Elliot's Suggestions

Reply to every one of my articles that you read with a one sentence opinion. Saying more is fine but don’t get hung up trying to say something longer or important. The best opinions relate to a major point, not a minor detail. Commenting on minor details is OK sometimes but e.g. less than a third of the time. This has multiple purposes. It’d give some feedback. It’d also help clarify who is making the effort to read things (and to write brief comments). It can help you get credit if you’re actually trying some. Putting an opinion into words will help you think about what you read more and may lead to saying more in the future.

Use discussion trees and other trees.

Use IGC charts. Work with decisive criticisms.

Study CF articles by trying to analyze and understand what the words say.

When engaging with something, pick learning or debate. Do one at a time and be clear about it. Don’t try to mix them. (There are also some other ways to interact, like comments, suggestions or teaching. Try to know which you’re doing and do one at a time, and communicate it.)


If you think I post an unimportant criticism, and can’t see the importance, assume you don’t understand my point. Either ask why it matters or remember it as something where you didn’t know what I meant and moved on. Do not conclude that I criticize stuff that isn’t important, or, worse, try to copy that and intentionally criticize unimportant stuff yourself.

While I have ever intentionally pointed out unimportant errors, e.g. some typos, I rarely do that. It’s not a standard policy.

My non-criticism is also usually meant to be important in some way. I suspect people fairly often don’t get it, don’t ask, and judge (often without consciously realizing they are judging). But I think it’s a more important problem with criticism. My criticisms are often meant to be decisive or aimed at a constraint, or at least part of an argument that would do that (but I didn’t write out all the other parts).