Rozovian’s Music Log

Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

How to Handle Criticism

Posted by Ad on February 15, 2014

TotalBiscuit, the Cynical Brit, has had one of his videos censored via the copyright flagging system. Not cool. The situation is still developing and unraveling, but the whole thing blew up not so much over the copyright abuse, but rather over how the devs of the game TB reviewed don’t seem to be able to handle criticism.

Rather than rant about copyright and add fuel to what the internet is already turning into a rather large firestorm against the devs, I’ll cover a different angle: how to handle criticism.

Your game, your music, your art, your work; whatever you do, you’ll likely take it personally when someone eviscerates your work, whether this is accurate criticism or hate/trolling. It’s not necessarily easy to ignore random disembodied voices on the internet, but the higher profile someone is, or the more you value their opinion, the worse it’ll sting.

The approach I have to criticism is to understand everything, and fix what you agree with.

Let’s say someone says an arrangement of mine is cookie-cuter, paint-by-numbers, blocky or newby. First, I have to understand what they mean. My arrangement might not have good transitions, might not differentiate parts with different rhythms, textures or dynamics, might have too little or too much variation between parts. It could be just one of these, but it’s more likely that it’s a bit of everything.

Then I have to agree. Theres two parts to this: I have to agree with their observation, and I have to agree that it’s a problem. My chiptune-y track sounds like cheap synths? Not a problem. My orchestral piece sounds like cheap synths? Problem… if it’s true.

Finally, I have to fix what I agree with, if possible. Cheap synth orchestra? Either go for it as a stylistic choice, embrace it, do it well; or make it sound more real; or scrap it. Cheap synth chiptune-y track? Not a problem, doesn’t need fixing.

But the thing is, just because I don’t agree with criticism doesn’t mean I’m right. If I do something, it should sound intentional. It doesn’t matter whether it actually _is_ intentional, it just has to sound that way. My cheap synth orchestra may be the sound I’m going for, but I’d have to make that obvious somehow. Easiest trick is to name it something like “Pocket Orchestra” or “Synthetic SYmphony” or something along those lines. But preferably, the music should be able to communicate this on its own. An exposed, really cheap synth solo early on, that highlights the cheapness and is still expressive should do the trick.

That’s doing it right. How can you do it wrong?

Ignoring. Arguably a better approach than some other wrong approaches. Ignore the trolls, but don’t ignore valid criticism. Dismissing it with a “well you don’t have to like it, other people will” isn’t going to help you make your work any better.

Arguing. This isn’t about valid arguments to better explain your positions and understand where the other party is coming from. This is about questioning the other party’s qualifications, eg “who are you to say an orchestra doesn’t sound like this?” (an ad hominem attack). This is about undue defense, eg “well it’s a style choice to have a square synth in my historically correct baroque track”. This is about justifying things instead of re-evaluating them in light of the criticism. That’s wrong.

Flaming, raging, threatening. These are all pretty much the same, because they’re all about throwing a tantrum in some form. Legal threats count. Threats of violence count. Threats of reporting count. Personal threats certainly count. Ranting, as a form of venting, is a way to deal with frustration, but do that somewhere else.

Magic. I’m not talking forest rites and hexes and stuff, I mean trying to make the criticism go away. Flagging stuff as spam or copyright infringement, downvoting, deleting… Bribing? Whatever. It’s a form of ignoring, but offensively. And it’s offensive to anyone who values the craft.

These are in order of how bad they can backfire. Ignoring something generally doesn’t backfire, but you might not get a lot more good feedback that way. Less bug reports, less suggestions, less valid criticism. Arguing is likely to offend the person offering criticism, and is likely to drive them away or make them hostile towards you and your work… which isn’t a good thing.

Flaming, raging, and threatening tends to backfire spectacularly and become little wars on the internet where supporters of different causes start attacking each other on every medium and every platform they can get at. And worse, magic, when it gets out, tends to ruin whoever tried to censor someone else. The Streisand effect goes into full swing when this gets out. The bigger you and/or your critic are, the bigger the backlash. And any PR is _not_ good PR…

…as I’m sure certain devs have noticed by now.

Posted in the internet, video game industry | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

The Internets is full of stupid

Posted by Ad on December 25, 2011

This is how stupid the internets are. In trying to _edit_ my last post to remove a remark about WordPress, I posted another one instead. See the previous post for what I wrote pertaining to the tags and categories of this one.

This post is _only_ about WordPress screwing up. I like WordPress, but YOU DO NOT PUT FLASHY NEW THINGS THAT ARE BORKED IN THE WAY OF FUNCTIONAL OLD THINGS. Really. Here’s what happened:

New post page. Okay, let’s try it. I write the stuff here… not difficult. Oh, live preview. That’ll work greeeaaat on my old computer, when i blog from there. I add the tags down here… I miss the list of the tags I often use, I’d hate to have variations of the same thing show up as separate tags… Categories, where…? Post. Okay fine. I’ll go edit it to get that right.

Oh, nice, the old editor. Edit tags, edit categories, remove the last remarks, they’re unnecessary… Publish? This is a draft? Okay fine, I’ll publish it now. What, -of-stupid-2 in the permalink thingy? This is a double post? Check blog. Oh great. Back to edit, and write… this.

In other words, this is a good example of how fixing things that aren’t borked borks things. Grr.

Posted in the internet | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Internets is full of stupid

Posted by Ad on December 25, 2011

You know how my Blogger account is posted to whenever I feel like it? You know how I use my msn email for stuff? You know how I hang out on vgmusic? No?

Well I don’t. I use WordPress and gmail, and hang out on ocremix.

I recently got myself a bandcamp account to make sure no impostor claims rozovian.bandcamp, but I wasn’t sure if I could use it because Teosto, the music copyright group and royalty collection thing of Finland prevents its members from using it. I’m not a member, but if I want my music on TV, I gotta join some organization like that, and as I live in Finland, that one is the obvious choice. Except I apparently can’t use bandcamp if I join Teosto. Whatever, I’ll figure something out, suggestions welcome.

But while trying to find ppl who’ve discussed bandcamp and Teosto, Google decided I was looking for myspace as well. Granted, MySpace would present a similar scenario, but I was looking for bandcamp/Teosto stuff specifically. I’m glad there’s a verbatim search feature on Google, but there’s no options in between. Say I’m also looking for the words Teoston and Teostolla (Finnish for Toesto’s, Teosto has, belonging to Teosto)… but not myspace. having to write out every permutation and adding OR in between them all is not practical.

While there’s certainly a lot of improvements to Google, there’s a lot of junk in today’s Google that I not only don’t use, but am bothered by when I’m just looking to search for something.

Dear Google, I’m glad you strive to not be evil. Please avoid inconveniencing your users, too.

(Get rid of the stupid site preview, and add an option to remove spammy aggregator sites from the search results.)

On a related note, surfing on a pre-Intel Mac laptop is getting slow, likewise on a pre-4 iPhone. Dunno how much of this is the fault of Apple trying to give everyone the newest and flashiest OS and browser, and how much is the fault of web designers making their sites flashy and ultimately ridiculous to view on the phone. My home parish/whatever updated their website the other day. Now I can’t scroll on their pages, and can’t get to the links to the pdf bus schedules.

Dear internets, please stop being stupid.

(I wish.)

Wait, how do I see which tags I usually use? WordPress…!! Internets, stop inconveniencing ppl with flashy new stuff that screws stuff up. Where are the categories?

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