Critique groups are invaluable to a writer. In fact, I don't know anyone who's achieved professional caliber writing without support from either a dedicated critique group or an editor who's chosen to take the author under his or her wing. But critique groups can also be intimidating, even depressing, for new writers.
Over time, writers and their critique groups learn to understand each other. Experienced authors have an almost instinctive ability to separate useful critique data out from the noise. I'm not talking to those folks. But if you're new at writing -- and especially if you feel overwhelmed by piles of Thou Shalt Nots emanating from your critique group -- it might be helpful to know that critique groups are unreliable narrators.
What do I mean by that?
In fiction, an unreliable narrator is a first-person narrator whose own account of events cannot be believed. He's a narrator who lies to the reader. Who conceals information. Or he's the guy who's mistaken in his interpretation of the situation. In any case, no matter how likable an unreliable narrator might be, readers quickly learn that he's not to be trusted.
Critiquers aren't liars, of course, and I doubt they conceal information on purpose. But they do have a tendency to say: "It needs more action" when they actually mean "I'm bored." Dropping a couple of corpses into a scene might be a remedy for boredom. Then again, it might not. Similarly, critiquers often say, "Stop infodumping" when they actually mean: "You're giving me information I don't care about. Either cut it, or make me care."
Let me be perfectly clear: Critiquers are your friends. I'm not trying to claim that critiques aren't helpful or that the act of critiquing and being critiqued is not a noble one. But I do think it's helpful to realize that you shouldn't take everything said in a critique group at face value. In the end, all any of us know about a story is whether we liked it, or we didn't. Everything else is just extrapolation.