Monthly Archive: May 2010

May 25 2010

Creating Genius

Skepchick Stacey has taken a look at Richard Lynn’s claims, based on IQ testing, that male geniuses outnumber female geniuses 8 to 1. It’s a good post, worth reading in its entirety. I’m going to pull out just one piece of it briefly to talk about the simple math behind the test itself. IQ tests …

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May 17 2010

Reconstructing Criticism: Accuracy

I frequently call accuracy its own virtue, and I even generally mean it. Sure, it’s possible to overreach semantic agreement or shared perspective and descend into pedantry or get all persnickety. However, short of that point, accuracy conveys inherent advantages. This is particularly true when it comes to making criticism constructive. Structuring your message with …

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May 14 2010

Lighter Fare

I have some longer pieces to write, so I’m taking a break from the Reconstructing Criticism series for a couple of days. Besides, it’s sunny out, and no one wants to spend their weekend reading about how much work it is to make criticism work. In the meantime, here are a couple of interesting posts …

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May 13 2010

Reconstructing Criticism: Behavior

This post will be a bit of a departure. To date, I’ve tried to talk about constructive criticism in positive terms, to focus on what to do rather than what to avoid. That gets more difficult the more misunderstood a concept is, and keeping the focus of criticism on behavior is one of the more …

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May 12 2010

Reconstructing Criticism: Specifics

A couple of weeks ago, someone criticized a post of mine, highlighting the problem of women’s sexuality being treated differently than men’s, for not being specific with regards to who was talking about whose sexuality. Now, there was a little problem in that this person was reacting to a repost with all the links (providing …

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May 11 2010

Reconstructing Criticism: Praise

Praise might seem like an incongruous topic for a discussion about criticism, but for constructive criticism, praise is hugely useful. One of the big differences between constructive and destructive criticism is the idea that the person being criticized is worth building up instead of tearing down. There isn’t a better way to reinforce that idea …

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May 10 2010

No More Stormy Weather

And no more Lena Horne.

May 10 2010

Reconstructing Criticism: Timing

You may recall from the introduction to this series that constructive criticism offers positive recommendations for the future. This has implications for the timing of offering criticism. Criticizing an event in progress is often futile, both because it’s frequently difficult to stop or redirect a process in motion and because ongoing events will distract from …

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May 09 2010

Reconstructing Criticism: Transparency

One of the hallmarks of constructive criticism is that it is presented in such a way that the recipient understands the criticism is about their behavior, that it isn’t personal. However, any group of people brought together by mutual concerns are going to develop personal history. Some things will be personal. If you’re delivering criticism …

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May 08 2010

Reconstructing Criticism

How do you build up a movement with destructive criticism? Yeah, that’s what I thought. But that doesn’t stop the makers of sites like You’re Not Helping from going flat-out negative, even when they’re offering “praise.” It doesn’t stop people from critiquing on Twitter, despite the sheer genius it would take to be both constructive …

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