Have you ever started typing a reply to someone's post on social media just to stop and delete it because you realized it sounds negative?
I've been struggling with this concept for a long time. I try to be positive online, whether I post my own thoughts, or reply to someone else. However, occasionally criticism might be warranted, yet I hesitate to reply in any way that might be construed as negative. Am I wrong here?
Three recent scenarios come to mind.
Popular framework about to receive a major version advertises a new feature that I personally think might be a regression in relation to onboarding new users, and even for seasoned users. I've been tempted to say something about why I think the headliner feature isn't that great but I realize I would be buried by the supporters of said framework (of which I am one!). To be clear, I am supremely grateful that this framework exists, yet even the best things can (and should) be criticized occasionally.
Another popular framework also about to receive a major version introduces a new API that doesn't seem that great to me, although it is lauded by the expert users of the framework. Once again, I hesitate to express my concerns. But perhaps I am wise to keep my mouth shut - for one thing, I'm not an expert at it (just a very happy user); for another, I might find the final incarnation very pleasant to work with (in which case any misgivings would have been unfounded). I swallow my criticism.
A popular developer who maintains a very popular framework changed their avatar and asked what people thought. Everyone complimented them. To me, the new avatar makes them completely invisible among a myriad others, chiefly because there's very little contrast between the person's face and the background. At a casual glance, the person blends into the background. The old one had a contrasting background which made it instantly recognizable, at least to my eyes. I started to reply that I'm not digging it, but I felt like a minnow swimming against a roaring flood, so I deleted my post. Don't get me wrong - the photo of the developer is great in both versions, it's just that the new avatar looks very anonymous.
There you go. Sometimes you have thoughts and criticism that go contrary to popular opinion. Should you voice those concerns in a public forum or keep them to yourself? I guess I chose the third option: write about them in an obfuscated way on my own blog.