I know what you're thinking—My name isn't Kevin. It's Chad...
Well, frankly Kevin... I don't give a shit.
You suck at giving feedback.
Kevin: But I'm being honest! It's important to be honest.
Well Kevin, here's why you suck at giving feedback. It's not that you're giving honest feedback that's the problem. I want your feedback. I need it! I don't actually think my work is perfect. It's the way you give it. What you are doing, isn't just unhelpful—it's exhausting.
Kevin: But bro. You gotta be willing to listen to the hard stuff. I'm not here to shit all over your work. I'm just trying to tell you what I like and don't like.
Hey Kevin. First of all. Do not call me bro. We are not bros. Maybe we can eat tater tots one day, but today is not that day. I need more from you than you simply telling me you like or don't like something. That is not helpful.
Kevin: But isn't it helpful to know what I personally do and don't like so you can do a better job? It's feedback! It might not always be what you want to hear. Sometimes you've got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do a bit better my man. It's tough. But it's fair.
Well first of all Kevin, let me start with a tough, but fair—Fuck you.
That entire sentiment of what you just said is so toxic and condescending...I don't know where to begin. Let's just say for example, you're heading home to visit your folks. You knock at the door, and you're so excited to hug your family! It's been so long (global pandemic and all)! The first words out of your Mom's mouth are "You've gained weight."
Feels great, right? Tough. But fair feedback—that you definitely asked for! You love it when she does that. You're there and ready to be part of the family again. And—without asking for, or even entering the house—you are soundly rejected. If that's not farming for dissent, I don't know what is.
Kevin: Bro, my Mom would never say that. Also, that's not a fair description of what farming for dissent refers to.
She's thinking it Kevin. It's there. And my point isn't really about what "farming for dissent" is about. It's about the fact that just because you've heard a cool phrase and idea applied in another company or situation that doesn't mean it applies to yours.
"Best practices" like that are by and large bullshit terms. You have to question what you're preaching. By that logic, if you knew that using blankets to put out a small fire was a best practice, you'd end up believing that to put out forest fires we should make blankets the size of California to put out forest fires.
Kevin: Has anyone looked into that?
I don't know Kev. My point is, what I want is your brain. And you want your Mom asking how you've been and how life is going, not a hot take statement on the fact that you've been eating nothing but chicken fingers in lockdown.
I want the same. Give me the facts, and give em to me straight. And fill them in with details. Tell me why something isn't working for you. Tell me how you see it improving.
Wow, a rusty paper clip is gonna slice my leg on Tuesday and the infection will spread through my body killing me days later? Wow. What a crazy way to die. Thanks Kevin. I'll be on the lookout for stray paperclips in the interim.
See how much shit I can avoid?
I can do something with that.
I can't do anything with "You're going to die."
Yes Kevin. I know that.
Thank you Kevin.
I don't need you to be nice to give me useful feedback. I need feedback notes that aren't just your biased opinion. Opinions are like assholes, and you are an asshole.
Kevin: I don't think that's the saying.
I know that. Kevin.
Here are some places you can learn how to give good design feedback:
Special Thanks to Christine Sirois for lovely edits and feedback.