Stop Giving “Just Honest” Feedback

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“I’m looking for honest feedback”.

As someone living in a world of (people working with) open-source software, I see the question above fly by many times a week. By open-sourcing your code, your suggestion, your solution, you are, in fact, looking for honest feedback. And that’s a good thing. It’s what the open-source community thrives on.

I see a lot of people putting in good amount of their free time into writing proposals, suggesting implementations or ways to improve certain things. Sadly though, a lot of times those people end up feeling disappointed and turned down in what ultimately was just a proposal or suggestion on how to improve things. Ultimately feeling disconnected to the very project that had them all fired up to improve upon in the first place!

Now, granted, the way a proposal is written often times dictates how people are going to react. Not everyone asking for feedback is as much in tune with how feedback should be requested as they perhaps could be. But neither are a lot of the people giving the feedback.

However, I propose we all start reacting a bit differently from now on when we feel inclined to give our honest feedback. Instead of just pointing all the things we see wrong about a proposal, how about we start appreciating the fact that someone took the time to start thinking about a solution in the first place, coming up with a proposal in the second place and thirdly, even taking the time to write it out and ask for feedback(!) before we comment.

So, instead of just giving what the requester asks, honest feedback, let us all focus on going the extra mile here and start giving well thought-out criticism based on appreciation and empathy instead of just honest feedback.

I’m sure if we were to approach “giving our honest feedback” in such a manner, we would all – instead of just a few brave ones – start to feel much more inclined to share solutions to problems we see every day.

Imagine how that would make the world better. I am.

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