The Deal Mommy

An Open Letter to the Points Community

I put my name of my posts and comments! Paris Metro, July 2012

I put my name on my posts and comments!
Paris Metro, July 2012

Since our March 1 launch I’ve been thrilled with First2Board’s enthusiastic reception and rapid growth.  The team at F2B provides a diverse, eclectic and most of all welcoming approach to travel and points.   I could not be happier with where we are and where we’re going, and hope to see many of you in F2B’s Charleston Sessions in September.

I welcome comments on The Deal Mommy and occasionally get things wrong. However, a tiny minority of folks have some sort of agenda and choose to take their (often anonymous) gripes not to a blog post here but to the various message boards and other blogs that discuss the frequent flyer community in the rudest and most vulgar of manners. Some jibes are about content, others are regards to advertising or affiliate links: “Amazon Whore” was a personal favorite.

It’s been brought to my attention by wiser bloggers than myself that posts like this shouldn’t be necessary. But like the rule wall posted in Deal Girl’s Kindergarten class that most take for granted, I find the need to write it. I wish every 6 year old knew not to eat play-doh, and I wish every reader knew basic manners, but I’ve seen one too many green tongues after inside recess and one too many cyber-bullies to let it lie. This whole issue is “inside baseball” and I have been letting it slide for months, but the tone has gotten so aggressive that I must respond with one piece of VITAL data being ignored by all of you that choose to hate:

The TBB/Flyertalk/Milepoint/FTU/Chicago/DO community is 1 percent (and I’m being generous) of the people who are interested in learning how to travel more with less.

If you’re one of the 99% who read because you derive some value out of our content, I am truly grateful.  I’d love to hear any posts that worked for you or topics that you’d like to see discussed further.

Now to the 1% who seem to derive value out of reading with the sole purpose of fueling some sort of fire, I have two questions:

  • How is it that you enjoy travel since the act of travel is by nature inclusive and your behavior is anything but?
  • Don’t you have better things to do?

Thank you for the comments, I always enjoy reading and responding. (Copied and pasted, Thanks, George😉 I do not censor comments as a rule unless they are anonymous or get vulgar or personal, but you’ll go into moderation if you’ve never posted before.

26 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Points Community

  1. Adam

    AMEN! I would love to see the ruder commenters get disemvowled (ll thr wrds chngd t ths) so that the rest of us could make fun of them. Or add a pouting kid or violin as their avatar.

    That includes the jerks that routinely post stuff like…

    “ZOMG!!!!!!1 How could you disclose this SECRET to all the plebes? Make them work for it!!!!!1”


    “You suck. I can’t believe that you’re not spending hours a day researching and blogging without any compensation at all. How DARE you include an affiliate link?!?!?!?!?”


    “LOSER! You must have stolen that info from [insert forum thread or other blogger here]!!!!!”

    For these cretins who happen to be reading this, I suggest a very easy, foolproof solution: stop reading the blogs/bloggers that bug you. Problem solved!

    To bloggers (travel and otherwise), I wish you’d take a more heavy hand and simply ban or otherwise mercilessly make fun of these people. They’re far more annoying than any affiliate links could ever be.

    1. The Deal Mommy Post author

      Glad to see this as the first reply as it sums it up! My beef isn’t actually the content of the gripes so much as the underhanded manner. Thanks, Adam.

  2. Angus

    @Adam – Perfectly said.

    The ‘people’ who live high upon their self-created pedestals with nothing better to do than tear others apart are absolute wastes of time and space.

    @TheDealMommy – keep up the good work, writing and sharing. You’re great (as are the rest of the awesome F2B group. Hope to see you in Charleston!

  3. Rick Ingersoll

    And the group of “angry” whiners make up less than 1% of the frequent travel population that makes up First2board, MP, FT , the seminars and the blogs. Their vile remarks are filed behind the veil of anonymity on a blog that allows them to comment without any concern for civility or common courtesy. That in itself speaks to their jealousy, envy and lack of personal ambition and that of the blog owner.

    If they had any stones at all, they would write their own perfect content. But we all know, that ain’t gonna happen.

    Haters will continue to hate. They know nothing else.

    Winners laugh and tell jokes, while losers piss and moan.

    Great post

  4. TravelBloggerBuzz

    Imho, I do not think these posts are necessary. I had a longish reply to VGP about where I stand and I stand 100% behind it.

    Ok, this is important. Do you want me to feature it in my next blog post or not? If I do, you must be ready with whatever comments it receives.

    I think I should go into the business of selling thick skin:-) I used to officiate high school soccer games. I especially aimed to officiate local rivalries. You would not believe what I have heard. But someone had to teach them kids how to play the game the right way. Kids were not that bad…but some parents were quite the work:-)

    Do the right thing and you will get less troll like comments. But you will still get them, it is part of da internet.

    Ok, I better go watch some basketball…

    I have a hard time finding the “Submit Comment” button, needs to be more visible.


    1. Rick Ingersoll

      of course you don’t think these posts are necessary. it’s much tougher on faceless, nameless bullies when people call them out on their shameful behavior.

      if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

      try it. it may help heal this community

      1. Paul

        If it weren’t for the so-called Trolls, bloggers would be pushing even more CC links down their reader’s throats. As George said, if you act in the readers best interests and not your own, you don’t get the nasty comments. But when you do start putting yourself first, you lead with your chin. MP is far from the worst offender, but it does get mighty tiring reading about the “best” credit card offers day after day after day…

        1. The Deal Mommy Post author


          Thanks for your comments. I want to be sure I clarify the difference (IMHO) between a fair conversation of good and bad practices and what has often devolved into a p$ssing match on TBB’s comment wall as it was the reason for my post.

          Conversation= civil, on point, about the BLOG POST and not the BLOGGER personally, constructive. In a perfect world, you’ve tried to reach the blogger first and failed before venting elsewhere.

          This is where TBB’s comment wall loses me. Most bloggers I know WANT to improve and welcome feedback, but being subjected to ducking “whore” bombs to get it, as the Spanish say, “no vale la pena”.

    1. The Deal Mommy Post author

      Not quite the end, George.

      I have to call you out on your complete lack of moderation: my blog, my rules, right?

      I respect your wild west internet approach in principle, but under what circumstance is it appropriate to call a woman a “whore” for nothing other than writing a blog post?

      As for your “grow a thicker skin” attitude, it’s not just my skin I’m defending. I let it slide when vile slurs were hurled at me on your blog more than once. The inspiration for this post was the shameful and degrading treatment of another female blogger I witnessed last week.

      If blogs are businesses, in what professional setting is this language allowed? And if bloggers are people, how can you allow people to be verbally assaulted under your umbrella?

      Pick a side. Frankly, I wouldn’t choose either one, but your blog, your rules.


  5. harvson3

    First, as noted above, you can’t let anonymous people on the internet bother you. I understand that it’s difficult at times.

    I think bloggers have a fiduciary duty to do right and do best by their readers, and not by the banks and companies that pay them. I think blogs that neglect their readers’ interests to the benefit of the banks are worthy of my scorn, and I hope criticism makes them aware of their failings. Some, as I’ve noted elsewhere, won’t be moved by criticism, and I don’t see why anyone else should continue to direct traffic to them.

    In short, I agree with Daraius’s mother-in-law rule, and I can point to numerous examples where it’s violated.

    I think Gee Pop’s blog opened a good conversation about transparency, responsibility to readers, and useful content that had been absent in the hobby, and for that he’s gotten grief. But he can take it.

    On your questions:

    I don’t see how you make the connection between anonymous commenting and not enjoying travel. As noted, I hate sitting for long periods.

    Do I have better things to do? Certainly. But I find commenting on blogs and on where the game is more enjoyable that passively reading them. I enjoy helping and finding tricks, too.

    Or according to the same gentleman above who called for civil conversation two days ago, maybe I’m just a loser.

    1. The Deal Mommy Post author


      Thanks for your comments, which are reasoned and thought-out.

      I’ll answer how I make the connection for #1 first: people who enjoy frequent travel (at least in my experience) are open-minded, friendly, curious, and non-judgmental of people who think differently then they do: in other words, not bullies. Maybe a leap of faith on my part, but the most narrow minded people I know are coincidentally the ones who don’t have passports.

      And for #2: Commenting ON blogs, IMHO, is fine. For instance, I have no problem with comments from Seth (Wandering Armenian) who, while annoying, can get me to clarify or expound on a post in a way that might be productive.

      Commenting ABOUT blogs anonymously, repeatedly, rudely, and with an agenda is where it crosses from productive into just mean.

  6. Travel Blogger Buzz

    Dang it, I had this detailed reply and lost it, hate when that happens!

    What harvson3 said:-)

    TBB does not censor, PERIOD!

    One more time:

    I have no control of what people post in the TBB comments. If someone spews vile remarks ONLY, I laugh them off and feel sorry for them, THEY look stupid! If they do it WITH arguments, I like to think about their arguments because, you know, I may LEARN something from them. I will not dismiss them by inserting them into the “angries” category and continue on with the same old blog practices. Perhaps, just perhaps, especially if you read the same arguments repeatedly, they may have a VALID point!! Treat these commenters with kidness, you will look better too!

    Harvson3’s point about “fiduciary” should be given LOTS of thought by everyone at F2B. Provide good content, fully disclose financial relationships in the body of the blog post, put YOUR READERS FIRST AT ALL TIMES, and there is no doubt in my mind that you will get MUCH MUCH less negative comments. BUT, you know, the negative comments will ALWAYS be there as long as we publish online. It’s the internet for crying out loud!

    I had more in my previous message…oh well.

    If you can’t take negative comments you should moderate your comments AND stop reading comments on other blogs! Open letter posts like this may make you feel better but they are not helpful for your brand. Again, imho. Look at happened to Dave Ramsey, the financial “guru” yesterday. Talk about a guy with a short fuse who attacked people for daring to call on his crap to suggest 12% investment returns. Great guy, great message (debt is evil) but looks like a total as* attacking commenters in da internet. He lost a lot of respect attacking people this way. Point: don’t push 12% investment returns and expect to get away with it.

    I need to make my blog post. I will add this as you Ok’ed it.



  7. AZTravelGuy

    When I spew vitriol, I will not hide behind a proxy or anonymous handle.

    Here’s the thing: many of us have met some of these esteemed bloggers and heavy forum users in person more than once. By and large many of these interactions are wonderful. Some, however, show the true colors of the writers.

    While resorting to pointless name calling dilutes the point being made, calling writers out on their lies and less than above board motivations is warranted. I hate smug people, I REALLY hate sanctimonious jackasses, and so I will say what I wish. Treat others as you wish to be treated. There are a number of bloggers who seriously need that lesson beat into their minds.

    FYI – you’re not on my crap list. 🙂

    1. The Deal Mommy Post author

      Thank you, that is a real compliment! I will strive to continue to avoid being so.

      The calling out is not the issue, and I’ve been known to spew a vitriolic sentiment or two quite well myself…as myself. It’s when the spewer doesn’t have the balls to come out from behind his keyboard and post identifiably for public naming and shaming that I have an issue.

  8. Majikow

    I find it funny that quite a few bloggers lately immediately lump everyone into this “angries” category as soon as any criticism is leveled at them (some of it justly warranted). It’s just as much an ad hominem as the comments of some anonymous posters that are being complained about in this post.

    Also, it should be pointed out that just because someone posts as “Anonymous”, that doesn’t mean we can immediately disregard everything they say. Sometimes people make valid points but have their own reasons for posting anonymously.

    Like it or not, as a blogger, you’re a public persona. If you don’t want to be criticized, this probably isn’t the right medium for you. Ignore the flaming from the true haters, and take the constructive criticism from those who are trying to help to make your blog better.

    1. The Deal Mommy Post author

      Hi Majikow,

      Thanks for your reasonable and civil comments. They are exactly what I was hoping for when I wrote this post.

      I’ll absolutely concede pretty much all of your points, so allow me to rephrase my question:

      As a public persona, I have a forum for criticism at the bottom of every single post I write. Why do you think so many find satisfaction elsewhere if they are “trying to help to make your blog better”?

      Here’s where I must again call out George. If altruistic improvement were really his goal, I don’t think he would force anyone to sort through piles of excrement to find it.

      1. Majikow

        I can’t speak for George, but the reason I read his blog (and more importantly the comments section), is that it’s a forum for those of us who see some bad practices in this community and want to voice our concerns without being censored. I would say that a lot of the comments over there are actually pretty well reasoned out (look no further than harvson’s comments which George consistently highlights). I think his blog at least provides a push for transparency, which is probably all most reasonable people are asking for. I don’t care who makes money as long as they do it the right way. If they do it the wrong way, they deserve to be called out on it. Look at the love that Frequent Miler gets. I hope he’s making money, because he provides original and well thought out content while keeping his operation pretty transparent and above the table. And you don’t really see anyone ranting about him, so maybe it’s not just about “angries” and blogger-haters (kind of like the modern player-hater?). People should definitely speak out against the ones who flame and post nonsense just to rile people up (or just ignore them so they go away), but bloggers should also not try and lump the legitimate concerns in with the bombastic to try and avoid criticism for mistakes or shoddy practices (whether intentional or not).

        1. The Deal Mommy Post author

          Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I actually think we’re on the same page here, mostly.

          What my post rejects, and where I think we would disagree, is that I think it’s dis-ingenious to rant about a blog post/blog without at least informing the blogger that you are doing so and identifying yourself in some way: twitter handle, nickname, etc. If the blogger chooses to censor your comment without airing your concern or otherwise rejects it, flame away, keeping your rant about the BLOG and not the PERSON.

          Much of what I see, and what I have been personally subjected to, fails on both counts.

          1. Majikow

            I see where you are coming from, but I think you are setting some pretty high hurdles there (especially in regards to the first, and especially because we’re talking about the internet).

            Do you really think it makes sense to contact a blogger every time you talk about their blog on the internet (since it’s not really fair if only people who say something negative about a blog have to live up to this standard of notification)?

            And as far as anonymity goes, it doesn’t necessarily make it dis-ingenious. You say to criticize the blog and not the person, well what about criticizing the criticism and not the anonymous poster? It just seems like a convenient way to deflect legitimate concerns. Does it really matter if the person posts as Anonymous or “Mike” or “Tina”? You’re likely not going to know or be able to identify any of the three.

            I think a lot of ire has been directed at TBB lately by some bloggers, and I think it’s unfair to put that on him. I think he does more than most to encourage civil behavior, but in the end, he’s not the internet police, and clamping down on people who say stuff you don’t agree with or think is unfair isn’t necessarily going to benefit everyone in the end.

            And as far as comments about bloggers go, I agree that people should focus on their work and not their person, but at the same time, sometimes that work reflects back on that person, so it’s not like you can just always have a hard line between the two. Motives, etc may come into question.

          2. The Deal Mommy Post author

            I hear you, and the reason I started this discussion was to encourage people to think about civility and meaningful discourse.

            I’m not as going as far as you think (I think?), but I DO wish more would at least offer a criticism directly to the blog once before going somewhere else to complain. I’m not saying every single time, but at least the first. It’s quite possible, likely even, that with one direct exchange there would not be a second complaint.

            And on TBB’s moderation policy, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. He owns his website like a bartender owns a bar. Bars are responsible if patrons are over-served alcohol and do damage to others, and it’s my concern that at some point someone is going to get more than their feelings hurt if he allows the vitriol on his site to continue.

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