People make postings all over the spectrum from 'I really want to know what you honestly think about this picture' to 'This is a picture of my child/grandchild/pet/car.... and I want you to tell me how cute/handsome/macho the subject is." I try to be thoughtful and honest when I give any comments on pictures. When a picture is posted without any comments that indicate how attached the photographer is to the subject, I feel much more comfortable about giving honest criticism. Conversely, when the OP is emotionally invested in the subject or the picture and indicates this by her/his comments, I just lay off, figuring that what they really want is unqualified approval - and I'm just not good at that. My advice to new photographers who want to be better photographers. Don't take your 'good' pictures of people or things that you love. You won't/can't be objective about the absolute quality of what you are doing. Don't take pictures of things that are inherently beautiful - like flowers - because their beauty will overshadow the technical details of the image - and one's mind will remember the beauty of the original subject. My advice to people who want to get honest, unembellished critique Don't identify the picture as 'My son', 'my dog, 'my' ..... This just arouses the natural urge in your colleagues to be supportive of your attachment and say nice things that may be unwarranted. Don't explain the picture - either in the title or in accompanying text - that tells the viewer how to look at the picture. E.g.'this is a picture of the mass murderer , Sylvester Klein.' Your picture then becomes an illustration to an idea. Don't editorialize about your picture. E.g.'Everyone I know thinks that this is the best photograph they have ever seen. What do you think?" or "I know this is out of focus but I really like it." Let the picture stand on its own. One positive thing that can be done is to ask a question about what you see as a possible point of contention. E.g.'I was concerned about the contrast being a little heavy.' This signals that the poster is concerned about the picture as a picture. Another positive action is to post the EXIF data. This is sometimes useful for viewers but is more a signal that the OP takes this seriously enough to monitor what she/he is doing. The most difficult challenge facing a photo community, beyond attracting an active group of users, is to maintain the balance between new and experienced and sharing vs critique. new vs experienced - too many newbies and th quality of pictures posted declines enormously and the experienced people get tired answering basic questions and just migrate somewhere else. Too few newbies and the group gets in a rut. sharing vs critique - IMO, this is the more potentially dangerous to the quality of a photo site. If few good (in the accepted photographic sense) pictures are posted and most pictures that are posted receive floods of 'attaboys' then the better photographers, who want good critique, will go elsewhere to get it. The site will devolve into a 'Mommy' site where every baby is gorgeous and the quality of the picture is irrelevant. For my part, I will try to adhere to my own rules and those of Curmudgeons Anonymous.