I love blogworld. I've met some of the most fascinating people and been privileged with exposure to much better writers. But there are always those people. The ones who point out your typos in the comment thread. COME ON. That is so...so...seventh grade. It reeks of "I'm smarter than you are and I just wanted to make sure everybody knows it." It's like online heckling.
Unsolicited critique in a public forum is even worse. Somebody posts a poem or flash fiction and does not finish with a request for your thoughts? Don't put your negative thoughts in the comment thread. If they want a beta reader they will let you know. A contest setting or a submission for critique is totally different. Then you can let it rip.
Every blog I follow has an email address linked to it. Use it. Most people are open to improvement and appreciate a chance to fix a mistake they didn't catch but it's nice to have a chance to do it on the down low.
This situation came up on a friend's blog last week. It was low profile, everyone was cool about it, but I felt my latent defensive streak flex. If I knew where to find the commenter, I'd fill her Splenda packets with salt.
Anyway, in a private conversation with the lucky person who gracefully accepted the public illumination of each possible flaw in her research I came up with the following:
I wouldn't use a microphone to tell you that there is toilet paper on your shoe.