I too am a great admirer of JohnOBX and I don’t want to detract from his excellent suggestion. I’m for it.
But, I just voted for the middle option in the poll, and the details seem lacking so I’ll fill them in here. What I voted for is a single additional forum that would be viewable to the public without logging in, like the current forums used to be. It would allow submissions of anything, poetry, fiction and nonfiction. All in one forum.
It would give non-members an opportunity to gauge the thing they wrote against similar things without registering, but they would have to register to post anything. After registering, the current forums would become visible and they could decide if they want to participate in a more professional critique forum.
The general idea is to improve the overall professionalism of the critiques in the main forums without ruffling the feathers of newcomers. I think it would also be a good advertisement for WD too, like “Why don’t you put that story on the WD critique forum and see what other people think of it?” Once someone decides to do that, and they register, it would present a dilemma like “Maybe I ought to post in a professional forum and get a more professional review.” That would result in two things: a sort of self-evaluation and a decision to accept real criticism of the work, and second, it would give people a chance to step in more slowly if they want to — and just get a simple opinion. And it would be a fairly simple thing to do technical wise, I think.
We would all be nice in all forums, of course. 🙂