Diane- I’ve been holding off posting to this thread to see what some of the responses would be. There are many things I agree with in the previous posts, but also feel that maybe some things are still to be mentioned. What follows is put down in haste(I have to deliver an instrument and I’m already late!) and not at all organized, but I didn’t want to forget what I was thinking about now.
There’s a difference between critical thinking and personal criticism. The latter is at best a cheap shot, demeaning, snide, needlessly negative, and unproductive. The former is an assessment of an idea, a product(like a work of art), a performance, an effort, etc. It may be very critical of any of the above, but the criticism is based on reason, fact, and perhaps comparison to similar things being discussed. It is not a personal attack and is not based on emotion. So a scientific theory presented at a conference for example may be torn to shreds, but the blithering criticism is based on sound judgement and facts that accurately portray an opposing theory.
In the context of the Harp Column forum, I think the forum has been at it’s most interesting when topics are fervently discussed with strong opinions expressed, PROVIDED there are no personal attacks, no nasty or demeaning opinions that are either not true or needlessly hurtful, and no sweeping generalizations that cannot be substantiated. That’s why I cringe when someone starts a thread titled WHICH IS BETTER? L & H, VENUS, OR SALVI? Or WHICH IS BETTER? SALZEDO METHOD OR GRANDJANY? UGH!!!
A comparison of methods for example is enlightening and informative, especially to those new to the harp. If the discussion and posts are dispassionate and objective, then the reader can draw his/her own conclusions. A comparison of makes of instruments for example should clearly state that the writer is expressing his/her experience with one instrument from a particular company.