Online critique groups are a little easier for some to handle than face to face groups, and with the popularity of the internet, more and more writers are finding themselves online critique groups instead. Online groups are easier to find, but once you have found one, there are certain rules you should follow on what you shouldn’t do in an online critique group.
DON’T NOT PARTICIPATE
If you’ve joined the group, then join the group. Introduce yourself and start up conversations with other members. Sure, it’s hard to get out there and involve yourself with people you don’t know, but you never know what can happen if you just put yourself out there. In months you could have several new best friends.
DON’T LEAVE THEM HANGING
If you have an agreed timeframe of when you should return your feedback, then you should keep that time. Certainly life happens, though and if you genuinely need more time, you should contact the person and ask for an extension. Once they agree, try not to break the second promise, and you make sure it doesn’t happen all the time. Asking for a day here and there every few months is one thing, but asking every single time and needing more than a day or even a few days is another.
DON’T BE MEAN
Because you aren’t looking at the person directly in their face, or sitting within punching distance, it’s really easy to be a little more loose-lipped with your feedback then you normally would. While you don’t want to lie to them, you need to make sure your feedback is constructive and not just plain mean. If you are on the receiving end of harsh criticism, as hard as it is, you should refrain from getting into a full out internet war with a group member. Surely, you can say your peace, especially if they are honestly wrong, but once you’ve made your point in a respectable manner, you should end the conversation.
DON’T RENEGE YOUR COMMITMENT
Even if you’ve decided that a critique group isn’t for you, if you’ve agreed to read someone’s work for them before deciding to quit, you should follow through with the commitment you made. Then after you’ve given them your feedback you can leave the group.