A little ditty on criticism

Indie designers, who are typically very casual and accessible, get a great deal of critiquing.  I wouldn’t go on to say that indie designers receive more criticism than your headlining, Vogue Knitting contributors, but they certainly receive a fair amount.  Criticism is inevitable, both good and bad, when you produce something made available to the general public.  These critiques reach far and wide with the enormous following on Ravelry.com as well as personal blogs.  So, how do designers handle dialogues amongst knitters and crocheters?  What’s the appropriate avenue to take with the positive and negative feedback on their work?

Let’s use the Ravelry.com forums for an example.  When a person or group praises your pattern work in a forum thread, would you enter the conversation to thank them for their support and kind words?  It’s a matter of opinion.  Personally, I do.  Establishing a presence is important to me for creating positive relationships with pattern patrons and letting them know that I am readily available. 

But what about the negative feedback?  Let’s use the same scenario as before, but now the person or group is negatively criticising your pattern work.  It appears that when there is negative critiquing involved, it is either ignored by the designer or perhaps handled through private messages.  Why is it different here?  What do you think makes it taboo for a designer to step up publicly and refute or remedy the situation? 

You can’t please everyone, that is true.  I believe in the 10% Rule, which means that 90% of a designer’s clients are generally good, well-mannered people with tact.  The other 10% are not as level-headed, emotional, and in some rare instances, combative.  Do you engage them?  I guess it depends on whether or not they engage you.  My take on it is that if they rage publicly without directly communicating with you, take it in stride.  Read their thoughts, determine whether or not it is a warranted criticism, and leave it be.  However, if they communicate with the designer about the grievance they have with the pattern and begin a public dialogue, it becomes a sticky situation.  Do you ignore it or call them on it?  The designer should put forth their best effort to help the person through the problem, privately or publicly – it’s their call.  If the negative review remains, at least you would know that you had done your best to make thing right. 

What’s your take on knitting and crochet designer criticism?

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One thought on “A little ditty on criticism

  1. eeeek. i’ve only had one instance where i had an issue with a pattern that i actually couldn’t find any help on ravelry for. so i contacted the designer (through ravelry) and she was awesome about helping me. she even re-did her pattern (a few times) to try and make it clearer. maybe i wasn’t the only one having the issue. but also, i was a new knitter, and i wonder if i picked up that pattern today, having learned some stuff along the way, if i would have had any issues at all. so…i guess if someone is going to publicly criticize a designer, it is completely up to the designer on how they handle it. but personally, i’d probably have a hard time with it if they were rude about it. i would think that if they actually wanted help, they would contact the designer instead of attacking them publicly. if on the other hand, they did try to contact the designer (with tact) for help, and the designer didn’t respond…then that would be a different story all together, but it still wouldn’t warrant rudeness. i guess it depends on the tone of the criticism too right? this is a wordy comment, sorry!

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