Constructive Criticism

Good critique is not just about finding faults. The judgements we form can and should cover both positive and negative aspects of the work. As critics, we should strive for fairness, honesty, and empathy. With this attitude, critique starts to look like more of a creative task rather than a destructive one.

When critique is done well, it 1) identifies the strengths of the work; 2) helps to improve the weaknesses of the work; 3) helps our professional development; 4) enhances mutual trust and collaboration, and 5) ultimately helps entire professions like design to advance and grow.

In short, critique matters because it enables us to improve our work.


Table of Contents
  1. How to Give It
  2. How to Take It
  3. How to Ask for It

How to Give It

See also: How to Musubi Method if you have never given feedback before and want some kind of template to start.

Was the critique asked for?
Some people do not want critique and that is okay. Avoid giving critique when it's not asked for or expected. Don't give critique in contexts where people are just showing off their work (such as #vid-share).

Consider the video's goal
Who is the video for? What is it trying to accomplish?
A drama video is trying to do different things from an action video or an homage. Videos intending to gain a large amount of views on a particular platform have different needs than videos trying to win contests.
Things that can detract from some videos aid others. Adjust your feedback and take into account the video's purpose. No goal is wrong and each goal will have different needs to be accounted for.
If you don't know the goal, ask! Turn the feedback into a dialogue.

Don't make it personal
An editor's decisions are not a reflection of them as a person. There is no "you should have done X" or "Y is dumb."
Likewise, your own opinions on what a video should or shouldn't be is not feedback. A video isn't bad just because you personally aren't a fan of something about it.
Keep the criticism focused on how well the video accomplishes its goal, and how the editor can improve to reach the goal they are looking for. It's okay if that goal is not the same as yours.

Be specific when possible
If there are technical errors, it is extremely beneficial to provide timestamps. It's much easier to fix a stray frame at 2:02 than "when tuxedo mask flips his cape."
But it's also good to state both. 😎

If your feedback is more on potential solutions or theoretical situations, try to give specific examples.
e.g. I think shape masks similar to Koop's Euphoria video might help: [link to video here] (VPR: All)

Match the depth of the critique to the editor's desire and/or skill level
Going back to the old "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," adage: consider if what you're about to say really needs to be said.
If the editor is looking for feedback only on a specific thing, don't start critiquing others. E.g. if they're looking for technical errors, their style of sync should not be commented on.
If this is the editor's first video, there is no need to critique every single point. Prioritize the large things that are easy to change and/or improve upon, unless otherwise specified by the editor.

Stay positive
This doesn't mean to only list things you liked about the video. What it instead refers to is the language and tone, which should be kept positive overall. We're a server dedicated to learning and education. We want to build people up, not tear them and/or their videos down. Choose your words in a way to reflect optimism. You can do this in many different ways, whether that is using the "sandwich method" or something else.

How to Take It

Explain, but try not to be defensive
Remember that the critique is meant to aid in improvement. Is it is not intended to attack. There is no reason to defend yourself, decisions, or goals.
If you feel someone is attacking you through critique, please DM one of the @Staff or @Vars#3616 and we'll take care of it.
(You can also report it using a bot )

Take the compliments!
People like videos! They might like your videos! If you can't say anything nice about your own videos, just say "thank you" for the praise.
Our #1 rule is to not be a jerk- that includes being a jerk to yourself. Be nice(r) to yourself.

It's 100% okay to disregard the feedback
Your videos are your videos, and you should make what you like to make. Editors usually develop particular styles over time and sometimes critique won't fit those styles, your likes, or your goals. Say "thanks" for the feedback and just don't implement it in your video - no one will judge you. 🙂

How to Ask for It

Post the video in #vid-critique
Give a CW if your video has frequent flashing!
Use of VPR for things other than flashing is also heavily encouraged, but not required:
VPR shorthand: No known, B&C, Motion, Peripheral, Red, All

Tell us a bit about your video
What genre is it? Did you have a specific goal or audience in mind?
This explanation can be a single short sentence - no need to be super detailed.

If you're looking for some specific feedback, tell us what it is!
"What do you think?" is rather open-ended and sometimes hard to reply to. Something like " I am trying to do X. Does it come off well in my video? What can I do to make X better?" gives us a good starting point to provide you with better feedback.
Some examples:

This is my drama video. Are there any technical errors? Is my song cut okay?
This is supposed to be a character profile, but does it makes sense if you haven't seen the anime?
Is any of my sync off? I was trying to match every character to a specific instrument.

Ping @Critique
We tend to give pretty detailed feedback, so it may take several hours or even a day to get back to you. But if it's been more than 12 hours, please feel free to ping again.

If you're looking for general feedback on how to become a better editor...
Please tell us what editors you like, and give some examples of what videos you'd like to make.
Different goals require different approaches. Not all advice is relevant to all types of videos.
But, generally speaking, the best advice would be to learn basic cinematography, basic video editing (in general, not just for fanvids), how to use your editing program, and about the aspects of flow.