Feedback calibration

I got this idea from our music-makers chat.

Imagine you record a song and your friends say it’s “nice”. What does that mean? Is it really nice? One way to solve the problem is to see what feedback your friends give to songs recorded by your other friends. For example, Bob shares some violin playing that is obviously (to you) off key. Carol says “it’s nice, but the intonation on some notes could be a bit improved”. By integrating a bunch of evidence like this, you can learn two things: 1) how to correctly interpret feedback given to you, instead of taking words like “nice” at face value 2) how to give feedback to other people, without seeming either too blunt or too diplomatic.

The same idea applies to many things besides music. We can call it “feedback calibration”. I’m pretty sure it isn’t new, many people do it intuitively anyway. But maybe seeing it spelled out will be useful to someone.