Important Stuff

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SinSynn on Why Complaining is Important

Hey, folks, SinSynn here.

My good time buddy, and simultaneously most hated enemy, the Ultimate Rival, is currently infuriated with me.
Why, You ask?
Well, it seems he's not happy with many of my opinions regarding Flames of War version 3.
I gave the new rulebook a grade of C a few weeks back, and that really ground his gears.
How dare I insinuate that Flames of War is not perfect? How dare I point out what I perceive as 'wackiness,' and use terms like 'bloated' in reference to this divine guide to gaming with WWII miniature models?

He labeled me 'complainer.'

*Yeah, that's me*

My response to this argument, which I heard all throughout our tenure with 40k as well, is that 'It could be better.'
His response to this is typically, 'Well, this is what we have. This is what they gave us, and you're complaining about it.'
Usually around this point, we just begin ranting at one another...
'Yeah, well...I don't blindly just accept whatever is handed to me. I ask questions. I'm not a drone.'
'What questions? You're just complaining. You look for flaws. You can't appreciate anything!'

Now with any other Terran on this planet, I would throw out something totally random, like 'Oh, yeah?'re a...person...who looks'
That usually throws off most peoples, and they frequently pause momentarily and go, 'Wait....what?'
In turn, this gives me the opportunity to shrug, and turn the conversation elsewhere, and maybe even get a laugh outta the situation.
I'm a knucklehead...waddayagonnado?
The Ultimate Rival, though...he don't fall for that shit.

His clever, never-fail argument-ender is this:
'You're an asshole.'

*I find it helps to never deny it in the first place. Nyah*

Let's get something clear, right from the get-go.
I'm French. My great-granny hopped off a boat at Ellis Island back in the day, and bought with her a long, proud history of excellent complainers.
Way back in the day, the French peasantry complained about not having enough food, or something, and eventually they got pissed enough to hack the heads off every member of the upper class they could get their peasant hands on.
That fine, French tradition of complaining continues right up until this day.
Clearly, we do not eat cake...and we'll maybe hack yer heads off...if we're not retreating, amirite?

I think it's also important to define 'complaining,' since many folks tend to confuse it with 'whining.'

To me, 'complaining' is directed at things one can affect. Complaining might lead to action, and eventually produce tangible results.
French people made revolution popular, y'know. It began with complaining.

'Whining,' on the other hand, is reserved for things we cannot affect, but generally suck in one way or another. If there's nothing you can do about it, but you've gotta live with it...go ahead and whine.

*Wow. The Green Lantern is kind of a dick*

Maybe it's true, and nobody likes a whiner. But, hey...whatever, man. Life's got you down? Go ahead and say yer piece. I'll give ya a shoulder to lean on. It's cool. We all have our moments.

But now...if you wanna complain...well, sir, that's serious business.

A complaint should have merit, and a somewhat reasonable explanation, to not be considered whining.
In truth, there are many things in the world very much worth complaining about, and if no one ever complains about them, what are the odds of them actually, ever?

When it comes to our hobby, there are many who consider any complaint about...well, anything, really, either an outright attack upon that thing, or just whining.
I view it differently- complaints open the door to discussion, and resolution. And if that don't work out, enough complaining will lead to revolution.

Never tell me that a anonymous complaint left in the comments box on some lonely blog somewhere is pointless. I don't believe that.
Things can gain momentum in the strangest way. Change, and revolution, begin with one voice. Soon there may be many, and a great din may arise...and then we'll go hack some heads off!
...Ok, wait...I'm getting...ahead of myself.


*Get the guillotine ready, though...just in case...I might make another awful pun*

A good complainer should be willing to debate his argument. If you're not willing to listen to possibly opposing viewpoints, and your complaint isn't valid enough to convince others, then you're very likely whining.

A good complaint should have it's basis in fact and truth...but is it a 'complaint,' then, or is it just saying a fact that some might not particularly want to hear?

Complaints are the first step to protest.
If I feel that something is worth complaining about, you can bet I'm prepared to protest it
In hobby terms, I protest with my wallet. That's the best form of 'complaining' I can think to do.
I just...don't buy stuffs.
Many times, this includes stuffs I really want, but I'm pretty adamant about sticking to my guns.

Some of these things are personal, like the way I don't put German symbols on my Flames of War models, even though they clearly represent tanks of German origin.
Yeah, well...they've been repurposed by da Xenos, buddeh. Nyah.

Or the way I haven't given any money to 'those that shall not be named' for a couple of years now.
Or the way I call 'those that shall not be named' 'those that shall not be named.'

Our hobby has seen change in the last two years. That's pretty clear to see.
Positive change, too.
As hobbyists and gamers, collectors and whatnot, we've got more choices, and better choices, then we've ever had before in terms of games we can play, models we can paint, books we can read, and all that good stuff.

The internet has been a large part of that, as it allows even the most humble of companies to show their wares to a worldwide audience.

*Have yer torch and hangin' rope handy...y'know...just in case*

As if that wasn't enough, you can like, go on a blog or whatever, and voice your complaints that way.
Pretty soon someone will show up and say, 'Complaining on the internet is stupid.'

On the flip side, sometimes a blog will have one of those 'Complaining on the internet is stupid' posts, but by definition one can only whine about that, so...yeah. Whatevs.

In fact, you don't even really hafta use the internet to 'complain' at a lot of hobby/gaming companies anymore, really.  
You can go right to their website and take up your concerns with them directly.

It is what it is, but does any of it have value?

That depends on one's perspective, doesn't it?
There is not a soul amongst us that doesn't have strong feelings about whatever it is we're into, hobby-wise. That's kind of why we're here, after all, isn't it?
Clearly we're a very intelligent, enlightened group of individuals, right?

So why is it uncool to complain about virtually anything but 'neckbeards' in our community?

With virtually any other form of leisurely entertainment, if something sucks, well...whatever it is will get reviewed by someone that people may take seriously, or maybe word of mouth will get around or whatever.
If the general consensus is, 'Yes, this thing sucks,' no one will have a problem actually saying so if they feel that way.
Movies, music, videogames, fancy electronic gizmos or whatever.
If it sucks, then it sucks. You're saving someone money, or grief, by telling folks, right?

So why waffle when it comes to our hobby? There's fail out there too, isn't there?

One of my ex Terran Female acquaintances once stormed out on me, and right before she slammed the door and left my life forever, she hit me with some words that I'll never forget, and have stuck with me ever since she screamed them loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear:


*And I was all like, 'fine, I'll just sit here and drink until a train hits me. Where'd my shirt go? And gimme back my hat'*

In truth, maybe she did deserve better, and maybe so do we.
We deserve to voice our opinions, and have them heard. We deserved to be valued by the companies we give our monies to. We deserve a good product at a fair price. We absolutely have the right to call something fail if it friggin' is.
There's no real want or need to make excuses for things that are, and no real reason to do so.

Such things may totally be a matter of personal preferences, tastes or wants, but if those feelings are shared by others, then change can be affected.
Protest, by whatever means, warrants attention from those subjected to it if it's affecting them.

Protest begins with complaints.

And if that don't work, we go and lop their heads off, right?
I'm French, and I'm telling you....that shit gets results!

Now get out there and start complaining, and I'll start sharpening stuffs....

Until next time, folks- Exit with catchphrase!