Never Criticize Without an Alternative

Critics say that the survival genre is too repetitive and not engaging enough. This paper argues that while this may be true, some developers are using existing mechanics to create new gameplay elements which could revitalize the genre.

“Criticism without a solution quote” is the title of an article by author and entrepreneur, Tim Ferris. The article discusses how people should never criticize without having a solution to offer in return.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower sitting with his staff to study certain problems during War II.

During World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower had his staff research specific issues and then submit their findings to people who were experts in that field. A member of the latter group may sometimes disagree with the advised action. “However, this was not acceptable to General Eisenhower, who believed that just disagreeing was inadequate unless the officer so inclined could come up with something better,” one of his close associates recalled. When rejection was suggested, a more appropriate plan had to be presented.” 

It’s much too simple to criticize without proposing a solution. 

It’s far simpler to dismantle than to build. Finding the weaknesses in things is simpler than figuring out how to fix them.

Those who say “I don’t know what else to do,” “I just know I don’t like this,” or “I don’t know what else to do,” generally have a backup plan in mind, albeit not necessarily consciously. They think there is a way to make an agreement that doesn’t need any of the sacrifices, trade-offs, or compromises that every practical, real-world solution always necessitates. 

When you’re asked to come up with a practical solution, you have to let go of your childish vision of having everything go your way. It requires delving deeply into a problem and gaining a level of insight that goes beyond cursory feedback. Ike’s strategy, according to the officer described above, “provided for more serious evaluation and analysis” by requiring each criticism to be accompanied with a counterproposal.

It also serves as a useful sorting method.

Whoever is unwilling to display this degree of commitment, to put skin in the game, to demonstrate a willingness to offer constructive criticism, forfeits his place at the decision-making table. 



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It is important to never criticize without an alternative. Constructive criticism can be given with the “constructive criticism” phrase.

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