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The worst advice


I’ve run into a lot of unsolicited feedback from people about my material throughout the years.  Some comments are more useful than others, but nothing is as useless as “It’s great!” or “It’s terrible!” (even though the former is, at the very least, gratifying).

Comedy is subjective.  End of story.  “It’s great/terrible!” means it’s great/terrible to YOU, and since you are an individual snowflake, your opinion on what’s funny is based on your own personal taste and life experiences.

And yet it kind of boggles me that people will make choices on what to watch or eat, or where to go, or anything, based on whether someone else likes/dislikes it, without any further elaboration.  True, people have similar enough tastes that if your best friend likes something, there’s a pretty good chance you will too.

I guess the most obnoxious display of this is online – Amazon ratings without comments to support them, YouTube likes/dislikes without comments, even Facebook-likes to a degree (though not so much there, since many Facebook posts are more declarations of opinions than it is work that you’re putting on display).

I think with the former two, the anonymity of your opinion gives you more freedom to talk about what sucks without repercussion.  For instance, with Amazon, I heard that there are authors that will confront people that make negative comments on the books they’re selling…provided that’s true, I can see where it could be beneficial to not leave your name attributed to your opinion.  But when someone looks up your name on YouTube and dislikes every video you created rapid-fire without even watching them (which, based on what I could best gather from my analytics report, happened to me a few years ago), that’s just someone letting off personal steam against you, probably while playing Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know” on loop, that can contribute (however mildly) to a bad online reputation.

Nevertheless, your one-star or dislike is as useful to the creator and the consumers as not leaving any feedback at all.  To your friends, your opinion might be useful, but to a world wide web of strangers, who the hell are you?

The adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” might apply best here – because honestly, an item that was posted 2 years ago with no feedback/comments gives a similarly poor message.

I guess my point is, don’t be a dick, okay?