On Saturday, November 14, we received the following feedback via our Feedback page on the website:
An Anonymous Visitor wrote:
Subject: Your stuipid website reviews
Comment: Who the hell does Peter Trevor think he is? The website authors worked very hard on thier sites and this ass Trevor has the nerve to flame just about all of the sites with his so called "reviews". Very dispointed that you would do this to all the website authors who worked so hard on their stuff. I am very embarrased for you and disapointed in you guys.
Freelance Traveller feels no remorse or embarrassment about carrying Peter's website reviews.
Peter took it upon himself to look at and critique various Traveller websites and allowed us to carry the results. In every case, we have found his reviews and criticisms to be well-considered, and fair. They are in no way "flames".
The fact that a website author "worked so hard on their stuff" is - and should be - irrelevant to an evaluation of the quality, utility, accessibility, desirability, et cetera, of the website, just as it is irrelevant to a review of a movie, TV show, or book. That an author "worked so hard" to write a book that is unreadable does not change the fact that it is unreadable; should a review of that book make any sort of allowance for the hard work that the author put into it? That the actors, writers, and director "worked so hard" to make a movie or TV show that is unwatchable does not change the fact that it is unwatchable; must a review take that hard work into account and make allowances? Society says not, and acts accordingly. Why, then, should a website be treated any differently?
One might argue that the book, TV show, or movie is done for personal and/or corporate monetary gain, and that society should know what it is getting for the value of the coin they will be paying to read/see it. It is our position that one makes an investment when one visits a web site as well - perhaps not monetary, but is your time worth nothing?
"But the author/writer/actors/director are PROFESSIONALS! The occasional bad review is part of the price of being a professional!" And once, they were all amateurs, much like the majority of website designers/builders for noncommercial hobby sites - including Freelance Traveller itself (which has also been reviewed by Peter, and that review is on our site as well). Part of the transition from amateur to professional is taking criticism, and taking more criticism, and taking still more criticism, and LEARNING from it, rather than rejecting it out-of-hand as though it were a personal attack. And even after becoming a professional, you listen to the criticisms, and learn from them, tempering those criticisms with your experience.
Is the critic always right? No, and many times we have seen the critics pan a blockbuster or best-seller - or proclaim a triumph for a dog. Perhaps it is because the critics have their own biases; perhaps it is because the critics are using criteria other than those of the general public; perhaps it is because the critic happens not to be part of the target audience for the work at issue. The why is irrelevant; the critic gets it wrong occasionally - but even in getting it wrong, the critic may well say something that the author/writer/actor/director sees, and stops and says "Gee, y'know, maybe he's got something, there.". And then, the author/writer/actor/director examins his/her own work in light of what the critic says - and maybe next time, does things a little differently. There are several words that describe that process - growth, maturation, evolution, development, improvement... and none of them, when used in this manner, imply anything negative.
What's more, OTHER authors/writers/actors/directors see the reviews, both before and after reading/seeing the work at issue. And after doing so, they may come away with ideas for improving their own work.
So too with website reviews. Perhaps the webmaster will never see the review (we hope that's not the case). Perhaps, as this visitor did, the webmaster will find the review insulting (we hope not). We can't control that. We can hope that anyone who reads the reviews will learn from them - what works, what doesn't, what's worth their time to visit, and what's not. That is, after all, the PURPOSE of a review. And when Peter returns to writing website reviews, we will continue to carry them.