What’s With All the Jerks?

by Grant Friedman

on June 22, 2010

in Articles

Over the last couple of years I have had the opportunity to observe the design community from a unique perspective. For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed it. Most of the people I have met have been incredible. The design community is filled with so many generous individuals who freely donate their time, knowledge, and spirit without asking much, if anything in return. I suppose in a lot of ways, the design community is much like the rest of the world; filled with kind and generous people; but like the rest of the world, there seem to be a few bad apples that consistently make hard for the rest of us. I only say this because recently, I’ve noticed the number of overly critical, unhelpful, and sometimes-insulting comments increase dramatically on articles and tutorials.

I fully understand Internet culture. I know that this sort of thing is commonplace. For the most part, I’m pretty laid back. I don’t let much bother me. I know the Internet is filled with jerks; it’s just the way things are. For many years I tolerated them; even cheered them on, but lately, it seems, that the jerks are getting the upper hand.

I read a lot of different design blogs. I most always read through the comments. It’s a great way to see how the community feels about a particular topic. It used to be that when you read through them that you would see a lot of positive comments, a few questions, some constructive criticism, and maybe a couple negative remarks. Today, it seems like the negative remarks are really starting to dominate the discussion and it’s ruining the atmosphere of the community.

I will admit that we rarely receive negative comments on this site. We get a few here and there but nothing that really shocks the conscience. What I have seen however is the tendency of a few people on some other sites to unfairly, and unnecessarily attack an article, tutorial, or author for no good reason.

Sure, there are tons of poorly written articles, and ugly tutorials out there, but does that make it ok to publically flame the article, or in some cases personally attack its author? I think not.

I fully support a public discourse. I think it’s great to voice your opinion and I encourage it on every site I maintain. There is a huge difference however between civil public discourse and malicious, unfair, and insulting statements often made by anonymous readers.

I don’t have any illusions that these types of people will ever stop what they’re doing. I know that they are here to stay. What I will ask however is that the next time you decide to flame an article or tutorial that some one wrote, stop and think before you write. Try to be constructive in your criticism, don’t insult the author personally. Treat them the way you would like to be treated. Remember, we’re not discussing controversial social or economic issues. If we were, I might understand. This is design that we are talking about here. It’s supposed to be fun and educational. There is no need to get upset about a tutorial that some one wrote. If you don’t like it, that’s ok. If you want to voice your opinion, do it. Just be respectful, that’s all.

About Grant Friedman

Grant Friedman is a graphic design, blogger, and author. In addition to being the founder of this website, Grant is also the editor of Psdtuts, one of the world's most popular tutorial websites.