Constructive Criticism > Combative Commenters
Websites with unmoderated comments eventually become live catalogs of all the hate and anger in the world. Hiding behind avatars, commenters feel they are free to say what they probably wouldn’t say to another person’s face. Rage-filled comments are anything but constructive.
The web has so much potential to be a place where educated, well-intentioned people share constructive criticism with one another. Think about the potential! When someone shares an idea or a piece of writing, that person could ask for and access feedback from hundreds of thousands of readers! We could grow as a society! We could establish mutually-beneficial relationships!
“Bashing” people is easy. Providing insightful feedback is obviously more challenging and takes more time/effort.
However, for those up to the challenge, website founder Sterling Mace has created Better Me, an online communication platform that enables “coworkers, classmates, and friends to have the important conversations that even the most open communicators are tempted to avoid”.
After hearing about Better Me from someone I follow on Twitter, I signed up for my free account. I haven’t yet used all the features, but I’m eager to experiment with anyone willing to participate.
With Better Me, I can ask my e-mail contacts to provide anonymous feedback about my performance in work, social, personal, and school settings. In addition, I can request feedback about a particular event or situation. I can also include a survey. If my contacts decide to sign up for Better Me, I can offer them feedback as well.
Once I start giving and receiving feedback, my home page will show me statistics (pie charts, bar graphs, etc.) about how “useful” I am and how well I’m performing in various areas of my life. I can save and return to feedback and then track my progress as I try to improve my shortcomings and grow as a person.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone took the time to offer constructive, valuable feedback with tools like Better Me? However, a person needs to feel comfortable looking into him/herself before he/she can help someone else become better. If we’re all willing to do the dirty, uncomfortable work of introspection, we might be able to make the Internet community a more positive, welcoming place.
(Photo by Peter Sheik)