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by Tim Van Damme

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Stop being so fucking polite

George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) said it best in his Seven words you can never say on television:

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.

Maybe I’ve been reading and watching too much of his work lately, but his arrogance and “I don’t care what you think or who you are” mentality left me inspired, and opened my eyes: We are all too polite, and often forget what caring about something really means.

Let me explain: The web community is great. It’s small, you know a lot of other people who do the same as you, and with whom you share interests. It’s become really easy to quickly share interesting bits you found elsewhere on the net, or to spread the word on something you’ve just launched.

But we’re just not critical enough. One person farts and the others start cheering about how good it smells. What ever happened to saying what you really think? I don’t mean you should gossip, I’m talking about saying what you mean, in public, or in private, to the person who’s responsible for whatever you’re criticizing. Tell them people start to notice they’re re-using the same style for buttons in every project, tell them the line-height they’ve chosen really makes for an unreadable blog.

How do you expect people to believe you when you say something particular is worth checking out, if all you ever do is raving about how fucking awesome everything is? Good example of this is follow friday. Yes, you could blurb out 20 Twitter users per week you think people should follow. Or you could make a list of 50 Photoshop tips that’ll make you a better designer. You could even make lists of the 1.000 most beautiful webdesigns of 2009. Instead, try this: explain people why they should follow a certain person on Twitter, why you think it would be good for them to read an interesting tutorial, why you think that one website is beautifully designed, 1 at a time.

But the person I’m linking to always links to stuff I wrote/designed and he’s a really good friend of mine. Hogwash. If something isn’t worth sharing, don’t share it. If someone isn’t worth following on Twitter, don’t follow him. No matter how much exposure that certain person has, or how good of a friend he is.

Quality content and design is becoming very sparse these days. Everything looks like a copy you’ve already seen last week. How do you expect to see original, inspiring websites or articles when you never give decent feedback? It’s like parents telling their kids everything they do is beautiful and amazing. After years of being told everything they do is holy, the kid will eventually think his farts smell like roses on a sunny morning.

Be honest, tell people what you really think, and give constructive feedback. It can only make the world the web a better place.