Criticism Policy

This policy is enforced by staff, at staff discretion. Don't try to enforce this policy yourself. You can report violations in DISCUSSION or through a PM to an active moderator or administrator (listed on Meet The Staff).


You must follow these rules when critiquing an author's work. See Site Rules for more.

  1. Critique the work, not the author. Do not make personal attacks on the author. Stick to criticizing their writing.
    • As an example, you can tell the author, "This needs work. The main idea's fine except for the X, but addenda are complete crap." Don't say, "You're a terrible writer. Why did you post this?"
    • Feel free to suggest that the author consult resources like our guides and essays, workshop their work (in the sandbox, the chat, or the forums), do more background research, or spend more time reading the site. But don't be a jerk about it.
  2. Your posts must contain some kind of content. Only saying "Meh" does not count as content, because it doesn't tell the author or other readers any information at all. An emoticon, an insulting macro, or "lol" is not content — it's spam.
    • Don't tell an author "The problems with this article should be obvious". If they were obvious to the author, they wouldn't have made them, and a post like that contains no content except obliquely insulting the author.

In short: Be helpful, civil, and open-minded.


Guidelines on Giving Critique:

  1. Criticism should be helpful in some way. Good critique suggests what the author did wrong and how to improve, or what they've done right that they should continue doing.
    • Try to give the author an idea of where to take their next draft, or what might make their current article better.
  2. Be as harsh as you need to be. Sugarcoating your criticism may give the author the impression that their draft is already great, even if it's not.
    • "Harsh" is not the same as "mean", and "mean" is not the same as "helpful". The SCP Wiki is a creative writing community — we want to encourage each other to keep writing and to improve our writing skills. Being mean or rude in your critique only discourages the author from working to be better.
  3. Forum critique should be relatively in-depth. Forum threads are made for in-progress drafts. You should make sure your critique is in-depth enough for the author to make substantial changes to their article (if necessary).
    • This is because if you respond to a post on the forums, other people (including staff) may bump that article down their priority list when responding to drafts. So if your response is just "I like it", then that author may never get in-depth critique from someone else!
    • Try to make sure you give enough criticism that an author can tell the quality of their entire draft.
  4. Critique on posted articles can be short. Articles posted to the wiki should be finished drafts, so comments posted on them do not need to be in depth — as long as they contain some kind of content.
    • Examples: You can say "I agree" (in response to another writer), or post a short but meaningful joke (so long as it's not spam or content-free). If you're not sure if you're being too brief, then post something more in-depth.
    • You aren't required to comment at all. You also don't have to explain your vote on an article.
  5. Don't dog-pile. If an article already has several significant posts about its flaws, you don't need to jump in and say you also think it's terrible. Post if you have something new to say.
  6. Keep an open mind. Try to respect stylistic choices. Maybe you personally don't like humorous mainlist articles, unusual Object Classes, or author avatars, but there's no rule about what sorts of articles other authors can try. We want to encourage people being ambitious.

If you have any questions or comments about this policy, please leave a comment in the discussion thread, or message a staff member. Thank you.

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