Criticizing tone instead of having rich discussion is a waste of time. In most cases, the time it takes to criticize tone and delivery can be spent arguing the issue at hand.
In a case where someone has the courage to raise their voice and question things publicly:
- Try not to discourage them from speaking up in the future
- Focus on what they said, not how they said it
- Address the issue in your response, always
In Paul Graham’s post about how to disagree, he states:
“So if the worst thing you can say about something is to criticize its tone, you’re not saying much. Is the author flippant, but correct? Better that than grave and wrong. And if the author is incorrect somewhere, say where.”
While it’s not constructive to react and submit knee-jerk comments, it’s just as counter-productive to criticize tone and delivery instead of offering solid reasoning as to why you disagree.
Of course, we can frame things initially in order to not invoke a predictable response to our snarky comments. But outside of insults or out-of-bounds comments (which are usually best ignored), I usually prefer to focus my energy on the problem, not examining words and etiquette.
Be wary of criticizing tone. It’s not as productive as it might feel and won’t do anything to change the end result.