05 January 2011

Constructive Criticism and A Resolution(ish thing)

The best analysis of aid blogging yet comes from Matt at Aid Thoughts (and it applies to me as much as everyone else):
5. The aid/development blogging community is becoming less apt at meaningful debate than it is at self-congratulatory criticism of outsiders.
While social media developments like Twitter have brought us closer as a community, such proximity has done little to foster new and interesting ideas. With some exceptions, 2010 was a rehash of old ideas, with much blogging (including this blog) dedicated harping on those who lacked appreciation of ideas we found sacred. We spent very little time testing those ideas and bouncing them off of each other, instead joining each other in various wars on outside laymen. While I wouldn't expect to see the same cutthroat back-and-forth visible in strictly academic circles, I do believe you can find more heat on the Star Wars message boards than you can in the average development blogging debate.

We should aspire to be islands of critical thought which more likely to spar with each other than slap each other on the back. Part of the joy of blogging is sharing new, interesting ideas, then viciously tearing them apart.

I have tried not to fall into the above trap, but it is easy as it is hard to take criticism. At times I want to push things a bit but I admit to being a bit reserved from time to time. Not one who makes resolutions, but I would have to say mine for the year will be to try to be a bit more forward and offer commentary that will be more forward without being confrontational. It is possible (and likely) I will fall back into old habits, so please feel free to hold my feet to the fire. All I ask in return are constructive comments.