So this forum doesn't turn into a place where people swing by and give no real help I decided to make a thread giving advice on how to critique work at a level that can at least help the artist.
A general rule
"One good, one bad, emotion". This means you find one good thing for every bad thing and giving the general emotion you get from the picture. It's pretty helpful if you wanna critique but don't want to look like an asshole.
If you don't like telling people whats wrong and possibly making them feel bad just give good pointers, it helps the artist at least get a little push forward and helps them notice their strong points.
The big thing about crits is knowing how to be pleasantly evil, an oxymoron yes but it's important none-the-less.
Let's so someone draws arms funny:
DO NOT SAY
"Your hands suck, draw them better"
"Your hands seem to be drawn incorrectly, try using your own hand as a reference."
The DO NOT is pretty common in art forums, people like that offer no help and make the artist feel bad and lower his self esteem, while the DO not only helps the artist with his faults, it tells him how to improve and has a much lower chance of offending the artist.
Also, don't make personal comments about an artist, blows like this hurt more often then not and can turn people away from art. That isn't good.
DO NOT SAY
"You can't draw faces"
"Your faces can use a little work, you can visit [url] if you need pointers"
The DO NOT is a personal and painful, can result in derailments that involve flaming and poop throwing. The DO again, offers advice and tells you where you need improvement.
We shouldn't file all artists in one catagory, don't compare a person to another (even positively). Art is about what YOU can create, not what another person can create and you following suit.
DO NOT SAY
"Dude your eyes should be more like [person/artist]'s"
"The way you draw your eyes are pretty unique, you should refine them more to make it a solid style"
The DO NOT isn't helpful at all while the DO lets the artist know something they're doing is interesting but needs work. The DO NOT assumes there is only 1 way of drawing while the DO promotes original style. You see this alot on art forums.
On that note, everyone has a different style, so don't be surprized if you find a style you don't like, even if you don't like it, try not to be a moron about it.
DO NOT SAY
"I fucking hate that anime/no nose/big eye shit"
"I don't really like the anime/no nose/big eye style the drawing is still unique and has a nice colour balance but I do not like it because [reason]"
The DO NOT is a useless attack from someone who has a sore ass, the DO is telling the artist what kind of people like what kind of stuff, not everyone has the same tastes (this is skewered here because it's not 100% an art forums so taste is pretty similar throughout the board). It also shows why people do not like said style in which case you can also improve.
The whole point of critique is to have valid posts. A post saying "This is good, This is bad, This is the emotion" is pretty stupid, try to write sensible posts. Explain why something is good, explain why it is bad and give as much information about the image and how you feel as you can, round it off with a general feeling and why you get this feeling (the last point may not be so important).
"Cool!" while nice to get, is useless in helping the artist improve (why is it cool?)
"That sucks" same as above (pretty much), why does it suck, what can be done to improve?
Using slang terms, not the best way to go about a critique, keep slang and acronyms to a low low usage. Terms like "u", "ur" and other lazy shortcuts can often make your point seem invalid to the artist because he doesn't take you seriously due to your spelling. Try to avoid a string of emoticons and punctuation (like !!!! or .......), while it may mean something to you it probably doesn't mean anything to them and they may yet dismiss your post.
Avoid commenting on things people have already commented on, if 7 people before you say "I love the face" adding "me too" isn't helpful. Find something else to comment on.
Don't give long-winded posts about your uncles car seat because the stain on it looks a little like the background of the picture you're looking at. Before you start, asking yourself what you are going to say, why are you saying it and how it will help the artist.
I hope this helps give a less moronic aura about these forums.