Well, it took me so long to figure out what I wanted to say, the way I wanted to say it, that I am posting it even though I see that Maria has already made her decree. (Plus, maybe it will earn me brownie points since I agree with her.:))
John, are you suggesting tiers for the fiction/nonfiction/children’s/query forums as well as the poetry section? If so, who is going to do the critiques for all those? For instance, since I have never been published and therefore have no impartial means by which to judge my own writing, I would probably post in the “beginner” section. If I do that, would I then be expected to only critique my fellow beginners? Don’t get me wrong, that is fine with me; I love encouraging and helping anyone, regardless of their skills–but am I considered qualified enough for reviewing others if I am a beginning writer myself?
There is already a huge imbalance between the number of people asking for critiques and those offering them. The way it is now, I do my best and people can take my suggestions or ignore them. I try to answer the questions people ask specifically for in their posts, but may not always know that answer. I assumed that any other things I noticed and commented on would be welcome, too. My suggestions may not be as helpful as those of more experienced writers, but for the most part, the experienced writers are not offering critiques.
The people wanting more complex or specific critiques have done so via the PM system or e-mail; at least that is the way I have been approached in the past. Others are apparently meeting on the google site. I see nothing wrong with using those alternatives, and think people will continue to use those methods as long as they find them useful. Having a larger number of forums to wade through will mean some of us will find our own niche and stay there; we will not be mingling with the crowds, and will miss meeting and becoming forum-friends with some terrific people who may not feel comfortable posting where we hang out. Getting to read writing of all types and levels has helped me grow as a writer, and as a person. I have met people here that I truly consider blessings; they have helped me in ways not related to writing. They come from all writing levels, but as friends they are all top-notch.