Ah, what memories.
To expand on what you said in the first part of your post, I see two kinds of praise – useful and pointless. I’ve always felt that praise is welcomed on LEGO forums so long as there’s some specificity and sincerity on the part of the person giving it. While every MOC has its good and bad points, no MOCer is perfect, and vague, generic praise like “Awesome!” and “Love it!” don’t help that MOCer at all. What’s more, you can write “Awesome!” or “Love it!” in maybe two seconds without even having to look at that creation, which comes across to me as being disrespectful of that MOCer’s efforts.
On the other hand, comments such as “I like the way you ____” or “Really good job on the ____” actually tell the MOCer what he or she did ‘right’ and become useful feedback.
I once saw a kid at the library who was frantically typing “cool” as a comment on every single post made on her wall. ‘What an incredibly stupid thing to do’, I thought. ‘She should at least read the posts and make a relevant comment.’
Lastly, I feel that one of the benefits of sharing a creation on a LEGO forum is being able to receive feedback from people who understand the building process and the kinds of efforts needed to achieve such a build. I’m sure that if Piratedave84 had chosen to post this creation on Flickr rather than Eurobricks he would have received “Awesome!”-type comments there as well. Those aren’t unique to LEGO sites. Posts like the one Fuppylodders made above, on the other hand, are part of what makes Eurobricks special for sharing creations.
There was a good discussion on this a while back, which can be found here.