There have been some recent accusation that the Ubuntu community isn’t taking criticism well. However, those making the accusations seem to have a misunderstanding about what exactly criticism is. In an effort to improve the quality of that feedback, I’ve put together a short, simple list of things you can check to make sure your criticism is in fact criticism.
1) “It sucks” is not criticism
It’s an insult. It means “I have no respect for you, your time, or your talents”. Don’t be surprised when the recipient of this message is not inclined to help you, or even listen to you, afterwards.
2) “I don’t like it” is not criticism
It’s complaining. In order to elevate complaining to criticism, you need to explain why it is bad in a way that gives enough information for it to be improved. If you are not capable of explaining why it is bad, then you don’t fully understand why you don’t like it. And if you don’t understand why you don’t like it, what hope do we have of knowing how to fix it?
3) “It’s not perfect” is not criticism
We know it’s not perfect. It’s not perfect because we are not perfect. Another consequence of our being mortal is the fact that we don’t necessarily know where it’s not perfect, so please go back and read #2 again.
4) “Make it more like X” is not criticism
If what you really want is X, then use X. If you think X is doing something better, then explain what it is and why it is better in a way that is more than just “It is better because X has it, and X is better”. Again go back and re-read #2.
5) “Turn it into something different” is not criticism
Just because something isn’t what you want, doesn’t mean it’s not what it is supposed to be. Don’t ask for changes to the fundamental nature of something. If something is fundamentally different from what you want, look for something else.
If your feedback doesn’t fall into one of these five areas, then there’s a very good chance that it will be welcomed and worked on by the Ubuntu community. If it does, then I would seriously recommend going back and re-thinking your position.