So, there is a thing happening on the sidelines of my flist -- seems to be mostly SGA-related, which is not my area of focus, so I will not be getting involved in any of the details. Anyway, the thing in question is about whether or not public crit of fanfiction should be allowed, and if it should, whether the author's intentions should be taken into account.
For the record -- I do not, and feel that I should not, have any say in what people say about my stories. If you love them, yay. If you hate them, I'm curious as to why. If you mostly like them except for one or two (or twelve) things, then I really, really want to know. Because I want to know how good a job I'm doing and how to improve. Writing is communication. If people don't understand me, then I didn't succeed in communicating to them. And, to me, that is what matters.
So, I pay attention to my feedback. I notice what people point out as their favorite spots (especially if it's mentioned by several people -- I'm still thrilled to bits over people praising my Leia characterization), and I also notice when people mention that something doesn't seem to fit.
There are three recent cases that specifically stand out to me -- one where I disagreed with the feedback and two where I agreed.
( specific examples from my current WIP -- White Rabbits, a Star Wars slash fic )
All of which is to say -- if you are moved by my fiction on a level deep enough to comment on it, please don't feel that you need to sugarcoat your words. I can take the truth.
More than that, if you don't want to, you don't need to inform me of your comments -- speaking from experience, many rec journals don't actually tell the authors that they've been recommended. They have that right and so do crit communities. Once my stories exist outside my head, they are no longer my sole property, though I retain the right to edit them as I please and repost them -- much as George Lucas has done with the earlier Star Wars movies. But any earlier versions do still potentially exist, of course -- if nowhere else, they exist in the minds of the people who read them and remember them. Theoretically, a story that was only under friendslock exists outside these boundaries, as it is not public, but as I post my stories public, this does not apply to me.
Now, if an author dislikes being criticized in public, then each reader does have to decide if they want to move forward anyway, balancing the risks (if an author takes crit to heart or feels that they're being personally attacked, they may leave fandom) against the rewards (honest and open discussion of a particular story). And the potential always exists that the author will feel insulted or hurt, because our stories are like dearly beloveds, in many ways.
But, bottom-line, I don't believe that readers (or any consumers of public media) require permission to speak about something that has been publicly released in any form, web or otherwise.
Though if you'd prefer to have the author's permission before dissecting a story of theirs, I'm giving that permission right now.