The negative comments I have seen are either from minimalists or from your typical jerks that feel empowered by posting anonymously on the web. There are definitely a lot of trolls out there, however, I am going to address these comments with the idea that they are into minimalism and why I am not.
Minimalism, according to wiki is "any design or style wherein the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect." "Maximum effect" is in the eye of the user/viewer, but I have seen many offices based on some version of this concept in the past. In the photos I have seen, the setting is often faked. In other words, they hide the printer, router, cables, wires, and anything else that might take away from the concept. If the "maximum effect" is to have an uncluttered pic, then I guess it could be considered successful. However, for "maximum effect" in my home office (sometimes called a "man cave"), I needed more than that.
The negative comments are usually some form of the question "how can you work in an area with so much going on"? The answer is pretty simple. I concentrate on the task at hand. I leave the TV off while I am working. If I have a job to do, I don't piddle around with other things. If I am working from home, I want to get to it and get it over with. Have you ever read a book in the same room that you keep a TV or stereo? Same concept.
I have also heard people say there is too much clutter to get anything done. The photo makes the desk look like there is very little space for actual work. In reality, there is a lot of space to work. The desk is actually about 60 inches wide and 43 inches deep. It leaves a ton of space for working. While I don't work with crafts, the space is plenty for folders, paper, stapler, and the few other items I use in addition to the computer.
Actually, there is more empty space on this desk than the one I have at work. At the office, I have a ten key, phone, stapler, two large monitors, a radio, a fan, papers, and a notepad on the desk, and it leaves me with a lot less space than I have here. If you think this area is cluttered, you should visit an office where people work.
That all being said, anyone that has looked at the room can see that it isn't used just for work. It is more of a "man cave" space where I go to edit photos, listen to music, play the occasional game, watch a program, strum a guitar, or do whatever else I want to do. Yeah, I can do most of these things in my living room, but occasionally I like to be in my own space. The entire space, as I have mentioned before, is based around my hobbies, especially audio. Yeah, I do real work in there on occasion, but I refuse to let work take over space in my home. This room was not designed around work.
The other reason I did not design the space for minimalism is because I wanted the space to have personality. The pictures, stuffed animals, SpudTroopers, and other non-essential items in the room (some call it clutter) tell you more about me than an empty room with a laptop and a desk. Most of the stuff is meaningful to me. The basset hound sitting on the SACD rack reminds me of a trip to Graceland. The signed B&W Elvis photo reminds me of the day that I met Alfred Wertheimer at the Memphis Zoo when the Panda exhibit opened. The Hatch Show Prints remind me of a trip to Nashville to see the famous letterpress print shop. The stuffed tigers are gifts I have received over the years. One of them provides cushioning for my guitar. The sterile rooms without personality are boring to me. A robot could live in those type of spaces for all I know.
I don't spend my time commenting on sites about how these minimal setups are boring, cold, and lifeless. I don't necessarily think they look bad in photos. However, if I want to listen to quality sound from a computer and want both speakers and headphones, I am going to need to take up space with speakers, DACs, amps, and headphones. I suppose I could live with a pair of earbuds plugged into a laptop, like a lot of people, but that idea just doesn't inspire me.
If you are happy in an minimalist styled room, that is your business. I just prefer a more inspiring space with personality that excels in many different areas.