Many blogging communities are close-knit affairs. Bloggers know each other well, have often met in person, and more often than not keep a close watch on what everyone else says about them. The closeness of blogging communities often makes critical blog posts very tough things to publish. But, of course, criticism, if done well, can positively push a community in the right direction. And yet, there are those out there who can become offended when they read a blog post critical of themselves.
So, if you are writing a blog post that is critical of an aspect or issue within a community, you have to think of ways that you can frame the post so as to keep the hard-hitting criticism in it, while respecting the emotions of the original author or community member in your crosshairs.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you publish your post:
Is the criticism excessively personal?
Check over your critical blog post to make sure that it is not a personal attack, but rather a criticism of ideas. You can help make this a reality by phrasing your criticism this way: ‘This idea is incorrect because.’ This is less personal than saying something like, ‘John Doe is wrong because.’
Is the criticism worded aggressively?
Look at the language you use to express your criticism. Make sure it is full of phrases that are formal and respectful. Words like ‘stupid’ and ‘silly’ are not respectful, nor do they help you explain your argument. Instead, use qualifying phrases like ‘incorrect’ or ‘flawed.’ The heightened diction will show your audience that you are thinking carefully about the issue.
Is the criticism biased?
Examine your criticism to see if it is unnecessarily one-sided. If it is too biased, then your readers will question your integrity, especially if you have a history of constantly criticizing this one particular issue. Be sure you present your argument in light of a focused, but well-presented context.
Is the criticism logically argued and well-researched?
Use formal argument methods in order to put together a logical argument. An argument is a claim plus reasons, and these reasons should be supported by evidence that you have acquired through responsible research. If you can put together a solid argument with research, you’ll do well in furthering the discussion of the issue in a responsible way.
Is the criticism open to other perspectives?
Finally, make sure that your critical article closes with an invitation to more discussion. You should want to create more discussion to resolve the issue. You’re not trying to shut down the issue, but instead expand its discussion. You can only do this by inviting others to join the conversation.
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