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Criticism means stating that something isn't as good as it could be. Criticism can be meant as:

Independently from the intent, organisations and people can interpret criticism as being fair (typically answered by talking about improvements) or sniping (typically answered by defensive statements). Joe Random is seldom eloquent or constructive, so he is met with shields up. This approach is unproductive and escalates the conflict.

Therefore, transform criticism into feedback. More strongly, CriticismIsFeedback.

This means:

Controlling criticism is easy in traditional institutions and in classical mass media. In an online community, the act of controlling criticism is often extremely damaging for public relations. When a GodKing attempts to ban all criticism of herself, she loses a lot of social capital, and the community is fatally weakened. The powerful ought to remember that PowerIsCriticism. And more to the point, quelling criticism leads to discontent, a burgeoning AngryCloud amongst TheCollective, and the potential that a flash LynchMob might come for you.

Most people don't like being criticised. As children, we are criticised very often and we don't like it. When we grow up, we find that criticism is often justified and that we may learn from it.

Sometimes direct criticism is not possible; another possibible type of criticism is CollaborativeCriticism.

Compare: Wiki:OnlySayThingsThatCanBeHeard

Many authorities have formed the habit of controlling criticism, and suffer by trying to apply the same techniques to online communities. Even where criticism is met with engagement, nevertheless criticism is not valued, and the emphasis is on reducing criticism, not on solving its underlying causes.

This is the message from the online communities to large organizations and institutions:

"If you want to be successful tomorrow you must get over the CriticismIsFeedback hurdle. If you do it soon you will have the additional bonus of an innovator. If you don't, you won't be able to improve your system as fast as others and lag behind your competitors."

But an organization will not see it this clearly. It is rare that an employee will feel like a founder. Lots of people may be envolved in decisions, that are far from the community experience. A lot of [[1] [resources]] may be put into a project, that hide the effect of suppressing criticism for a time. Consultants will hesitate to point at communication deficiencies of team members.

Institutions build up a defense of protective measures to secure the valuable process they embody. This protection means that there is a border between insiders and outsiders. Any influence from the outside is reduced to stabilize the institution. All this is ok.

Going a few steps further the institution becomes insane. Insiders will stick to hierarchical order and mind their own business. The leader wants and will hear only good news. All this is still ok, when it is a private institution. But sometimes we talk about a ministry or an university that is financed by taxes and should serve the public. Such institutions should continuously improve and properly react to feedback. -- HelmutLeitner, anon



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