So I’ve been doing some thinking, and some talking with friends, and some musing on twitter, and I’ve come to a realization: some of my reviews are too mean.
I’m a person who doesn’t take shit, but I have a lot of people trying to give it to me on any given day! This means I tend to feel totally justified in tearing into people who do harm with their creations – and maybe I am justified. But as fun and satisfying as it can be to get Sick Owns on people who deserve it, and as important as it is to warn readers about works that may hurt them, another critical part of Yes Homo’s mission is to promote and encourage better representation, which includes helping creators learn how to make better fiction. In some of my reviews, I have lost sight of that goal, and rereading them now they strike me as too harsh, too petty, or otherwise too unconstructive.
I regret this. I’ve said from the beginning that I didn’t want to be just another Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad, or Bad Webcomics Wiki, or any of the other pointlessly mean-spirited webcomic review sites out there. “Criticism” like this doesn’t help anyone improve, it doesn’t reach anyone who doesn’t already agree, and worst of all, it creates an atmosphere of savagery and cruelty that other creators pick up on, discouraging them from trying to write or draw anything lest they make something less than completely perfect. This culture of hypercriticality is extremely destructive, and by no means limited to webcomics or even just creative endeavors, as anyone who’s had a brush with The Discourse on tumblr can tell you. In short, I hate it, and I don’t want to be a part of it, even in a small way.
The Solstice is traditionally a time of introspection for me, when I discard parts of myself that I dislike and begin to foster new internal growth. So in that spirit, I’m culling some of my reviews from the archives. I have little personal pride, but I take great pride in my work, so any piece of writing that I can’t stand behind now will be taken down, either permanently or until I can rework it to be more constructive. This obviously includes several of my failing grades, such as Unsounded and Dar, but I may find others when I look closer that also make me cringe at myself.
On the other hand, I won’t be removing some of the more contentious reviews, like SSSS, Rain, or Poppy O’Possum, since I feel like these still hold up to my standards. Readers who appreciate the strength of my conviction needn’t worry; I’m not toning my writing down, just rededicating myself to making sure my words are more carefully chosen and my overall attitude is less focused on berating people for mistakes and more on helping them and others learn from those mistakes.
Look for a new review soon – I’m aiming to be on schedule for this Sunday. And as always, friends, thanks for reading.