A little tact goes a long way
I thought it might be nice to post a little information on critiquing since I'm serving as an intern for this session of F2K, the free writing course offered by Writer's Village University.
Writers are sometimes a solitary lot, and often don't like to hear criticism. Who does really? After all, you pour your heart and soul into something you think is great, and then some uncaring sot tears it to shreds. The nerve. How dare they? Well it need not be like that at all. As writers, we should embrace criticism, and use it as a tool for growth. In the end, our readers will be our critics, and if you don't learn your craft, and put out the best work you're capable of, they will ultimately be the ones to tear your work to shreds. Or worse yet, they won't read it at all because of some bad review they read online. Criticisms offered in a writing group should almost always be seen as a positive thing. First, you are probably all there for similar reasons, and secondly, you're probably critiquing their work as well. So here are some tips to help you offer meaningful, tactful critiques.
When critiquing online, remember that you don't have the luxury of delivering cues through body language or tone of voice. So something you say may quite easily be misconstrued as mean-spirited or downright nasty. That's why you should set the tone early. Start by highlighting something positive. For instance, I love how the opening line draws the reader right in. Then comment on something you believe needs correction, but never say 'change this' or 'this is wrong.' Simply suggest that the writer consider revising this or that. Then follow up with another positive. At F2K they refer to this as the sandwich method, a criticism sandwiched between two positive statements.
The more we as writers offer critiques, the easier it will be for us to accept them. Just remember that there is always a tactful way to deliver criticism, and if you receive a critique that isn't tactful, don't let it get to you. Chances are that person didn't intend it the way it sounded, and if they did, just let it roll off your back. Ultimately you make the final decision about your work, and they probably aren't worth your time.
Here's a more in-depth article on the subject. Take care, and stay positive :)