Some thoughts I've had regarding critiques, and how to make them more valuable to the photographer seeking them:
1. Let people know what you're looking for. Hopefully, it's something more than ego-scratching. Why did you make the image, and what are you trying to communicate to the viewer? What is the purpose of the image, or does it even have one? Are you trying to improve the artistic or technical aspects of the image, or both? What criteria should the image meet for you to consider the image a success, and why?
2. Be mature enough to consider the possibility that your image may not be all it can be, or that it might even totally suck. A negative critique may not be easy to accept, but negative critiques are one of the best tools you have to learn what you are doing wrong and improve your skills in the long run. Don't bother posting if you're convinced that your image is perfect.
3. If you don't really want to hear other people's opinions of your work, don't solicit them. It's a waste of time for everyone involved; photographer, critic(s) and anyone else reading the thread.
1. Be as honest as possible without being rude or offensive. If an image lacks merit, say so. But don't bring the personal habits of other people's mothers into the discussion.
2. Be specific. If you like an image, explain why you like it, and if you dislike it, explain why as well. Neither "awesome image" nor "OMG, THAT SuXxORZ!!!" are particularly useful comments; they shed no light on what was done right or wrong, and are equally useless applied to the context of improving future work.
3. Be constructive. If you believe an image lacks merit, don't simply trash it, suggest something concrete that can address or prevent the shortcoming. If it's something that is only applicable to future images, great, but if it can improve the image being discussed, even better.
I'd like to see this area become a useful resource for photographers trying to improve their work, and I believe that these guidlines can help everyone here achieve that goal.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a moderator or admin, so these views are mine, and are not necessarily the official views of LL management.