Nathan Hwang

Two Points of View Enter, A Better Informed Point of View Leaves

Have you noticed the typography on this blog is terrible, and wanted to let me know without hurting my feelings? Have you realized that I’m smelly, but it’s socially awkward to say so in person? Have you discovered that I’m wrong on the internet and need to go die in a fire, but can’t be arsed to find my email? Do you want to tell me I’m doing good things and wish me a wonderful day, but doing so in person is weird?

Wait no longer, because I now have a anonymous feedback form:

bit.ly/thenoviceoof-feedback

Why?

In the spirit of continual growth, I want more critical feedback. Giving criticism is usually seen as rude reminder of our fallibility, but I already know I’m failing in mysterious ways, and would like to fail less.If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but if it is broke, then I want to know as soon as possible.

One possible concern is that knowing more about yourself isn’t always a positive: learning that your leg-body ratio is perceived negatively isn’t anything you can do anything about (yet), and now lives as a negative thought niggling around in the back of your mind. However, I think this scenario is unlikely, and that learning more about myself will be a net positive.

This form is also meant to remove trivial inconveniences to giving me feedback. It’s already possible to give me anonymous feedback, whether through a throwaway email address or postcard with no return address, but it’s another step in the process. With this form, providing feedback anonymously is the default. Even if you want to provide non-anonymous feedback, this form removes the need to find my email and come up with a subject line.

Finally, cool people are doing it. Both Luke Muehlhauser and Gwern have anonymous feedback forms, and who doesn’t want to be more like them?

Usage

Keep in mind that the information you enter is as anonymous as you make it: if you tell me your email, or tell me about a specific event that only you and I know about, then the message is not anonymous. That said, I’ll make an extra effort to not to take offense to feedback coming in through this form, even if it is non-anonymous. For instance, if you tell me “You’re fat!”, I will make a great effort to not respond with “Your mom is fat!”, and instead seriously consider whether I should be dieting.

Which leads me to Crocker’s rules. I’m a little uncertain about whether asking for no-holds-barred feedback through this form is useful, but it’s a natural extension to removing trivial inconveniences. If it’s hard to figure out a polite way to tell me I’m being a fucking idiot, then drop the pretense and just give it to me straight: I want your feedback, not a limp excuse of a critical bon mot. I’ll sort it out on my end.

Hankering to give some feedback? Once more with feeling, here’s the link:

bit.ly/thenoviceoof-feedback

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