Why you have to live with negative feedback as blogger and software developer

If you are the author of a blog or website, or have written and published some software or a game you might know this problem: The overall majority of all feedback you get is negative, independent of the quality of your published work. Of course, this depends on the audience, for example for specialized open source software like Irrlicht this is a bit better because people using it are usually a bit more intelligent and tolerant than an average person.

For example, a lot of my friends reading this blog always tell me that they are shocked when they read the comments to my political blog posts in which a surprising high amount of people write that they disagree with me and that torture is ok and war crimes are actually no war crimes and similar.

Or another, even better example is the feedback I get from the Darkness Springs users from time to time, 90% of the comments can be sorted into these two categories:
  • "Your game sucks! Because feature X is totally like in game Y!!"
  • and "Your game sucks! Why the hell isn't feature X not like in game Y??!?"

And although all this is a bit sad and funny at the same time, it's still all negative feedback, and the amount of it won't change regardless of how long you work to increase the quality of your product.

The reason for this is simply that it is a lot easier to write negative stuff. How often did you think about writing a mail or a comment to the author of a blog that you like his opinion or his blog post? And now think about how often you wrote that something isn't ok in somone's blog post, or that there is an error here and that something isn't right. Easier, hm? :)

So you'll better put on a thick skin before publishing something, and get used to negative feedback. It doesn't mean that your blog, software, website or whatever really sucks. :)

fifteen comments, already:

This post sucks!!
piko - 13 06 08 - 13:40

It’s not exactly “easier”. It’s just that it is human nature to be more upset when you disagree with someone than when you agree with him. And if you’re upset, you’re more likely to raise your voice.

If you agree with someone, you say either nothing or something like “yes”, “agreed” or whatever.
If you disagree with someone however, you will go on a long tangent about why he is wrong and why you are right.
Tazo - 13 06 08 - 13:45

I agree with Tazo. If I would post some kind of ”/agree” comment everytime I agree with something you say, your Spamfiltering mechanism would probably throw me out
Marcus (link) - 13 06 08 - 13:51

your blog sucks! ;)
pretender - 13 06 08 - 14:48

“It doesn’t mean that your blog, software, website or whatever really sucks. :) ” Darkness Springs really does suck though; it’s just boring. Been a while since i tried it, so it might have changed. But i doubt it.
Matthias - 13 06 08 - 15:09

LOL.

You’re right, Niko. Even when you post about negative reviews, your post get’s negative reviews about negative reviews. :)

I haven’t ‘published’ anything in the gaming world that much since I’m mostly a freelance author, but I hear ‘your story stinks’ a lot and it just takes getting used too. :)
Jonathan Snyder - 13 06 08 - 16:20

@Matthias : Yes but that’s just the thing. You can easily say DS sucks but how about giving a report about what exactly you don’t like about it and how would you like it to be improved??

That’s exactly what niko says I guess, that people just throw their opinion without thinking it through and don’t take in count what it took you the developer to create what you did.

Personally I’d say that if the person didn’t like my software (which is just fine) and explained himself regarding what in it he doesn’t like I’ll accept it, else it kind of a spam. For unexplained reports you have polls.

In conclusion I agree with niko even though I don’t have such experience as his.
MasterGod () (link) - 13 06 08 - 16:23

I subscribe to your RSS feed for your software updates and usually take the political rants with a grain of salt. However, it is very short-sighted to accuse people who disagree with some of your views of advocating torture just because they don’t swallow them whole.

It’s the most irritating problem I have with many leftists: anytime you disagree about an issue they blow up with statements like “what about the children?!?” or “why do want want to destroy the environment?!?”. Come on, no sane person wants mistreatment or neglect of people or nature. We just disagree on the best methods of caring for them.

With that said, I really appreciate your contributions to the software community and political commentary. I’m no Bush lover (pardon the pun), but I think most of the impeachment charges you listed the other day were bogus. However, I wholeheartedly agree with you on the infringement of our civil rights that is taking place for the sake of “security”. That’s a slippery slope with no way to turn back without serious hardships and unrest.

Edit: I’m having a lot of trouble getting this through the spam filter!
Judge - 13 06 08 - 17:42

Hi Niko, although I’m not being very active lately – because of lack of time – , I’m still “lurking around” your sites and products, and all I can say, you’re doing a great job, as well as your fellow developers on Irrlicht. You’re right, by the way, but I really like the way you handle this. Keep up your optimism because what you guys do is just great. Keep only those emails/reports that say something positive about your stuff, or constuctive criticism. Makes you feel good and gives you motivation. None of us or our products are perfect. :)
PI () - 13 06 08 - 18:29

That’s true, arguing should not be taken as ‘negative’ feedback.
I’m glad to hear any constructive critism like that from Matthias, but as MasterGod wrote, the more detailed feedback the better, ‘it sucks’ is not that useful of course.

@Judge: Of course I’m aware that sometimes I have quite harsh political views and I understand that other people have other views [the world would be quite boring otherwise ;)], but I think it’s ok to proclaim them loudly on this blog as long as nobody gets hurt ;) Strange that you had troubles with my poorly self-written spam filter, you didn’t include words like o*nline p*ker or vi*gr*? :)

thanks pi :)
niko - 13 06 08 - 18:59

Don’t take any of it to heart, Niko. I like your political posts. They are mostly spot on, and I love your software of course, like I’m sure many other people do! I like really the idea behind darkness springs, I just have a bit of a problem with the technology used (requires proprietary Flash browser plug-in). Why didn’t you use Irrlicht to make the game?! :D Keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged!
Gothi[c] - 13 06 08 - 19:22

In my opinion Darkness Springs is great, just to say it. Thank you for this game!!
Stefan Branske - 14 06 08 - 08:15

I visit your website on a regular basis and i’m very interested in the irrlicht projects. Keep up the good work – thank you!
Manfred () - 14 06 08 - 13:46

Hi,

I am a regular reader on both the Irrlicht engine site and this one. I do love Irrlicht, but haven’t tried DS, but as I haven’t got the time to really work on anything currently due to my job (and a few other things) I can’t post that much. I nevertheless know that positive feedback is rare and do therefore want to provide some: Irrlicht is great, and I love reading your blog (anything on it), and I do mostely agree with your statements.

Regarding your political posts I think that you (as me) might agree with Benjamin Franklin:

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Brainsaw (link) - 16 06 08 - 08:01

That because people are “protected” by anonymity. I am sure that it would be different if they have to sign with their real name. Anyway don’t worry about negative feedback, your blog is really nice!
marco.ragogna - 16 06 08 - 09:15


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