I recently joined two well-known and popular online writer critique groups geared toward Fantasy/Sci-Fi(hundreds of members). I submitted some swill and expected to be torn apart. I WANTED to be torn apart. Instead I got "wow, i really liked your character Joe Blow and how he developed after the confrontation with Suzy Q" or "That was a great paragraph I can't wait to read more" etc. I can't improve without the brutal truth. I realize nobody is going to say 'you suck, give it up' etc but come on, TELL me what is wrong. An encouraging "keep it up" now and then is good enough for me to keep me writing. I don't need to be cottled. On the other side, the critiques (which I have tons more of than submissions) I give I quickly get into the problems I have with a particular piece. I try to be specific when neccessary. I am no way disrespectful, rude, mean or discouraging, hell I consciously think before I write not to offend anyone or their craft. And I make sure they know I ENJOYED what I read (I always do enjoy reading someone else's work). After a few days, what I got were several e-mails from several different people telling me to NEVER critique their WORK again. I was hurt and stunned and well, a little angry. I went to see what others said about the aforementioned WORK. It was all praise not one true critique. Is it me or is this defeating the purpose of an ONLINE CRITIQUE GROUP? How can someone improve without making mistakes and getting them pointed out?