I respect honesty in reviews…

If there’s one thing I respect it is honesty. But it’s a dangerous thing – particularly when the question you are answering is loaded. Take for example Oh Messy Life’s DLOG (presumably is to Designlog as blog is to weblog [although surely that’s the less pronouncable NLOG]). Barbelith was featured there a couple of days ago, in a generally complimentary fashion (and I quote):

“Everyone’s favorite self-doubting, nomadic Brit Tom has voiced doubts over whether or not he, being self-trained, has the skills to compete with the college-boy designers. After looking over Barbelith, the obvious answer is that he’s a natural…” [Overall grade – B]

He continues to make some very valid points about being continually under construction – which of course is the biggest sin in the whole web world (although he omits to mention that I am homeless and mostly computer-free which makes finishing the site rather difficult). All of this is more than reasonable. I don’t have a problem with it – in fact I am flattered that barbelith was considered worthy to be reviewed.

I’m a little less sure about his more scathing reviews. He says of regular barbelith link, riothero:

“I know he’s only 15. At that age five years ago, I’d barely begun using email, much less learned HTML. Still, though, I must pull no punches! I must be a bastard and speak the truth as I see it, and the truth as I see it here is that is a boring site to look at.” [Overall grade – D+/C-]

I think that this really exposes the flaw in his approach – is he going to review the personal sites of web-designers who have been building sites since they were invented (, – both favourites of mine). Or is he going to review the personal sites of the rest of us, whether we are 45 year old bank managers, 15 year old students or 27 year old journalists? And if he really is going to analyse both, is it fair to use the same criteria? And what about content? Popularity? Would he be as “brutally honest” if it was a twelve-year-olds first site? Because we all know how crushing these comments can be…

Although having said that, jish seems to be taking it quite well…