I'll offer up two real examples where my lone, descending crits regarding small elements in the poems of two AW poets ended up being discussed and or criticized.
In this first example I felt my contrary opinion had been of some benefit–food for thought if you will–to the poet and the other posters and readers.
In this second second example, I felt I was about to be eaten alive.
In face to face critique groups as well as on-line forums, contrary reactions to my critiques often come down to personality and writing style clashes; I accept that. But in the case of on-line forums, sometimes it does bother me when I come back hours or days later and find my opinion being criticized or made to be proven wrong, especially by people who have no knowledge of my history of commitment and level of success in supporting and helping other writers get recognition for their work.
Here’s my honest and personal point of reference that fuels my negative reaction to having my critiques critiqued . . . I have judged several poetry and writing contests. I have also won a number of them too. And I've been an editor of an on-line literary journal as well. In those circumstances there was no necessity for me to have my opinion debated, the judgements and or spoils were mine to make and or take. In the case of contests with multiple judges, a scoring sheet is suffice to weigh the cumulative value of each judges opinion. In other words, when I’m in a judging or editing mode, the theme, tone, efficiency, level of craft etc. of a particular piece I am presented with either connect with me quickly or not.
I have also participated in a number of university level writing workshops, were all the participants debate and or defend ad nauseam all the finer points of a particular piece for hours on end, week after week. In that sort of environment of face to face give and take, I actually love to debate, defend and blather on and on about the finer points of craft.
But my preference of critiquing styles for on-line forums is to get in and get out, react to the piece quickly, exactly as I would if I were judging it for a contest or considering it for publication and then move on.
Admittedly, it's a method that works better in face to face round robin styled critique groups, where each individual critter speaks in turn about their reaction to the poem, and not their opinion and or reaction to the previous critique. The writer is left to tally the opinions.
Now, after several years of participating in several on-line and face to face crit groups, I've pretty much decided my crit style and emotional temperament are better suited for face to face groups, and lengthy academic workshops. Which is why I haven't offered up many crits recently on the AW forums.
Great thread Poet
IMHO the practice of critiquing crits is a fluid situation that evolves with the dynamics of the group at any given time. But it’s always a good idea to shine a light on the subject from time to time, if for no other reason than to encourage a healthy balance–a comfort zone–for the posters and the critters.