How do you build up a movement with destructive criticism?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. But that doesn’t stop the makers of sites like You’re Not Helping from going flat-out negative, even when they’re offering “praise.”

Read the beginning of what looks like a series of posts on how to be helpful on the intertubes, at Almost Diamonds.


  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    May 10, 2010

    I subscribed recently to YNH and I dislike much of what I see there.

  2. #2 Hank Fox
    May 10, 2010

    Re: YNH. I made a few comments there, and got some snarky replies back. It’s like the authors of the site have to reply to every single post. I went away thinking they were kind of dicks.

    The issue I was replying to was their apparent need to leap into criticizing certain approaches to outspoken atheism.

    I keep thinking that when society has had about a thousand years of freedom to be unbelievers, to balance the many thousands of years of draconian religiosity, THAT will be the time to take the pulse of the atheist movement and perhaps declare that some of us are misguided in our approach. UNTIL THEN, it’s way to early to declare You’re Not Helping.

    They’re welcome to do what they do, no doubt. But … I lost interest in the site pretty fast.

  3. #3 melior
    May 11, 2010

    How do you build up a movement with destructive criticism?

    It’s quite simple, if you’re not just being pedantic.

    A good example is The Daily WTF, which for years has been helping to teach thousands of programmers what badly-written software looks like. Of course, it helps that the consequences are so often amusing, but it is actually an excellent way to demonstrate good practices by exposing real world examples of Fail. The criticism is always snarky, and the names are changed to protect the guilty. The comments are often as instructive as the posts as others pile on.

  4. #4 melior
    May 11, 2010

    See also: User Interface Hall of Shame.

  5. #5 MrPeach
    May 11, 2010

    “You’re not helping” -> subscribed
    “Almost Diamonds” -> not subscribed
    Thanks Greg for the (second level) recommendation!

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    May 11, 2010

    MrPeach: Ha! That is a little like hearing a movie critic say “Porgies II -> Wow! I want to see it again, Citizen Kane -> Awful movie, should be colorized anyway”

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    May 11, 2010

    The Daily WTF is brilliant. It’s like Fail blog for coders. But it isn’t all just coding, actually.

  8. #8 MrPeach
    May 11, 2010

    Hey, I like the negative approach – it’s much like my own view on the world. Personally I find it more honest.
    OTOH, I’ll pass on both those movies, thanks.
    I will, however, allocate time to read the biography I have on Orson Welles. Much positive and negative to be found there, I’m sure.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    May 12, 2010

    I knew somebody who knew Orson Welles. My friend was a staff member at a place that hired him regularly. SInce she was not important he treated her like shit.