Open to Criticism

All manner of response, wherever, is encouraged.

Open to Criticism is SUPER GAY. -- Andrew from Diaryland.

Ftrain.com is open to public and private criticism. There is a lot of love among people who develop personal Web sites, and a lot of praise and good feeling. It can be hard to write in public about what you don't like, what you want to see improved. I think a lot of that is for fear of hurting the writer's feelings.

However, I think a critical climate is necessary for creating beautiful, meaningful work. It's no fun being told you're not a wonderful artistic genius, but it is often very valuable.

So I'm announcing that if you want to write something negative or harsh or crabby or simply critical about the work I'm doing, you should go ahead and do it and not worry about being nice or hurting my feelings.

If you want to use the “open to criticism” graphic on your own Web page, go ahead and copy it, and link the button either to this statement or to your own. Let me know; if enough people use it I'll expand this into a listing of sites.

I did consider getting opentocriticism.org - it's available - and creating a place where web writers and artists who were open to criticism could register, and ultimately I think that would be a nice asset for the people-trying-to-do-good-stuff-on-the-web, just a little database app with user, password, form, and a brief description. But I simply can't own any more domain names. If someone else wanted to do it I'd help, and maybe program a bit.

This way it can all be about community for those of them who want that and about improving the quality of the work for those of us who want that, see? The basic assumption is that content on the Web can be good enough to make criticism worthwhile.

(I am purposefully not defining criticism; it could be critical interpretation, lengthy essays on form and content, or “this sucks.” All are valuable in their ways).




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

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Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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