THE DISAPPROVAL MATRIX // BY ANN FRIEDMAN

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Ann Friedman is an indispensable gift to this world and while I feel completely undeserving of her brilliance, my gratitude outweighs any modicum of modesty I may have so I'll be honest- finding her hand drawn charts has undoubtedly contributed to preserving the sanity I have left after working on the internet for years. 
I still have some and her (+ a few friends) to thank for it.
I've struggled for the majority of my time working online (sometimes still do), trying to figure out how to handle the overwhelming amount of feedback I receive on a daily basis. Some days I'm a gift from heaven; others, I am the devil incarnate. I am spot on; I am delusional. I am inclusive; I am divisive. I am approachable; I am haughty. I am selfless; I am self-obsessed

If we're going to be honest about humans as a whole, we all fall somewhere on the spectrum of these projections. None of us are 100% perfect and none of us are 100% evil (though I question the latter when it comes to those currently working in that house on Pennsylvania Ave). But after a few painful years of trying to sort out the legitimacy of these claims, I finally came to the realization that those I needed to listen to were those that I respected in the field in which I was trying to contribute. I needed to listen to those who I felt were making the world a better place. Juuuuust maybe they were the ones that mattered when it came to altering my contributions and making much needed progress.
It was shortly after this semi-vague epiphany that I found Friedman (after she shared my article on why we hate happy fat people and Melissa Fabello linked me) and discovered the above diagram that succinctly showed what I had been trying to grasp for ages.  
She generously allowed to share this post in hopes that it helps you also navigate the feedback that you receive. Some is really important, even if it's hard to hear. And some? Well, some of it just doesn't deserve your time and energy. The internal space you have is limited; be conscious of how you distribute it.
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In my ongoing quest for the perfect framework for understanding haters, I created The Disapproval Matrix. (With a deep bow to its inspiration.) This is one way to separate haterade from productive feedback. Here’s how the quadrants break down:
Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.
Lovers: These people are invested in you and are also giving you negative but rational feedback because they want you to improve. Listen to them, too. 
Frenemies: Ooooh, this quadrant is tricky. These people really know how to hurt you, because they know you personally or know your work pretty well. But at the end of the day, their criticism is not actually about your work—it’s about you personally. And they aren’t actually interested in a productive conversation that will result in you becoming better at what you do. They just wanna undermine you. Dishonorable mention goes to The Hater Within, aka the irrational voice inside you that says you suck, which usually falls into this quadrant. Tell all of these fools to sit down and shut up.
Haters: This is your garden-variety, often anonymous troll who wants to tear down everything about you for no rational reason. Folks in this quadrant are easy to write off because they’re counterproductive and you don’t even know them. Ignore! Engaging won’t make you any better at what you do. And then rest easy, because having haters is proof your work is finding a wide audience and is sparking conversation. Own it.

The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you. If you need to amp yourself up about it, may I suggest this #BYEHATER playlist on Spotify? You’re welcome.

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While I can't back the generalization of lesser rappers, I'm grateful for this clarifying outline. And guys, if you're not already subscribed to her weekly newsletter, think about changing that. 

May we all continue to strive to be and do better in the name of progress and healing.

P.S. I did write an article on how to cope with online body hate that may help you as well. 
P.P.S. Good luck out there!

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