Thought I'd add something interesting to this thread...
I was asked by a member of a group I admin to give feedback and explain why we declined two of their poems. When I complied, they not only assumed I had no idea what I was talking about, they also insinuated that our group accepts bribes in exchange for features.
And I have to say, if it weren't for the fact that I also recently got genuinely appreciative responses from people whose work I critiqued, this would definitely have put me off my critiquing appetite for a long damn time.
Yeah. It was....pretty nasty. They then proceeded, through the rest of our conversation (as I was trying to explain how our voting practices work, what specifically I meant in my critique, etc), to insist I had made that insinuation up because of a guilty conscience. It was all I could do to try to keep it professional and...not as pissed off as I actually was. I managed not to cuss them out. Barely.
I often think it's because people just don't like hear unpleasant things about themselves, and most people are deeply attached to their art. I know that if someone's just going to tell me I'm wrong, that's gonna bug me on at least some level. It's better when someone provides a reasonable argument as to why, then it at least produce something constructive.
A good example from my blog. One guy just posted that he thought the game I talked about was "Meh" and added nothing. All it did was be negative, considering he didn't even give a reason why, and pretty much flat out refused to even when I argued that he wasn't really adding anything. Then, about two posts later, someone gave a lengthy argument that far more directly hit at what the guy found was wrong in the post -- but somehow, because he was direct, honest, and in a way, helpful, it was far less of an irritant. I even kind of enjoyed debating with him about it.
I always try to be honest with myself about my work. Most people really like my stuff, but I remain doubtful of anything until proven otherwise. I hope for the best, but expect the worst, and that way I'm either not deeply upset or happily surprised.
As for people freaking out because I didn't like something... I consider that a sign that they clearly either have an issue with their ego or are very defensive. I can actually top that though, with one boss I had on a videogame project. This was his first time doing the job, and he... was not doing a good job as manager (and I was the only person under his management, and yet he still found a way to often make it difficult to do my job or feel like I could be civil around him). I eventually looked him up to see what I could find... and oh my gosh, he was worse in response to people who disagreed with him. At first it looked like he was willing to discuss with them, but instead treated them like FOX News would treat someone from the videogame industry. He'd ignore their points, even onetime outright stating "lets mozy on past that", he'd refuse to see their side of the argument, and wouldn't give up until he won. I'd say that's far worse than someone who flames out at you.
I was not suggesting the critique would be lashing out though. I'm merely stating that there are people who easily take any criticism as a personal attack, and don't like that as a result. Oversensitivity is an issue just as much as bitter critics lashing out for no reason. Both are equally at fault in my eyes.
Oh, okay. I agree with that. I just thought what you meant was the critic talking about the person in a negative fashion because of what they wrote/draw/took a photo of/ect. Sorry for the misunderstanding.