Caliban wrote:Complaining Guide
This is a likely story. It is not 'true'. I do not recommend treating it as if it were true.
In general there are three types of complaint.
1- recreational complaining
2- chronic complaining
3- commitment based complaining
This is complaining for fun. We do it with friends all the time. We do not expect anything to change necessarily. It is like complaining about the weather or refereeing in a game. Some Trolling could even be seen as a version of this.
How to recreationally complain:
Well, you don't actually expect the weather to change do you? So do it up! Make it ridiculously big. Plan to get exactly what you want from this, which is entertainment.
This is when a person or group has become self identified with complaining. If they stopped complaining you would be like "who are you and what have done with so and so?" This can take the form of 'role lock' in a group where one person gets locked into the role of being the angry complainer. All responsibility for anger and complaint in the group falls on that person. If they stop other people will initially feel betrayed and complain about that they stopped.
How to chronically complain:
First you must believe in an us/them or me/it dynamic. Assuming a zero sum game in which any benefit to something else is a loss to you also helps greatly. Add a dash of unexamined entitlement and the assumption that you know and they do not. The basis of this is that it is really always someone else's fault, pretty much no matter what is happening... Though it is possible to establish a kind of me/it relationship about yourself and always complain about yourself as well. Whatever is happening, it is a problem and it is their fault. It is useful to very rarely break the pattern in order to then reinforce the pattern. You must consider yourself to be fully at the effect of immutable circumstance. Once you have utterly persuaded yourself that this is the case, then your only recourse is to complain. Plan to get exactly what you want from this which is basically reinforcing your opinion that you are right and they are wrong. Say that you expect change to occur, but do not really expect it, since you are more interested in successfully complaining than in contributing to any meaningful change. Assert, repeatedly, that your complaint has not been heard and complain about that. If you are skilled you can get about 3-4 levels of simultaneous complaints going from the initial complaint. When a troll becomes self identified as such, then trolling takes this form.
Commitment Based Complaining:
This is when you are actually committed to some positive change occurring and you are willing to act, adjust your own thoughts and actions accordingly. You also understand your own role and participation in the thing being complained about, or are at least willing to consider that.
How to complain based on commitment:
This is very easy. Always take the time to make the commitment explicit. What do you care about enough that you are taking the time to complain? Or if you are listening to or reading a complaint see if you can pull out the actual commitment involved. This is very important. The nature of things that we view as problems is that they are not self occurring, but are constructs. They are even the product of imperfect systems acting perfectly. The ability to recognize the nature of a commitment based complaint gives us a chance to reframe the understanding of the problem based on the commitment, rather than the fixed parameters of the complaint.
Reading posts on a forum such as this, it is not terribly difficult to identify which type of complaining is going on where.
Responding to complaints:
go for it. Have fun! Don't expect any change.
Don't respond. At all. The chronic complaint is like a tar baby. Any response or attempt to help, at the level of the complaint itself, is likely to stimulate further complaints and get you more and more entangled. This is what is meant by 'don't feed the trolls'.
Commitment based complaints:
Understand and restate the commitment. Consider a variety of strategies and possibilities for addressing the complaint, based on the commitment, rather than limited by the assumptions of the complaint.
I am hoping it is obvious why I posted this in General Discussion... Though I expect some complaints about it.