Why to submit (and listen to) useful and constructive feedback.

in #iamutopian2 years ago (edited)

While this surely doesn't come off as a surprise to some of the more seasoned contributors to Utopian, feedback and improvement are values that are key to the very existence of the platform. While we love rewarding experienced creators that at times are much more talented than we are, it was always a part of our mission to provide a great entry point for everyone who's just getting started in the Open Source world, someone who might be seeking guidance.


Feedback MATTERS

When I joined Utopian back in December of last year (time flies...), I could barely code anything that was actually usable by an another human being, my abilities were limited to pure Python and my code looked absolutely terrifying (seriously, do not look at my old github repos). Now, thanks to numerous contributions made to the Development category, rejected or accepted, I am about to land my first job in the field with skills in both Python and JavaScript. I owe 100% of that to my projects supported by Utopian and many team and community members teaching me about what I'm doing wrong.

Because of stories like that, our Moderators and Community Managers are always told that, no matter what, feedback comes first. Not only that, but we've made multiple attempts in the past at rewarding great comments with tips or a reputation system, both of which taught us a lot about how we should look at this topic in the future. You, the members of the community, are a part of Utopian as well, and because of that we want you to be involved - we want you to know why feedback matters.


Effects of feedback on learning.

Contrary to what I've just said above, if you google the phrase "Effects of feedback on learning - study", you'll be met with a surprising amount of studies suggesting that feedback does not have an impact on students at school and in some cases it actually has a negative effect on their education.

Luckily, this is a problem that has been attributed to the environment - the school - in which children and teens usually don't want to learn the stuff they're presented with and don't actively care about getting better for the sake of getting better.

In Utopian's case, most people who come here do want to be better at coding, graphic design or whatever else it may be. Thanks to that, a look from a different perspective opens up many opportunities the author might not have initially seen at all, and also saves them a lot of time googling, looking through pages of StackOverflow and reading up tutorials on what they want to do. Obviously, more time leads to faster learning, so in the end the effect is measurably positive.

And, would you imagine, that leads me to my next point.

Accepting that YOU are often wrong.

No matter how good you are at what you're doing, you're ignorant if you think you've achieved perfection. Everyone makes mistakes, and whether they are big mistakes that could cripple your progress, or small missteps that are only visible to an eye of an expert, you should never get frustrated that someone pointed them out to you.

We see it a lot these days - you find something, you see that it's great but could be improved in one way or another. You let the author know, and lo and behold, the author tells you to shut your mouth and leave him alone, perhaps even saying not to comment if you didn't like it.

This attitude doesn't necessarily lead to failure, but it most definitely will make your progress in becoming great at whatever you're doing much slower, and whatever you produce will suffer in the process. The feedback is not always great, sometimes it can even be written in a way that sounds insulting to you, but remember - no matter what the intent of the person was, they've just helped you improve and be a tiny bit better.

Most importantly, it doesn't matter that the person who just corrected you is far worse in this field than you are. Sure, you do usually know better, but it doesn't make them wrong every time they open up their mouth.


Why YOU should care

People learning thanks to feedback is great and all, but why should you care about helping other people out if it brings no value to you? Aside from being a good person that means well to people around them, there's other great reasons to spend your time on telling people their code sucks.

It just so happens that all Utopian is based upon are Open Source values. And since everything here is open source, all the code produced by various authors on and outside of the blockchain is shared among all of us, to be used for free for any purpose we might need it for. Helping out a newbie today might bring a Pull Request to your repository with a bug fix a year later, or you might find yourself reading through a github repository to find a specific solution implemented by that rookie, who didn't know how to hash a password correctly all those years ago.

The cryptocurrency space (and open source to some extent) is also a pretty small community that overlaps in many fields - people you meet in some projects will often be involved in other, different ideas as well. If you're working on any projects whatsoever, chances are that by helping someone out now, you might earn yourself a great team member in the future.

We're all working to make the best use of the power of our human brains with the use of technology, and there's no better way of doing that than working together and helping each other out.


So, in conclusion, feedback is awesome, and if you ever insult people for pointing out your mistakes, you're a big snob.

Kind of off-topic though, this series has been derailed twice now - I had a lot of stuff prepared related to the Italy trip we took with our team as well as some texts on translations, but that'll have to wait. I'm taking very important exams this weekend and then I'll need to catch up what I'll missed internally when I was gone.

Also, expect a post about how I got deplaned on my way home, that was a hell of a day!


This is a fine post. I can't help but think of it as a bit of a companion piece to my own recent post about how to write moderation comments. One is about how to give feedback, while the other is about why feedback is a good thing. I like the synergy of that, even if I don't like "synergy" as a word.

You also bring in your own story, which is a thing we always like to see here in the Blog category. Well done all around.

Your contribution has been evaluated according to Utopian policies and guidelines, as well as a predefined set of questions pertaining to the category.

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Why don't you like synergy as a word?

Thank you for your review, @didic!

So far this week you've reviewed 15 contributions. Keep up the good work!

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