Criticism Policy

This is our site criticism policy, which lays out how everyone is expected to behave in discussion threads and forum comments.

This policy is enforced at staff discretion. Please do not try to enforce these guidelines on other users yourself. Violations can be reported via a PM to an active moderator or administrator (listed in the page Meet The Staff).


These are the hard-and-fast rules for criticizing an author's work that you are expected to know and follow. For other behavioral guides, check the Site Rules.

  1. Critique the work, don't attack the writer: Do not flame the author. Stick to criticizing the works. As an example, you can tell the author, "This needs work. The main idea's fine except for the X, but addenda are complete crap." Don't say, "You're a terrible writer. Why did you post this?" or "This looks like it was written by a blind monkey with a crack pipe."
  2. Your posts must contain some kind of content: "Meh" on its own does not count as content, because it does not help the author improve their work and is no more informative than a downvote. An emoticon, an insulting macro, or "lol" is not content; it's spam. Stating "I agree with what so-and-so said" is sufficient because it gives support to existing feedback.
  3. Don't tell the author "The problems with this article should be obvious": If they were obvious to the author, they wouldn't have made them. All you've accomplished is to obliquely call the author an idiot. Keep in mind that growing membership means that many authors haven't been here long. What's obvious to you is probably not obvious to someone new.

In short: Don't be an asshole.


  1. Critiques should be helpful in some way: They should suggest what the author did wrong, how to improve, or what they've done right that they should continue doing.
  2. You aren't required to post anything in-depth: "I didn't care for it" or "I dislike this idea" are valid criticisms. Maybe you can't articulate exactly why it didn't grab you. That's fair. However, feedback is most beneficial to an author when there is a clear indication of what needs to be fixed.
    • Feedback given in the draft forums should be more in-depth. Forum reviewers are expected to give some sort of direction for improvement of a draft, rather than simply saying they liked or disliked it.
  3. Feel free to be as harsh as you need to be. If an article is pretty bad, you don't have to say nice things to make up for your criticisms. The point is for your criticism to be effective, not to fluff someone's ego. If most of the article's bad, you don't need to search for something good to say.
  4. You aren't obligated to explain your vote: A downvote (or an upvote!) can speak for itself. If you have the time and inclination to tell the author why you voted as you did, that's wonderful, and we appreciate that you're taking the time to help make the site better. But you don't have to.
  5. Don't try to enforce your personal preferences as How-Things-Should-Be-Done: There's no rule saying someone must use a sandbox, or swear off writing humanoids/-Js/Keters until they're more experienced, or that Author Avatars are the cancer that is killing SCP. If a new writer wants to try something risky, let them go for it. The worst that can happen is that their article gets deleted. We want people being ambitious and taking chances.
  6. Avoid dogpiling on bad articles: If it's at -50 and dropping, and many people have already said it's terrible, you don't need to drop in just to let people know that you think it's terrible too.
  7. Content of user posts is what matters, not user status: Avoid judging or belittling users based on their join date. Veterans should not belittle the critique of newer users just because they are new. If a new user is wrong, explain why. Also, users should not ignore the advice of others in favor of only listening to staff members. Some of our best writers are not staff.

If you have any questions about this policy, please feel free to leave a comment in the discussion thread, or message a member of staff. Thank you.

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