I won’t identify the commenter or the subject now since this raises a related matter: How does one respond to written compliments? Note the adjective; spoken compliments are another breed of fish.
Easy, say some. Here starts sadness. Easy writing is usually easy because it lacks even a smidgeon of thought. The same tired phrases, the same over-used vocabulary – suggesting a writer glad to be done with a tiresome task. Even if this is not the case
Of course the compliment may be expressed as cliché. But suppose it’s well thought-out, inventively expressed, revelatory, and/or – Well, damnit! – useful? Proof of effort dissipated.
It seems only right the recipient should match that level of effort. One general rule is to ignore first reactions. They may work but only after they’ve been thoroughly tested.
I emphasised “written”. One failing concerns the phrase “well written” since it’s far too vague. Stylish? Novel? Factual? Incidentally amusing? Morally right? Courageous?
An initial priority is for the recipient to re-capture the compliment’s “effect”. Much, much harder than it sounds. Some compliments may still be worthwhile while carrying some flattery.
A peculiarly English response is to introduce a negative tone. Agree partially but point to a related defect in the recipient. The “Yes, but…” technique.
And how about disagreeing entirely with the points made while appreciating the existence of the compliment.
Confession: I have no 100% answer. Try me out with a compliment (Joke.)