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Hubpage Comments - What is helpful and what is not

Updated on September 14, 2011

I started thinking about this topic when I was adding some comments today to others' posts, and sending some personal emails. Why do I comment? If I disagree, am I doing it in a polite manner and is it really necessary? Am I adding to or detracting from the conversation thread? Do I need to throw fuel on a fire I don't want to have burn? Am I encouraging a good writer or merely commenting because I know I need to as a hubpage writer? an attempt to be honest, I will (honestly) answer all of those questions then give my advice on good commenting etiquette.

Why do I comment? I'll answer this in a roundabout way. The reason I do not comment is usually because I have nothing nice to say. There is a lot of great writing in this community and some that is not so great. I always comment when I think the writing is incredible, or if I feel the writing is tackling an important subject. I sometimes comment if I really feel that the writer has promise, is making a bold attempt, or has chosen great subject matter.

If I disagree, am I doing it in a polite manner and is it really necessary? Ahem. This is a tough one for me. I kinda decided a few weeks ago to not go there. Meaning, if there are hubpage writers who are just writing to provoke, and really only seeking responses from commentors who completely support their position I should move on with no comment. I've broken that rule in the past (ten minutes ago) and am having a hard time with it. One part of my writing heart says just be silent. The other part says how can you be silent when something enrages you so much? So, I came up with a new rule that I'm going to let you know about when I move on to that pesky rules section.

Am I adding to or detracting from the thread? I think I add. In my mind, comments like "Great hub" are not really well thought out. I have sent some of those in the past, but try not to. It's lazy. Not that I won't appreciate it if you throw some my way.

Do I really need to throw fuel on a fire I don't want to have burn? No. I have. But, no. Sometimes you read some hubs that are just so outrageous you want to add to the thread. You are really not adding to the conversation. You are just being lead into the fight by a bully. Don't be me and go there.

Am I encouraging a good writer or merely commenting because I know I need to as a hubpage writer? Honestly, I like reading hubs that are good and I truly try to restrict my commenting to the positive. I try only to add advice if it completely comes from the heart, and information if I know it to be accurate. I have never sent a negative email.

Ok. Now we get to what I think are good rules to write by as part of this hubpage community:

1. Spend some time every day reading others' Hubs because you want to and because you want them to read yours.

2. Comment when you feel that you actually have something to add to the conversation thread. You always have the option of just giving the hub a 'thumbs up' even if you don't have anything insightful to add at that moment (haven't we all been there).

3. Stay out of nasty no-win fights where you end up venting as much as the person who is writing. If that writer's inability to stick with factual information, good citing of resources, non photo-shopped pictures, and respect for others' ideas sticks in your craw..move on. Anything you say is just gasoline on a fire that is already too hot. Your comments will stink like burning tires.

4. Venture into subject matter that you may not have explored before. You may find yourself inspired to write a hub you had never even thought of.

5. Play nice.

I love this writing community and appreciate all of my current followers and the ones I hope to hear from in days to come!


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    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

      Great hub!

      Seriously, this is very useful. I think the point you make about not adding fuel to the fire in provocative hubs is wise. (Though I can also understand why you might comment.) I feel the same way about some threads on the forums - I’ve read a few threads where people just argue all the way through and nothing has changed. If someone has a very fixed viewpoint that’s not likely to change because I tell them they are wrong.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      I think your advice given on this page is very good. I do sometimes just write a few lines as encouragement to someone I think needs it. When I first started, some folks came by right away to encourage me and I never forgot it.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I am so tempted to be an idiot and just say "nice hub." I almost feel like writing that for lots of hubs all because of this recent comment rating nonsense. It's like, what, you see a Level 1 commenter and think, oh poo, who wants that loser commenting on my hub. The whole thing is absurd and I have this terrible compulsion to reduce my comment designation to 1. Or - 1.

    • Jill Miceli profile image

      Jill Miceli 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      This is a great topic and I liked some of your points. I love comments, good or bad. I am trying to improve my writing skills, both grammer and prose. I welcome even the toughest of critics as long as its not "hate comments", who needs that. I get a real kick out of people from all over the planet commenting on my article. Its a thrill. I sort out which might be useful tips and others that are just fun to read and make me feel like I'm connected. Of course I live in a rural area so my situation begs attention from humans.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi J Burgraff

      I'm glad you wrote this hub because with the recent "hooplah" about Commenter Levels it has left a lot of people wondering whether they should improve the quantity of their comments. I tend to agree with your points; especially that quality comments are better received than just quick remarks.


    • Just Pez profile image

      Just Pez 6 years ago from Portland, OR

      I think you make a number of excellent points. At the same time, I like to read a wide variety of hubs--some in depth, others I skim. I always give thumbs up to hubs I like and click the useful/interesting, etc. if it applies. However, I also like to say great hub or something similar...I don't want to be involved in that many conversations (because I read a number of them), yet I still want the writer to know that I actually took the time to read the whole hub and enjoyed it.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      When the first paragraph does not look interesting I usually do not read the hub. But when I read the entire article I always comment. In my comments I try to be constructive. I agree with your points.

    • J Burgraff profile image

      J Burgraff 6 years ago

      Becky, thank you. That is a rule I try to follow. All of us can be poor editors of our work no matter how many times we re-read it. And Diogenes, I agree, we are writing for a larger audience and commenting just for the sake of commenting is tiresome and not useful. I think comments are to start a conversation. A useful, ongoing, good one. Not a backslapping, "Hey, I'll do it if you will."

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Yes: Good points. I am tired of commenting and receiving comments (with all due respect to the people I have met on HP). I think we tend (some of us) to forget we are not really writing for our followers, few of whom would ever click and ad on our hubs, but for the Google spiders and then the larger audience out there. But, hey, there's this way and that way and....Bob

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      This is a very useful hub. It has some good rules for commenting. One that I would like you to add is: If you have a criticism of a particular hub or a part of a hub, which could be taken as somewhat nasty or mean, do it in an email to the writer. Give them a chance to fix the problem and make their hub better. Many people use hubpages in order to learn to write. Help them and don't embarrass them.