I spent a few years on AW prior to MacAllister Stone purchasing it. It was awesome. But Mac uses dictatorial methods and isn't above publicly insulting her members. It wasn't the same. Personal attacks became rampant. Moderation was reserved for exiling those of differing opinions.
I'd like to offer an alternative. www.tittlelit.com where writers can hone their skills through short story writing and critique. They strive to be the antithesis of AW.
I found Absolute Write to be quite a hostile environment where shaming and belittling trumps learning. I wonder how many young and talented writers have been turned from a potential career because AW administrators allowed them to be bullied instead of encouraging good advice. Novice writers should be molded, not put off. The only stupid question is the one you already know the answer to.