Below is a ladder of feedback, ranked by usefulness in ascending order:
Levels of useful feedback:
- Silence (i.e. not giving feedback)
- X is bad.
- X is bad because Y
- ...instead I suggest Z
- ...instead I suggest Z because Q
- ...instead I suggest Z because Q. I'm happy to help with that.
- ...instead I suggest Z because Q. I've already done some (or all) of the work.
Earning bonus points
Regardless of which level you're on, you can get bonus points by following some simple tips:
- Bonus points if Y or Q includes references to in-depth research on the topic.
- Bonus points for delivering the message in the appropriate channel, with a considerate tone, and at the right time.
- Bonus points if your claims are either accurate or clearly labeled as being subjective
This concept came to me within the context of open source software, but I think it's useful in a lot of contexts.
If you are feeling upset about something, consider giving feedback. If you are giving feedback, consider how far you are willing to move up the ladder of useful feedback.