Grateful again for the time you've taken to explain your mind. I don't think there's much you've written that you haven't either impliedly or explicitly said before except maybe shifts of emphasis to answer my questions, so apologies if this turns into a ramble.
Perhaps what you expected CA to be and what it wanted to become were continually at odds (the tension).
You attribute every breakdown to "someone wanting it to work their way to the exclusion of any other". In that statement I think you hit the nail on the head, but not in the way you meant. That someone is you Ron.
But I don't want to personalise this too much because what we are actually talking about is the underlying PiP ethos. At the back of everything that was going on in CA was a deep mistrust of the word "critique" by many of the powers behind PiP, together with this curious idea, voiced by someone I was talking to in Open the other day and now again by you, that critique somehow, what was your phrase: divorces a poem from emotion. And, you know what, this attitude shared by quite a few PiPsters it seems, really saddens me.
It saddens me partly because I think people like me are somewhat responsible for it. I regret the sometimes overly harsh critiques I've made in CA; it wasn't the place for them. I also don't really think overly mechanistic critiques are that helpful either, although in that respect I'm rather less guilty I hope.
It saddens me also because it is patently so wrong. As an aside, it doesn't help in my view to use the word "critique" coupled with that soulless forensic word "analysis". You are bound to alienate a significant proportion of the "from the heart" (meant kindly) poets before you even embark on any "critical analysis", with a signboard like that. And it seems to me now quite obvious that if you have a site owner and his near colleagues who believe that in-depth discussion of "what makes poetry work" will somehow subvert the emotional core of that poetry then you are pretty much blowing in the face of a hurricane if you try to set up a forum ostensibly to do just that.
Furthermore, if you really think that my recent commentaries in Open and Teen are a threat to the essence of poetry, then I guess we might as well end any further discussion, because personally I'm nowhere near reaching the conviction that it isn't helpful to the learning process generally to read a poem very closely and repeatedly and to try and figure out what makes it attractive, or thought provoking, or beautiful or creepy or, for that matter, what makes it boring or uninspiring. Perhaps you don't learn from that process Ron, but I know many who have done so, and do. And that really is all I am talking about here. A mutual learning process based upon multiple personal opinions of what works and doesn't work and why.
I'm totally with you on encouraging people to write, but my own experience is that if people can obtain honest comment from their peers they will tend to write more if anything (at least that was my experience a few years back when I tried to offer such a service and eventually had to stop because my mailbox was burying me).
You say that CA used to annoy you, that what you read was wrong. In my definition of "critique" there's no room for "wrong". Sure if you are trying to help a very young or inexperienced poet there are probably some basic ideas that you can suggest, and some ways of writing that you can suggest might be best avoided to start with. But generally, just as in poetry there is no wrong, neither is there a "wrong" in honest comment. I suspect (and hope) you're talking about the sort of critique that begins: "Never, never, use capitals at the start of lines for the sake of it. All sonnets must be 14 lines of iambic pentameter. Don't ever use the word "love", it's cliche." Perhaps CA "allowed" too much of that; perhaps it allowed too much of a lot of things that would have been better discouraged. Perhaps, for example, rather than leaving it for other (less erudite) members to jump on me for being pompous you or Pete or Brad should have done it.
Which brings me neatly to your comments about the Workshop forum. Certainly it was set up differently. It was set up, as you say, with more constraints upon the ways of posting and replying and it works. Once we agree what CA should have been; which it is by no means certain we ever shall, then I am simply saying that CA could well have worked with a stated clear purpose (see Bob's ideas), clearer guidelines and a firmer hand to ensure those guidelines were adhered to (and a different name).
But overall I keep coming back to this uncomfortable feeling that your heart was never really in CA, that you don't actually believe or understand that there are some forms of in depth commentary that both inform the poet and the commentator while, far from harming the emotional drivers behind the writing, actually enhance a writer's ability to convey them to his or her readers. Unless I've misread that, until you shift your viewpoint on this I think it would be a very bad idea indeed to start up any further form of CRHC forum at PiP.
And I feel there's quite a mountain to climb here Ron, because I know you hold friendship and good relations in high regard; you have, as you said, known Pete and Brad for a very long time, yet when you closed CA I understand (forgive me if I'm wrong) you did it unilaterally without consultation or discussion with those longstanding moderators. It seems to me that your animosity towards the forum and what it stood for had reached a pitch where plain good manners went out the window; that to my mind was letting them down in a bigger way than was really necessary. It is however a measure I suspect of just how far you will need to travel in your own thinking, and how far the rest of us have to travel in our behaviour to regain your trust, before such a forum ever reappears at PiP.
PS Btw, given what you feel, I think it's extremely decent of you to carry on discussing in this way Ron. Tolerance is something you sure do live.