for some reason, none of the links of commenters are showing up for me. I wonder if this is something Daniel has done intentionally or not? Thanks Melvin.

    @Chester – thanks for the compliment and I’m glad you concur. I have seen a number of constructive points in the comments on this blog that Daniel has taken well and responded to. I don’t think he is one of those A-Listers that doesn’t take criticism well. And I’m not just sucking up to him. It’s actually true…

    @Robby G – thanks for commenting and it’s nice to see that you agree that constructive criticism is good for all of us.

    @GoBusiness101 – I hope all of us, in blogging or not, are true to ourselves.

    @Annemieke – understood. As far as criticizing someone’s blog as far as design is concerned I will send an email via the Contact Me page. That is, unless they are asking for criticism in the comments. I concur with what you are saying. I think it only makes sense to respond to the actual blog post.

    Thanks all for the comments. I am happy that this post has brought to the forefront an issue that has been bothering me, and apparently others as well. Let’s step it up and foster the discussion.

    Best,
    Bob

  • zmajeva

    In other words, use dialectic method-dialogue between two or more people who hold different ideas and wish to persuade each other.
    That’s actually healthy approach!:)

  • scheng1

    Being critical is useless without offering solution. I mean if the blog looks awful, the best is to make some constructive comments to help the bloggers. No point saying that your blog sucks, your English sucks, and everything rots.

  • Bob Bessette

    Hi Scheng1,
    I was more referring to the content of the posts rather than the actual design of the site. I think if you want to express anything about the design of someone’s site it makes more sense to go email them via their contact page. That is, unless the post asks the question “Please critique my site”.

    Best,
    Bob

  • Jes

    I’m curious… do you care to share what blog forums you go to, that you mentioned in point #2?

  • OffCampus-Student.com

    Constructive criticism is paramount. However, it’s not always taken well. People tend to be very defensive I have found. And more than once what started as constructive criticism turned into the guilty blogger arguing against the blogger.

  • Surgery Houston

    Reason 6: Because it makes us feel better about ourselves

  • Bob Bessette

    Hi Belinda,
    Thanks for commenting. Yes, I also remember the comments and e-mails from people who may offer a differing opinion. The fact that you are not a “big enough” blogger is simply because people have not found you yet at thehalfwaypoint.net, Your posts are amazing and I will be around when you make it to be what they like to call the “A-List” blogger. I think it’s just a matter of time for you. I sincerely feel this way. You make so much sense about the leader-follower dynamic that we slip into. Great point. Or maybe I should be critical? 🙂

    Best,
    Bob

  • Bob Bessette

    @zmajeva – I’m not familiar with the term “dialectic method-dialogue” but it sounds like it is a respectful dialogue between people with differing opinions. Yes, I agree it is very good..

    @Jes – The forums I belong to are problogger.net, yaro starak’s forum, and frugaltheme (my blog theme). When I joined problogger.net it was $1.95/month. Now it is $5.95/month but it is worth it for bloggers. I have no affiliation. Just a happy customer.

    @OffCampus-Student.com – Yes, it can turn into an argument if both bloggers are defensive. But it does not have to be that way. We can turn it into a positive discourse if we make an effort.

    @Surgery Houston – I like your #6 and I agree, all of the above make us feel good about ourselves..

    Thanks all for your comments.

    Best,
    Bob Bessette

  • Ben Collins | The Blog Mag

    Hi Bob. I agree that it’s important t have your own opinions and beliefs about a topic and express them accordingly but you must must must show respect to the other blogger or your really just destroying a future relationship. There’s a lot of love out there at the moment because it’s just good for business. If you dont agree with a topic then sometimes its best just to move on.

    I wrote a small related article linking to your post.

    http://www.theblogmag.com/blog/is-criticism-a-good-or-bad-thing-tips-for-a-critic/

  • KS Chen

    I think we really need to treat each other honestly in blogosphere if we wish to build up a long lasting relationship with other bloggers. It is important to make friends with other to ensure the success of our blogging journey.

  • Tyler Hurst

    Sure, but this doesn’t work on most people, as they see it as being called out publicly. Then they cry, whine and complain to their friends.

    Don’t waste your time trying to help those who won’t appreciate it. But when you find those that do, do it!

  • muhyar

    and also this 5 tips will become rules for blogger

Comments are closed.