Two types of negative feedback

Negative feedback can come in two flavours.

The first, and the most frequent, is that which comes from people our work is not meant for. Everything we create is done for a particular audience. It is never for everybody. In the e-commerce era, every great book or product has its healthy share of one-star reviews. Such feedback isn’t helpful for its substance, which we would do well to ignore (our work isn’t for them after all). But it helps us clarify who our work is for.

The second type of negative feedback comes from people in our audience who thought something could be improved. This type of feedback worth pondering over for its substance, rather than its mere existence. It inspires us to iterate on what we have created and make it better. It helps us clarify what our work should be. It wakes us up from the state of familiar mediocrity that our work tends to slip into, if there isn’t any negative feedback for a long time.

Mixing up the two kinds of feedback is the world’s favourite pastime sport. But both deserve to be treated differently.

Nevertheless, negative feedback always comes from a person who cared enough to stop by and let us know what they thought. Apart from our discernment, it deserves our gratitude.

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