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Offering tips or blind praise- what SHOULD we do as a community?


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So lately I have seen some models posted in the Finished section that were obviously flawed but were given praise as though they could win at a model contest.

I am the first to admit my models are built for me and by me and have yet to share them with this forum, so I will tread lightly here. However, I look at many of the posts throughout this forum and try to pick up tips to improve my modeling. I can honestly say that I have seen a marked improvement in my skills and the finished product to the point that I could entertain showing them at a model show someday soon.

The point I am trying to make is that if we praise every model that is posted, whether it is worthy or not, are we doing the builders any favors?

I would like to know that a polishing kit or not spraying on a humid day could give me a smoother, glossier finish. Using the right products, spending more time on prep work, using online resources to accurately detail and capture the correct look for a model can really help improve our results and I think being honest with people without coming off as arrogant can help all that are here. Lord knows there is a bunch of great builders here who offer their help, but I wonder sometimes if they hold back on some of the stuff they see because of the fear of sounding overly critical?

This hobby is aging and we need younger people to pass the baton to at some point, and I think if we mentor them in a way that will get them excited about building like we did so many years ago, the future could be very bright.

Telling everyone who posts a model, regardless of how well it is painted/assembled/detailed "Great job!" without offering some tips isn't in the best interest of them or the hobby.

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My two cents (two dollars now thanks to inflation).  I'm my worst critic, I know when something isn't perfect, yes I'm a perfectionist, with a severe case of OCD when I'm in full obsessed and possessed building mode.  I never expect everyone else to be on my same level.  I limit myself, by telling myself that I will never match Gerald Windgrove in scratch-building, or others in shear brilliant execution *and* production volume, or several others here that blow me away.  I see some have in their initial post that they welcome input, that shows they are willing to learn something.  I tend to learn the hard way, but have gleaned some good information from others on this forum.  I don't leave PC participation trophy comments, unless it's a subject that I like, and feel like being nice and encouraging newbies, I didn't have this when I was starting out.  So just roll with it, that's life on planet Earth.

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This subject has come up many times. It is a road filled with land mines.  Unfortunately there are some who do not take criticism well. It really helps when some posts there work and asks for all comments positive or suggestions for improvement. Otherwise make positive comments on the things done well.  False praise is not helping anyone.

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25 minutes ago, mikemodeler said:

So lately I have seen some models posted in the Finished section that were obviously flawed but were given praise as though they could win at a model contest.

 Lord knows there is a bunch of great builders here who offer their help, but I wonder sometimes if they hold back on some of the stuff they see because of the fear of sounding overly critical?

This hobby is aging and we need younger people to pass the baton to at some point, and I think if we mentor them in a way that will get them excited about building like we did so many years ago, the future could be very bright.

Telling everyone who posts a model, regardless of how well it is painted/assembled/detailed "Great job!" without offering some tips isn't in the best interest of them or the hobby.

about sums it up, and hopefully this isn't too offensive,but this site doesn't encourage offering constructive criticism unless asked specifically for by the builder kinda like everyone who plays wins a trophy the same trophy as everyone else mentality

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After posting earlier, been thinking that I should confess.  When I see a model that I have in my stash that someone built, my comment shows as _____, the unspoken part is [_____].  I'm not learned in psychology, but you know there is more to it.  For example:

It's great to see this built [because the box buried deep in my dark closet doesn't do anything for me], you did a fine job [because I'm just jealous that you were able to build the darned thing], nice color [even though I would have picked RED and done a fabulous job], like the extra detail [because if I added details, it would *never* get done].  Good job! [because this isn't Fakebook where I can just click ? or ?]

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When I post photos of a model I like comments pro or con. I can take it . I have had things pointed out that I could have done better and that does not bother me in the least. I will however not normally post if I notice a problem with another builder not knowing if the criticism would be taken on the spirit it would be given.

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  • I think if someone wants constructive criticism, they should indicate so in their post. If i was attempting to improve my skills or work towards building a contest winner, I would solicit advice from others on this forum. Unfortunately I don't usually have to ask, because I can see immediately the screw ups I made! However it is really helpful to hear alternative ideas, approaches and solutions to some of the shortcomings of any model. That is how we learn and improve. But if someone just wants to post their model, let them. If they can improve, perhaps they themselves will see that through observing other models  built or being built on the forum. Just lets not kill anybodys joy or interest in the hobby.
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I agree with Mike that telling someone who posts pics of multiple models with sloppy paint, no chrome trim, poor decal work, etc. that their builds are "great" when they really aren't. I've learned so much, just by reading the comments of some of the great builders here, that I'm actually building pretty decent stuff(once in a while). I only wish I had the ability to post pics here, not for any false praise, but for helpful comments that would make me better.

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A sticky situation at best.    Just as people posted that they didn't know that two of our esteemed members were 68 years old, we don't know people's individual situations.  Is this person posting that no so perfect model a young person?  Are they a special needs person?  Are they handicapped, or are they using modeling to recover dexterity from suffering a stroke?  Many times we don't know!  And we don't want to discourage people from enjoying the hobby, and working on their skills.   There are people who build passionately and their work gets a bit better with every model.   And we need to celebrate and encourage them!

If indeed, someone does post and asks for help, then by all means do so tactfully.  When I post my in progress stuff, I do so partly because people will point out things... a detail on the real car I didn't know,  an issue with the kit I need to know about, or something I've done wrong.   I'm a big boy and appreciate input, especially when presented with good intents and in a way that avoids embarrassment.  And especially when in progress and I can fix it!    

I'm blessed to know a good number of the people here in person.  I do know one person who once was a very good modeler, and suffered a stroke.  He spent years regaining his abilities, and now builds a great model once again.  I would encourage them with every build, which may have looked hollow to some folks, but you didn't know the situation, nor the personal relationship.

Rest assured that there are folks on the board who are PMing people and helping them along.  It's nice to do so and being able to do so without embarrassing the person.

 

 

Edited by Tom Geiger
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There are a lot of ways to look at this.

 

If we try to build to other peoples high standards: 1) We may get better as builders. 2) We may never finish a model again.

If we say "Nice Model": 1) We may be providing false praise. 2) We may be providing encouragement to build the next model (which helps us get better as builders)

Polite, constructive criticism is generally accepted by most builders. Just remember, what you think is direct or straightforward criticism can come across as demeaning or condescending. Choose your words wisely.

As Tom stated, we don't know everyone's situation. We do have quite a few builders with disabilities that still love to build models and share them with the rest of us.

 

If you want to give encouragement, do so. If you want to provide tips or pointers, do so. If you don't want to give false praise, don't do it.

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21 minutes ago, Xingu said:

If you want to give encouragement, do so. If you want to provide tips or pointers, do so. If you don't want to give false praise, don't do it.

Exactly! Personally, I see no way that constructive criticism will help the person or the hobby. 99.9% of people who post their models have done their best. I'm willing to bet that several people have turned away from the hobby due to constructive criticism. How is that better for the hobby or the builder?

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On the other hand Roger, offering it can help the builder see where they can improve and help them become better. There is a difference between calling someone a hack and explaining how they can improve. There are ways to be gentle about it. 

Edited by Classicgas
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Like any hobby there is only so much time and talent to go around, hence you have beginners and pros posting pictures and we tend to hold them to same standard.  Having said that I think anyone learning can see the things that can a model better (more realistic) with some simple techniques or detail painting and can pick up ideas just by looking at the higher quality builds we see here.  Whether they choose to try to "improve" or not is really up to the individual.  As for a "contest" magazine worthy model being featured, even a box stock build can be noticed (and pictured) if it is a kit you almost never see buildt and it is cleanly done.

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I try to find something in every modelers build. If I can't find anything, I won't comment.

I do see the issue of praise to a very flawed build as false support, but it doesn't bother me either.

Sometimes I'll go into a profile to see if its a young person, or they mention a health issue to determine my response.

My signature indicates I want constructive feedback. I'm trying to improve my skills. However that's me and I don't impose my standards on others.

We are here to have fun, remember!

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This is the reason why i almost never post anything in the workbench section.
I dont want people to tell me that i did X,Y,Z wrong and its not accurate to the real thing, and should have painted certain parts in another colour then i did.
By the time those pic,s were shot and uploaded i could be along way ahead of that and i dont want to tear down several hours of work just to fix something small.
I dont build them because i want it to be an exact scale replica.
I build because i want/need to be left alone and need to think about something else for a few hours and just having fun.

Now there are a few times i ask for help about how to do something and those i appreciate all the advise, that some people do it this way and other does it that way and i can try what works for me.
I also look at anything i find interesting here and if i like it i say something, sometimes i look at it and like it but still dont say anything.
Then there are times i find something and dont like it but those times i dont post and keep it to my self, who knows it might grow on me and i like it later?

I am one of those who have a disability and likes to build but you are never ever going to see a perfectly straight line and straight parts (mirrors, stacks, etc..) becuase i simply can not do that.
It is extremely frustrating and i do the best i can as the others do.
Imagine how frustrating it is if you do your absolut best and by some miracle it turned out even better then you thought and are somewhat proud to post a pic of it.
Then someone comments example:
Why is the split between the 2 colours/part's not straight? its not that hard (insert smiley here to make a joke of it)
Well acctually it is really hard for me, especially since on bad days i can barely write my own name with a pen anymore and having it readable, or eating or drinking without dropping, spilling..
But thanks for trying to make a joke out of it as i dont already feel useless because something so simple for others is gone for me and my model building days are also about to run out because of it.
The above has never happend on this site and is just an example.

Is it perfect in their eyes? no probably not.
My own? no, i would like to be able to be as good as some here are but its never going to happen nomatter how hard i try.
Sofar no one here have said anything about anything of my posted builds having parts that have a slight lean to them or not having perfect paintlines if there are several colours on the model.
I really thought i was going to get it when i posted my Superboss because that one is no where near perfect even in my own eyes..


 

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First off if your goal is to improve your skills then state when you post your work say that you are open to constructive criticism.

Second false praise is no help to anyone.  Not commenting at all is equally negative.

The best way to encourage others is to make positive comments on the things they've done well. We seldom see models that are a complete disaster. Really all boils down to communicating well. 

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I might be one of the builders the OP was mentioning,I am not a pro builder but try to build that look decent and do not get into much detail. I like clean and simple builds and my eyes are not like they were when I was a teenager so that it why I do not get into serious details,I build in a basement and over a winter will try to get it a little brighter so maybe I can start getting into those small details again.

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MANY years ago, my pops and I attended a local contest. I brought along my latest 'build', complete with string for spark plug wire (merely glued blob-style to the distributor and with not-a-care as to right firin' order), a 180-grit paint-job, and wonky wheel work. I thought I was the cats-@55 'cause I was the best of all ma' friends. Turns out I wasn't SQUAT. Didn't even come close to anything resemblin' placin'. 

So, turnin' to pops, all dejected, he says: "Boy, now you know. The difference between placin' and not placin' is the knowledge and bein' able to have the skill to use that knowledge. It ain't just for model buildin', boy, it's for life." 

I learned a LOT that day, and because o' some hard life lessons and people willin' to tell me what I done wrong and me bein' willin' to listen, I got better (not just at models). To watch someone get worse before your eyes, and have folks heap praise on rubbish; it ain't doin' them, us, or anyone else any favors.

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I think what we need to remember is this is just a hobby. With that being said, many people are in this hobby for different reasons. Some may simply be interested in the subject matter (muscle cars, drag cars, big trucks, etc.) and like myself can't afford the real thing, or some may be looking for a stress relieving hobby, while others may strive to make a work of art. A build can be a nice clean build, yet still not have all the trim painted or mold lines removed. Does it look real? No. Does it look good? To the builder's standards, yes. Sometimes we want to offer help to folks who don't need it. Most builders are like myself and can spot their mistakes a mile away. We also need to remember that not everyone desires to build a show quality model. Does that make them substandard in some way? No. They may actually be getting more joy from the hobby than the show quality builder.  I'm not a great model builder myself although there are many great builders on this forum who I have a lot of respect for, but what has helped me to improve what skills I have is watching the great builders on this forum work, not comments on how my build wasn't up to par. I'm not an everyone gets a trophy guy, but this forum isn't a contest either. I normally comment on builds that I'm interested in the 1:1 subject. I usually look for something that was done well about the model and not the negative. If someone asks for input that is totally different. If there is a technical issue that you think that the builder may want to know about, send a PM. I personally think that discouraging builders is far more harmful to this hobby than trying to encourage folks with less than perfect builds.

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I'll offer suggestions that can be done on the completed model, such as black-washing the grille or detail-painting the wheels and things like that. But I'll bite my tongue and NOT post something like, "Dude, this could have been a superior model if you'd just taken a half hour or so and knocked off all the ugly mold parting lines." (And have done so many, many times.) In that case, I just won't post anything. 

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