This post has taken way too long to get out. I am honestly sorry for that. Luckily, it is out now!
During this month I have sent out a lot of emails to people, asking them to answer a question for a survey regarding criticism in the anime (and manga) blogosphere. Now, I have gathered every reply and put them into this post. See the results after the jump!
1. What is This “Criticism in the Aniblogosphere”?
2. What is the “Blog Carnival: Reflections on Animanga Blogs”?
2.1 List of Blog Carnival Participants
3. The Survey
4. I Slightly Messed This Up
5. You Need to be Easier to Communicate With
6. The Results
6.1 It is okay to criticize me openly without asking for my opinion
6.2 It is okay to criticize me openly, but you must ask for my
6.3 It is okay to criticize me anonymously without asking for
6.4 It is okay to criticize me anonymously, but you must ask for my
6.5 It is not okay to criticize me
6.6 Multiple answers
6.7 None of the answers
6.8 Did not want to participate
What is This “Criticism in the Aniblogosphere”?
This is an idea I have had in mind for quite some time and comes from the fact that whenever I see criticism in the “aniblogosphere”, a rare sight, someone is almost always offended to some degree. This always made me wonder. Is this the result of the so-called “circle-jerk” we bloggers have? That we basically are too close to each other and therefore do not even dare to criticize each other since it would disturb the peace? That we are too sensitive and cannot handle criticism?
As I said, it always made me wonder, especially during the drama that is called “The Aniblog Tourney” when criticism was loathed. So when recently a new Blog Carnival was created, focusing on “Reflections on Animanga Blogs”, the idea once again was brought to my mind. “This was a good time!” I thought to myself and soon after I started to send out the survey.
The question was simple: “Is it okay to criticize your blog?”. There were five answers to choose from and if the person wanted to, it could write additional thoughts on the matter. The question would reveal how people feel about being criticized. This would not only cure my curiosity, but it would also be beneficial for bloggers. Now they would know how others feel about criticism.
I have decided to not include any sort of analysis of the results. I want you to think and reflect about it. That is for the best.
What is the “Blog Carnival: Reflections on Animanga Blogs”?
A Blog Carnival is when a lot of bloggers decide to create blog posts about the same topic. This time, it was created by FoxyLadyAyame and the topic was “Reflections on Animanga Blogs”. For further information, read FoxyLadyAyame’s own post. Below here, you can find every participant.
List of Blog Carnival Participants – 27
– Ace Railgun by AceRailgun
– Anime B&B by Marina
– aloe, dream by Ryan
– Anime Diet by The Paper
– Anime Princess by lostty
– Assorted Explorations by Jay
– Behind the Nihon Review by NHRV Staff
– Canne’s anime review blog by Canne
– Chikorita157’s Anime Blog by chikorita157
– deluscar by Kai
– Draggle’s Anime Blog by Draggle
– flomu by flomu
– GAR GAR Stegosaurus by A Day Without Me
– Going Commando on Anime by Trollkastel
– KANPAI! by Sabishii Miruku
– Kuuki no Puraido by Kuuki
– Moe Sucks by E Minor
– Nopy’s Blog by Nopy
– Organization Anti-Social Geniuses by Justin
– Shindie Iie Anime Blog & Review by Inushinde
– SubarashiKun by Subarashikun
– The Beautiful World by FoxyLadyAyame
– The G-Empire by Overlord-G
– The Kotatsu by bobbierob
– Through the Frozen Glass by Myst
– Traveler on Revenge by ahelo
– ZakuAbumi’s Anime-Blog by ZakuAbumi
This is the email I sent to people:
Title: Is it okay to criticize your blog? – Please answer this question!
I’m Marow from the blog Anime Viking (https://animeviking.wordpress.com/) and currently I’m going to do a blog post about “criticizing people’s blogs”.
This is based upon the current Blog Carnival about reflections on anime and manga blogs. You can find more information about that here: http://kitsunetoneko.blogspot.se/2012/08/blog-carnival-reflections-on-animanga.html (by foxy lady, the organizer).
The main idea of my post is to ask a lot of bloggers on how they feel about being criticized by others.
The question is: “Is it okay to criticize your blog?”
The following answers are:
1. It is okay to criticize me openly without asking for my opinion.
2. It is okay to criticize me openly, but you must ask for my opinion first.
3. It is okay to criticize me anonymously without asking for my opinion.
4. It is okay to criticize me anonymously, but you must ask for my opinion first.
5. It is not okay to criticize me.
You can either choose to be anonymous or let me post your name and blog together with your answer. The choice is all yours.
In addition, if you have any further thoughts about this subject, please write them here (keep it short). It is completely optional.
And as above, you can choose to either be anonymous or let me post your name and blog together with your thoughts. Most preferably, you will choose the same option on both the question and the further thoughts. However, it is not a must.
Hopefully you will answer this simple question! And if you are interested in the results, be sure to check in my blog in, hopefully, about a week!
That sure was a long “week”… ahaha…
I Slightly Messed This Up
I slightly messed up this whole idea. First of all, it has taken much too long for it to actually become a proper post. The Blog Carnival is over since a while back and the “week” I was talking about turned out to rather be four weeks. This is a huge failure on my part. Once again, I am sorry.
Another thing I did not do correctly was the survey itself. Answer 3 and 4 are rather superfluous, are they not? If it is okay to criticize someone openly (answer 1), why would it not be okay to do so anonymously? In other words, they turned out to be completely unnecessary.
What I originally had intended for those two answers was “It is only okay to criticize my blog without mentioning it by name and you do not have to ask for my opinion first” and “It is only okay to criticize my blog without mentioning it by name, but you must ask for my opinion first”. This was a big mistake by me. Fortunately, it does not appear to have affected the results and the purpose of the survey too much since no-one personally asked if it was okay to give such an answer. If someone really, really wanted such an answer, they would have asked for it or mentioned it as “further thoughts”.
Lucky in the end!
You Need to be Easier to Communicate With
One thing I realized when emailing every participant was that it was not always easy to find a way to contact them. Sometimes the “About” or “Contact” section was hidden and hard to find. Other times there only were a Twitter account and not an email on the blog. Worst of all, in a few cases there were no kind of contact information at all!
This is a big flaw I personally believe you bloggers should fix. A quick and easy way to contact the blogger is almost a must. How else would you be contacted something important or urgent? To be perfectly honest, it was a pain to contact some of you. If you do not put your email on the blog because of spam, then simply write “[at]” instead of “@” or, even better, create a picture in which your email is written! In addition, if you want to have multiple emails on your blog, make it clear which is supposed to be used for contact.
Furthermore, check your spam folders every now and then. For some people, my email got stuck in the spam folder and as a result they never saw it. But, most importantly, actually read through the actual email you receive. Having to reply that you missed a part or completely got it all wrong is not all that fun.
Just my two cents.
The Results – 58 participants
The results and replies have been divided into eight sections:
- It is okay to criticize me openly without asking for my opinion
- It is okay to criticize me openly, but you must ask for my opinion first
- It is okay to criticize me anonymously without asking for my opinion
- It is okay to criticize me anonymously, but you must ask for my opinion first
- It is not okay to criticize me
- Multiple answers
- None of the answers
- Did not want to participate
The sixth section is for people who chose multiple answers in the survey. In other words, if a person voted both 1 and 2, it will be counted as a vote in section 6 instead of what the person voted for (in this case, 1 and 2).
The seventh section is for people who did not choose any of the answers in the survey, while the eight section is for those who wished not to participate.
The order of the replies, with the exception of the anonymous ones, is in alphabetical order, going by the blog’s name with the person who answered mentioned after. The replies “without further thoughts” are placed at the top and the replies “with further thoughts” are in the middle. The anonymous replies are at the end of either “without further thoughts” or “with further thoughts” depending on the reply.
If you did not receive the survey, feel free to tell your opinion on criticism in the comment section!
And many thanks to everyone who participated in this!
1. It is okay to criticize me openly without asking for my opinion – 37 (of 58) or 64%
– Ambivalence, or is it ambiguity? – Valence
– Anime B&B – Marina
– Anime Princess! – lostty
– Avvesione’s Anime Blog – avvesione
– Desu ex Machina – kevo
– Kuuki no Puraido – Kuuki
– Kurogane’s Anime Blog – Kurogane
– Moe Sucks – E Minor
– O-New!! – Mushyrulez
– Shinde Iie Anime Blog & Review – Inushinde
– Standing on My Neck – flawfinder
– Star Crossed Anime Blog – psgels
– Whiners.pro – Dark_Sage
I believe in open, honest discussion as long as it’s constructive and avoids personal attacks. Being a veteran of creative writing workshops I’m used to getting critiqued—bluntly—and I’ve always found that to be helpful, even if it stings. Anime Diet is in the midst of a transition to a new design and our goal is to become more professional, and feedback is really important to us at this stage.
Anime Diet – gendomike
Admittedly, some negative feedback can be hard to swallow but I choose this option because it is the right thing to do. Nevertheless, I reserve my right to choose whether or not I would reply or comply to the criticism.
Canne’s anime review blog – Canne
I’m a blogger writing on the internet, I am completely open to criticism and indeed expect it – comes as part of the territory when you’re putting your opinions out there! So long as the criticism is well written and informed I don’t see an issue with it.
Caraniel’s Ramblings – Caraniel
I’m fine with criticizing my blog as long as one gives valid points in his arguments. What I dislike is people criticizing on other’s people blogs without even giving a constructive feedbacks.
deluscar – Kai
#1, but with the caveat “don’t be a dick.”
I’m actually flattered when people take the time to read and criticize my thoughts. But just because I disagree with Marrower about anime doesn’t mean that Marrower is an idiot, that he should quit blogging or that he should jump off a bridge and die. Criticizing people respectfully and constructfully is an art that everyone should strive to master. Good criticism strives to build people up rather than tearing them down (unless they are bringing other people down with them, but if you think this is the case with anime blogging you are taking this way too seriously).
It may also be helpful to distinguish between criticizing people’s ideas and criticizing people themselves. In my recent post where I criticized bloggers’ writing, I made certain to ask for permission because this could easily offend people (although I think I managed to criticize in a way that wouldn’t offend anyone anyway). When I am disagreeing with an idea in a post I don’t bother to ask for permission, since I’m certain the other person will be excited to engage in discussion.
I actually tend to find it rude when people criticize others “anonymously”. Unless you are talking about some very widely held idea (and even then, it’s good to give examples) it’s usually pretty clear who you’re talking about since our community isn’t that large. It just feels like by doing things “anonymously” you are trying to talk about someone behind their back.
Draggle’s Anime Blog – Draggle
It is okay if anyone criticizes me openly without asking for my opinion. It’s their own blog; they can say whatever they want. I have no right to say otherwise. Even if the criticism is unfounded or ridiculous, there is no need to take it down. To take a critique down is plain silly. It’s someone else’s content, not yours.
Going Commando on Anime – Trollkastel
Yes, it’s okay to criticize my blog openly and anonymously with or without asking for my opinion. People are allowed to have opinions about my blog, criticism is always useful. I don’t take anime blogging too seriously, but I’ve learned a lot from the experience. Harsh criticism is always hard to deal with but there’s always something in there that can help you improve or at least change your perspective about things.
Hachimitsu – Mira
I dont really mind as long as the criticisms are constructive
Illogicalzen – Illogicalzen
I have no illusions that everyone likes my blog. For those who don’t, I have no right to ask them to be quiet. Their thoughts and words are their own, and who am I to ask them to be quiet? As such, people are free to criticize my blog or me all they want without my consent. There is also a reason I chose my blog to be public, and even promote it. Doing so necessarily invites criticism, and to not be accepting of that seems silly. Finally, criticism can be helpful at times, even if they are simply inflammatory. Talk is always (usually) good. ^ ^
Listless Ink – Yi
Since the Internet is ultimately a place where people can say whatever they want, I don’t feel someone needs to ask my permission to criticize my blog. To me it’s the same as asking the author of a book or the creator of a TV show if it’s alright for you to criticize their work on your web site – nobody does that. I do think, however, that if they want to argue against your criticisms they should be able to (through comments or reply posts or whatever). If someone criticizing my blog wants to inform me of the post and invite me to argue back, that’s great, but it’s not an obligation. If I happen to come across the post and want to argue against it, fine, and if I never know the post exists, that’s fine too.
Mainichi Anime Yume – Yumeka
I don’t get why someone would have an issue with someone else criticizing their work. It’s just blogging, and none of the stuff we do is infallible. If someone doesn’t dig it, I don’t see the point in getting upset at the difference in opinion.
At the same time I think said criticizing can be a little too serious and nasty. Like I said, this is just blogging. Thinking there’s a “right” way to do it is absurd, and being an asshole about it is even more ridiculous. It’s one thing to say “Hey, maybe you should do this instead of that” and it’s another to be Whiners.pro
Mecha Guignol – Landon
While I prefer constructive criticism over negative criticism, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I can’t stop them. You and anyone else can say whatever you want about my blog.
Nopy’s Blog – Nopy
If we want to be better at this anime blog thing we must allow and value criticism. Of course, in such things, moderation is ideal–let’s not give into group think but be constructive and helpful. Lead by example, etc. Video.
Omonomono – Omo
Feedback is important to me, so if someone has an honest critique of the blog, then they should feel free to critique. And when I mean honest, I mean actual critique and nothing silly, untrue, and unreadable. Kind of like how we criticize a lot of our entertainment, we are along those lines as well. We just don’t get paid to blog though, we just blog for fun. For me, having fun and getting better as a writer is key, so criticism is something I don’t mind. Just remember to have tough skin if you get some negative, legit criticism…and also remember words aren’t supposed to hurt, especially on the internet.
Organization Anti-Social Geniuses – Justin
I don’t have a problem with it at all, although I’d like a link so that I can find the criticism and either take it to heart or respond. Otherwise, it’s not useful at all to me or the blog and it’s just people talking smack behind your back.
Sea Slugs! – Kabitzin
A bit of a broad question to be honest. What if you’re making a post criticizing sexism in anime fandom reviewers, and cite someone’s blog post as an example? That’s a bit different from writing a post relentlessly bashing some 13 year old’s awful writing on their self-insert Vampire Knight fanfiction. Of course it’s “OK” to criticize anyone without permission, but it falls under the boundaries of etiquette and good taste like anything else.
The Cart Driver – Scamp
Communication is to me, a form of artistic expression and as such best blooms in the light of constructive criticism. So opinions on the things I do are generally welcome. Non-constructive criticism is a bit different but because I understand that the things I write neither feed me nor are they vital to my core identity, I will respond to it in whatever manner most amuses me. I choose to be respectful to others and hope they return the favor but I’m under no illusion that we are obligated to do so.
Black Hole Heart – Shane
I appreciate criticisms, even if they are initially hurtful, because they will help me improve my writing or my blog’s presentation in the long run.
Through the Frozen Glass – Myst
I am fine with people hating on my blog. If anything, I will take whatever feedback I can get. I do hope that they let me know that they are criticizing me (even if it is after the criticism). In other words, I prefer to be mocked face to face and not behind my back on some obscure IRC channel or something. Having said that, that is only a preference. Feel free to say whatever you want about my blog. I have no real right to stop you. :P
Toxic Muffin – Reiseng
I can take a good bashing so it’s okay to criticize me. What’s important (especially for me) is that the criticisms are actually good.
Traveler on Revenge – Ahelo
I’m putting something out for public consumption. If someone wants to criticize it, then I don’t need to grant them permission to do so. It would seem rather hypocritical to require that since that is exactly what I am doing by running an anime blog.
Unmei Kaihen – Shinmaru
People seem to be under the impression that criticizing is a bad thing. However, that’s a fallacy. Lauding and criticizing someone/something are on equal terms, neither is worse than the other one. It’s not even about about constructive or productive criticism – the only thing that counts is that you’re in the right when it comes to criticizing. It’s just like Reich-Ranicki said: Critics aren’t murderers, all they do is tell you about someone’s death. Whether you criticize people, anime or something entirely different, it doesn’t matter at all. As long as you’re in the right, you can even take criticsm to a personal level (which is different from unfounded insulting, just so you know~). Criticism uses arguments and logical thinking as a weapon – to undermine these is not only cowardly but also very, very shallow.
ZakuAbumi’s Anime-Blog – ZakuAbumi
I don’t mind constructive criticism as long it’s helpful and productive to the blogger. However, telling people to kill themselves or jump off the cliff is never the right way to do it and I’m against that kind of stuff along with usage of cuss/racist words.
Freedom of speech applies here, granted that the criticism is valid and not some veiled form of slander or whatnot.
I’m always open to criticism but I prefer it to be coming from someone I know and trust then just some random anonymous asshole on the internet. In most cases I can take criticism and use it to improve my blog which is always a good thing.
Ace Railgun – AceRailgun
I don’t mind people critiquing me–anything constructive is always welcome!–but I like to get a heads-up about it before they do so. I can’t imagine what it would feel like if I was scrolling through my reader and found a post critiquing my blog without knowing about it beforehand. That’s basically my only rule regarding this kind of thing. If you have something to say about my blog, let me know! I welcoming opportunities for improvement.
Subdued Fangirling – Muse
I don’t have problem for other people to tell me I’m wrong, but the way they do it, matters to me. Being put on the spot isn’t easy for anyone, I think, much more when you don’t expect it. Prior agreement avoids unnecessary friction within the community as well. If someone exercises criticism for my improvement, it’d only be polite to inform me directly. Otherwise, it’s clear that the intentions are self-centered and most probably mean.
The Beautiful World – FoxyLadyAyame
I’m gonna go with option 2.
Well I’m all for receiving constructive criticism (constructive being the operative word there, so preferably something beyond “lol, look at how crap this blog is- which has been said, fyi!), but when it hasn’t at all been hinted at that I’m looking for such a thing, it can come across as being holier-than thou… It can also be quite hurtful when I may simply be happy the way things are currently- there I am just minding my own business “Jumping jellyfish, Batman- I got more than 50 views today!” then, wam, bam “Your blog’s a mess! You need to do this, this and this…” and so on… So please, give me criticism, just make sure to ask my permission beforehand, you don’t want to look like a jerk, or make me cry, do you?
Watashi wa bucho!! – Ty-chama
– Anon #3
– Anon #4
Of the answers you listed, I’d go with choice 3. I’m less accepting of criticism if the speaker is anonymous, but the difference between standing by your name and remaining anonymous isn’t where I draw the line. Anything blog-related is fair game for criticism. Personal criticism that isn’t blog criticism is off limits.
Baka-Raptor – Baka-Raptor
Anyone can criticize me for any reason, anonymously or not – freedom of speech and all, you know? I would prefer, though, that if a person is really offended or angered by my blog, that they contact me through email or by commenting on the offending post. If a person wants to criticize for the sake of creating an entry on his or her own blog, then I welcome that also, but hopefully via a post that is constructive. This has happened to me at least once before, and I really enjoyed the back and forth that writer and I had.
That said, I’ve been critical of other blogs before, particularly in the preview that TRazor and I did for the Aniblog Tourney
(1, 2, 3 //Marow). I attempted to be objective (and kind) as I judged, but it was as controversial as anything I’ve written.
Also, I’ve been criticized pretty hurtfully on Twitter before by bloggers I admired (and still do) – I didn’t like that it happened behind my back. Of course, do as you wish, but I hope that I won’t act the same way, though I admit it’s difficult to avoid criticism on Twitter.
Beneath the Tangles – TWWK
I’ve always seen my blog and its comments section as an “open book” in terms of accepting comments – as long as it isn’t spam anything goes in terms of comments be they good or bad, although if I disagree with someone I’m not going to hesitate to tell them! While I’m happy to listen to anonymous criticism, I think any comments are always likely to be received in a more considered fashion if they come from a known, named source, not only out of politeness but also to allow you to gauge the source and why they might hold the opinion that they do.
Hanners’ Anime ‘Blog – Hanners
I guess to a certain extent, all kinds of criticism are useful feedback. Even if someone made a remark about your blog that does not justify what you blog is about or what your opinions really are, it helps the author to see how their blog is perceived and interpreted by random visitors.
Being criticized openly is much better than being criticized anonymously, because it gives it more credibility and a better chance for the author to respond. Anonymous criticism might be a little harmful because it might sound like a “general” opinion of many people, even if it’s just one, but this should not be the reason why there shouldn’t be anonymous criticism. We all need to protect free speech on the net, right?
However, bashing is NOT okay, especially public bashing (doing it openly). And there is a fine line between the two. I feel that the main difference is that while criticism is still mostly a logical opinion, bashing is a series of remarks that would leave harmful after-effects that would ruin the reputation or traffic for the victim. If it all means the same to people, then those criticisms are not okay.
It’s not that I like it, though. I’ve been criticized before and it made me feel shitty for the rest of the day. But I took it as a learning point and try to improve from there.
One Minute of Dusk – du5k
4. It is okay to criticize me anonymously, but you must ask for my opinion first – 0 (of 58) or 0%
5. It is not okay to criticize me – 0 (of 58) or 0%
6. Multiple answers – 3 (of 58) or 5%
I don’t know. I’m fine with my friends criticizing me. I know that if even if they have problems with me or my blog, they still like at least one of us enough to hang out, and that’s enough for me. But for people I am unacquainted with…I just don’t know. Like, I honestly don’t know how I’d react to some random person criticizing me/my blog. I mean, if they did, I’d probably prefer it if they *didn’t* ask me anything, ’cause then I wouldn’t find out about it. But that’s sort of dodging the question…I guess I have two answers.
If it’s someone I know, one of my friends, then 1. is my answer.
If it’s someone I *don’t* know, then probably 5. would be my answer, because you can hate me, but that doesn’t mean I want to tell me that to my face.
John Sato – John Sato
If forced to only choose one of those answers specifically, I would say 1 comes closest to my opinion – although technically I guess #3 is also true. Let me explain in “further thoughts”.
Of course anyone can criticize anyone they want, anonymously or otherwise – that’s freedom of speech and self-evident (and it’s why I allow anonymous comments at LiA). However, one thing I see is that the rise of the internet has also given rise to a lot of people who use the anonymity it provides to say things that in different circumstances would be considered rude, offensive or just plain stupid. Certainly no one needs to ask me for my opinion before they say anything. But I think the discussion is healthier when people don’t hide behind the anonymous tag and stand behind whatever criticism they’re providing. If you’re making honest criticism with the intent to help the blogger get better, why wouldn’t you want them to know who you are?
Lost in America – Guardian Enzo
It is okay to criticize me openly/anonymously without asking for my opinion. So #1 and #3.
I like constructive criticizem but for the most part I don’t give a crap what people think and will just do what I want anyway. (Only friends have any real pull when it comes to these kind of things for me)
If the person is going to be a huge douchebag just because they don’t agree with my anime tastes that is what really annoys me about these kind of things (happens a lot…). Either way though chii laughs and has fun because that is what chii does this for.
Oishii Anime – chii
I choose 0: Criticize me all you want as long as you trackback to my post so I can see it. No point in criticism unless the person being criticized gets to see it.
BUT I do take offense if people criticize me anonymously. If you’re going to criticize, do it in the open, not behind a mask. That’s annoying and pretty rude.
flomu – flomu
Since I really couldn’t decide on which number to pick, I’ll just submit my thoughts:
I don’t really mind it when people criticize me anonymously, because it could be referring to anyone and I’m fairly certain other people could have the same traits/weaknesses as I do. However, if people wish to criticize me openly, I’m completely fine, as long as the criticism is moderated (ie “His writing is totally shit) and that they ask my permission first. Though I certainly appreciate criticism, either good or bad, I’m kind of “shakey” whether if I want the criticism to be truly public. I stand by my work and I love to get feedback, so I don’t want people to abuse my good-heartedness on accepting criticism.
KANPAI! – Sabishii Miruku
I don’t think this is one of those questions that could be summed up with just those five options. I tend to take a pragmatic approach that I really can’t stop anyone from criticizing me or my blog whether that is out in the open or anonymously. Neither do I think I should be able to stop people from doing so because people generally have the freedom to be idiots on the internet if they want to. The key point is about filtering the useful criticism from the rest and responding to the rest with respect as much as possible. For the blog without a lot of activity in terms of email or comments, this is pretty easy to do. I’d imagine with larger blogs, it’s more of a moderating job if possible.
Going back to your original original question, since I’m publishing into a public forum with comments enable I can’t really think about that question as I’m writing. I could turn off comments which would basically be acknowledging that I’m taking option 5, but I can’t stop someone from running off to Twitter and deciding to go after me.
Lower Mid-Table – Emperor J
8. Did not want to participate – 2 (of 58) or 3%
Two persons did not want to participate.
I cannot say how many did not reply at all, since some emails were sent via their blog (which means I do not have a record of it). I can, however, confirm it is at least six persons did not reply.