In camera clubs judges have to prove their worth before passing judgement, therefore I respected their comments but didn't always agree with them.
I happen to be Director of Competitions in a well established camera club (Westchester Photographic Society) and enjoy all of the club's activities. Members range from rank beginner to pro, and we have a very high percentage of particiaption in our competitions.
However, one of the things that I struggle with is that newcomers begin to take the criticism of the judges so seriously that it alters their perception of photography in a way that limits their creativity. While we don't hew to PSA "rules" as much as some other clubs, some members begin to think that if a photograph has a horizon in the middle it cannot be a good picture; they come back from galleries and museums saying that they don[t understand what people see in the works of well proven photographers of the last century, as well as contemporary works. While those of us with a longer view of what makes good photography constantly urge members to develop their own likes, dislikes and style in shooting, sometimes the tail begins to wag the dog and the photographs become predictable, with every subject at the intersection of thirds, etc., etc., etc.
Regardless of the "authority" of a judge or a critic in a club or here on LuLa, it is the responsibility of you to look at the criticism, see if it helps your image accomplish what you had intended or impedes it from doing what you wanted.
I would also remind all of the pros here that each of us has had the experience of "helping" somebody pick their best shot for some purpose and having it shot down, while a picture we had said was "not as good" received great kudos from a judge, a critic, a gallery owner, curator, etc.
To me, the "rules" are just suggestions for compositional organization that teach a beginner ways to develop awareness of all of the factors that are involved in a picture. I weary of hearing that "this picture is good even though it breaks all the rules," or, "you have to know the rules before you can break them," when, in fact, for some really good images the rules were not "broken" but were not relevant.
What I am saying, I guess, is relax. Do a lot of shooting. If you submit some pictures for c and c, try each suggestion on for size and if it helps, you're ahead of the game. If it doesn't help, nothing is lost.