In all honesty I oscillate right at about a 4.5 with this site, I think it's way better than good but it's not perfect by any means, then again, who/what is?
LOVE the chance to enhance and really work on my craft. LOVE the diversity of all the users from all over the world. LOVE how involved the site creators, staff and moderators are.
If you are serious about getting involved and finding a place for honest feedback (some reviewers are better than others, but it takes all kinds, remember you get what you pay for and you can actually 'pay' for higher quality reviews if you don't want to put effort into participating in a review group) this is an amazing stepping stone. Several writing professionals are hidden among us amateurs (I'm amateur creatively but a technical writer by trade so I like to think I have a little something to offer) and basically donate tons of skilled time.
NOTE: You do NOT have to PAY for anything. I've been active on the site for over a year and have had a 'Paid Membership' for over 9 months. I have never paid a real dime for anything. I HAVE spent a ridiculous amount of time on the site though....but hey, I like writing! You "pay" for things with "Gift Points" that you can either purchase OR earn, through reviewing, winning contests, and otherwise being active. You DON'T have to be an amazing writer but you DO have to put effort into obtaining and earning advanced site features.
Another interesting feature on the site is 'Portfolio Colors'. You can't buy a color change, you have to earn it. Colors are black, yellow, blue, and purple (red is reserved for creators and staff) meaning author, preferred author, moderator, and....senior moderator respectively.
There is a lot of text on the main page but as a beginner I suggest focusing on the left hand panel and the rest will fall into place. It's really not that complicated but I can see how an anxious individual might feel overwhelmed.
The creators are constantly providing small updates and always looking for ways on which to improve, even after 13 years. I know of many sites that insist on operating the same way they did 10+ years ago. I give the creators' and staffs' dedication to changing with the times and continuous quality improvement 8 out of 10 stars. I withheld 2 stars because of time between major updates and lack of graphics, but it's a small writing site run by about 3 staff and a boatload of volunteers, so that's to be expected.