Originally Posted by TomS
There's just so many differences, I'm not sure which advice to follow. One rule I follow is that if more than one person mentions it, then listen very hard.
I would always listen to someone who has a constructive criticism more than someone who praises. By the very nature of critiquing if people like someone's work they are very happy to come along and add a brief post to say so without anything more (and very welcome such posts are, of course), whereas those for whom the piece did nothing or who found problems with it are less likely to speak up -- firstly, because no one likes to upset another member, and secondly because critiquing something actually takes a lot of time. So those who praise it are probably most of those who actually did like it; those who critiqued it probably only a proportion of those who thought it had problems.
Also, even if someone praises a piece, it doesn't mean it's perfect, just that they are happy to overlook defects in view of the writing's other strengths. Accordingly, making the piece better is unlikely to affect their praise, so you're not losing anything if you address those defects and you're improving your chances of others praising it thereafter. Obviously, there there are occasions when you're faced with two diametrically opposed views on exactly the same issue, but those are relatively rare.
As a general point, not directed at the differing views here but for future work, what might help you since you're a relative newbie, is to look at other critiques given by the same people. If, for instance, they praise everyone's work, even work you believe to be sub-standard, or if on the other hand they never find anything good to say even about work which you think is brilliant, then it puts their comments on your extract into perspective. The longer you stay here, the more you'll get to know different members and how they critique and how much credence you want to give to each of them.
And, since I'm here, I'm in the too-info-dumpy and too-extreme-reaction critiquing camp, I'm afraid, but I have an extremely low tolerance for info-dumps and an acute sense of psychological reality. People do lie in psych tests, but in view of all that's resting on these two I don't think it's feasible they'd have been paired together; and although people do flip over relatively minor issues, and from a standing start, to me it didn't read
as real, which is more important.