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This guide will, hopefully, tackle the issues of how to show the disadvantages of a piece to an artist without turning them down, how to handle comments received, no matter how good or bad they are, and how to reply to the comments received, particularly if you don’t understand or you are bothered, which may lead to unnecessary drama.


How to show the disadvantages of a piece without turning the artist down (and making them feel worthless)


Tone

We all have our own perspectives, and so we all interpret things and, most importantly, comments differently. If Person A wrote a comment and thought they sounded quite calm, Person B could take the comment and perceive it as Person A attacking them.

One way to show the disadvantages of a piece is by reducing the accusing and insulting tone by introducing words such as "maybe/might", "perhaps", "I think", "could be", which softens the overall tone and make you sound less blunt and "in your face".

Additionally, putting a small disclaimer such as, "However, this is just how I see it", or "It might just be me", helps too.


Improvement

Improvement takes tone one step further. By making your tone less blunt, you could also illustrate how the person can improve and give them an alternative version to the piece, instead of saying, "The face is fat, period".

Why is the face fat?

If you included the reason why you thought the face was fat using the pointers in the Tone section above, you are already half way there.

The next half is explaining how they could improve, which leads to the next topic…


Balance

… Of finding a balance, which is key to making sure the artist doesn’t feel as if their entire piece is rubbish.

Don’t just focus on what you don’t like and what could be improved. After giving a bit of advice on how to improve, list some positive aspects about the piece, too, whether it is the colours, the details or the small things we often overlook.

Another aspect of balance is by matching your comment to the artist and their skill level. If the artist is not advanced in their art, don’t write about things that they can’t do (unless you illustrate how they can achieve it). Instead, create a balance by picking a few key areas where improvement can be made and balancing that out by the things that they can do with no improvement.


Format

Last but not least, it’s all to do with how you format and organise your comment. If you list something negative, and then a positive and then end with something negative, how will the artist feel to reading something that starts off positive, which leads to a negative and finally finishes on a positive?

In that way, a great way of making sure your comment feels balanced is by creating a "sandwich":

:bulletblue: Positive
:bulletgreen: Negative
:bulletblue: Positive


It really makes a difference as to how the comments are received, because if you start with the negative they read the whole comment in a bad mood and if you finish on a negative they're thinking about the bad stuff when they reply to you. ~ Itti


Comments Received (How to handle and reply)


Thanks

First of all, thank them. If they comment positively or negatively about your piece, thank them. If you don’t want to thank them for the comment, thank them for the time they spent on the comment, even if their comment is downright insulting.

Why?

Because it will hopefully soften the inevitable confrontation that you will eventually have, if the comment is offensive.

If you can’t bring yourself to thank them, don’t fret about it! We’ll just move to the next point


Take a step back and breathe

Not literally, though! (Unless you want to)

Normally, seeing things with a new perspective can help prevent any drama that is looming. If taking a step back and breathing doesn’t work, don’t comment.

There is nothing wrong with leaving the comment for a day and then coming back to it, even though commenting straight away and flaming the other person in return is so much fun.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to hide the comment if you don’t want to comment and you don’t want anyone to see. Nothing is lost or gained, in that respect.

damphyr posted an awesome guide at communityops here about feeding trolls, or rather, not feeding them. It is a worthwhile read if you have a spare moment!


Replying to comments

Sometimes, the people commenting do not make themselves clear enough. Due to this, misinterpretation can happen and things may escalate when, really, you were all talking about the same thing anyway.

Thus, if you don’t understand a comment or you are bothered by it, think whether it is because the commenter is not making themselves clear or whether they actually intended to insult your piece. If it is the latter, repeat the step previously.

If someone is rude about your piece, the instinct is to fight and be rude back. If you feel this way, try and persuade yourself that the commenter had good intensions, even if it is not true.

Additionally, some people may not be very fluent in English, so they may not be able to find a proper way of expressing their thoughts.

In conclusion, think before replying. If you are confused or disturbed, perhaps you can ask a question to help clarify that, or perhaps you could explore the possibilities of what they meant.

If you have received a brilliant comment and you don’t know how to reply, the least you could do is thank them. Some people feel that because the other person has put time into the comment, that they should put time as well into responding, but when nothing comes to mind, it may be a problem.

An idea is that you could thank the person and then go to their own gallery and comment on one of their pieces in the same way, thus expressing your gratitude in a different form.  

Overall, though, a comment is just a comment, from an artist who is just an artist. We all have different viewpoints, and like positive comments shouldn’t feed your ego (even though it does feel nice), negative comments shouldn’t bring you down, either.


A few interesting guides:

:bulletblue: doubting your art? - DON'T!
:bulletblue: How to feel miserable as an artist
:bulletblue: Accept - Don't Deflect!
:bulletblue: Getting Over The DA Blues: Help Guide
:bulletblue: Building a Stronger Community
:bulletblue: How to Improve your Art
:bulletblue: Criticism vs Constructive Criticism
:bulletblue: The Official CC Critique Guide
:bulletblue: Writing a Critique


Final Note


This guide is by no means accurate or complete and it does not apply to everyone. It was written by ProjectComment as a Group, by deviants, for deviants in the hope of providing some things to think about.

I would like to thank the following who contributed: amaira515, ChaoticSkye Iluvocnj2006, Itti, Scarlesaur and xblackxbloodxcellx. Their efforts in the making of this guide are much appreciated, and they deserve to be recognised.


Thank you for reading. :dalove:

3wyl, posting on behalf of ProjectComment
Add a Comment:
 
:iconxender1500:
Xender1500 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
This guide is really good!
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. :B
Reply
:iconxender1500:
Xender1500 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome
Reply
:iconmirage-epoque:
Mirage-Epoque Featured By Owner May 1, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really helpful due to that I sometimes can get uncertain wether my comment was constructive enough or phrased in a way that wouldn't come across as insulting. Thank you so much for taking your time to make this! :D
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner May 1, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
We also have people/mentors who would be happy to work with you on your comments/commenting if you had questions, wanted support, etc.

Glad that this article is helpful, either way. :D
Reply
:iconjezza5655:
Jezza5655 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for making this journal! I think it's very helpful. I've recently gotten a comment that I think was supposed to be constructive, but it was very rude. I'd like people to understand that when writing a constructive comment, you need a good balance. Anyway, thanks for this advice, and I really think it'll help! Love 
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
If it was a member from the group, please let me know! There really is no need for rudeness. :hmm:

Thank you! :hug:
Reply
:iconjezza5655:
Jezza5655 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Yup! Well, thanks! Also, there has been another incident of rudeness by someone who just got invited, I think. He cursed a lot at me, called my art curse words, etc. I can't remember his username (I'm writing this on my phone) but it seems like he has done the same to others. I'll give you the username as soon as possible.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Man, what is going on with all these rude people? :noes:

If you could let me know the username (after going back to the page they posted on?), that would be much appreciated. :nod:
Reply
Hidden by Owner
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, I have already banned them from the group. It seems like that is the case indeed. :hmm:
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:iconjezza5655:
Jezza5655 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok, thank you! :)
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:iconmedula-oblongata:
Medula-Oblongata Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016
"Additionally, don’t hesitate to hide the comment if you don’t want to comment and you don’t want anyone to see. Nothing is lost or gained, in that respect."

I feel glad to have read this, I just did this today to someone who was ungodly rude, extremely unhelpful, and pretty much told me my work was unreadable due to things that were nitpicks at worst.  I had wondered if hiding the comment was a rather childish way of handling this, but I suppose it really isn't considering other ways I could have responded.     
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't think hiding the comment is childish. If a random person comes out of the blue to attack you like that, there is really no point in responding. It is best to hide the comment.  :nod:
Reply
:iconmedula-oblongata:
Medula-Oblongata Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016
Indeed.  In hindsight I think I made the best decision there.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Very much so!
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:iconhmlestrange:
HMLestrange Featured By Owner May 13, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This 'Additionally, some people may not be very fluent in English, so they may not be able to find a proper way of expressing their thoughts.' is my problem from time to time. I'm not a native speaker and I'm afraid to make mistakes and hurt other people feelings. Sweating a little... 
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I think many native English speakers also go through that. :nod:

There are many issues related to commenting that many people go through. The question is whether they work through them, or whether they give up.
Reply
:iconhmlestrange:
HMLestrange Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, that is good to read (in a good way ;) )

I'm from the Netherlands and I know that we "Dutchies" can be very blunt some time, even if we do not mean it that way. I started my first "English journey on the internet" around 2007 and the most of the time I heard: "You are so rude" and I had no idea what I did wrong... Sweating a little... 
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, of course. :nod:

I think many people from all over the world have the same problem of being blunt. It's not really a 'problem', just miscommunication, is all. :nod:

It's very nuanced, and very subtle. It's actually pretty amazing you have such a solid grip of English, but picking up politeness and everything like that? That is a lot harder, and often it comes from our culture, our environment, etc.
Reply
:icongriffonmender:
Griffonmender Featured By Owner May 18, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
If there's one thing to remember about foreign languages, it's that if you are not 100% sure about the meaning of a word, don't use it.
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:iconhmlestrange:
HMLestrange Featured By Owner May 19, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for the advise :) (Smile) 
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:icongriffonmender:
Griffonmender Featured By Owner May 19, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome. ^^
Reply
:iconedibleshoes:
EdibleShoes Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2016
Edible was here, gnawing on this entry because it something others need to read~ Bunny Emoji-35 (Eating) [V2] 
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Sounds awesome! :O
Reply
:iconslestualenergie:
slestualenergie Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016
Dude this is really helpful. Thanks a lot!
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad! It's a bit outdated, but I hope it's still useful. :)
Reply
:iconslestualenergie:
slestualenergie Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016
Yeah. Info like this doesn't really age. Sure some of the links might need updating (you actually should check them out, some of them are 404) but overall the advice is timeless. 
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
We have been working on more 'current' workshops regarding comments, but I will consider updating the links here...at some point. ^^;
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:iconslestualenergie:
slestualenergie Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016
Cool, no pressure. Hehe. 
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:hug:
Reply
:iconslestualenergie:
slestualenergie Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2016
Thumbs Up 
Reply
:iconiiblueaurora:
iiBlueAurora Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015   Artist
Thanks a lot!
I was nervous that i could hurt someone's feelings and i didn't mean to,
but i feel better now. Thanks for writing this, like seriously! ^^
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Anytime! :la:

If you phrase the comment right, and balance it so that you do a positive-negative-positive comment approach, things should be fine (unless the artist is an ass ;P).

I hope you do feel better! Commenting isn't something one should be afraid of. :nod:
Reply
:iconiiblueaurora:
iiBlueAurora Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2015   Artist
Okay, thanks! :>
Reply
:icontoddntheshiningsword:
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
...even though commenting straight away and flaming the other person in return is so much fun.:iconequalsplz: TRUE! :iconxd-plz:

An idea is that you could thank the person and then go to their own gallery and comment on one of their pieces in the same way, thus expressing your gratitude in a different form. :iconequalsplz: BRILLIANT!

ALSO
There is nothing wrong with leaving the comment for a day and then coming back to it, ... is something I think a lot of people need to know. Some people work to make sure every message in their box is replied to by the time they leave to do something else that the quality of their messages- and even their experience- suffers occasionally.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, very true! It is ok for a comment to just sit in your inbox for a while, just for that right time when you do have the time and energy and more to dedicate yourself to a reply. :nod:
Reply
:iconchinchongcha:
chinchongcha Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
really helpful.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you think so! :)
Reply
:iconacemastershady:
AceMasterShady Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
This really helped. Thanks! ^u^
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad it did!
Reply
:iconilikadachocolate:
ilikadachocolate Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Student Writer
:iconyayzplz: Another awesome guide written by you. Thanks again. :D
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the support! :hug:
Reply
:iconhefeigal:
hefeigal Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I hope you don't mind that I featured this guide on my journal! [link]

If you'd like me to remove it, feel free to note me!
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Of course not, thank you! :hug:
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
:clap: Awesome as always 3wyl! :hug: I love this! Helping deviants everywhere!

Great article!
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's a bit outdated. :hmm:
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I'm having fun looking at everyone's journals and gallery from a while ago. ;)
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That must take a long time? :O
Reply
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