What are the effects of criticism?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how vegan and animal rights activists treat each other. We seem to have this tendency to forget that we are each sensitive, feeling beings who can be hurt.

Those of us who are more theoretical and appreciate a good "debate" (I'm raising my hand here) are prone to call into question the tactical and strategic decisions of others. While we may regard our "critiques" as constructive, are we actually causing harm by ignoring any psychological effects our words may have?

In certain environments debate of ideas seems to be standard and expected, but outside of academia, courtrooms, and political campaigns, how much bad feeling, resentment, and anger might it generate?

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