Scientists just have to sack the fuck up on this, and let go of the “he was meaaannnn when he told me my analysis was flawed/writing was shit/control was irrelevant”.
I forwarded the Specific Aims page of a grant I am currently working on to one of my colleagues to get some input. His input was a list of about a dozen things that need to be improved, and how to improve them. It was all just purely factual, but no punches pulled, none of this fucking molly-coddling “it was reaaaallly good, but could use some minor improvement”:
(1) blah, blah sounds stupid; write it like bleh, bleh.
(2) reviewers are gonna kick your ass for yadda, yadda; get rid of it.
(3) x, y, z makes it sound like you don’t even believe your own bullshit; change as follows
My immediate reaction to his e-mail was, “Fuck you! These specific aims kick fucking ass! And what the fuck do you know, anyway?” This is everyone’s immediate reaction to substantial accurate criticism. Having experienced this a fuckthousand kajillion times, it took me only about 100 milliseconds to sack the fuck up and feel extremely grateful for his penetrating insights.