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Memories of the 28th Century

How to Complain

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Recently, I have experienced people complaining in ineffective ways. They had real, legitimate complaints to make, but they presented the complaints in ways that would insure that they would be ignored. In my youth I learned to expressing unhappiness and persuading people to change something to make it more acceptable to me are two different things.

Expressing unhappiness by screaming at someone may give some personal satisfaction, but it is unlikely to get the target of the rant to change his, or her, mind, and it is even less likely to change an institutional policy. And when one uses foul or obscene language, the odds of being effective fall even more, speaking that way may provide more personal satisfaction.

The way to effectively complain, so that something positive may come as a result requires that one not go off prematurely. The first step is to determine who or what is creating what you regard as a problem, and one should also determine whether the origin is with the individual or with institutional policy. It is not unheard of for individuals to set a policy based on a misunderstanding of policy. Once one determines the origin, addressing that is the issue.

Timing is important, especially if one is angry. Putting off the complaint until one can speak clearly and rationally is a good idea, and the form of the complaint is important. Speaking is excellent for quick and immediate communication, but putting things in writing is much better for serious consideration. Oral communications are gone after they are expressed, but a complaint on paper is still there after being read, so it can even haunt the target of the complaint.

Even more important, is that writing allows one to consider one’s words carefully and to revise if the initial idea was not perfect, and it is easier to revise before the delivery than it is with spoken words. Even people who are expert communicators sometimes say the wrong things. It is easy to edit a written work.

The logic of a statement is easier to judge, when one is using the written word. Most people speak with careless logic, and many people are simply careless with logic, but in writing the poor logic is easier to spot, and one can go back and correct the punctuation or wording. Seeing one’s thoughts in writing also gives one the opportunity to consider whether the complaint is serious and substantial or simply a matter of personal preference.

Actually, writing one’s complaint gives one a chance to consider whether it is a legitimate complaint directed to the appropriate person(s). Sometimes it turns out that one’s target is also the victim, and the origin of the problem is a different person of some other authority, and there may be a broader underlying issue. For example, most of the Corvid 19 regulations were required by government authorities of various sorts, and they were based on ignorance or bad science (which I am also writing about today). It takes decades or even centuries to change pseudo-scientific ideas, and that’s what most of what has been put out about corvid 19 is.

Until a couple of decades ago, Corona viruses were one of the families of viruses that caused what we call the Common Cold. Rhinovirus does not attack the lungs, so when one got a chest cold, it was caused by Coronavirus or Influenza, both of which can infect the lungs. That changed when SARS erupted in China in 2002, and people started becoming very sick from a Coronavirus. At that time Coronaviruses were not well known, and all sorts of fictions were dreamed up about the origin of the virus, until it was revealed that they had been well known in animals and been generally harmless in humans before then.

When an infectious agent first attacks a species, it is either ineffective, or it is especially virulent, because it is unfamiliar with that species’ immune system. Viruses use animals to reproduce, so failing to do that is death to the virus. As they adapt to a species, the viruses usually produce milder infections that allow them to reproduce without being killed by that species. Rhinovirus is an excellent example; that virus has been in humans for a very long time, so it produces minor symptoms, and it can even be advantageous, so the human body does not attack it strongly. The Omicron variant of Coronavirus is relatively mild, so it may that Coronavirus is adapting to humans.

But I do not scream about the errors in the press about Coronavirus. I prefer to seduce people into agreeing, rather than trying to beat some sense into them.


  1. Danik 2016's Avatar
    Even more important, is that writing allows one to consider one’s words carefully and to revise if the initial idea was not perfect, and it is easier to revise before the delivery than it is with spoken words.
    I´d like to add, that depending the nature of the complaint, the written form can be used as a proof.

    Thanks for this post Peter L.