Some commenter at Rock Talk complained about a recent grant review:
I just received the most terrible of reviews, where the reviewer was not only biased but highly inflammatory, prejudicial and aggressive. I must say I was totally taken aback. When you say things like “…terribly convoluted approach”,…”PI has clearly no clue…” how something works, trashes my published work by saying these pubs “are a gross exaggeration”….the list goes on and on. Even as a relatively senior investigator, I was very shocked by the mean-spirited nature of the comments. I cannot imagine how it would destroy a new investigator.
I am having trouble seeing it. I mean sure "no clue" is directed at the applicant rather than the application, but it's pretty tame stuff. If a reviewer thinks your papers exaggerate? Presumably in wild speculative interpretation that runs beyond your data? Seems okay and even obligatory to express this. The "terribly convoluted approach" comment is a pretty inoffensive way to get to the heart of this common failing of grants as well...I'm not seeing how you could put it more "nicely".