Yet the reason so much emphasis is placed on reading (and reading "everything you can get your hands on," a line I've heard tossed around more than once) is supposedly so writers learn how to write well. Since anything old (ie the classics) is not within the "growing trends" of the day, and much of the stuff that is new is a poor example of how to write well, there's little left that really is a "good example on how to write well." And you're right, forum posts ARE opinion. Such as what defines a "adequate" story. One person's adequate is another's masterpiece. I think one's goal should be to tell their story in the best way possible and not worry whether others see it as "adequate" or something more. You'll never get everyone to agree because art is largely subjective. Unless your story so blatantly violates writing rules as to make it unreadable, it'll likely be more than adequate to somebody and it's just a matter of finding that person.