IndustryHey, Lose the Pedantic Negativity

Treehouse
writes on April 29, 2009

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Something happened yesterday that really frustrated me. 37signals launched the re-design of their site and almost immediately, a blog post appeared (from someone who I respect) that said:

Dear 37signals — You can have this one for free. – Love [named removed] 🙂

a:hover {opacity: 0.75;}

The boys at 37signals have clearly forgotten they are designing for an interactive medium and have instead redesigned with a great looking site that’s about as flat and static as you can get.

Want to know why he said that? Because they didn’t have a hover state on their links. No “Hey guys, great re-design. Have you noticed you don’t have a hover state on the links?” or “Love the new design, only one small tweak would be to add a hover state on the link.”

It’s the smug elitism that bothers me. The celebratory negativity just isn’t adding anything.

It’s as if we’re all just waiting to attack instead of encouraging creativity and *politely* mentioning tweaks that could be considered.

I’m fairly thick skinned and I can take negative comments, but a lot of creative people can’t. They would rather not blog/tweet/etc than be publicly criticized. I think we should, as an industry, consider that we’re stifling creativity and innovation by the band-wagon bashing that often occurs when folks launch something new.

Tipster beta

We recently launched Tipster and while it was in beta I saw this Tweet:

“lol at http://tipster.carsonified.com … its now up again and yes I agree its particularly pants”

Not sure what the yardstick was for measuring it and concluding it’s “particularly pants” but the comment isn’t helpful whatsoever. If it is “pants” why not give us your idea for improving it? We built Tipster in three days in Django, for fun, and the first thing someone does is laugh at us. What does that say about our industry?

We should all welcome constructive criticism, but I just don’t understand the point of purely negative commentary.

If there’s one thing that’s going to kill the creativity and fun of web design and development, it’s people ripping each other apart for a bit of a laugh.

Conclusion?

If we could offer constructive criticism, instead of quick-fire negativity, then we’ll see a lot more innovation and creativity – because people aren’t afraid of launching something new.

There’s a great piece in the NY Times on this very subject. I highly recommend a quick read.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/cybertoad

186 Responses to “Hey, Lose the Pedantic Negativity”

  1. astrology, vedic astrology on March 29, 2011 at 9:55 am said:

    very good blog & I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks.

  2. Im not Afraid I totally agree. Very well said, Ryan

  3. Можно и подискутировать по этому поводу … 🙂

  4. Я практически никогда не сомневался в Вашем интеллектуальном уровне, но поймите, не все такие как Вы. 🙂

  5. We built Tipster in three days in Django"

    Is there some kind of Carsonified gospel that says you can't take longer than a week to build an app? Mattinator, Twiggy and Tipster all come off as being completely unfinished because nobody spent any real time on them. I'm sure your guys are capable of great work, so why not give them longer than a week to make something you can all be proud of?

  6. you are right ryan, constructive criticism is such a great way to criticize web designs. you just have to make sure that this kind of criticism can be understood by the one whom you are criticizing.

  7. I think it doesn't matter for those who have thick skin, but it does for those who don't, it hurts a lot and they afraid to do something new. And I think this is really a bad part of society and surely its poor social skills.

  8. I think it doesn't matter for those who have thick skin, but it does for those who don't, it hurts a lot and they afraid to do something new. And I think this is really a bad part of society and surely its poor social skills.

  9. I think it doesn't matter for those who have thick skin, but it does for those who don't, it hurts a lot and they afraid to do something new. And I think this is really a bad part of society and surely its poor social skills.

  10. I totally agree. Very well said, Ryan.

  11. Web designers need thick skins. I get put down all the time: am I bothered by it? Not in the slightest.

  12. Negativity is easy. It is less risky than being positive.

    People, just like politicians, can always find reasons something shouldn't be done, can't be done or won't be done. Just substitute "work" for "done" depending on the subject.

  13. "We built Tipster in three days in Django, for fun, and the first thing someone does is laugh at us. "

    What did you expect? 😉

  14. The thing with this industry is that people always believe they can do a better job, even if they can't. People think, "I could do that, therefore I could have done a better job". I think the phrase, it's harder than it looks applies a lot to the web.

  15. You have a very valid point, why are we all so quick to criticise when what we should do is encourage.

    http://www.salefor.us
    http://www.tvforpc.us

  16. You have a very valid point, why are we all so quick to criticise when what we should do is encourage.

    http://www.salefor.us
    http://www.tvforpc.us

  17. Nice gift, I think.

  18. Storm in a teacup springs to mind.

  19. siirtliler hakkında guncel haberler sunan yerel haber sitesi

  20. I wouldn't say that the narky tone of voice is industry-specific – cf the article on Anne Applebaum mentioned by Ryan.. everyone's at it!

    In agreement with everyone who's commented here (whose comments I actually read, rather than just posting my own blah) – and isn't there also an issue with opacity not being backwards-compatible? Can't remember…

  21. I completely agree, it also makes our industry look bad if our people snipe at each other in public.

  22. Well this is very interesting indeed.Would love to read a little more of this. Great post. Thanks for the heads-up auto insurance quotes

  23. Well this is very interesting indeed.Would love to read a little more of this. Great post. Thanks for the heads-up auto insurance quotes

  24. Great post, I totally agree: this pedantic negativity sometimes kills not only innovation and creativity, but also the motivation which is needed to improve a product continuously. Sometimes, it's no fun at all to listen to the voices out there.

  25. @Andrew Ingram – I don't think there is anything to read into, its apparent. What is also apparent in the negative comment(s) is an inherent insecurity that is expressed as faux-authoritative critique. Anytime someone feels threatened, even on a subconscious level, they attempt to take the threat down a notch and this is a classic case of that. I'm sure the person who made the comment would deny it up and down but what would really excite me is to see someone retract a comment like that and acknowledge it was an inappropriate way to approach it. Making an apology like that takes a lot of courage and speaks very well to a person's character, and I think gains that person a lot of respect in the end.

  26. Chris Q on May 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm said:

    Don't allow the negativity to drag you down on a personal level. I know this kind of "open" negative feedback is not so common as "anonymous" negative feedback – but I see it rising. Like a web version of road rage – everyone is automatically aggressive. We seem to be going through "ugly" times on an inter-personal level.

    In a medium where the number of potential viewers is vast – some negativity is almost to be expected.

    I don't know if any others have had this – but in the last couple of months I have had clients ask me to remove/disable comments and feedback .

    They supply their legal required email and contact details and said – and I paraphrase of course – screw the f***in immature kiddies and their silly comments or bot junk.

    When it starts to undermine the "industry" – then is when it worries me.

    And do you know what – I used to try and be an apologist and say – well we try to filter blah blah blah.. It's just a minority … Now – I tend to agree with them! But what can you do?

  27. You obviously don't live in the UK like I do 🙂

  28. You obviously don't live in the UK like I do 🙂

  29. I worked on one project a couple of years ago where I was training a user who was pretty scared by the web and when she hovered on a link and it changed colour she jumped and asked me “err, what have I done, I didn't do anything!”.

    She was worried she had started a process or something by accident.

    It was a perfectly valid response as it was not something she had experienced before.

    The thing that crossed my mind is given how much A/B Testing 37signals do, they may well have found that the static links with no hover get more clicks. Their products are certainly targeted to be easy to use by anyone, not just the tech savvy.

    Obviously we don't know, but it is the first thought that popped into my head based on this experience.

  30. I worked on one project a couple of years ago where I was training a user who was pretty scared by the web and when she hovered on a link and it changed colour she jumped and asked me “err, what have I done, I didn't do anything!”. She was worried she had started a process or something by accident. It was a perfectly valid response as it was not something she had experienced before.The thing that crossed my mind is given how much A/B Testing 37signals do, they may well have found that the static links with no hover get more clicks. Their products are certainly targeted to be easy to use by anyone, not just the tech savvy.Obviously we don't know, but it is the first thought that popped into my head based on this experience.

  31. Sonburn on April 30, 2009 at 1:14 pm said:

    Likewise, I thought something being “pants” was a good thing.

  32. Ryan,

    While I do agree with the fact that many designers these days just critique without an actual style or voice of their own, I have to admit this post puts a sour taste in my mouth. For one, I somewhat agree with 37signals having a very flat, overly basic approach to design and while they do make millions, I don't think it's the direction good design should be going. For two, and you may place me in the same party as that negative person for saying this, but this article seems highly contrived and almost leaning towards suggesting a certain behavior or ethical approach to Web 2.0. Perhaps you intend for this, but with the rest of the extremely valuable articles I read on thinkvitamin and your other sites, including attending FOWD, I guess I worry you took your power as the boss of this site to put up a personal defensive rant against one comment about 37signals.

  33. Ryan,While I do agree with the fact that many designers these days just critique without an actual style or voice of their own, I have to admit this post puts a sour taste in my mouth. For one, I somewhat agree with 37signals having a very flat, overly basic approach to design and while they do make millions, I don't think it's the direction good design should be going. For two, and you may place me in the same party as that negative person for saying this, but this article seems highly contrived and almost leaning towards suggesting a certain behavior or ethical approach to Web 2.0. Perhaps you intend for this, but with the rest of the extremely valuable articles I read on thinkvitamin and your other sites, including attending FOWD, I guess I worry you took your power as the boss of this site to put up a personal defensive rant against one comment about 37signals.

  34. This is an excellent article. I've found myself trying to avoid interacting with 'the community' often because of the childish, self-serving nature of these bashing sessions.

  35. This is an excellent article. I've found myself trying to avoid interacting with 'the community' often because of the childish, self-serving nature of these bashing sessions.

  36. What have you been smoking, dude!?

    You agree that the 37S site lacks an interactive feel and you agree that this is to the site's detriment. How, then can you not agree that the suggestion that [name] put forward would quickly and simply solve this problem? It would. In modern browsers anyway.

    Snide and demeaning? Hardly, but even if they were worded with a lot more negativity it wouldn't mean that the proposed solution would be any less valid.

  37. What have you been smoking, dude!?You agree that the 37S site lacks an interactive feel and you agree that this is to the site's detriment. How, then can you not agree that the suggestion that [name] put forward would quickly and simply solve this problem? It would. In modern browsers anyway.Snide and demeaning? Hardly, but even if they were worded with a lot more negativity it wouldn't mean that the proposed solution would be any less valid.

  38. I agree with you. Criticism that's non-constructive doesn't help anyone. Whenever I give someone's work a critic, I try to temper it by noting what I think could be changed to make it better and also commenting on what they did right.

    Anyway, the world would be better with a little less negativity floating around. I don't people realize the impact of their negativity.

  39. I agree with you. Criticism that's non-constructive doesn't help anyone. Whenever I give someone's work a critic, I try to temper it by noting what I think could be changed to make it better and also commenting on what they did right. Anyway, the world would be better with a little less negativity floating around. I don't people realize the impact of their negativity.

  40. Carson, your work is impressive. You don't need to acknowledge to the people who bash it with negative or critical comments. It's not that web pple are mean spirited or inconsiderate, it's that they are citizens of the web, the very same that criticize Ms. Applebaum in the article you reference.As for you commenters… “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all” — Jacqui Rivait

  41. Carson, your work is impressive. You don't need to acknowledge to the people who bash it with negative or critical comments. It's not that web pple are mean spirited or inconsiderate, it's that they are citizens of the web, the very same that criticize Ms. Applebaum in the article you reference.

    As for you commenters… “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all” — Jacqui Rivait

  42. Hey! Let's get over the pedantic negativity and focus on good design. Then the world and the internet would be better places.

  43. Hey! Let's get over the pedantic negativity and focus on good design. Then the world and the internet would be better places.

  44. I agree completely! This “pedantic negativity” is particularly harmful, as it encourages the community to continue making comments with the same tone. If someone has feedback, it should be phrased in a constructive fashion so that the receiver is more likely to respond positively to it.

  45. I agree completely! This “pedantic negativity” is particularly harmful, as it encourages the community to continue making comments with the same tone. If someone has feedback, it should be phrased in a constructive fashion so that the receiver is more likely to respond positively to it.

  46. PatMcAdle on April 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm said:

    What a pile of shite.

    </FACETIOUSNESS>

  47. PatMcAdle on April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm said:

    What a pile of shite. </FACETIOUSNESS>

  48. Don't panic, just putting a clear end to any dismissive language before it contaminated the conversation. I took no offense whatsoever.

    I remember Matt appearing on the Techcrunch homepage, which must have been great publicity. I also remember that Ryan guest-authored the article.

    I'll not be at FOWD but for absolutely any other occasion, beers can be exchanged. Also, good luck with your presentation in Amsterdam.

  49. Don't panic, just putting a clear end to any dismissive language before it contaminated the conversation. I took no offense whatsoever.I remember Matt appearing on the Techcrunch homepage, which must have been great publicity. I also remember that Ryan guest-authored the article.I'll not be at FOWD but for absolutely any other occasion, beers can be exchanged. Also, good luck with your presentation in Amsterdam.

  50. We live in a world where people try to inflate their own egos by denigrating others.

    That being said, if you can't take some criticism, you're not going to grow.

  51. We live in a world where people try to inflate their own egos by denigrating others. That being said, if you can't take some criticism, you're not going to grow.

  52. Anonymous on April 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm said:

    Oh please Ryan. The post made by “the unnamed individual” was completely true. Just because you're ok with making mediocre sites (May I remind you all of that piece of crap “hey amigo” you tried to sell for 25k. I wouldn't have paid 25 pence) there is no need to encourage this mediocrity in others.

  53. Anonymous on April 29, 2009 at 5:40 pm said:

    Oh please Ryan. The post made by “the unnamed individual” was completely true. Just because you're ok with making mediocre sites (May I remind you all of that piece of crap “hey amigo” you tried to sell for 25k. I wouldn't have paid 25 pence) there is no need to encourage this mediocrity in others.

  54. Halvard L. Simonsen on April 29, 2009 at 11:56 am said:

    Are you really blogging that people on the internet aren't constructive, and tend be smug, annoying gits? Ryan, certain things are meant to be. And the notion that people are afraid of launching products because of semi-anonymous negativity from mother flippin' internet commenters is preposterous to me. If the fact of the publication of this post and the things that you write is any indication of the thickness of our collective skin, I fear for us.

    Not to be negative, or anything.

  55. Halvard L. Simonsen on April 29, 2009 at 4:56 pm said:

    Are you really blogging that people on the internet aren't constructive, and tend be smug, annoying gits? Ryan, certain things are meant to be. And the notion that people are afraid of launching products because of semi-anonymous negativity from mother flippin' internet commenters is preposterous to me. If the fact of the publication of this post and the things that you write is any indication of the thickness of our collective skin, I fear for us.Not to be negative, or anything.

  56. Sometimes I think the “15-minute-celebrity” status that comes from making a snide comment under one's own name brings out bad elements of human nature even more than the well-covered effects of pseudonymous comment/forum systems.

    Radio and TV talk hosts blow hard for much the same reason. Crude, foaming cynicism appeals to base instincts of broad audiences, while members of those audiences deny the appeal and feign their own outrage at how communications have devolved into shouting matches.

    Yet we watch, we read, we react. We're humans who, by nature, almost can't help it. Note I say “almost” — we can help it but it's hard to fight our own deepest feelings and salacious curiosities.

    I have no idea how to solve this problem for everyone. I just know I respond better to a well-reasoned analysis, opinion or suggestion than I do to someone who deliberately stokes confrontation. For that type of person, I find the best response is not to engage.

  57. Sometimes I think the “15-minute-celebrity” status that comes from making a snide comment under one's own name brings out bad elements of human nature even more than the well-covered effects of pseudonymous comment/forum systems.Radio and TV talk hosts blow hard for much the same reason. Crude, foaming cynicism appeals to base instincts of broad audiences, while members of those audiences deny the appeal and feign their own outrage at how communications have devolved into shouting matches.Yet we watch, we read, we react. We're humans who, by nature, almost can't help it. Note I say “almost” — we can help it but it's hard to fight our own deepest feelings and salacious curiosities.I have no idea how to solve this problem for everyone. I just know I respond better to a well-reasoned analysis, opinion or suggestion than I do to someone who deliberately stokes confrontation. For that type of person, I find the best response is not to engage.

  58. I had seen the 37Signals announcement but hadn't checked out the site. Now, I have and I must say it's a bit eery. It's so strange to have a site without any interaction to user activity. The design looks great, but the lack of response feels “odd”.

    However, I agree with your concern. Rather than a simple suggestion for improvement, the comment is snide and demeaning.

  59. I had seen the 37Signals announcement but hadn't checked out the site. Now, I have and I must say it's a bit eery. It's so strange to have a site without any interaction to user activity. The design looks great, but the lack of response feels “odd”.However, I agree with your concern. Rather than a simple suggestion for improvement, the comment is snide and demeaning.

  60. I'm not convinced that “particularly pants” is a negative, I have seen that kind of phrase used in a good manner. The problem with these electronic messages is its hard to determine if somebody is trying to be funny or just being an asshat.

  61. I'm not convinced that “particularly pants” is a negative, I have seen that kind of phrase used in a good manner. The problem with these electronic messages is its hard to determine if somebody is trying to be funny or just being an asshat.

  62. Ryan I have to give you props for tackling a topic like this. This is a tough one. It takes a lot of strength to propose we all raise our communication skills up a notch. Despite the polarizing nature of this conversation, it's a valuable demonstration of the very situation that's up for consideration.

    Just remember, you don't have to solve this. It was enough to hold a light up to it and say, “Do you like what you see?” A mirror is a powerful thing.

  63. Ryan I have to give you props for tackling a topic like this. This is a tough one. It takes a lot of strength to propose we all raise our communication skills up a notch. Despite the polarizing nature of this conversation, it's a valuable demonstration of the very situation that's up for consideration. Just remember, you don't have to solve this. It was enough to hold a light up to it and say, “Do you like what you see?” A mirror is a powerful thing.

  64. This whole post is hilarious and spurious, I'm quoted from twitter in what was part of a conversation. The quote is taken out of context in an extremely spurious way and used as apart of Ryan's hype machine. It's akin to hearing a sentence in a conversation and then using the interpreted meaning a source of truth.

    I should note that Ryan wasn't proactive in asking for more information on the conversation and to further that I have asked Ryan to remove the mis-quote but have yet to have a response.

  65. This whole post is hilarious and spurious, I'm quoted from twitter in what was part of a conversation. The quote is taken out of context in an extremely spurious way and used as apart of Ryan's hype machine. It's akin to hearing a sentence in a conversation and then using the interpreted meaning a source of truth.I should note that Ryan wasn't proactive in asking for more information on the conversation and to further that I have asked Ryan to remove the mis-quote but have yet to have a response.

  66. Simon Daly on April 29, 2009 at 10:37 am said:

    Hi Ryan, I agree with you in general the tone was a bit off the cuff, probably not meant to be insulting though.

  67. I can't think of many careers where you don't need a thick skin to get ahead… And in fact it's sometimes how thick your skin is that determines how far you go – all about effort/risk vs reward.

  68. I can't think of many careers where you don't need a thick skin to get ahead… And in fact it's sometimes how thick your skin is that determines how far you go – all about effort/risk vs reward.

  69. Ah actually just re-read it and I read it as a:active { opacity: 0.75; }, which makes more sense and actually looks cool.

    Why would you want to fade a link when you hover over it?!

  70. Ah actually just re-read it and I read it as a:active { opacity: 0.75; }, which makes more sense and actually looks cool. Why would you want to fade a link when you hover over it?!

  71. flynnlike on April 29, 2009 at 9:53 am said:

    sorry, it seems ryan has deleted my comment instead of replying

  72. I see nothing of worth in these 4 day cock waving 'applications'. Shoddy workmanship for a few moments of desperate promotion in an attempt to sell off tickets that apparently nobody is buying.

    http://twitter.com/ryancarson/status/1637755056

  73. Why are we negative? Because it is easier. It is easier to point out something missing, a misspelling, or an out of place pixel.

    What is much more difficult is to explain why something works well.

  74. I see nothing of worth in these 4 day cock waving 'applications'. Shoddy workmanship for a few moments of desperate promotion in an attempt to sell off tickets that apparently nobody is buying.http://twitter.com/ryancarson/status/1637755056

  75. Why are we negative? Because it is easier. It is easier to point out something missing, a misspelling, or an out of place pixel.What is much more difficult is to explain why something works well.

  76. flynnlike on April 29, 2009 at 9:45 am said:

    haha! you, of all people, should not talk of link bait!

  77. …because your tech-savvy audience wouldn't just take your direct quote and Google it to find out who said it, would they? Perish the thought!

  78. …because your tech-savvy audience wouldn't just take your direct quote and Google it to find out who said it, would they? Perish the thought!

  79. That's why I didn't name him – wanted to keep it fair 🙂

  80. That's why I didn't name him – wanted to keep it fair 🙂

  81. Hey Dan, I had no intention of offending you – I was trying to be tongue-in-cheek with that last line. I'm going to blame it on wordpress stripping out my sarcasm tag.

    The apps kinda were good publicity though, because people heard about them. For example, I'm giving a talk about building widgets at Momo Amsterdam this weekend – and Matt was on the front page of Techcrunch.

    Like I said, I agree that they were a bit rushed and unfinished. I would've liked to have more time on them. I even spent my own spare time porting Twiggy for the web and iphone. All in all, you raise good points and have a valid opinion so I don't know why we're arguing. Truce? Buy you a beer at FOWD?

    PS, I didn't build Tipster – Keir did.

  82. Hey Dan, I had no intention of offending you – I was trying to be tongue-in-cheek with that last line. I'm going to blame it on wordpress stripping out my sarcasm tag.The apps kinda were good publicity though, because people heard about them. For example, I'm giving a talk about building widgets at Momo Amsterdam this weekend – and Matt was on the front page of Techcrunch.Like I said, I agree that they were a bit rushed and unfinished. I would've liked to have more time on them. I even spent my own spare time porting Twiggy for the web and iphone. All in all, you raise good points and have a valid opinion so I don't know why we're arguing. Truce? Buy you a beer at FOWD?PS, I didn't build Tipster – Keir did.

  83. Pete Shaw on April 29, 2009 at 9:09 am said:

    And where does sarcasm get us? A long trip down the negativity highway.

    Don't hate the player or the game. Peace & love.

  84. Pete Shaw on April 29, 2009 at 2:09 pm said:

    And where does sarcasm get us? A long trip down the negativity highway.Don't hate the player or the game. Peace & love.

  85. Pete Shaw on April 29, 2009 at 9:03 am said:

    @flynnlike don't be so stupid.

    Ryan is great and honest and tipster is a great little tool.

    37 Signals are awesome and so is spinach.

  86. Pete Shaw on April 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm said:

    @flynnlike don't be so stupid.Ryan is great and honest and tipster is a great little tool.37 Signals are awesome and so is spinach.

  87. Pete Shaw on April 29, 2009 at 8:50 am said:

    What if said person thinks that Tipster is pants and there is no point improving such a pants idea?

    Does this mean they no longer have the right to tweet their thoughts?

    BTW I also think tipster is a pants idea. You could improve it though by making it into an automated twitter robot, that would be cool.

  88. Pete Shaw on April 29, 2009 at 1:50 pm said:

    What if said person thinks that Tipster is pants and there is no point improving such a pants idea?Does this mean they no longer have the right to tweet their thoughts?BTW I also think tipster is a pants idea. You could improve it though by making it into an automated twitter robot, that would be cool.

  89. most of constructive criticism are taken for granted…

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  90. most of constructive criticism are taken for granted…(http://www.howtolosebellyfatathome.buyproactolh…)

  91. I read the original post when it was released. It made me laugh, and I added his line of CSS to the 37signals site using Firebug and thought the change made a whole world of difference.

    I did not once get the impression that the author was in any way trying to disrespect 37signals and if i remember rightly, he even said they have “a great looking site”.

    The article in no way altered my views on 37signals themselves, and I still regard them as amazing App Creators. I'd like to think you regret this post slightly now, as some of your comment replies actually quite childish, and it does appear that you're trying to drum up some kind of hate campaign.

    Anyway. My 2pence.

  92. I read the original post when it was released. It made me laugh, and I added his line of CSS to the 37signals site using Firebug and thought the change made a whole world of difference.I did not once get the impression that the author was in any way trying to disrespect 37signals and if i remember rightly, he even said they have “a great looking site”.The article in no way altered my views on 37signals themselves, and I still regard them as amazing App Creators. I'd like to think you regret this post slightly now, as some of your comment replies actually quite childish, and it does appear that you're trying to drum up some kind of hate campaign.Anyway. My 2pence.

  93. This stuff drives me insane. Kind of goes back to the saying 'if you have nothing nice to say…' But I have to be honest, I remember seeing this kind of negativity from respected people in this industry the second I started following them on Twitter years ago. It really put me off… I always thought of this industry as being a lot more community based with not as much negativity.

    I guess for the most part it is, but you still get the trolls.

  94. This stuff drives me insane. Kind of goes back to the saying 'if you have nothing nice to say…' But I have to be honest, I remember seeing this kind of negativity from respected people in this industry the second I started following them on Twitter years ago. It really put me off… I always thought of this industry as being a lot more community based with not as much negativity.I guess for the most part it is, but you still get the trolls.

  95. constructive criticism is good so that you cold not harm anyone

  96. I read the post in question as very much being in jest. It was on a personal blog and clearly the owner partly wanted to entertain his audience. Is it sad that we have to make fun of people in order to entertain? Probably, but that's a problem with our society, nothing to do with our industry or the individual that wrote the post (who I've met in person and is a nice bloke).

  97. I read the post in question as very much being in jest. It was on a personal blog and clearly the owner partly wanted to entertain his audience. Is it sad that we have to make fun of people in order to entertain? Probably, but that's a problem with our society, nothing to do with our industry or the individual that wrote the post (who I've met in person and is a nice bloke).

  98. I think the person in question here wasn't trying to be mean. And personally, I would like them to put some hover states on their site too.

    Criticism of your apps is a completely separate thing here: I don't go crying when someone says they don't like my design (well sometimes I do, but in the privacy of my own darkened room), and I didn't throw my toys out of the pram when someone entered a pickupline on my site http://thepickuptruck.com as “THIS SITE SUCKS!” or when someone comments on an article I've written and says, “You're stupid”. The person that said your site is “pants” is just one of those people you can't please, and you know what? I think it's okay to not please these people!

  99. I think the person in question here wasn't trying to be mean. And personally, I would like them to put some hover states on their site too. Criticism of your apps is a completely separate thing here: I don't go crying when someone says they don't like my design (well sometimes I do, but in the privacy of my own darkened room), and I didn't throw my toys out of the pram when someone entered a pickupline on my site http://thepickuptruck.com as “THIS SITE SUCKS!” or when someone comments on an article I've written and says, “You're stupid”. The person that said your site is “pants” is just one of those people you can't please, and you know what? I think it's okay to not please these people!

  100. Interesting article but I think the problem is how people fundamentally look at things; I used to be a lot more sarcastic person until I realized that it wasn't helpful, nobody else got through to me it was me that had to make that change. On the note of having a tough skin (so to speak), so do I because I know that just because someone says something about me, my work or otherwise that does not make it true, that just makes it their opinion.

    Over the last few years I have found enlightenment in the law of attraction and realized that as long as I am happy that is all that matters. Following true to my heart is spreading that love around so therefore negative comments are useless all the time. I always THINK about a way to put a good spin on something that might be negative and I just don't put my focus and attention on negative feelings or attention of others.

    My intentions are to develop awesome stuff for the web, write about it, share with others and that is what makes me happy. Negative commenting doesn't fit into those intentions so why even bother?

  101. Interesting article but I think the problem is how people fundamentally look at things; I used to be a lot more sarcastic person until I realized that it wasn't helpful, nobody else got through to me it was me that had to make that change. On the note of having a tough skin (so to speak), so do I because I know that just because someone says something about me, my work or otherwise that does not make it true, that just makes it their opinion. Over the last few years I have found enlightenment in the law of attraction and realized that as long as I am happy that is all that matters. Following true to my heart is spreading that love around so therefore negative comments are useless all the time. I always THINK about a way to put a good spin on something that might be negative and I just don't put my focus and attention on negative feelings or attention of others.My intentions are to develop awesome stuff for the web, write about it, share with others and that is what makes me happy. Negative commenting doesn't fit into those intentions so why even bother?

  102. …you mean negative comments and link-bait such as this.

    shouldn't a response appear on 37signals site, as opposed to thinkvitamin?

  103. …you mean negative comments and link-bait such as this.shouldn't a response appear on 37signals site, as opposed to thinkvitamin?

  104. Thanks for not naming names Sarah 😉

    In all seriousness though – it was posted on his blog, ie his backyard. I agree there should be a friendly nature with comments on other peoples blogs – this one for instance.

    HOWEVER

    “…but a lot of creative people can’t (take criticism). They would rather not blog/tweet/etc than be publicly criticized.”

    I would say that telling someone they cant write what they like / when they like is an even greater reason to stop people having their own blog.

  105. Thanks for not naming names Sarah ;)In all seriousness though – it was posted on his blog, ie his backyard. I agree there should be a friendly nature with comments on other peoples blogs – this one for instance. HOWEVER”…but a lot of creative people can’t (take criticism). They would rather not blog/tweet/etc than be publicly criticized.” I would say that telling someone they cant write what they like / when they like is an even greater reason to stop people having their own blog.

  106. Elliott, I've no intention to criticise your work, nor you personally. Tipster is an achievement for four days' work, it really is. My problem is with the idea that building and launching an application without leaving time for basic due care and support is a laudable thing.

    I'll skip right to what you correctly label as the most important part of your comment:

    “They're cheap and cheerful”
    No disagreement from me there.

    “I learned a hell of a lot from building them”
    Good on you.

    “they were good publicity”
    Debatable. The only message I took away is that Carsonified builds rushed, unfinished web apps.

    “and you didn't spend any money using them so stop your damn whining and build some better ones :)”
    I spend every day building products for the web. And I'll thank you not to accuse me of whining without a damned good reason.

  107. Good lord!

    Could [name] have put his suggestion another, less condescending, way? Sure.

    But having an epic sized emo cry about what is essentially a throw-away light hearted statement (which, by the way, was actually pretty constructive) just makes you look like a gigantic baby!

    In short, Ben Darlow hit the nail squarely on the head. You've caught some serious flak over the last few months, some of it just and some of it not, but what I want to know is; who lambasted you so badly that it's made you take on this vehement defender of the righteous persona?

  108. Good lord!Could [name] have put his suggestion another, less condescending, way? Sure.But having an epic sized emo cry about what is essentially a throw-away light hearted statement (which, by the way, was actually pretty constructive) just makes you look like a gigantic baby!In short, Ben Darlow hit the nail squarely on the head. You've caught some serious flak over the last few months, some of it just and some of it not, but what I want to know is; who lambasted you so badly that it's made you take on this vehement defender of the righteous persona?

  109. Elliott, I've no intention to criticise your work, nor you personally. Tipster is an achievement for four days' work, it really is. My problem is with the idea that building and launching an application without leaving time for basic due care and support is a laudable thing.I'll skip right to what you correctly label as the most important part of your comment:”They're cheap and cheerful”No disagreement from me there.”I learned a hell of a lot from building them”Good on you.”they were good publicity”Debatable. The only message I took away is that Carsonified builds rushed, unfinished web apps.”and you didn't spend any money using them so stop your damn whining and build some better ones :)”I spend every day building products for the web. And I'll thank you not to accuse me of whining without a damned good reason.

  110. Ryan, I wholeheartedly agree! People say (and continue to say) online what they would never say in person. They forget that the companies they follow on Twitter or via RSS have real people working for them with real emotions.

    Here is my two cents: 37Signals is a successful company. Carsonified is also very successful. If (fill in the name here) can criticize, critique, or find general fault with one of these companies it “proves” that its unfair that the company is more successful and popular than they are since they *obviously* know more than *those* people. We are in a culture that rewards mediocre work and finds fault with successful people and companies.

    I agree with you that we need to have a more positive outlook on the industry in general. Thanks for taking the time to stand up and say something.

  111. Ryan, I wholeheartedly agree! People say (and continue to say) online what they would never say in person. They forget that the companies they follow on Twitter or via RSS have real people working for them with real emotions. Here is my two cents: 37Signals is a successful company. Carsonified is also very successful. If (fill in the name here) can criticize, critique, or find general fault with one of these companies it “proves” that its unfair that the company is more successful and popular than they are since they *obviously* know more than *those* people. We are in a culture that rewards mediocre work and finds fault with successful people and companies. I agree with you that we need to have a more positive outlook on the industry in general. Thanks for taking the time to stand up and say something.

  112. In Sam's defence, I think his article has been written totally 'tongue in cheek' – there are plenty of great designers on Twitter who use this kind of 'tongue in cheek' way of expressing their feelings towards different things, I could name 5 just off the top of my head. I don't think it's fair to use Sam as an example without pulling everyone else up on it too…

  113. In Sam's defence, I think his article has been written totally 'tongue in cheek' – there are plenty of great designers on Twitter who use this kind of 'tongue in cheek' way of expressing their feelings towards different things, I could name 5 just off the top of my head. I don't think it's fair to use Sam as an example without pulling everyone else up on it too…

  114. You know what? I agree with you.

    In all fairness, I don't think there are really THAT many bugs – and I challenge you to point them all out – but seeing as the projects are “finished”, they certainly aren't going to get fixed any time soon. There have been a few problems with Matt since launch, and Twiggy has been a nightmare to validate with Betavine's garbage publishing system. It's a “build it and throw it away” kind of deal. Matt doesn't even have a privacy page.

    Not only that, I reckon I probably spent more than four days building them. When you add in late night coding time, and bug fixing time, publishing time, additional optional work etc., neither of them took four days.

    Long story short, they're unfinished and they're a bit hacky. Four days isn't enough time to learn Django, or to get really good at making widgets. I wouldn't suggest it as a viable business model.

    Having said all that, the most important part of this comment is this:

    They're cheap and cheerful, I learned a hell of a lot from building them, they were good publicity, and you didn't spend any money using them so stop your damn whining and build some better ones 🙂

  115. You know what? I agree with you. In all fairness, I don't think there are really THAT many bugs – and I challenge you to point them all out – but seeing as the projects are “finished”, they certainly aren't going to get fixed any time soon. There have been a few problems with Matt since launch, and Twiggy has been a nightmare to validate with Betavine's garbage publishing system. It's a “build it and throw it away” kind of deal. Matt doesn't even have a privacy page.Not only that, I reckon I probably spent more than four days building them. When you add in late night coding time, and bug fixing time, publishing time, additional optional work etc., neither of them took four days.Long story short, they're unfinished and they're a bit hacky. Four days isn't enough time to learn Django, or to get really good at making widgets. I wouldn't suggest it as a viable business model.Having said all that, the most important part of this comment is this:They're cheap and cheerful, I learned a hell of a lot from building them, they were good publicity, and you didn't spend any money using them so stop your damn whining and build some better ones 🙂

  116. There always has and always will be an asshole.

  117. Hey Ryan. Yes, you gotta have a really really thick skin online. Really.

    I remember a while ago when I published a video about an efficient technique of reading several magazines by cutting articles out of them and carrying them with me and reading in my spare time. It was picked up by lifehacker and just read the comments:

    http://lifehacker.com/5043332/take-a-knife-to-m

    90% of them are calling me names, saying I'm stupid, retarded, lame, you name it.

    Well, I learned this technique from one of the most influential GTDers in the world (I think even David Allen himself does this) so it means we're all really stupid people, right?

    I didn't feel offended though, I just thought, why oh why I'm out there trying to show people something useful and all they can do is call me names… but you know, maybe any form of gratitude is too much to ask…

    Same happened to me when I started the Productive Magazine (http://productivemagazine.com) – I'd hear comments saying, why do we need these artciles compiled in the magazine PDF download, and why you idiot are giving it away free?

    Again, David Allen thought it'd be a great idea and he was in the first issue. Guy Kawasaki is in the current issue and he also thought it's a brilliant idea… but again, “johndoe” or any other “anonymous coward” would know better than Guy Kawasaki… or 30K+ readers who actually downloaded the magazine.

    Thanks for the great post Ryan

  118. Hey Ryan. Yes, you gotta have a really really thick skin online. Really.I remember a while ago when I published a video about an efficient technique of reading several magazines by cutting articles out of them and carrying them with me and reading in my spare time. It was picked up by lifehacker and just read the comments:http://lifehacker.com/5043332/take-a-knife-to-m…90% of them are calling me names, saying I'm stupid, retarded, lame, you name it.Well, I learned this technique from one of the most influential GTDers in the world (I think even David Allen himself does this) so it means we're all really stupid people, right?I didn't feel offended though, I just thought, why oh why I'm out there trying to show people something useful and all they can do is call me names… but you know, maybe any form of gratitude is too much to ask…Same happened to me when I started the Productive Magazine (http://productivemagazine.com) – I'd hear comments saying, why do we need these artciles compiled in the magazine PDF download, and why you idiot are giving it away free?Again, David Allen thought it'd be a great idea and he was in the first issue. Guy Kawasaki is in the current issue and he also thought it's a brilliant idea… but again, “johndoe” or any other “anonymous coward” would know better than Guy Kawasaki… or 30K+ readers who actually downloaded the magazine.Thanks for the great post Ryan

  119. I have to say that this is one thing that particularly annoys me about the whole internet (you only have to look at the comments on Digg/Youtube to see what I mean). If you wouldn't say it to my face on the street, then don't say it at all!

    I'm all for constructive criticism, where appropriate, and pointing out faults and errors to help others improve. But I think the attitudes of a lot of people needs to be refined. Some manners would be much appreciated across the interwebs.

  120. I have to say that this is one thing that particularly annoys me about the whole internet (you only have to look at the comments on Digg/Youtube to see what I mean). If you wouldn't say it to my face on the street, then don't say it at all!I'm all for constructive criticism, where appropriate, and pointing out faults and errors to help others improve. But I think the attitudes of a lot of people needs to be refined. Some manners would be much appreciated across the interwebs.

  121. You made me realize I won't be able to blog better/more and finally create a theme for my blog and launch other projects before I loose the fear of thoughtless critics and gain in fortitude. Realizing this, I figure, is half the work. Thank you Ryan !

  122. You made me realize I won't be able to blog better/more and finally create a theme for my blog and launch other projects before I loose the fear of thoughtless critics and gain in fortitude. Realizing this, I figure, is half the work. Thank you Ryan !

  123. But it *was* constructive criticism, Ryan; he pointed out a flaw, the reasons why it's bad, and a quick and simple solution. You might not like the tone but frankly your alternatives sound like arse-kissing, and 37 Signals have enough sycophants as it is.

    But let's not get side-tracked; this isn't really about 37 Signals, is it? Yet again you're using them as an analogue for your own company's work (and criticism thereof). If you truly believe that peoples' criticism stifles creativity and innovation in this medium then it sounds to me like you're not nearly as thick skinned as you say you are. I also think your ‘haters suck!’ reaction to this kind of criticism misses the point; people actually care enough to pass comment on the work your company does. Make use of that captive audience instead of trying to weed out the ones you disagree with.

  124. But it *was* constructive criticism, Ryan; he pointed out a flaw, the reasons why it's bad, and a quick and simple solution. You might not like the tone but frankly your alternatives sound like arse-kissing, and 37 Signals have enough sycophants as it is.But let's not get side-tracked; this isn't really about 37 Signals, is it? Yet again you're using them as an analogue for your own company's work (and criticism thereof). If you truly believe that peoples' criticism stifles creativity and innovation in this medium then it sounds to me like you're not nearly as thick skinned as you say you are. I also think your ‘haters suck!’ reaction to this kind of criticism misses the point; people actually care enough to pass comment on the work your company does. Make use of that captive audience instead of trying to weed out the ones you disagree with.

  125. Ryan, Chris, thanks for responding.

    I know you're very proud of the apps. You wouldn't be working so hard to promote them if you weren't. But with the best will in the world, I can't tell you that they're good to use. The attention to detail is poor. There are obvious bugs and inconsistencies. Realistically, they look like prototypes, serving only to demonstrate the intent without providing the experience.

    As Chris said, building and publicising these apps is clearly a very effective means of promoting Carsonified events – but look at the view from outside. When I'm using a product, the time it took to build is not on my list of concerns. All I really want is a high-quality experience. If the experience is poor or incomplete, then I am less likely to trust what that company has to say about building products.

    I've no wish to be negative or spiteful here, but I've no wish to be dishonest either. I'm fairly sure we'll never agree over this, but that doesn't mean it's not a fruitful area of discussion.

  126. drcongo on April 29, 2009 at 5:02 am said:

    It's Ironic that I can think of no bigger arsehole of a link baiter than 37 Signals themselves. In the past we have seen such ill thought out shit as their Give Up and Use Tables linkbait and let's not forget that Jason Fried's epic gaping anus of an ego also brought us the “criticise first, ask questions later” shitfest that was the attack on Get Satisfaction. Considering this is exactly the sort of behaviour that you are complaining about in this post (only orders of magnitude worse) I'd love to hear why you think it's OK for 37 Signals to do something like this on their blog with thousands of subscribers, but not for some Twitter user with a couple of hundred followers. Your hypocrisy seems to know no bounds.

    Sadly, with the 37 signals crowd being your mates and important to your conference business we're unlikely to see you using this very public forum to attack and criticise them are we. What is this site anyway? Is it a resource for designers or an attack platform for when someone has the temerity to criticise a Friend of Carson™?

  127. Ryan, Chris, thanks for responding.I know you're very proud of the apps. You wouldn't be working so hard to promote them if you weren't. But with the best will in the world, I can't tell you that they're good to use. The attention to detail is poor. There are obvious bugs and inconsistencies. Realistically, they look like prototypes, serving only to demonstrate the intent without providing the experience.As Chris said, building and publicising these apps is clearly a very effective means of promoting Carsonified events – but look at the view from outside. When I'm using a product, the time it took to build is not on my list of concerns. All I really want is a high-quality experience. If the experience is poor or incomplete, then I am less likely to trust what that company has to say about building products.I've no wish to be negative or spiteful here, but I've no wish to be dishonest either. I'm fairly sure we'll never agree over this, but that doesn't mean it's not a fruitful area of discussion.

  128. drcongo on April 29, 2009 at 10:02 am said:

    It's Ironic that I can think of no bigger arsehole of a link baiter than 37 Signals themselves. In the past we have seen such ill thought out shit as their Give Up and Use Tables linkbait and let's not forget that Jason Fried's epic gaping anus of an ego also brought us the “criticise first, ask questions later” shitfest that was the attack on Get Satisfaction. Considering this is exactly the sort of behaviour that you are complaining about in this post (only orders of magnitude worse) I'd love to hear why you think it's OK for 37 Signals to do something like this on their blog with thousands of subscribers, but not for some Twitter user with a couple of hundred followers. Your hypocrisy seems to know no bounds.Sadly, with the 37 signals crowd being your mates and important to your conference business we're unlikely to see you using this very public forum to attack and criticise them are we. What is this site anyway? Is it a resource for designers or an attack platform for when someone has the temerity to criticise a Friend of Carson™?

  129. I find it all slightly sycophantic, especially the need for external justification / praise from the community. The internet is inherently democratic and we don't live in a Prozac, rose tinted world so we are allowed to have and express differing views. In fact it is often these differences of opinions that drive innovation.

    However, its all good publicity and your self promotion wagon rolls on, but to offer a constructive critcism; in future if you wish for constructive critcism, why not add an explicit call to action on to ask users how to improve the site.

  130. I find it all slightly sycophantic, especially the need for external justification / praise from the community. The internet is inherently democratic and we don't live in a Prozac, rose tinted world so we are allowed to have and express differing views. In fact it is often these differences of opinions that drive innovation.However, its all good publicity and your self promotion wagon rolls on, but to offer a constructive critcism; in future if you wish for constructive critcism, why not add an explicit call to action on to ask users how to improve the site.

  131. I agree that constructive criticism is the key. I seem to come across this same topic or issue where the internet shield people with anonymity or at least gives them a buffer to say cruel things, when they wouldn't do so in a face-to-face situation. It is very annoying. I think we all have to go back to kindergarten and remember what Mrs. Smith used to tell us…”If you don't have anything nice to say, please stay quiet…if you need to tell them they made a mistake or did something wrong, do so in a polite and kind manner. That's how you would want to be treated, right?” Thank you, Mrs. Smith.

  132. I agree that constructive criticism is the key. I seem to come across this same topic or issue where the internet shield people with anonymity or at least gives them a buffer to say cruel things, when they wouldn't do so in a face-to-face situation. It is very annoying. I think we all have to go back to kindergarten and remember what Mrs. Smith used to tell us…”If you don't have anything nice to say, please stay quiet…if you need to tell them they made a mistake or did something wrong, do so in a polite and kind manner. That's how you would want to be treated, right?” Thank you, Mrs. Smith.

  133. top19site on April 29, 2009 at 4:39 am said:

    Thanks for this great post, I totally agree: this pedantic negativity sometimes kills not only innovation and creativity, but also the motivation which is needed to improve a product continuously. Sometimes, it's no fun at all to listen to the voices out there.

  134. top19site on April 29, 2009 at 9:39 am said:

    Thanks for this great post, I totally agree: this pedantic negativity sometimes kills not only innovation and creativity, but also the motivation which is needed to improve a product continuously. Sometimes, it's no fun at all to listen to the voices out there.

  135. I don't think its really ever about the app itself – its more to do with the message to go with it as Keir says on the current carsonified blog post:

    “A couple of weeks ago Ryan and I sat down to talk about the upcoming FOWA Tour and how we might spread the word about it a little wider. In the end we thought that instead of buying an ad or blabbing about the event we would build a little web app for web developers and designers”

    So the main thing is the blue bar across the middle – not how the site functions really. Thats why the Mattinator was more important in the moment of its build than it is now. Infact the story of the Mattinator was sold on the speed of the build rather than the solving of a problem i.e. see http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/03/how-to-bui

    Don't misread this as a crticism as its not – just a comment on how and why Carsonified build apps and positive PR for those apps.

    Also re the original post i'd say one mans “pedantic negativity” is another mans “light hearted fingers to the rib” and other commenters are right 37s are hardly ones to hold back when they are critical of other services.

    “What does that say about our industry?”
    Nothing – its just one person making a comment on a website. In the same way this comment says absolutely zero about our industry too!

    Cheers
    Chris

  136. I don't think its really ever about the app itself – its more to do with the message to go with it as Keir says on the current carsonified blog post:”A couple of weeks ago Ryan and I sat down to talk about the upcoming FOWA Tour and how we might spread the word about it a little wider. In the end we thought that instead of buying an ad or blabbing about the event we would build a little web app for web developers and designers”So the main thing is the blue bar across the middle – not how the site functions really. Thats why the Mattinator was more important in the moment of its build than it is now. Infact the story of the Mattinator was sold on the speed of the build rather than the solving of a problem i.e. see http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/03/how-to-bui…Don't misread this as a crticism as its not – just a comment on how and why Carsonified build apps and positive PR for those apps. Also re the original post i'd say one mans “pedantic negativity” is another mans “light hearted fingers to the rib” and other commenters are right 37s are hardly ones to hold back when they are critical of other services.”What does that say about our industry?”Nothing – its just one person making a comment on a website. In the same way this comment says absolutely zero about our industry too!CheersChris

  137. We're very proud of TheMattinator, Twiggy, HugMyMac.com and Tipster. The whole point is that they're quick-fire, creative bursts which we don't have to spend time maintaining (much) after we launch. If you want more information on why we do 'Idea Week' style projects, check this out.

    DropSend, HeyAmigo and EventStream – products that we built that bring in revenue, we spend proper amounts of time on.

  138. I agree with this comment. I saw the original post and my understanding was it was a light-hearted nudge at something that should be common nature. Yes, perhaps the change in opacity is not the most effective way to show the hover state, but it is still good practice to highlight this change in state for improved accessiblity.

    Why post it publically? Because it acts as a reminder to people in the industry. We all overlook things from time to time, and we all make mistakes. It is hardly being elitest to want to serve a small reminder of something that is fairly important.

    As for the TIpster comment, yes it was not constructive at all and quite cheeky, but it is in a completely different boat to the 37signals comment.

  139. We're very proud of TheMattinator, Twiggy, HugMyMac.com and Tipster. The whole point is that they're quick-fire, creative bursts which we don't have to spend time maintaining (much) after we launch. If you want more information on why we do 'Idea Week' style projects, check this out.DropSend, HeyAmigo and EventStream – products that we built that bring in revenue, we spend proper amounts of time on.

  140. I agree with this comment. I saw the original post and my understanding was it was a light-hearted nudge at something that should be common nature. Yes, perhaps the change in opacity is not the most effective way to show the hover state, but it is still good practice to highlight this change in state for improved accessiblity.Why post it publically? Because it acts as a reminder to people in the industry. We all overlook things from time to time, and we all make mistakes. It is hardly being elitest to want to serve a small reminder of something that is fairly important.As for the TIpster comment, yes it was not constructive at all and quite cheeky, but it is in a completely different boat to the 37signals comment.

  141. “We built Tipster in three days in Django”

    Is there some kind of Carsonified gospel that says you can't take longer than a week to build an app? Mattinator, Twiggy and Tipster all come off as being completely unfinished because nobody spent any real time on them. I'm sure your guys are capable of great work, so why not give them longer than a week to make something you can all be proud of?

    Also, the “negative” comment you quote from does actually call the 37s redesign “great looking”, and gives clear steps for following feedback. Looks constructive to me, even if the delivery isn't very delicate.

  142. “We built Tipster in three days in Django”Is there some kind of Carsonified gospel that says you can't take longer than a week to build an app? Mattinator, Twiggy and Tipster all come off as being completely unfinished because nobody spent any real time on them. I'm sure your guys are capable of great work, so why not give them longer than a week to make something you can all be proud of?Also, the “negative” comment you quote from does actually call the 37s redesign “great looking”, and gives clear steps for following feedback. Looks constructive to me, even if the delivery isn't very delicate.

  143. I wouldn't say that the narky tone of voice is industry-specific – cf the article on Anne Applebaum mentioned by Ryan.. everyone's at it!

    In agreement with everyone who's commented here (whose comments I actually read, rather than just posting my own blah) – and isn't there also an issue with opacity not being backwards-compatible? Can't remember…

  144. I wouldn't say that the narky tone of voice is industry-specific – cf the article on Anne Applebaum mentioned by Ryan.. everyone's at it! In agreement with everyone who's commented here (whose comments I actually read, rather than just posting my own blah) – and isn't there also an issue with opacity not being backwards-compatible? Can't remember…

  145. I won't disagree with that.

    We shouldn't all become back slappers though. Sycophancy is not a good thing and is just as distasteful as pedantry.

    Negative commentary can serve a valuable purpose. If you're surrounded by “Yes” men then you will fail somewhere along the line. Sometimes it's good to have a disruptive element as they can make people think and instill change.

    I believe there is a management ideology that advocates including a disruptive, disagreeable member on a team as they are the ones that aren't afraid to say something is bad. A better “product” is the end result.

    Now, perhaps someone at 37 Signals considered whether or not to use a hover state and made a reasoned decision not to. But it's also possible that they just never gave it a thought. This one person making a negative comment might jar the through processes at 37 Signals and make them realise that perhaps they *should* create a hover state. The end result is a better product or at the very least means someone thinks about it.

  146. I won't disagree with that.We shouldn't all become back slappers though. Sycophancy is not a good thing and is just as distasteful as pedantry.Negative commentary can serve a valuable purpose. If you're surrounded by “Yes” men then you will fail somewhere along the line. Sometimes it's good to have a disruptive element as they can make people think and instill change. I believe there is a management ideology that advocates including a disruptive, disagreeable member on a team as they are the ones that aren't afraid to say something is bad. A better “product” is the end result.Now, perhaps someone at 37 Signals considered whether or not to use a hover state and made a reasoned decision not to. But it's also possible that they just never gave it a thought. This one person making a negative comment might jar the through processes at 37 Signals and make them realise that perhaps they *should* create a hover state. The end result is a better product or at the very least means someone thinks about it.

  147. I think you're read too much into the 37signals thing. If someone said something like that about something I had worked on, I wouldn't take it as an insult or a sign of elitism. The comment was amusing, useful and relevant. It's a way of doing hover states that i'd never considered.

    I'm also fairly sure the 37signals design hadn't *just* been launched, since it's looked that way for a few weeks.

    However, the comments about tipster seem unfair and you're right to be bothered by them

  148. I think you're read too much into the 37signals thing. If someone said something like that about something I had worked on, I wouldn't take it as an insult or a sign of elitism. The comment was amusing, useful and relevant. It's a way of doing hover states that i'd never considered.I'm also fairly sure the 37signals design hadn't *just* been launched, since it's looked that way for a few weeks.However, the comments about tipster seem unfair and you're right to be bothered by them

  149. Unfortunately, a lot of negative comments are made because they're trying to create link bait.

  150. Unfortunately, a lot of negative comments are made because they're trying to create link bait.

  151. Actually, it's an accessibility issue as well as a UX issue, because keyboard or visually impaired (think old people rather than blind people) users may have difficulty picking out links when moving the caret around. For this reason it's generally advocated by front end types to have a hover and focus state on all links.

    I'm not a designer so I'll leave the method of implementation out of it.

  152. Actually, it's an accessibility issue as well as a UX issue, because keyboard or visually impaired (think old people rather than blind people) users may have difficulty picking out links when moving the caret around. For this reason it's generally advocated by front end types to have a hover and focus state on all links.I'm not a designer so I'll leave the method of implementation out of it.

  153. Thanks for this great post, I totally agree: this pedantic negativity sometimes kills not only innovation and creativity, but also the motivation which is needed to improve a product continuously. Sometimes, it's no fun at all to listen to the voices out there.

    Nonetheless, I think you do have a lot of influence on those »vibes«: sometimes, you get what you give, right? Especially 37signals don't hesitate to get their opinion out in a partly very rude manner. If you put yourself in a »know it all«, »always right« position, you can count on blog posts or tweets such as the mentioned one above. On the other hand, if you try to be modest and reachable, you'll experience amazing help from all over the web.

  154. Thanks for this great post, I totally agree: this pedantic negativity sometimes kills not only innovation and creativity, but also the motivation which is needed to improve a product continuously. Sometimes, it's no fun at all to listen to the voices out there. Nonetheless, I think you do have a lot of influence on those »vibes«: sometimes, you get what you give, right? Especially 37signals don't hesitate to get their opinion out in a partly very rude manner. If you put yourself in a »know it all«, »always right« position, you can count on blog posts or tweets such as the mentioned one above. On the other hand, if you try to be modest and reachable, you'll experience amazing help from all over the web.

  155. Incidentally, the opacity(0.75) thing is not a great solution in itself. If the desire is to show a visual difference between hover and non-hover states then a small change in opacity is *not* enough.

  156. Not having a hover state is seen as being not great from a UX/Accessibility point of view since there is “technically” no indicator that the link is actually a link and active. Ideally the difference between “normal” and hover states should be visually different enough that people with low vision capabilities can determine the difference…. but…

    I don't know any visual browser out there that doesn't change the cursor to a big, fat, pointy finger so it could be argued that this is enough visual cue and doesn't require us to add our own flourish.

    Like Ryan said, it's different, it's non-conventional but not really “wrong”. Not sure I would have decided not to use a hover state but there you go. Someone at 37 Signals clearly did and it's for them to reason why.

  157. Not having a hover state is seen as being not great from a UX/Accessibility point of view since there is “technically” no indicator that the link is actually a link and active. Ideally the difference between “normal” and hover states should be visually different enough that people with low vision capabilities can determine the difference…. but…I don't know any visual browser out there that doesn't change the cursor to a big, fat, pointy finger so it could be argued that this is enough visual cue and doesn't require us to add our own flourish.Like Ryan said, it's different, it's non-conventional but not really “wrong”. Not sure I would have decided not to use a hover state but there you go. Someone at 37 Signals clearly did and it's for them to reason why.

  158. I think it's childish to criticize and say something like: ” I don't like that ” rather say ” I think this and that can be improved or should be removed reasons being this and that.

    If you are to criticize, at least provide your reasons why you're not for a particular thing/design/element – as that means you're in the process contributing to improving whatever it is that scrutinize.

  159. I think it's childish to criticize and say something like: ” I don't like that ” rather say ” I think this and that can be improved or should be removed reasons being this and that.

    If you are to criticize, at least provide your reasons why you're not for a particular thing/design/element – as that means you're in the process contributing to improving whatever it is that scrutinize.

  160. I think it's childish to criticize and say something like: ” I don't like that ” rather say ” I think this and that can be improved or should be removed reasons being this and that.If you are to criticize, at least provide your reasons why you're not for a particular thing/design/element – as that means you're in the process contributing to improving whatever it is that scrutinize.

  161. They *need* thick skins because the joy of the internet is that it gives everyone a (largely) uncensored voice.

    Sadly, this also proves that people can be arseholes whether by default or just by deed of having a bad day.

    By and large I think it's a good idea not to take things personally. Oftentimes comments like the one mentioned aren't *intended* to be anything else other than *helpful* but come across as otherwise due to poor communication and/or social skills.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of your post but at the same time would advocate that we all remember where we are and not take things personally. Shrug it off and move on.

  162. They *need* thick skins because the joy of the internet is that it gives everyone a (largely) uncensored voice.Sadly, this also proves that people can be arseholes whether by default or just by deed of having a bad day.By and large I think it's a good idea not to take things personally. Oftentimes comments like the one mentioned aren't *intended* to be anything else other than *helpful* but come across as otherwise due to poor communication and/or social skills.I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of your post but at the same time would advocate that we all remember where we are and not take things personally. Shrug it off and move on.

  163. I was thinking about this the other day; for a predominantly male industry web devs can be pretty catty.

    I completely agree, it also makes our industry look bad if our people snipe at each other in public.

  164. I was thinking about this the other day; for a predominantly male industry web devs can be pretty catty. I completely agree, it also makes our industry look bad if our people snipe at each other in public.

  165. Beejamin on April 29, 2009 at 3:22 am said:

    Christi: It's not good or bad, just different!

    It is bad – it takes away a very valuable type of feedback for no good reason.

    Ryan: I think designers need thick skins so they can take comment and criticism from anyone – you can't rely on clients or users being fair, objective, or diplomatic (obviously!), but the feedback they're giving you is important all the same. The thick skin helps you shrug of the pissiness and focus on the stuff you need to know.

  166. Beejamin on April 29, 2009 at 8:22 am said:

    Christi: It's not good or bad, just different! It is bad – it takes away a very valuable type of feedback for no good reason.Ryan: I think designers need thick skins so they can take comment and criticism from anyone – you can't rely on clients or users being fair, objective, or diplomatic (obviously!), but the feedback they're giving you is important all the same. The thick skin helps you shrug of the pissiness and focus on the stuff you need to know.

  167. Exactly – it's just his *opinion* and yet it's being stated like it's UX gospel to have a hover state.

  168. Exactly – it's just his *opinion* and yet it's being stated like it's UX gospel to have a hover state.

  169. Thanks Daniel. But why should designers *need* thick skins?

  170. Excellent point, well made. There's been too much of it lately…

    Constructive criticism FTW.

  171. Excellent point, well made. There's been too much of it lately… Constructive criticism FTW.

  172. Some random thoughts on the subject:

    In one of my jobs I am also sign language interpreter and once I met Tom Best who is (I might be off the target) NLP couch or something similar. Anyway I asked him about cynicism.
    We both agreed it's pretty bad and that it really shows just ego boosting hidden behind something else
    Other thing are children. If you are usually smug about things other do, children will teach you to stop doing that.

    Sometimes I wonder with all the talk about community building and you can still find very bright people failing at basic communication skills.

  173. Some random thoughts on the subject:In one of my jobs I am also sign language interpreter and once I met Tom Best who is (I might be off the target) NLP couch or something similar. Anyway I asked him about cynicism.We both agreed it's pretty bad and that it really shows just ego boosting hidden behind something elseOther thing are children. If you are usually smug about things other do, children will teach you to stop doing that. Sometimes I wonder with all the talk about community building and you can still find very bright people failing at basic communication skills.

  174. No having any hover state over their link is intriguing… It's not good or bad, just different! Also there will always be guys who think they know better. As Daniel H said… it doesn't matter!

    I think they decided to do so because there are just so many links on that home page that when moving your mouse every thing will just pop and that can be tiresome. Since this is just a hunch I would really like to know their reason behind it!

  175. Unfortunately you will always get people who wish only to be negative.

    The thing with this industry is that people always believe they can do a better job, even if they can't. People think, “I could do that, therefore I could have done a better job”. I think the phrase, it's harder than it looks applies a lot to the web.

    In the end it all boils down to envy. Envious that they didn't have the idea, or envious that their idea isn't as succesful. If someone truly disliked something, they would just move on, the fact that they have taken a few minutes to write a shitty comment shows that they are at least interested in the product and probably secretly admire it.

  176. No having any hover state over their link is intriguing… It's not good or bad, just different! Also there will always be guys who think they know better. As Daniel H said… it doesn't matter! I think they decided to do so because there are just so many links on that home page that when moving your mouse every thing will just pop and that can be tiresome. Since this is just a hunch I would really like to know their reason behind it!

  177. Unfortunately you will always get people who wish only to be negative. The thing with this industry is that people always believe they can do a better job, even if they can't. People think, “I could do that, therefore I could have done a better job”. I think the phrase, it's harder than it looks applies a lot to the web.In the end it all boils down to envy. Envious that they didn't have the idea, or envious that their idea isn't as succesful. If someone truly disliked something, they would just move on, the fact that they have taken a few minutes to write a shitty comment shows that they are at least interested in the product and probably secretly admire it.

  178. This post was heaven sent as I was seeting when I saw the comment yesterday. Who the f*ck does that guy think he is, slagging off another site in public?

  179. Great article, Ryan! Hopefully that elitism (you found the right word) will disappear sometime.

  180. You have a very valid point, why are we all so quick to criticise when what we should do is encourage.

  181. I saw that comment, and I sort of agree that it was a bit smug, particularly from an individual whose web design isn't *that* great (technique over style), but other than learning the nice 0.75 trick (a quick easy way to make tactie links!) I ultimately didn't think twice about what his comment meant to 37signals.

    This is a small local web designer having a dig at a behemoth of a web app company, and so ultimately, *it doesn't matter*. The same applies to Tipster – non-constructive 'feedback' from nobodies, just simply doesn't matter.

    Web designers need thick skins. I get put down all the time: am I bothered by it? Not in the slightest.

  182. I saw that comment, and I sort of agree that it was a bit smug, particularly from an individual whose web design isn't *that* great (technique over style), but other than learning the nice 0.75 trick (a quick easy way to make tactie links!) I ultimately didn't think twice about what his comment meant to 37signals. This is a small local web designer having a dig at a behemoth of a web app company, and so ultimately, *it doesn't matter*. The same applies to Tipster – non-constructive 'feedback' from nobodies, just simply doesn't matter.Web designers need thick skins. I get put down all the time: am I bothered by it? Not in the slightest.

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