I saw something disgusting happen on Twitter the other day. A pioneer in the community who has selflessly shared his knowledge for the last two decades was being criticized for the outdated design of his personal website. This is unfortunately a fairly common occurrence, but there were two things about this specific situation that stood out: 1) The person being criticized has a young daughter fighting brain cancer. 2) The person doing the criticizing didn’t bother to read the most recent gut-wrenching post all about it right on the front page of said website. Instead, after what must have been just a passing glance, the critic took to Twitter to publicly chastise the luminary for not keeping up with the times. The exchange struck a nerve not only because this leader is a friend and my heart aches for what he and his family are going through, but also because over the years I’ve been subject to the same sort of criticism. Some of it comes from people I’ve never heard of, sitting in over-lit cubicles with nothing better to do, I picture. But from time to time, I receive this kind of scathing commentary from prominent leaders in our own community.A year ago, a well-known author and designer (with his very own Wikipedia page) used his public platform to vent that he would soon be sharing a stage with me and didn’t know if he’d be able to get through his talk without saying "something" about me. When his loyal followers replied their assent, they spent the next half an hour tearing apart my website for its lack of visual design in 140-character increments.Now we’ve all heard the saying about the cobbler’s children having no shoes, and it would be an easy retort to say I’m so booked up with client work that I don’t have the time to fiddle with my website. But why should I have to? Why do we as a community tolerate this kind of intellectual bullying? Why is it socially acceptable to point out all the ways other people aren’t performing to our (unachievable) standards? What might happen if we redirected the energy we spend tearing others down on building ourselves up? What might we all be able to create then?I am as guilty of this as anyone else. The first year of my blog was spent annotating usability flaws on popular websites. I know I was unkind. At the time, finding fault in others was my way of proving my own worth. It was shitty. I desperately hope I never cut anyone down as they were watching their child die. But how would I have known? That’s the point: we never can.To restore our virtue, every single one of us must dedicate ourselves to finding compassion and spreading love when our instincts may be to presume our superiority over people we (in most cases) hardly even know. Instead of resorting to criticism to make us feel better about ourselves, let’s work together to actually be better — as practitioners and as human beings.