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I'm not saying the review was personal, it's pretty clear that you're only talking about the facts. It's just that there are phrases that have a lower "hurt-to-information" numerator with the same denominator.



I disagree: the exact turns-of-phrase that can sting also include important signalling, to other readers, of the relative importance of different points, in a way that's hard to do otherwise in prose. (In person, vocal tone and face/body language would convey these same shades of emphasis.)

As long as criticism doesn't cross the "bright lines" of ad hominem or gratuitous ridicule, as a third party reader, I much prefer the targets toughen up, rather than the critics soften their language. And there are way more third-party readers than critics or their targets.




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