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Oct 10 2013

Dealing with Public Criticism

We’re coming up on Skepticon again soon. Not only will I be there, but I will be running another Friday workshop. This year’s topic: dealing with public criticism. You know you want to see that–or the reactions to that on the conference hashtag.

I kid, but it’s true that most people have only a rough idea how to handle criticism from friends, much less criticism that turns the public eye on them. People who handle public criticism really well are rare enough that they get our attention. Still, criticism isn’t going to stop coming from the religious, from people whose other ideas we debunk, or from each other. So we’ll take an hour and work through some of the considerations and skills needed to deal with it.

Preparing for the workshop, I found that there aren’t a lot of good resources out there on the topic. There are a bunch of link- and SEO-bait short articles. There are a couple good, longer articles aimed at businesses. There are what appear to be a couple of good chapters in Online Reputation Management for Dummies, but they aren’t comprehensive, and again, the book is mostly aimed at businesses. So between now and Skepticon, I’ll be putting a lot of my writing time and energy into doing a brain dump on the topic. If it turns out to be good, it may become something more formal after the conference.

Either way, come to Skepticon! Register if you haven’t already. Donate if you can. Donate now and double your donation through two matching grants that have have just been announced. Buy some of their custom dinosaur chocolates, perfect gifts for all those fall birthdays.

Then show up for my workshop, and we’ll talk about criticism. It’ll be fun. You’ll see.

2 comments

  1. 1
    Jedda

    I think there are problems with this, but I thought you might be interested to know what a school was telling students about handling criticism. This is an ‘Idea Sheet’ for Utah State University. http://www.usu.edu/arc/idea_sheets/pdf/handling_criticism.pdf

  2. 2
    hjhornbeck

    Jedda @1:

    This is an ‘Idea Sheet’ for Utah State University.

    It’s problematic. The sheet suggests the majority of criticism is negative and intended to tear down someone, but without any evidence to back that up. No mention is made that we tend to take arguments personally, and that what we think of as attacking may not necessarily be so.

    What about “criticism” as in “logical counter-argument?” That’s the typical meaning of it, at least in my circles, and yet this sheet has no suggestions on handling that.

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