Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can’t Apparently Should Shut It: Let’s See You Do Better Fallacy


I’ve come across it almost as if it is a knee jerk reaction to the slightest comment. I only a few minutes ago came across a post talking about some of the issues with it.”Let’s see you do better” or ” if you can’t do better don’t criticise”. Oh the pain of reading those words as a sensible person, as I hope all or at least pretty much all of my current and forthcoming followers are.

This response seems to come as a counter to the criticism of what consensually has been deemed low quality content or volatile products that garner a lot of praise thus making any negativity stand out more. I’d like for a start to test out that little theoretical world that is being proposed. There is one person who is better than the rest who is untouchable, no criticism can strike this one person. They are the only person who can criticise the 2nd best person in the world and those 2 people are the only ones able to criticise the third.

Such a beautiful world that protects the people on the top from ever being shown in a negative light let alone be knocked from their pedestal when not even the most judgemental are whispering negativity in their homes. I don’t think I have to really go beyond that ludicrous example to make it clear that such an idea is a top runner for most hilarious concept crafted.

The logic behind this concept is flawed clearly, however what strikes me are the people who don’t just chuck it out to draw grievance but sincerely believe the words or are simply unable to accept people getting upset about something as if it makes people ungrateful.

Let me lay something out clearly, I despise the use of the word perfect unless it is used in the context of something mathematical, a variable that can be 100% like level completion or hitting all the beats exactly in a rhythm game. All other situations are the use of perfection to a subjective goal, what is perfect to me isn’t perfect to another under a different set of requirements. Even what few things I could call perfect I accept can be criticised as what I find perfect to another is a deal breaker. I understand some people are very protective and dare I say it territorial when it comes to things they love, I am certainly no stranger to a, well passionate response to one who I believe is exaggerating flaws and flagrantly ignoring positives.

I don’t think the use of the word ungrateful has been used very well in my recent experience. I recently saw it used to describe someone upset about the situation with the New Nintendo 3DS not coming to their country in the size they want with the feature they wanted. As consumers, nay as humans we generally expect that when someone does something, they do it right. I’m allowed to be upset about something given to me free as the fact that it is free does not absolve it of its flaws or issues. Yes there are those who nitpick the tiniest detail and may just be unnecessarily focusing on one detail, however the difference between people doing it in an over-reactionary way and those who find these factors important is a crucial one.

I’m an audio nut, I also generally like to have original voices with subs to preserve artistic intent and tone, some people think it isn’t something to decide a purchase on. I know I’ll dislike something consistently in front of me for bountiful hours and it will detract from my enjoyment of the experience, yet to them I am focusing too much on it. We all have different standards so any suggestion of overreaction is hard to pinpoint to truth or simply a difference in values.

Without criticism we cannot succeed. Non constructive criticism or depth-less statements like “it’s bad” help no one, what is a criticism to a creators work if it is merely phrased as purely negativity, an insult is all most would even see. Of course this would require all people to be exceptionally aware of the nuances of what they criticise and while some professional critics do have this to a degree, having it as a rule of sorts would eliminate the base consumers voice. I try not immediately refuse a voice who clearly doesn’t understand the topic they are talking about as the words they use can be a big influencer. If they use a lot of haughty derision and go about it in a mocking way with almost malicious intent, write them off. If it seems they are trying to describe something they don’t understand, perhaps they simply are searching for the words

For anyone who isn’t particularly aware, video games often come under attack a lot from people with no understanding of the industry or the games, who only view the entirety through small windows they see as the kids scream coming out of Gamestop or what have you. I’m not going to suggest they don’t be biased, we are all biased in some way or another it comes with having a mind. However the attacks usually come without context or a desire to better understand before pouncing which arguably could be considered a survival instinct.

I don’t trust it, strike it down before it could possibly do harm. Except that doesn’t translate well to something we can actually have a calm and in depth look into, understand the context of what we see and delve into a subject deeper. It is obvious hypocrisy when someone screams addiction among others to something new and strange to them while they smoke the cigarettes they have known for 20 years and ingest the litres of alcohol that has been a friend for god knows when.

I was on a game design course and made a game in 2 weeks using a program named Gamesalad. I had never made a game in my life nor had I used the software before but dammit I pushed myself hard and got what is in my mind a fantastic project out of it. This work was judged by strangers who were not particular gaming advocates. They praised and criticised the game as you would expect while I explained the contents of the game and whatnot. Shockingly, every criticism was either met with a small sinking feeling in my chest or a admittance of something I don’t like. It stings like a bitch to have something you slave over and throw your energy into be pulled apart, especially in front of your eyes.

I could assume that many of the people who use the “you do better” phrasing and its synonyms believe that hard work shouldn’t be put down at all, as if it was some leftover of a childhood where everything they did and made was lauded by their parents and family. I took those criticisms on board & I looked back a few days later to make a reassessment. Some of the issues I took to heart and made improvements to the final creation. My hard work doesn’t excuse my failures. If I pushed myself to death to make something that didn’t actually do that well in appeasing say my fans I am as open for criticism as anyone else.

Suffering, stress, strife or what have you aren’t shields to harsh words which is something I suspect sways people to shout at me “I don’t see you doing any better so shut your mouth”. This is of course all speculation and perhaps, no actually there is a lot more to this topic, some deep psychological explorations of the human mind. Too bad I’m tired and not a psychiatrist so just let it all swirl in your head for a bit and get your own viewpoint.

How have you reacted to criticisms of your creations or favourite….whatever? Do you think you overreact to small things or are their importance to you easily justified in your mind? Thanks for wasting time on this post and I’ll see you later.


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  1. #1 by leathehatless on January 16, 2015 - 1:54 pm

    I feel that is not a valid argument in a discussion of evaluating something. Maybe in house chores but that is pretty much it. (I get annoyed when someone complains how something was cleaned but they sit on their but all day)

    I have the same opinion. You should have constructive criticism, well justified, and do it in a way that doesn’t come across as troll like. Nothing is free of evaluation.


  2. #2 by Matt on January 16, 2015 - 12:38 am

    Unless the criticism is obviously rooted in some sort of bias, I just read and respect negative opinions towards things I like or things I have done.

    The “you need to be able to do better to complain” argument is utterly ridiculous, as you have clearly demonstrated, and whenever I read something along those lines I can’t help but wonder how those people will handle criticism from their superiors later in life.

    I say that because I assume that anyone that uses that argument is way too young to have actually worked or have had any sort of experience where they had their efforts evaluated by someone. If that is not the case, then I simply pity their souls, because they are way past the point on which they should have matured and abandoned such shallow logic.


    • #3 by Prof.mcstevie on January 16, 2015 - 1:10 am

      I mean hey I don’t want to see any parent destroying a young childs artistic expression but we gotta find a cut off point where we start giving them a few more shall we say brutal realities.

      If they can live with Santa not being real they can live with this.

      Liked by 1 person

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