Criticism--we all can dish it, though very few of us can take it (well). What we all must come to realize is that it is a necessary evil. Effective criticism does not condescend or crush self esteem but it also avoids inflating a sense of accomplishment in a mediocre work. So where exactly are we to draw the line?
Blog Post Assignment 12 comments on a pressing matter of constructive criticism-the appropriate way to offer it. In some cases, it seems socially acceptable to critique a person's speech or spelling face to face without sounding like a jerk or a loser so why should the internet sector be any different? I think that unspoken rule of which we somehow all know should apply to the internet as well: if you wouldn't say it to his or her face publicly, then don't post it on the internet publicly. This rule of thumb should insure that criticism stays constructive (and not derogatory) and holds both the commentator and the original author publicly accountable for the words they use. However, it seems a more private approach may be necessary if the critique is arguable; this happens mostly when the critique is based on content (like a religious view, or perhaps a political topic) rather than something technical (like the proper use of the word "your" vs. "you're" which may easily be referenced). Unfortunately, there is no official guide that delegates exactly when to approach a person with criticism privately or publicly-you just have to learn it yourself.
Both the video Peer Editing and the slideshow Peer Edit with Perfection! Tutorial offer great definitions and advice on how to peer review effectively. My only critique (haha) of their similar steps is the "3 compliments" rule. If I read an article and I love every sentence, I want to be the first to let the author know every little reason why I loved every sentence. So I would give three compliments as a bare minimum. Otherwise, I think that both the video and the slideshow provide an excellent starting point upon which you may build your own method of critiquing.
The last assigned video, I think, took the cake. Not only is it completely adorable, but the video Writing Peer Review (Peer Critique) Top 10 Mistakes exemplifies every which way peer reviewing can (and, unfortunately, will) go wrong. The video covers everything from Defensive Dave (the guy who thinks that you're attacking much more than his sentence structure) to Picky Patty (the gal who combs through your work to find every little flaw). If I had to recommend any video on peer reviewing, it would certainly be this one.