I didn't say those without a background are useless, that's what your'e reading into it, I didn't say anything about those without a background just that they aren't those we should take our best advice from, those are the people we can give advice too, this is how it works and how we perpetuate good "whatever" be it photography, art, philosophy, financial success, those who are strong in one area should help those who aren't (assuming those people are also willing to do the work and not just lazy bums). That's my opinion of it, but I didn't say all that, just because I leave something out doesn't mean you can infer that I mean something else.
You're right, I was a little harsh with Matt, at least he could see why I reacted the way I did and then of course responded in kind which made sense to me.
It is interesting to me, however, that you consider your comments as being "harsh". I have in the past sold my work and during that time it mattered if clients and potential clients liked my work, but in general it doesn't bother me if they don't.
FWIW, I like some of the photos in your APUG gallery (e.g. your subway station shot), but I usually don't get too excited about anything that isn't either a print or a projected transparency - the 2 mega-pixel or less fractions of images on a desktop screen, a dim and poorly projected digital facsimile or, please no, a phone screen tend to leave me unfulfilled.
Admittedly, "she" has an unfair advantage over you. I have had the opportunity of meeting her and have seen her Alternative Process work in person - cyanotypes, gum over arabic, lith and other interesting processes that give depth and colour and texture to prints that a computer screen cannot come close to replicating.
On the subject of Trump, I tend to think poorly of people who have run four separate companies that have used bankruptcy to avoid their debts - especially people with as little humility as Donald Trump apparently has. He tends to be the sort of person who runs companies who leave a whole bunch of smaller creditors (like photographers!) unpaid for their products or services.
sometimes the best advice you can get comes from someone who has nothing to do with the field you are in, they aren't successful
or as successful as you, and they just tell you how it is. DT is the last person i would take advice from ...
i can't remember who told me this advice but sometimes it is easier to attract more flies with honey not vinegar,
and the best advice i have ever gotten is to look before you jump off the log.