Some people brought up some pretty important points, so I've added some additional information about critiques below!
Something that's been bugging me a bit lately is how the DA community has sorta changed over the years (and not in a good way). People are more bold and will post whatever's on their mind, and while that can be a good thing in some scenarios, I feel that people oftentimes say things that they might not realize will hurt someone's feelings.
I generally get a lot of positive feedback, and it really helps! It's always great to know that someone likes my work, and it keeps me motivated to keep going with this hobby. However, I'm still a human being, and negative criticism can hurt me just as much as anyone else. I'm not sure what it is, but the amount of really negative comments has increased these past couple years, and it really discourages me from even using this website anymore. Many times I've considered just disabling comments entirely, but I feel that would destroy part of the reason I even use Deviantart to begin with.
Surprisingly, one of the more recent incidences was actually from someone that I had met before at a con, and in person she told me that I was one of the reasons she started cosplaying. She recently made a negative post on one of my photos, and I don't want to think that she had intended to hurt my feelings, but it did regardless.
This journal isn't going to reach the entirety of the DA community, but hopefully most of my watchers will at least read this and keep some of this information in mind, and maybe even spread the word.
There's a reason Deviantart has the "Request a Critique" button. Granted, this is for premium memberships, but if people want to hear a critique, then they can ask for one in the info box, and I'm sure people who see it would happily oblige. I personally don't like critiques. I do this hobby for myself, and I feel I know my flaws better than anyone else...so when someone points out those flaws it's just a bit discouraging sometimes because then I feel like people have way too high expectations of me (it's really stressful).
Edit: The whole critique thing for me is a personal preference, but I understand not everyone feels the same, so I'll elaborate a bit more. Unfortunately most of the "critiques" I've gotten have been comments that bluntly point out the problems in a negative way, which is why I don't like them overall. However, if the only criticism I got was in the form of well-written critiques, then I would probably be fine with it. A well written critique should be something that benefits an artist more than hurts them. If you're going to point out something that you feel could use improvement, then tell the person what they can do to improve it, but not in a way that's going to come across like you're out to get them for it or put them down. Also, don't pick on things that a person can't easily fix (like physical characteristics). Don't tell someone that they can look better as a character by getting plastic surgery.
I'm going to self-critique myself here as an example. Let's nitpick on my Skyward Sword Link Cosplay.
The first flaw I notice is my shield; You can see the seam in the plastic where it's bent to have a curve rather than a nice smoother shape.
Don't just say, "I don't like the shield," or even, "The cosplay looks fantastic, but the shield could be better." While adding a positive thing about the costume does make it sound a little nicer, it still sounds a bit harsh, doesn't it? That's because it doesn't really provide any benefit to help me improve beside the fact that I need to get better at props.
So, what would have been a better critique? Maybe something like, "Costume looks great! I feel like you've got something good going here, though it looks like you had a hard time with shaping the shield. I recommend using [insert new material I might have never heard of here] for getting those rounder shapes.
" bonus points if it also has a link to a tutorial or further information as to where I can find this magical material.
This critique is TONS better because first of all - it isn't telling me to throw away what I have and remake it. Sure, I might consider it and use the advice they gave me, but the important part is that they gave me information that I can use in any of my future projects. I might run into that same problem down the road with a different costume, but I'll then have this new knowledge to keep me from making the same mistakes.
If you don't have something nice to say, you have the option to keep it to yourself. You're just going to make yourself look like a jerk. It takes more time to type out the comment, so you're doing both parties a favor by just avoiding the situation entirely.
Let's keep this community positive and classy, ok?