When not to critique..
Out of all of deviantART's recent site improvements, including a more comprehensive message center, and new 'sleek' site design (I wont go into blunders here *cough* portfolioBETA *cough*), Critiques is by far the most useful tool available on the site.
Unless of course, you're not using it properly.
I have seen several deviations with glowing critiques on them (4-5 stars), and almost none with mediocre or below critiques (3 or less stars).
Based on the few I have looked at, as research for this article, A lot of people are using critiques as glorified comment boxes, and that both defeats the purpose, and does not help the artist. As much as a glowing review is appreciated, a truthful, real review will help more.
A short guide on using the critique system, and giving helpful critiques.
0) Critique not Criticize. If you don't know the difference, check the dictionary.
1) If you think your critique is going to upset someone, ask if they would li