Brief guidelines on how to give constructive feedback
Now that the jam is over, we’re spending a few weeks editing! We encourage participants to leave comments on each other’s work during this time, to open up opportunities to further refine the micro-essays. Comments can be left at the bottom of a pub, or you can highlight a passage and leave a comment in the margin. The period for comments and editing will run through Sunday, February 21.
This is a space for development and exploration, rather than debate or correction. Here are some examples of what we consider to be useful feedback:
Purpose: We define constructive criticism as a process that starts with understanding what a writer is trying to do—try to work out what they want to achieve, and help them to do that. All feedback left in comments should come from this sympathetic angle that centers the writer’s goals.
Information economy: Since these are micro-essays, the biggest problem writers face is using limited words to serve the purpose of the essay: “you could drop this” is therefore sometimes useful feedback, particularly when it comes to descriptions of what a game is about or what an idea means.
Clarity: If you are unsure what something means, it can be good to ask someone to articulate it in different terms.
Specificity: Does the writer need to give an example to clarify what they mean, or to better illustrate the point they are trying to make?
Encouragement: Ask for more of something the writer already does well. This is preferable to asking them to do less of something that you don’t like!
Connections: To help a writer better understand the context of what they are working on, it can be helpful to draw connections: “This makes me think of…” However, we feel that this is not the right space to tell someone what they should be reading—this can be a fine needle to thread!
What if I see something bad or problematic?
If you disagree with the purpose of an essay, find that discriminatory language is being used, notice factual errors, or otherwise believe that there is a serious problem with a piece of writing submitted for this project, please contact Zoyander or Joey directly in a private message on Discord (@zoy and @joeye) or by email.