Category Archives: Words Have Meanings

Critics

Two types of people are called critics.  Only one deserves the title.

The first type offers insult without substance.  She’s the faceless heckler up in the nosebleeds telling you how much you suck.  This person is not a critic, she’s a troll, and can and should be ignored.

The second type of person, a true critic, offers specific insights into where a creator came up short in either design or execution.  This is a valuable service, though not nearly as enjoyable to be on the receiving end of as a massage or a haircut.  A thoughtful, erudite critic can help a creator identify and shore up weaknesses and produce better work.  For this, creators and fans alike should thank the critic; like the law, he should be loved a little.

Dismissing trolls is vital.  Doing the same to all critics is hubris.

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Excuses vs. Explanations

There’s a difference between excuses and explanations.  It’s a fine one, often ignored in anger or washed away in obfuscation, but it’s there.

An excuse involves something that could have been accounted for with commonsense prior proper planning.  It’s a post hoc rationalization for laziness or sloppiness.  Excuses tend to piss people off, and rightfully so.

Explanations, on the other hand, involve circumstances that no reasonable amount of foresight or planning could have helped.  Explanations are rooted in the unavoidable, in the reality that humans have great but still limited control over our environments and the workings of cause and effect around us.  No good can come from finding fault with a person offering a legitimate explanation.

A good leader therefore punishes excuses, accepts explanations, and knows the difference between the two.  A person who doesn’t see a distinction is a tyrant.

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