This forum is a very positive place and I value it. The members are great, there's wonderful music being shared, members are learning, friendships have formed, collaborations have resulted, and many good things are happening.
We are all learners on the path. Every piece of music could be made better. One of the purposes of this forum is to be a place of learning. Many times a member would post a work, get constructive feedback, apply the suggestions and repost an improved work. This type of critical and helpful environment fosters creativity, learning and comraderie.
People on this forum are gracious to share the gift of their music. And many knowledgeable and experienced members share their wisdom and insights. There are professors and educators that frequent here, as well as film and game composers, orchestra conductors, theater directors, band and orchestra directors, programmers, music company executives - the highest level of talent and expertise accessible to many members.
However, on rare occasion there seem to arise posters who are negative for the sake of being negative. These posters will bash a work without any specifics or guidance as to how to improve the work and no resulting good comes from such posts. It can disrupt an otherwise constructive flow of information. Moreover, it makes those who posted their work feel awful, discouraged and reluctant to post more of their work. I believe that unbridled negativity can have just as much of a chilling effect on the free flow of information as censorship.
Constructive criticism is a good thing. Universities and Conservatories embrace critique as an invaluable learning tool. Critique helps artists develop their talent and hone their skills. Sometimes the source of the critique is suspect but there is no way to know the veracity of the criticizer. There may be an all-knowing flamer devoid of musical training who can be relentless. Nevertheless, the person whose work is being blasted does not know the nature of the source and can be discouraged or even devastated.
There are many places on the web where chronic, petty and unbridled negativity has become a sport. This forum is not a place to take pot shots at well-intentioned members nor a competition where works are harshly judged. If this were the case there would be trained judges and standards for evaluation rather than the whim of an anonymous poster. I don't want this forum to be like so many other forums.
My vision for this forum to is to foster a creative learning environment. I want this to be a different place. A place that is positive, helpful and constructive. We are here to learn and help each other rather than to judge. Constructive criticism is welcome and petty criticism is not.
If you want to critique I ask that it be backed it up with suggestions. Here is a forum rule I propose:
Proposed Rule: Give constructive criticism regarding a demo. Posting thoughtless or inconsiderate replies such as "this sucks" or "it sounds synthy" will not satisfy the requirement. You must give something to work with whether its positive feedback or negative feedback and be as specific as possible.
I want to make it clear that there are no problems. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I wanted to discuss these concerns in the hopes we can continue to have this be the positive place that it is.
I completely agree with you Gary. I don't usually become a member of an internet forum, unless it is a serious place where learning and sharing are strong principles.
I must say, this is a place where I feel as part of a great comunity with common interests and objectives: to learn how to improve the music we do, to share our achievemets, and to help each other with our particular portion of knowledge. This is a great place in the Internet, for sure, far from other forums we all have come across.
I don't know why you say that about bad comments, I've never seen this behaviour in this forum. But, anyway, it is a good point. Completey agree.
Bravo, Gary! I've led many poetry workshops, another place where sensitive feelings are very much on the line. The way I ask people to structure their responses is, First: what you liked about the piece, and Second: suggestions for how it might be improved.
There is indeed a big difference between helpful critique and mere criticism, and this forum has been outstanding in encouraging a positive climate for growth.
Completely agree. If this had been a problem the community would not be what it is today. Its been said that there have been some questionable posts of late. Well, we should get it handled before they start to interfere with the community. This is a wonderful place to visit daily/hourly/weekly/whenever and I don't want that marred. I want this to remain a place where complete noobs like myself can feel moderately confident that if they post a piece of music that they won't be uselessly flamed and hampered by non-constructive posts.
I've never gotten any feeling of negativity from this forum. I believe we all share your vision of the forum being a great place to share ideas and learn from each other. This GPO form seems more like a family. Actually there's more bickering in my family than what goes on here.
This was a good thing to bring up and I wanted to add $0.02.
Whenever I look at a comp student's work and there is something I don't like here is what I do. BEFORE I open my big mouth and say something I can't take back, I think very hard about whether my objection is a matter of PERSONAL preference or if the segment really has a flaw of some sort.
If it's preference than I usually keep my mouth shut. They have to find their own voice after all. If it is a true technical mistake then I mention it and, no matter what, I always follow it with positive suggestions on HOW to correct the problem.
We are calling that contructive criticism but really, it's just one half of the teaching process done properly.
Gary, well said and most agreeable. The positive air surrounding this forum is what I've grown to love and look forward each day. This has been one of the most enjoyable learning experiences since college. Some of the most intelligent and learned people I have ever had the pleasure to converse and hobnob with on music. Man, someday we will have that convention!
I just want to voice my agreement with everyone. This has really become an excellent support base and community. And everyone involved is still learning and growing together, which makes it all the more enjoyable to visit. I learn something new everytime I drop by. I was actually unable to check the forum for about two months, and only recently have been able to log back in. It's taken a while to catch up on everything. It has amazed and saddened me how much I have missed.
Gary - This is great - impassioned but spoken with eloquence and with your characteristic light touch. It's too bad that you need to say this out loud, as in a polite society with well educated and cultured individuals so much of this would be assumed. But since the Internet does not discriminate for taste, we have to endure the occasional bad apple. I'm glad to see that in this forum at least, the bad apples are only occasional.