I wondered how people felt about this. I noted that very few people used the ratings.
For one thing, I know just how sensitive people can be about their cakes and also, I can imagine how devestated people would be if they got poor ratings. And of course, there are always going to be those that like to play games and be negative on these sites. I think that when people post pictures of their cakes, they need to make some kind of comment that informs the public about what they are looking for in sharing these pictures. If they truly want constructive criticism and information on how to improve their work, it is helpful for them to state this. If they are pleased and proud of their work, saying so would allow folks to understand that they are strictly sharing and not looking for any form of critique.
I have not seen any bad cakes on this site, just cakes with varying degrees of skill levels, presentation skills, creativity levels etc. Sometimes the brand new decorators come up with new concepts or approaches that just blow me away. So whether or not they are new or accomplished, there is always something there to appreciate. I particularily appreciate the cakes that are done well at the particular skill level that the creator is at.
But I do believe that people have to be upfront about what they are expecting when they share their work. If you state you are looking for constuctive criticism, then you need to be sure that you can handle that. I can remember people stating this on the Wilton site and then getting very offended and defensive when it was offered in a positive way. It tends to make people be less than honest with any advice they have to offer, for fear of being offensive.
Cakes are like any other artistic endeavour that you put out there in the public eye. Once they are released to the general public, they will be subjected to the same evaluations that any other item in any market is subject too - sculptures, works of art, paintings, craftwork, handcrafted furniture, custom homes etc, basically any other product you can make. If you call yourself a professional, then expect to receive public scrutiny. If you call yourself an amateur, you likely will be treated with a little more sensitivity. At any rate, don't take the critiques to heart and allow them to discourage you. Everyone has room for improvement, everyone has something to learn.
I personally, appreciate the generally positive and helpful and friendly attitude of the folks on this site and that of the very special owner. It takes a special person to run a site like this one and also, to be sensitive to the desires and needs of the membership. So kudos to you! You are doing a great job!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes