If you ever need to figure out 30 different ways to say, "Great Job," then let me know. I can direct you to a couple of woodworking forums where almost every project posted receives just such a thing (and very little else).
Can you tell I'm not a big fan of those kinds of comments? Don't get me wrong - I like to hear compliments just as much as the next guy! But non-critical discussion alone does not help me to learn and grow as a woodworker. In fact, a lack of such a discussion can actually lead a woodworker down the wrong path by providing positive reinforcement of improper techniques and poor design.
What really bugs me, though, is that I don't think a lot of people are actually looking for anything other than compliments! Why? I'm not sure. Maybe they don't care about growth? Maybe they grew up playing non-competitive sports and they feel everyone should always be a winner and nothing is ever bad! It is a mindset I think I understand, but certainly don't agree with.
Or maybe they just can't take criticism of their work, constructive or otherwise.
The inability to handle criticism is something I have trouble understanding. But in the pursuit of my Art History degree, I had to take just as many studio art classes as I did art history classes, so that probably has something to do with it. Even though I went to a liberal arts university, our art classes were anything but the happy-go-lucky-everyone-does-great-work variety one might associate with a liberal atmosphere. We had peer critiques of our on-going projects every week and my peers were absolutely critical!
But it was such a great environment for an artist! We had to be fully aware of our decisions in our projects - why we used a certain color, how we performed a technique, where the thought process came from and where it was going. You had to learn to stand by and defend your position, but you also had to learn how to follow good advice! I was exposed to that kind of environment for most of four years. There were many times when I seriously considered adding or switching to a studio major.
It didn't take me long to learn to enjoy that process of peer reviews. In fact, those who didn't learn to work with the process didn't last very long in any of the studio art programs. After college, I was very grateful for that experience. It prepared me for the real world, where my bosses weren't always happy with my work. Believe me - it is easier on the employee and the manager when both understand the definition of "constructive criticism".
Though I am my own worst critic, I miss that peer review process. After looking at the same thing for several hours, it is easy to miss the obvious changes that could positively affect the project. Sometimes it takes a fresh eye to see that. I've tried several different avenues, looking for a new form of peer review, but I don't really think I've been successful - I've joined the local woodworking guild and actively participated in several woodworking forums and websites, but... they don't even come close to the intimacy of 10 people all sitting around a project, viewing it with a critical eye for the purpose of making me a better artist.