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How to Write Constructive Comments

Your dialogue, the tone of the language, the sentiment of the text, the vocabulary used and the content can all make or break the goals you are trying to achieve by posting your voice on Unitu. Unlike other feedback websites or the rating sections for products and services online, Unitu’s platform is more of a place to have meaningful conversations with your peers and collaborate with the student-staff community.

Therefore, it is vital that your comments and posts resonate mutual respect, collaboration and constructive feedback that others can use to stimulate conversation and create changes at your University.

Here are some specific points to help you out:

Do's

  • Try to be as specific as possible. Really focus on the key details of the issue or the message you are trying to convey. Being concise reduces the reading time for your comments and allows the reader to quickly understand your concerns and act upon them
  • Try to provide suggestions and potential solutions to your problem or concern. This will be perceived better than just stating there is a problem

    Examples:
    • Good Example:
      “Can the microphones in lecture room # be changed, it is becoming very hard for us to hear what the lecturer is trying to say for the XYZ module”
    • Bad Example:
      “I can’t understand what is happening in the XYZ module, please fix it!”
  • Appreciate the work that has already been done towards solving the issue and then highlight what still needs to be performed

    Examples:
    • Good Example:
      “I appreciate the changes made to the microphones in the lecture room, however, it still has not helped. Is it possible to get a technician or engineer down there to take a look?”
    • Bad Example:
      “Why has this issue still not been solved, I still can’t hear anything in that lecture theatre!”
    • Test to see if a reply can be made to your comment or post. If there is no suitable reply and it doesn’t add value to the current conversation, try to restructure it or rethink if it’s actually necessary to even post it.
    • Avoid short digs, rants and redundant comments, it can make the problem worse as other users will be put off by this and may lead to lower engagement

      Examples:
      • Good Example:
        “It has been some time since an update has been made on this. Are there any issues that are blocking this task? Please let us know how long you expect the fix to take.”
      • Bad Example:
        “I can’t believe it’s taking this long, this sucks!”
  • If statements are not facts – always prepend your views with “I feel” or “In my opinion” to make sure to explicitly highlight that it is your opinion

    Examples:

    • Good Example:
      “In my opinion, the tables in room X are not being used by any student. I suggest we remove them to create a more open area to work.”
    • Bad Example:
      “The tables in room X have never been used. Let’s remove them to create a more open area to work.”

Don'ts

    • Try to focus more on the actions and the situation rather than the person
    • Keeping it professional will keep the conversations focussed on trying to solve the problem rather than shifting blame.

      Examples:
      • Good Example:
        “We have been experiencing delays like this on other posts as well. It would be great if we could find a solution to this so that it doesn’t happen in the future.”
      • Bad Example:
        “She is always like this, never responds to our feedback and always ignores us. That is why there is always a delay.”
  • Although you may see familiar faces and names on the platform and you speak with them casually when you meet, try to use formal language on Unitu even when interacting with your peers.
  • There are many users on every board who will be able to see what you wrote, including staff, course reps, teaching admins, lecturers and professors and also student union officers.
  • Using informal language or slang may lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Moreover, it may dilute the severity of some issues being discussed.

    Examples:
    • Good Example:
      “I think we are diverting away from solving this issue. Let’s try to focus more on the future plans.”
    • Bad Example:
      “Y’all need to chill”
  • It sounds very negative when you are prescriptive in your dialogue. Instead try to take a collaborative approach and suggest the changes you feel in your opinion would be appropriate.

    Examples:
    • Good Example:
      “To fix this issue, I suggest we could do either of the following…”
    • Bad Example:
      “This is not how it should have been done – you need to implement this as soon as possible…”

The Tone

The tone of your language makes or breaks your point.

If you come in all guns blazing with very harsh vocabulary and being very stern or angry in your comments, the other readers will instinctively start to keep their guard up and become defensive.

Always try to put yourselves in their shoes and try to write something that would make you more likely to act and create change

Unitu's Content Policy

We would just like to remind you and make sure you are aware of Unitu’s Content Policy. 

You are free to raise both ideas and complaints, but there are also some types of content that are not permitted on any part of the Unitu platform, to check them, please see Unitu Content Policy.

Unitu helps universities to improve the student experience by effectively engaging with the student voice in real time.

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