A Fine Line Between Entitlement and Critique

So this has been something that has been on my mind but I never really found anyone really discussing about, at least these days. When do you guys feel crosses the line to where it stops being a genuine critique of the work and starts becoming a rather personal attack on the people working on that product.
I’m not just talking about games, any forms of media whether books or movies have this sort of experience where there are times where certain names pop up at some point. In my experience, if they aren’t the creator, they are either well loved or highly hated amongst the community. When they are hated, it is almost like an attack not only of their final output for that particular product, but for their body of work and even personality when there is otherwise not much else to say. Call me sensitive but when there is someone identified by a part of the fanbase when looking for a reason why that product came out bad, they usually go out of their way and namedrop them as if they committed some sort of crime, regardless of the severity of their output.
It makes sense for objectively bad people who did questionably moral or ethical things, but it feels like all are mercilessly dragged almost just for making something they do not like, many times it seems like it has become outright personal and vitriolic, as if a part of them has faded the moment something changed for the worse.
Again, I am pretty sure I am missing the point entirely of the harshness. There are harsh critiques, but they still respect those on top or at least do not specifically get too worked out about a particular team or person necessarily. I think those are the best as they are still constructive and have an understanding that there are improvements that can be made for something even better, like let’s say they want the story to be less goofy.
I don’t know, I just felt like venting about this after having it in me for such a while. Am I too sensitive and whiny? I’d honesty feel that is the case. Maybe I just feel a bit jaded about the Internet and their approach to critique sometimes.
Sorry for the long text too. This is a topic that I have gained some interest in lately.


proper critiques take time and effort to create. Most Internet people aren’t really interested in doing that. They would rather have instant “gratification” of crapping all over a product.

I probably have more to say on this but will need to wait until it’s not 2am :sleeping:


I’m temped to say, that the answer is in the question:

The line is crossed when the critic starts referencing the artist.

But I think the topic - as you’ve described it - is much broader - beyond the subject of critique.
As Pylinaer pointed out, analyzing a work of art is not an easy task. Putting that analysis into words is even harder, so we rarely encounter actual critique (unless we seek it).

The rest of it (various opinions, rants, praises etc.) is based primarily on emotional perception and articulated using contemporary rhetoric.
The question is: is it valid and is it valuable (not as critique, but at all).
I won’t try to address the validity aspect (I’m not capable of caring about people’s opinions), but I think the value of it is an interesting subject.

From the artists’ perspective it’s both feared and desired. When positive, it draws audiences to future works of an artist and provides a buffer which can accommodate a bad show, game, interview, etc… When negative, it does the opposite.

From the audiences perspective it can provide valuable input for personal heuristics.
Now, for this input to be of high value, it needs to be accessible in a form of a statistically significant aggregate, which allows for the primarily emotional extremes to be discarded.

Here I think is a good example - including the lines:


Yes, simply this:

But also, wat:

No it doesn’t, because there are no “objectively bad people.” Good and bad aren’t objective. They are subject to ever-shifting cultural norms. All it takes to transpose the villain or hero label on a person is to put them in a different time and place.

A core tenet of library science is to evaluate a work on its informational value, very specifically not on the merits of its creator. Because it recognizes the above.


You make a good point, never considered my wording that well. Perhaps I should have worded it better.


To be fair, even if you did not mean to phrase it like that, it does convey an important observation about the people leaving these vitriolic reviews: they think there are objectively bad people, and that those people consist of everyone who does not share their exact opinion on all things at this precise moment in time.

Behind the mask of the internet, it always boils down to:


Reminds me of something I saw and read on imgur yesterday

You will need to click/open in a new tab and zoom to read.


Wow… that was a well written and deep piece. It’s so true: if you’re helping the monied people - you’re a hero; if you start to help the poor, all of a sudden you’re a “communist”, “socialist”, “anarchist” and whatever else triggers they can say to make it seem like you’re trying to inconvenience the monied populace.

In the end, it’s true - people will never stop talking, for you or against. Talk is easy. What’s interesting, is what will the talkers do, for or against you. :thinking:


At least to me a good critique is when someone focus on the work and gives their honest and sincere output, making suggestions and offering solutions on how someone can improve their work and skills without being a self-centered “brutal honest” person with serious anger issues who loves to “pull rank” (spelling ?) on people (or as we say in Brazil, “dar carteirada”), gloating how many years of experience they have on a certain area compared to them and using it as an “advantage” over unexperienced or beginner artists and creators.

Unfortunately on the Internet we tend to see more of these kind of people, which also probably have some inspiration from the likes of “angry”, comedian or offensive and controversial reviewers and commentators from Youtube like AVGN, The Spoony One, Game Grumps, The Amazing Atheist, Urinating Tree, Nostalgia Critic, PewDiePie and others, and there’s also sites like Bad Webcomics Wiki and certain Tumblr blogs who are specialized in creating groups whose solely purpose is to hate on supposed bad art and stories and make the life of the targeted artist a living hell.

Like someone said in this thread a good critique takes a good amount of time to be done while it’s much more easy to bash, mock and ridicule a certain work and its creator to generate buzz, views, likes and engagement, not to mention to aggregate like-minded people who also hate said work and therefore create “hate mobs” who go around bringing “justice” with their own hands, punishing all those who dare to post “bad” content online.

I wonder if the so called “cancel culture” was created inspired by such mobs.


Insults are quick and easy; critique does indeed require careful thought. Even if you can’t provide alternatives, you could still convey why you didn’t like a thing, in a nice way.

I was reminded today that people are usually quicker to believe and spread bad news, rather than good news. Many of us humans are wired that way.


Yes. Unfortunately it’s less work to say something and someone “sucks ass” than saying why they “suck”. A controversial post gets more views than something which makes sense and it’s concise and clear.

Well, this explains why these people I’ve mentioned have many followers and also why a certain “right” arose so quickly to power with the promises of fighting against “the system” and “everything that’s wrong with the world”.


First I apologize because it is very difficult for me to comment when I don’t understand the context. Could I have an recent example? Or else I’m just guessing as to what situation this is referring to.

I mean, libel and slander are bad. Also, stereotyping and character assassination is bad. So I guess I’ll start from here.

I’ll be talking about games since I don’t watch shows anymore.

  • If a critic says the gameplay is bad, that’s a normal critique.
  • If a critic says the gameplay is bad because the developer is lazy, the critic is blending both personal attack and critique and theoretically should have some insider information explaining the personal attack. This is standing on the line between critique and personal attack with the caveat that the gameplay still has potential to improve if the developer was better or was replaced.
  • If a critic says the developer is lazy so the gameplay is bad, the critic is not critiquing and only associates everything made by the developer as bad because it came from the developer. That is only a personal attack.

Personal attacks are supposed to be for reputation destruction because of some very deserving negative activity. Like calling developers greedy when they remove half the game and resell it as DLC.

Reputation is a big part of the game world because people will not spend money on games from bad companies/people. That is why Star Citizen had so many contributors in the beginning (and even now?) because that developer guy (forgot his name) had a very well known and trusted reputation.

A person or group of people with a bad reputation normally has a history of making bad games. If they try to create hype for an upcoming game with that bad reputation, it is perfectly fine to assume that a future game they make will also be bad before playing it. It is using learned experiences to make a future assumption. However, when the game comes out, it should still be critiqued fairly.
Of course, critics normally only do personal attacks with the understanding that they don’t need to explain why the gameplay is bad. But skipping the gameplay critique is not good either.

Hmmm. Now that I think about it. Could you be talking about the FNAF developer? Because when I typed “personal attack” I meant specifically relating to their developer job/business/ability. A developer cheating on their spouse should not affect the gameplay critique. A developer donating money somewhere should not affect the gameplay critique. A developer running into a burning house and saving 10 cats should not affect the gameplay critique. If anything like these is mentioned, their critique becomes opinion and can be discarded at will.


Something like Pontac and Graff, if I’m not mistaken, were criticised for their poor characterisation and story for their recent Sonic games (from Colors to Forces), but it always feel like whenever their name is mentioned or reminicising on the good old days, there is always inevitably going to be a joke or jab about how nowadays they can never do that and that they seem incompetent in general, not just for that franchise but in general, without being constructive I guess. Some feel so personally vitriolic towards them because of their (I assume) behaviour being overly dismissive. Although I can’t exactly blame them for not wanting to listen to online feedback due to some people hating them to such levels, this obviously comes at the expense of also lumping in constructive feedback as the same category, which is admittedly a poor attitude. Perhaps I’m being too soft on them and they deserve the scorn to where their name has to be mentioned, I’m not into this franchise massively (and judging this forums I doubt anyone here is too)
I don’t know, something like that. Perhaps I’m being too sensitive right now.


Hmmmmmm. You’re right. I have no idea who those 2 people are and how
they are involved with the Sonic franchise.

I guess I’ll do a ddgo search.

elevator music

And I’m back.

Firstly, there is nothing sensitive about thinking deeply as to why you think things are wrong, strange, or unfair. As long as you figure out why you feel the way you do. Sorting out your feelings is self-reflection and should be done more. The last thing you want is to get angry and not know why.

Anyway, about those two guys. Apparently they have a history of bad character writing in several Sonic games in the past. Their bad reputation is affecting the Sonic franchise negatively. Referring to my previous post, I would characterize this as:

  • If a critic says the character writing is bad because the writer is not knowledgeable of the source material, the critic is blending both personal attack and critique. The reason for the personal attack on their reputation is because of their previous history of bad writing. This is standing on the line between critique and personal attack with the caveat that the character writing still has potential to improve if the writer was better or was replaced.

I don’t know what those two guys were working on beforehand. But if they were good at it, they should definitely go back to it. Because the Sonic franchise needs as many good features as possible.

Though I don’t think that will happen because Sonic was never really a character with a lot to say so maybe the game developers didn’t really think it was important. I’m surprised there isn’t more complaining about the gameplay.

My opinion on gameplay

Oh Sonic. That poor poor guy. It has been so many years and it still doesn’t look like something I want to play. They were trying so hard to make Sonic into a Mario world 3D platformer. Sonic is all about “going fast” and he can’t go fast in a 3D platformer. They were also trying to make Sonic run on race tracks with obstacles like a racing game. But Sonic isn’t Mario cart.

If I had to try to figure out what Sonic would be, Sonic would be in a game with Matrix bullet-time, wall running, Portal, and Superhot mixed together to go through environments collecting rings, not getting hit and losing rings, and take the rings to the end before the time limit. I mean, the faster Sonic goes, the slower time appears right? Then stop the super evil robotnik from destroying the world!

But we won’t get this…If we wanted a Sonic reboot, there should be a Super Mario Sonic Maker to create and complete 2D levels. That would be fun.


Whoa! let’s not get unreasonable. Saving cats not only improves gameplay, but also performance and happiness.
It brings all the happy, actually.


I’m not sure what you mean. If they were dogs I would completely agree. :dog: :dog2: :poodle: :wolf:


Well, mockery and name calling have their place, as @GDBringer said.

Problem is when it becomes a recurring and overused resource for criticism, which may compromise beginner and promising artists who are just starting who “dare” to not meet their standards right away, who feel discouraged to continue with their endeavors because someone said they “suck”, tagging them as “talentless hacks” who should never do stuff like that again.

I remember reading a thread from Twitter about original characters and fanfiction and how people (generally in their teens with almost no experience in art) got discouraged to continue creating content because their characters were mostly tagged as “Mary Sues” and how some of them end up being “featured” in blogs which their sole purpose was to make fun of “bad” OCs and their creators.

I’ve managed to recover a part of it since the account got deleted:

So while I think I see they should welcome actual helpful criticism and weed out the “hate mob” (specially regarding Sonic’s fandom, which’s a total mixbag and has a rather infamous reputation among people) I can understand why they’re preserving themselves from having actual health and mental issues dealing with all this.


Sharing your art in a forum expressly for that purpose should probably not be met with hostility. However it should also be kept in mind that putting your art out in public means it will be scrutinized and no matter how good you are there will always be people out there who don’t like what you’ve created, some of them wont be shy in telling you so. If you’re kind of awful then that’s going to be made apparent, in case you had any doubts in that.

Any artist of any level has a large pile of mostly awful art they’ve never shown anyone, a larger one they’ve only shown family and select friends. While positive reinforcement is great you can’t expect it from the general public, they’re not there to hold your hand and guide you. When a member of the general public is looking for art to “consume” they are going to want something meeting a certain level of quality and someone who’ve put their beginner’s mess at the same table as masters of their kind will be told to get the fuck out of there.

Also how is this about entitlement? People are entitled to their opinions, they’re also entitled to share it. The creator is entitled to not listen but not entitled to people’s good will, time, attention nor, most of all, money. A work of art is not entitled to be experienced, if someone’s attention has been gained through deceptive means and it failed to live up to the expectations set then the aggrieved party is the consumer not the creator getting chewed out for it.