When is a Complaint Not a Complaint?

When it isn’t a complaint.

Get a grip, readers! Not every negative thing you read in a blog is a complaint. Not every negative thing you read in a blog needs defending by someone who is apparently indignant that a negative comment can appear online.

I’ve been blogging over five years now. This blog is chock full of opinions — both good and bad — about a wide range of things.

It never ceases to amaze me that some commenters find it necessary to get all defensive about any “negative” opinions I have. Sometimes, they even come to the defense of comments that weren’t really negative at all — just an observation they didn’t like.

Case in point, my “Airport Codes: SBP” post. I wrote it last summer after flying from Wickenburg to Seattle by helicopter. One of our refueling stops was San Luis Obispo Airport (SBP). I’d never landed there before and although I had both a chart and a detailed airport diagram, I was not familiar with the local landmarks and landing procedures. So I did what any pilot might do: I said I was “unfamiliar” when I made my initial radio call to the tower. This, in part, triggered a fountain of guidance from the female controller. Way more guidance than I needed or wanted. I commented, in my post, that she was “chatty” because she talked so much it was difficult for other pilots to make their radio calls. More than one commenter on this post took issue with my opinion and came to the woman’s defense.

Give it a rest, guys. It was just an observation and opinion. It wasn’t exactly negative. And did you even bother to watch the video accompanying the post so you could hear her go at it?

And so what if I said she’s chatty? I’m sure plenty of people have used harsher terms about my motormouth sometimes. Do I take offense? Not usually. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

My point is this: blogs are full of personal opinions. Not all negative opinions are complaints — just as not all positive opinions are praise.

If I mention that the car wash guy did a good job cleaning my car, am I praising him? It’s his job to clean cars. Of course he’s going to do a good job. But if I say he did a kick-butt job cleaning my car and that it looks brand new and that he was smart enough not to put that smelly spray crap in it or leave my steering wheel greasy with Armor All — well, then I’m praising him.

(And no, I didn’t just issue a veiled complaint about Armor All. Stop reading between the f-cking lines when there’s nothing there to read!)

In any case, non-positive opinions are not always complaints. Get a grip — and stop being defensive for no reason.

Embrace the opinions of the bloggers you follow. They open your world to a different point of view.

3 thoughts on “When is a Complaint Not a Complaint?

  1. Why do you have to blast on Armor-All like that? They make quality products that THOUSANDS of people use and enjoy every day. You should seriously apologize to all of us armor-all fans out here in the blogosphere. What you are doing is akin to defamation of their brand as a whole.

    :-P I’m with you. People need to seriously lighten up.

    Tombo´s last blog post: Pic of the day

    • I actually LIKE Armor All. In small quantities. On my dashboard. NEVER put it on a steering wheel.

      What gets me is that there’s always one in the crowd — one idiot who has to make a fuss about nothing. Does any of this really MATTER when you consider the big picture: economic meltdown, global climate change, genocide and disease in third world countries. Blogging is just another example of the alternative world we’ve set up to protect ourselves from reality.

What do you think?