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Quotable: On Criticism

September 14, 2004

Christian Watson has some good advice for those looking to get hired in the web industry. One particular section was very quotable. You know the drill – I take a specific quote and make it generalizable by substituting terms. In this case, remember that the context is a job interview. When I saw this, I wasn’t thinking of any specific fill in the blank terms but this advice can apply to many situations:

Don’t criticize my site. Come up with ideas about improvements you might make to the site, but don’t critique my web site unless you’re asked. Don’t start telling me what’s wrong with my web site or what you would change unless I ask you for some ideas.

You don’t know what process we have gone through to develop the site, what issues we’ve faced, who our audiences are, or the goals of our site. Developing any large web site is an exercise in organizational politics and compromise, and to critique it without knowing the history of why things were done as they were will only succeed in getting my back up. Believe me, this one is important.

Nice. Almost words to live by…

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2 Responses

Comment by Isaac Z. Schlueter — Sep 14 2004 @ 10:29 pm

This is a clever trick, and a very nice site. I’ll have to come back to this site.

I noticed that you have an invalid tag on this page. (I do realize the irony, and I’m not trying to criticize, just trying to be helpful, I swear! ;)

It says:
<blockquote cite="a href=">
Seems like that should be:
<blockquote cite="">

A thousand apologies if it was on purpose.

Comment by Derek Featherstone — Sep 15 2004 @ 4:39 am

Hi Isaac. Firstly, thanks for the compliment – glad you like the site, and glad to hear you liked it enough to come back!

Thanks for pointing out the problem — I’ve fixed it up now (it looks like it was a copy and paste error…) For what it’s worth, I did view your comment as helpful and not criticism ;)