Scene Critics

Written by Paranoid

One thing I've noticed myself, and through reading messages in the news-groups, is that the scene has a new type of person. We have always had the coders, gfx artists and musicians, as well as swappers etc. But now we have the scene critics. Scene critics (in general) sit outside the scene, using only their past achievements or even just their time on the scene to justify being elite. When a group releases something, or when even an individual releases something, they immediately pounce! E-mails are sent to the person responsible for creating something, and messages are posted criticising the release. Criticism has its place of course, you can't improve something without knowing what people don't like about it. Criticism is not always constructive though, and some muppets will quite happily slag off something you worked hard to produce. Focusing only on some bad points, they seem to act like they paid for the production - much like a commercial program. The scene-critics seem to be growing in numbers these days, and most of them do nothing at all themselves. If you don't like something, fair enough, you have your opinion, but you dont have to ram it down others' throats (it makes you look pretty lame really).

Makke told me that the scene was really utopian these days, with everyone being nice to each other etc. I agree with that to an extent, but if someone has just gotten onto the scene and produces something, which may not be the greatest release ever (but everyone starts somewhere, even groups like FC didn't instantly release a cool megademo). The problem is, when everyone starts criticising a production the individual will quickly lose heart. And that could well be the last production to come from a new group, which could be the next greatest thing to hit the scene. For all people asking why isn't the scene more active, and why aren't there more releases and new groups etc. this is a very possible reason!

Without getting too psychological on you, scene-critics need to learn some transactional analysis (let's call it TA). TA is basically about how to properly deal with people. Each of us has three different character types in TA. The parent, the adult and the child. The parent is split into two types, the critical and the nurturing. Most releases are made using the adult frame of mind. "Here's a production we worked for. It's for your pleasure, you may not like it, but then again you may. It's free anyway - download it if you like."

Now, you get the release, and you can reply in a different way. You could be nurturing-parental by saying: "Good release, you will only get better and better. Good work!" This is perfectly acceptable. The scene-critic will use either the parental-critical ("This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong etc.) frame of mind or the child mindset ("I hated this release. It's crap crap crap - don't release anything again you lamer!"). The child mindset is the worst. It's a spur of the moment reaction that you often get online - when people don't think before they send that mail/post. To offer constructive and useful advice (not really criticism) you should go for an adult mindset. Address the scener with respect and speak to them in the mindset which they originally communicated with you (adult). Offer advice, tell them how to improve - but don't be negative. TA is applicable to all aspects of life, and if you think about it, you'll get on better with people.

Anyway, enough of the psycho-babble - basically it comes down to this: the product you got was free, and it probably took a damn lot of work to do. The person/people who produced it owe you absolutely nothing. So you don't have the right to slag their release off! You've offered them nothing. Indeed you may be taking away from them, by negatively criticising them. Be nurturing and offer advice if you feel you can make a contribution. Because of these points, a scene-critic is logically quite different to a scene-advisor. Scene critics give nothing, they may even drive people away from being active. So the next time you're in that newsgroup and see some person or group getting flak from a scene-critic, you should think about what I've said here and tell the S-C that his/her comments are non-productive and detrimental to the scene. Or you could just tell them to GET F&%@!ED... hehe.

I know a lot of you may think I'm talking mainly about Amnesia in this, but it's not the case. In the main the feedback I received was positive and helpful. I did get the odd critic, but it's not a problem for me to shrug that off - for a newbie it would be. The reason I wrote this is because I see it happening a lot lately and I think it could be a major reason why there are a lack of new talent and productions. That's all!

- Paranoid