Trope Workshop:Complaining About Complaining

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MOD: This was moved back to the Trope Workshop in order to get a better description in December 2018, but was not tagged as a Trope Workshop page until June 2021.

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McKenzie: And now you're complaining about me complaining!

Griffin: You just complained about me complaining about you complaining.
Sims Big Brother 5.

This trope includes all instances of complaints related to complaints.

This page needs a better description. You can help this wiki by expanding or clarifying the information given.
Examples of Complaining About Complaining include:

Live-Action TV

  • Monty Python's Flying Circus seemed to like this one:
    • "I think all right thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I'm certainly not, and I'm sick and tired of being told that I am."
    • "I'd like to complain about people who hold things up by complaining about people complaining. It's about time something was done about it." (Cue 16-ton weight.)

New Media

  • This is how many Flame Wars get started, usually in a couple of ways.
    • 1) Someone makes a criticism (different from 2 in that there is actually a reason). Large numbers of people tell them to just shut up. The first person tries to justify their claim. Flame war ensues.
    • 2) Someone outright states they don't like the show for very little reason, or complains for the sake of complaining. People then attack the complainer for genuinely complaining. Usually both groups have at least some people who can't let it go and continue to fight while losing whatever reason was behind it (usually just flaming the other side). Back and forth flame war ensues.
    • 3) Someone complains/flames about the fans themselves. Napalm Drop Instant Flame War.
  • The Onion says it best.
  • With YouTube's change from a five star voting system to a simple 'Like/Dislike' option, expect to see various comments with "[number of dislikes] people are [negative object related to the video]."
  • Some online forums will ban people for posting their ignore lists (often used to not-see people who complain too much). Ergo, the moderators are forcibly complaining about people spitefully complaining about people endlessly complaining.
  • Tropes sites:

Newspaper Comics

Video Games

  • In MMOs with heavy chat traffic, it's not unusual to see people spamming, complaining, or otherwise being annoying. However, alerting that player that they are now on an Ignore list or are being reported to GMs gets you the treatment of a tattle-taler in preschool.
    • Course many of 'em are pretty much joking around anyways so it's hard to say who legitimately reports people for spamming to a GM.

Western Animation


Captain: Damn it! I swear to God I will turn this ship around.
Slaves: That works. Okay. That'll teach us a lesson. Yeah, that's even better.
Captain: All right, if that's what you...waaait a minute.


Real Life

  • Real Life:
    • Global Politics: '[media source, leader, etc.]'s disparaging depictions of [country, organization, etc.] play into the hands of [enemy group].'
    • Local politics: 'Instead of proposing real solutions, my opponent has focused his campaign on spreading false statements.'
    • National politics: 'X is not going to run a negative campaign like Y does.'
    • Parenting: [Children complain] => 'I'm going to stop this car right now if you two can't get along!'
  • Everyone who lives in Britain does this. We complain about the queues, queue up to complain about X; and then complain about having to queue to complain about X, why do we have to queue? All this queueing just to complain about X is simply horrendous! We should complain about this.
  • The "You're not allowed to complain about X because these people have it worse" card.
  • Then there's the various Unpleasable Fanbases—you know who they are by now—which does in fact have a fair number of level headed, open minded fans. After a while, these level headed fans will finally get worn down about the seeming unending pessimism within the fanbase and make a comment about it. Which of course leads to flame wars—often between the offending complainers and the blind fanboys rather than the original poster—which lasts long after the original poster just gives up. This is one of the many, many reasons these fans tend to be embarrassed to admit being fans.
  • Subverted occasionally in the case of someone who doesn't complain about a thing which everyone is complaining about and is then called delusional or a sheep or immature/uncritical thinker or fan-boy/girl/human for liking the show/book/artist/fanfic, For just enjoying the output, for being chilled about what they like. Complaining about not-complaining.
  • In the US legal system, there exists a term called "vexatious litigant". This applies when somebody keeps filing suits over frivolous complaints until there are so many complaints about his frivolous suits that a judge formally tells him to cut it out.