"Nice to see somewhere criticism isn't stifled."
No kidding. If criticism was stifled a-la-Apple/Creative/Sony/etc. around here, they'd have booted my arse out a long time ago. The mere fact that one can go from "perennial disgruntled and disagreeable thorn-in-Sarah's-side" to writing blog posts around here says that there is an overall commitment to being as open, fair and neutral as is possible.
Neutral meaning that overall, the publication contains authors willing to examine any side of any story. Neutral doesn't mean "agrees with whatever opinions Joe Random commenttard has." Editorial bias is one thing, but El Reg has been very carefully marking editorials as “comment” or blogs as, well…blogs. (Reviews are marked as reviews, etc.) This provides clear separation from actual reporting, and something I can’t applaud enough. To be able to quickly tell what should be considered objective reporting from what is simply the opinion of the author is, IMHO, absolutely critical.
As such, why would criticism not be allowed? Personally, I welcome it; criticism helps me learn to be a better writer, and fix any embarrassing mistakes I may make. I’ll admit to my mistakes; my motto is that if you can’t find at least one mistake you’ve made today, then you haven’t looked hard enough.
If only we could get the major news orgs of the world to become even close. Imagine Fox news as "impartial." The universe might collapse under that one...