Yes, you did recently answer a question titled "What does unpublished mean?" Your answer may have been too advanced for me and to my reading didn't quite answer my question (or maybe it did and I'm just too inexperienced to see the answer when placed right in front of my face).
To clarify: I've been spending time on critiquecircle.com and they mention over and over that if a manuscript is submitted only to their members, by a member, for a critique on critiquecircle.com , it is never considered "published." Therefore, it is safe for me to submit my writing for critique as under those circumstances (only reviewed by members and not available to the Internet as a whole) the manuscript will never be considered "previously published" by an agent or a publisher.
However, from what I am seeing on your blog, and other sources, it may not be that cut and dried. Some may consider manuscripts submitted to these member-only sites as published, some may not.
If it isn't as clear cut as the websites indicate, I do not want to submit to them for critique and potentially lose my "unpublished" status.
So, am I possibly putting my unpublished status in peril by submitting to websites such as critiquecircle.com or absolutewrite.com for critique?
I apologize if I am being tedious or dense. I just don't want do something that may have unexpected negative consequences down the road.
The problem with XYZ.com telling you that your work won't be considered published if posted on their site, is that the one deciding what's considered published is NOT XYZ.com It's the next site down the submission path: JETREIDFUSSYPANTS.com
If JetReidFussyPants has submission guidelines that say "if you've put this up on a website for reader input we consider it published" it doesn't matter what Critique Circle says. It doesn't matter what Absolute Write says. They don't set the rules for JRFP.com
Book publishers generally don't give a fig if something has been posted for reader comment or even if it's been published with an ISBN number. That does NOT preclude them from publishing it at all. In fact, they publish things as reprints ALL the time. The only thing they want to know is can they make more money from it?
Where you run in to this published/unpublished dichotomy is with contests and magazines. They have much more stringent rules about what they'll consider. And the rules are THEIRS. They can say "nothing that's ever seen the light of day" and that's that.
Frankly, I wouldn't worry about this. It seems like a lot of people are spinning their woodland creature rodent wheels on this topic and mostly it's not going to matter at all.
I'm one of the most conservative agents on "nothing previously published" that I know of, and my benchmark is an ISBN and offered for sale.
Try not to fret about getting feedback on a work in progress. It's more important to get better at your craft right now than worry about some potential contest down the road.