Negative Feedback - Welcome or not?

There’s a bit of a to and fro over on the 2019 albums thread about whether negative feedback is (or should be) welcomed on the forum.

If someone posts a picture of their system, or a record they like, is it OK to find fault and say so, or should we do as my mother said:* “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”?

I prefer a discussion where criticism is welcome. (And I’m with Mike when he asserts that Springsteen hasn’t done much interesting in terms of new music in years. I feel like Bruce keeps writing the same songs over and over.)

*I don’t actually recall my mother ever saying this.


Constructive criticism is useful in threads. It isn’t always easy to do, and I guess not always easy to receive but I think without it threads can lack value. I love to read balanced, informed and intelligent critics of music or film. It doesn’t have to always be positive for me to want to explore the item further.

Criticising people’s taste is another thing.

I fell qualified to criticise Bruce albums for obvious reasons :grin: but if others love it well good for them. I am happy to explain my issues with the album but that doesn’t make you wrong if you feel differently.

Bruce (not that one)

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When someone starts a thread asking people to list their favorite 2019 album, I think it is a reasonable expectation that people will list there favorite album without commenting on other members preferences.

Some threads call for massive discussions and everyone gives their opinion on the subject. If someone lists their favorite album of the year I don’t see why anyone else needs to comment on it.

I did not see the value of adding criticism to someone’s else’s choice of their favorite album of year and thought the OP made a reasonable request.



I think it’s all about how you say it.

If you say “That’s a rubbish album, you just wasted your money”, that may not go down as well as “That’s interesting because personally I found it a bit bland compared with her earlier albums.” Or something like that.

So imho negative comments are interesting and make the threads more useful but they should always be framed so that they don’t imply the OP is an idiot!




Given that musical taste and preference is personal it can be difficult to offer a critique without inherently implying that the taste of the original poster is deficient, or of less merit, than that of the critic

If someone is not ready to take a beating, a forum is the wrong place. I had the moralists after me also when I apparently said something wrong.

So feel free to say something negative to me - I like organ music please attack me!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with organ music. In church!

Funnily enough, that’s reminded me that when I was a kid my dad had records of fairground organ music. Now that’s peculiar.


You like what you like. It’s ephemeral. Past stating it, there’s no need to explain it or defend it. This is why I find a lot of musical discussions rather pointless. If I was forcing someone to listen to what I like, just because I like it, I would deserve to be criticised. Now I’ve got to a certain age, phrases like “well, if you like X then you’re going to love Y, just hang on a minute while I dig it up for you to listen to…” are more likely to trigger the fright and flight response that engage my curiosity. But in that respect again, we are all different.


There are wildly popular bands/groups, ‘classic albums’ and so forth I just don’t ‘get’, and they bore the pants off me, but I appreciate many others love them to bits so I tend to take the ‘what am I missing view?’. Occasionally, as with DSOTM, some months ago I did mention I didn’t quite understand why it’s so revered, but I think many musical loves are ‘of their time’ and they may have been culturally significant on original release, and you just can’t enthuse about them if you weren’t part of that ‘musical scene’.


DSOTM was for me, more about the time in my life when it was released. What I was doing and with whom. I guess a lot of stuff is and we could commonly relate. However, it we are discussing sea changes, ground breakers and genre definers, IMO look no further that The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Maybe A Saucer Full Of Secrets if you want to be generous. After that, Floyd were spent.

That’s my pointless contribution.


I would say the important thing is to make it clear that you acknowledge that what you’re about to say is your opinion, not a fact. It’s a lot harder for another person to get terribly offended at someone else saying that they don’t like the same music compared to how easy it is to feel belittled and dismissed by someone saying your taste in music is rubbish.

From what I see on this and other forums, a lot of the bad blood and silliness stems from this distinction being under appreciated.



There was a thread a while back on albums or artists that was once really liked, but then grate and annoy on a present listen. Was a few that was sympathised with, but I don’t recall anyone getting upset saying that’s their favourite. Negative feedback should be welcomed if it’s with an obvious or constructive intention.
With a picture of someones system, then yes. If someone finds fault in something, then it is worth accepting that.

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The ‘time in my life’ is what resonates with me with a lot of music - loved lots of electronic/new wave music in the late 70’s and early 80’s and that coincides with my tenage years, raging hormones and generally approaching adulthood - these periods are unique and rarely replicated even if we enjoy musical trends later on in my view.

Spot on Ebor.

Nothing wrong with saying, for example, you can’t stand Neil Young’s output, but if replying to someone who clearly loves it a few silly emojis or self-deprecating comments are essential to avoid seeming deliberately contrary or offesnive.

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As the object of the thread (he who dared say a Springsteen album is objectively compressed; lacking in dynamics and guilty of a fair amount of blatant theft - all things which are not “opinion” but verifiable as fact) I’ve read this with interest. It was described by one poster as a “slagging off”. Putting aside whether or not any comment should have been made, the issue really seemed to be a dislike for anyone daring to say something against a favourite artist.

The expectation that you start a thread and get to dictate; manage or even set parameters for that thread seems to me to wholly, and perhaps wilfully, misunderstand the nature of a discussion forum. The direction of a thread is determined by all posters not just the original. Outside of that and it’s a matter for administration.

People asking for specific help to downgrade find themselves in a thread about multiple aspects of sound and ownership. People at the end of their tether and merely offloading their disillusionment (me) find themselves fascinated as it spirals off into the relative merits of Naim; tweakery; power conditioners and much more. It’s actually a struggle to find any thread which confines itself exclusively to the original issue or topic. That’s a positive rather than a negative.

The System Pics thread has occasionally been derailed by the posting of pics of systems that weren’t owned by the poster. That thread is well defined though. If people want a thread of pretty pictures of album covers to represent the year with no discussion whatsoever then by all means say so but understand that you’re not in a position to dictate the terms of engagement and if people choose to do differently then perhaps that isn’t what others want.

The wisdom of the crowd dictates that a fair amount of subtle, and sometimes less so, bullying goes on. Suggestions of disrespect or breach of some unspoken supposedly accepted etiquette that, as the existence of this thread perhaps suggests, isn’t actually accepted at all.

I would suggest that if you start a thread; it deviates and you struggle with that so much you threaten to delete the thread then your sensibilities are perhaps a little delicate and perhaps require a little recalibration. Equally if you can’t stomach a discussion on one of your favourite artists which doesn’t go down the route of “well everything they do is wonderful” then why exactly are you on a forum where such discussion is not just inevitable but actually helpful?

For all the mini furore the reality was that it freed a few other posters up to say “actually, that was a let down” and as a place where discussion and helping are presumably amongst the main reasons to be here that’s ultimately more meaningful.

If people really would like the pretty pics type thread then there are plenty of photography websites and Instagram would seem to be the place you’re looking for!


Think this a direct response to the thread re album of the year. To make it clear I’m not against negative feedback at all, I’m an artist I live with it every day and that’s before I leave the house, it’s just that it wasn’t (or isn’t) the intention or called for. There’s a lot of choices that have been put forward that I don’t particularly like, but who am I to judge someone else’s taste. But basically I really didn’t want it to end up going sideways like so many other threads. So I’m sorry if I offended anyone that wasn’t my intention either.


I think it is reasonable for the OP of a thread to set out from the start the bounds of what it is intended to do, and to request other members to rein in if it is going outside the bounds of the thread, or generally drifting too far from its intended scope. Compliance with such a request is simply the polite and respectful thing to do. If anyone wants to pursue a drift beyond that that the OP considers reasonable, or make a thread become something the OP specifically indicated it is not intended to be, then surely out of common decency said person or persons should simply start a new thread to follow their desired direction in which they can set whatever bounds, or absence of bounds, they want (subject to forum rules of course).

So, for example, if someone were to want a pictures only thread, and says so, reminding if necessary, it seems to me that is entirely reasonable - except I would point out that unless the picture is the raison d’être, as in visual art, then text to enable poorly sighted people to follow the thread with a text-to-speech tool is good inclusive practice, which in my view should be the case when identifying a piece of music, rather than just pasting an image of an album sleeve.


Whilst I appreciate the comment re: sight impairment I would add that images only is an issue as regards sight impairment whether or not a screen reader is required. Nice to read someone at least partly get that so thank you.

As regards the respect angle I think it’s one of those things which sounds eminently reasonable until you pause and think about how that plays out. Do I restart my “end of my tether” thread so that only I contribute?

There are about five different thought processes/discussions on there at present. Should all comments, positive or negative, on wonderful or weird images on the System Pics thread be deleted? It sounds great but it’s wholly impractical and unrealistic and so so not how the internet has ever worked.

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I disagree. You start a thread. Others contribute. It drifts, You guide. That’s life.
The OP doesn’t “own” a thread. He/she starts it then merely contributes like everyone else.

I never set any parameters on the “Sleepwalking” thread or any of the susbsequent “Brexit” threads. Of course I was disappointed (that’s polite political jargon for F***ing Furious) when people polluted such threads and they were censored, but again, that’s life !

I live with it.