I agree, offense is a very circumstantial thing. Id also add that where critique is requested, then its because the artist is prepared to hear things they do not necessarily agree with. Though having said that, if an artist is comfortable with requesting random critique then they must also be comfortable in their ability to take on board the things that are relevant, and leave things that are not. Key word here being ‘requested’. That skill is far more important when requesting random critique as opposed to going to one person who you trust and explicitly asking “what do you think?”
Critique is invaluable, but unless its offered in a situation where the person receiving it is well prepared and willing its damaging, I think. Because theres no filter for whats helpful and whats not helpful for the artist to cope with. Theres no learned confidence to know critique from criticism. Its a bit like pushing someone off a cliff as opposed to showing them how to use their harness and letting them tell you when theyre ready to be pushed. Its sticky, but the general consensus so far seems to be that: unless asked, or you know them very well, dont go there.
Thankyou for the above explanation! I do appreciate the time you spent writing that out :)