Criticism - Classification of Types of Criticisms

Classification of Types of Criticisms

There exist many different kinds of criticism, which can be classified and sorted according to nine main facets (a nonagon or enneagon):

  • Point of view from which the criticism is made ("in what framework", "from what angle or perspective" is the criticism made).
  • Content of criticism, what it consists of ("what" is the criticism).
  • Purpose, motive, use or function of criticism ("why" is the criticism being raised, what is its aim).
  • Form of criticism, language used or medium of expression (in what "style" or format is the criticism presented).
  • Method of delivery, transmission or communication for the criticism ("how", or by what means, is the criticism conveyed).
  • Type of critic or the source making the criticism ("from whom" criticism originates).
  • Target or object of the criticism (criticism "of whom" or criticism "of what").
  • Context, place, setting or situation for the criticism ("where" is the criticism being made).
  • Recipients or audience of the criticism, intended or unintended (criticism directed or addressed "to where" or "to whom").

Each of these nine facets can be important in the battle of criticism. If one of them is disregarded, it can cause the criticism to fail, even although in other respects the criticism is validly produced. So the nonagon can provide a useful checklist to go over, before launching an important criticism.

To illustrate, in the area of religion, there could be criticism by religious people, criticism of religion or of religious people, criticism about particular religious issues, criticism of a religious nature, criticism communicated in a religious way, criticism within a religious context, etc.

With each kind of criticism, one has to deal with the different aspects: the content, form and purpose of the criticism, the sender, delivery and target of the criticism, and the total context in which the criticism occurs. If, additionally, the recipient of the criticism is not the intended target, that is also a factor to consider.

There is also a tenth classification of criticism, in terms of intention. Criticisms could, for example, be sorted into "friendly criticisms" and "nasty criticisms". People do often "read" first of all the intention of a criticism (for example, tone of voice, or language being used). The trouble is only, that this is often more a subjective or interactive interpretation. Thus, what is "friendly" or what is "nasty", depends on point of view, or how people are interacting, and it involves interpretation. A criticism could be friendly, or nasty, depending of how one chooses to regard it, how one responds to it, or depending on the moment it is made. What the intention really is or was, can be challenging to prove. That is why it is not listed in the nonagon. It is a related but separate issue. If it is included, then there is no nonagon anymore, but a decahedron.

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