Been reading the thread so far. To be honest, I've been avoiding the portraits section because of the same reason, not the xmm syndrome, but rather the pictures are almost churned out from a similar source, though from different people. I choose not to view it, however many people still do. It's a matter of preference I guess.
As to what Mattlock mentioned, he likes to share his pictures, and DP likes to see good pictures and giving views. I'm sure there's plenty of people who have the same sides, so why not try to cater to both groups? Opening up one section for sharing, and the other for a more serious view?
We can't cater to everybody as this is still a free for all forum, but catering to 2 distinct groups shdn't be hard right?
As to giving comments, if the comments are too harsh, the mods are there to step in. While it may be subjective what is harsh, if one doesn't feel comfortable, there's always the PM and mods to talk to. I guess for me I see beyond that - how to improve. If several people comment on the same thing - it's probably time to relook at what works and what doesn't.
The chinese has this saying, good medicine are bitter - they might be brunt, but the fact that the comments hit the nail means they are actually helping you in a way. I guess taking things with an extra pinch of salt or two helps too (if it's not too salty) - trying to focus on the impt parts and ignoring the harsh/rude stuff?