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Attention complainers, whiners, downers, agitators, dividers and those filled with negativity

Posted Friday, July 30, 2010, at 10:37 AM

An open letter to all complainers, whiners, downers, agitators, dividers and those full of negativity:

In simple terms, my message to you is take a deep breath, look on the up side of things and smile.

I know that's a pretty bold and idealistic statement from a long-time journalist, who by nature is skeptical and cynical when someone tells me anything.

I had a college professor a long time ago who drove home a point about verifying things before you take them as gospel.

He said, "If someone tells you your mother loves you, make a call and check it out."

Nonetheless, I do prefer, but I am not always successful, in seeing the glass half full, rather than half empty.

I try to look for a sunrise or bright spot in things, rather than the sunset or doom and gloom.

That thought pattern is much healthier and beneficial for me personally and for our Greene County community as a whole.

In recent months and with increasing frequency in the past couple of weeks, the negative, hurtful, rude, less-than-bright and downright mean thoughts posted as comments on our website have been rather disturbing.

I firmly believe there are a lot of very unhappy folks out there in our reader nation. They are thankfully reading our news stories everyday, but unpleasantly using the comment forum on the website to exhibit a heaping helping of ill will toward others.

Many of the foul and personally hurtful comments get zapped by the delete button before most people see them, but some of them do go online. We simply don't have the manpower, resources or patience to sift through them all.

It's pretty amazing how mean, bold and nasty our commentors can be when they are allowed to post their thoughts anonymously under the cover of a screen name. I bet that would decrease if they had to affix their names to their comments -- like our staff writers do every day.

A few of us here at the newspaper can and do look at the names of those commenting, and to be honest, sometimes we just have to shake our heads in amazement because some are made by people whom you would never imagine could be so crude and downright cruel.

For many people, it is easier to be negative than it is to be positive.

If you are thinking negatively, you are taking the easy path.

Negativity is unattractive.

Would you rather be around someone who is grumpy and moping and complaining, or would you rather spend time with someone who is uplifting and always looking for the good in a situation?

Negativity is pointless.

Being negative does not get you anywhere. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from looking at the negative side of things.

So, with all of that said, let's agree to a civility truce.

Meaning, think before you comment.

Ask yourself if your comments are personal attacks, hurtful, libelous, argumentative or downright dumb.

Or possibly a better gauge is, would your family be proud of what you are writing or saying about others?

If you answered "yes" to any of the described queries, simply sign your real name the next time you are inspired to comment on the website.

Your neighbors might be very interested in knowing exactly what you are thinking?

The words of a wise former president with Hoosier ties, Abraham Lincoln, still ring clear and unwavering on this matter.

He said, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

That is a point to ponder.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com .

Showing most recent comments first
[Show in chronological order instead]


-- Posted by susie on Fri, Aug 20, 2010, at 2:43 PM

Where most people have trouble is that they believe that any opinion that isnt in agreement with their own, is complaining, whining, bringing people down, agitating, dividing, and filling the world with negativity. This is not the case at all. Differences in opinion and healthy debate is what make this country the greatest country in the world. If God wanted everyone to agree on everything we would all be the same from head to toe. What a boring and possibly unproductive world that would be.

While I dont agree with the direction on the current political landscape and especially dont agree on things happening in the local political scene, I truly believe that this country will make some grand choices in November and start in the direction that I believe in. Some may disagree, and that is their right!

Simply comments and opinions from a pround Greene Countian, Hoosier, American, and taxpayer.

-- Posted by Chris Cornelius on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 9:38 AM

"Why does a "40" show after the Blog title after Nick's picture and Blog title (Nick's Blog about Complainers), but only 17 comments are after the article?

Does this mean there have been 40 original comments and 23 have been deleted? Just wondering, not complaining...

-- Posted by BloomburgBanter on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 12:23 PM

Nick Schneider

That is correct."

Wow. I didn't realize that over 50% of the comments were getting censored on some of these blog topics.

-- Posted by Question? on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 1:27 PM
Nick Schneider
Not sure I would call it censorship. Most did not meet the basic qualification to comment -- that is having a valid email address or an address that could be verified. Most of the email addresses were the quickie-- 15 minute kind -- that go away in a very short period of time so they can not be tracked.

Why does a "40" show after the Blog title after Nick's picture and Blog title (Nick's Blog about Complainers), but only 17 comments are after the article?

Does this mean there have been 40 original comments and 23 have been deleted? Just wondering, not complaining...

-- Posted by BloomburgBanter on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 12:23 PM
Nick Schneider
That is correct.


All complaints are someone's opinion. No one ever questioned whether or not you were stating your opinion or had the right to do so. The point I am trying to make is even you do it in a way that seems to be complaining.

You wrote this blog about complaining, couldn't every blog entry you are referencing just say the same, " I was just expressing my opinion".

I think this blog could be summed up as saying WHEN EXPRESSING YOUR OPINION PLEASE DON'T DO IT IN A NEGATIVE WAY. Which is exactly what you did in this blog:


So the point I am making is All complaints are opinions, but not all opinions are in a complaining manner. I pointed out a column you wrote that I believe crosses the line in to complaining or negativity to show you that we all are guilty of it at times. I would ask that you forgive us of the sin in my opinion that you have committed.

-- Posted by chevygleen on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 11:39 AM

Regarding the journalism and neutral stance, I watched an interesting discussion on this topic amongst journalists on CNN yesterday. They recognize that in their profession there are some newer members of the profession that make no bones about not trying to be neutral at all. In their minds, there are neutral (old school) journalists and news organizations, and then there is another group of journalists and news organizations that are VERY partisan. They noted that the traditional news organizations still draw the largest followings.

I don't know how new this new breed of journalism is. I believe Hearst used to be fairly open about trying to influence public thought through his newspaper publishing empire, although I don't think Hearst ever thought of himself as a journalist.

-- Posted by Question? on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 8:43 AM

One of the main principals in journalism is to stay neutral, to not take sides or express opinion, and just provide the facts.

Posted by chevygleen: "It would seem to me when NICK says it it's an opinion. If it's something someone else says and he doesn't agree it's complaining"

I could not agree more. Anyone posting with differing opinion are not only liable to be classified as whiners, downers, agitators, dividers and those filled with negativity they are often simply censored by deletion.

-- Posted by dorindaJ on Sun, Aug 1, 2010, at 9:44 PM
Nick Schneider
My blog/column appears on the Viewpoints Page in the print edition, which means it is MY Opinion. A blog is clearly the opinion of the writer. The job of the journalist on regular news stories is to be fair and neutral -- presenting both sides.

It seems a simple solution to this problem would be to require the posters of comments to use their real names, this could be accomplished by having to register with a verifiable e-mail address which the newspaper could check out. It's not very easy to be nasty when people know who you are.

-- Posted by MGMader on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 10:27 AM

GDC needs to take some of the blame. Quite frankly, I consider GDC's blog to be a "public nuisance". It attracts hatred. GDC needs to do things like the Herald Times where you have to have a paid subscription to get access to the blog in order to make comments. A credit card would be needed for subscription - the person would know that others would know who they are. No doubt, the Herald Times blog comments are a lot more humane and civilized than the GDC blog. Fake names submitted with anonymous Email addresses such as Yahoo to gain a GDC Username is too easy for anonymous "know-it-alls" to express hate and discontent. I have a daughter who has been victimized and exploited on the GDC blog because of her athletic ability. School teachers, school bus drivers, substitute teachers, junior high basketball coaches, etc., were GDC blog users who were condemning her the most. It was a lot for a 14 to 17 year old girl to handle. Imagine having to go to school and having to be involved with adults who were in position of authority over you knowing what they were writing about you on the blog. If the person had to put their real name at the end of their comments, I do not think they would be making the same comments. Other newspaper blogs have a 24 hour turn-around-time before submission is allowed in order to screen HATRED. GDC there are things you can do to improve the situation. Benchmark other newspapers, change things, don't make it so easy for people to hide behind anonymous Email addresses, fake addresses and fake names. If it is not worth the manpower to screen the comments than it is not worth having a tool to allow people to express hatred. GDC -- You have responsibility as THE HATRED STARTS WITH YOUR YOUR BLOG!

-- Posted by L.A. All the Way on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 9:29 AM

Interesting that few people have signed their names to their posts above.

I love the comments! I love the ones that tell you what a great person and what a big heart a convict has, the ones that just want to say "I know that person", the political ones (that don't degenerate into name calling", the ones that are spelling and grammar police, etc.

I do agree, some of the opinions border the libelous. Maybe a probationary period of a week or two with no access to make comments could be initiated for the bad apples.

oh, btw...Richard Dale Kramer

-- Posted by RDK on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 8:30 AM

Well said Nick. This blog has been needed for a long time.

-- Posted by Cubs Fan 23 on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 7:48 AM


1.I guess it's up to you to tell me. I don't consider the earlier blog to be complaining...just expressing my opinion in a personal column/blog. It is not a news story...it is MY opinion.

2.Most days I don't worry too much about complaints. Many are constructive and it does hold us all accountable to a great degree.

To top it off this entire blog :


Which contains the following quotes:

3. The president and his "backroom deal brokers" are not much better.(NAME CALLING)

4. How is that working Mr. President? (SARCASM)

5. these over-paid political hacks

It would seem to me when NICK says it it's an opinion. If it's something someone else says and he doesn't agree it's complaining. The entire blog linked above is nothing short of:

complainers, whiners, downers, agitators, dividers and those filled with negativity

Oops that's the title of this blog.

-- Posted by chevygleen on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 4:25 PM


Let me first say, I agree 100% with your blog. Especially this: " In recent months and with increasing frequency in the past couple of weeks, the negative, hurtful, rude, less-than-bright and downright mean thoughts posted as comments on our website have been rather disturbing." I have noticed their are several who engage in personal attacks only to have someone to argue with, or try to prove their point is right, and ours is wrong. Some feel that they are more intelligent than the rest of us. It's almost to the point where I avoid reading comments because most of the time, you have a smart Axx who thinks they are funny or sneaky with their point to make. I often wonder, why does the paper even allow comments at all?

Now in their defense you said this in your April Blog ( Complain, Complain, Complain, April 9th, 2010.)" I guess the best thing about complaints from where I sit at an editor's/writer's desk is it tells me people are reading the product we produce from start to finish every day in a 24-hour news cycle. " this is also a good point. In the same blog, you also said " Journalists make a living complaining -- some call it opinion. " I am not pointing my finger at you, I am just playing both sides there for you to think about when you delete your comments from the likes of us who don't want to post our names, or those who have silly email addresses registered to their user id's for the paper. All Comments should be allowed, or none at all.. Unless it's language or offensive, threatening, or illegal All or none.

If you have the right to speak your opinion, why shouldn't we? I once submitted a blog to a friend and it was used & printed in this paper. I said I did not want my name submitted because I don't have the thick skin it takes to receive the critism that is always coming your way when you post "your Opionion" in writing. The blog never recieved one negative comment. I do not however, regret withholding my name. It was a personal opinion of mine, something I just thought I needed to say. I will admit at times, I have been the negative one. The divider, the hurtful rude person.. because no one is perfect, but I work on that daily.

I'll leave you with the last thought I saw as ironic in your April blog.

Most days I don't worry too much about complaints. Many are constructive and it does hold us all accountable to a great degree.

-- Posted by switzie on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 2:29 PM

So basically what you're saying is, that if I put my "real" name on my posts, I can be as negative and whiny as I want. Sort of like the Landry kid who whines incessantly about countless liberal talking points, or the kid last week who was whining about people not wanting to pay higher taxes?

-- Posted by GCer on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 1:12 PM

Why don't you just delete all the comments and disable the comments? Or only enable comments that agree with you...that would be more helpful

-- Posted by laker34 on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 12:43 PM

Very Well said NICK !!!! Personally I dont see how the editors deal with ALL the things that get posted. I raley even read comments that get posted anymore because on the occassions that I have it just becomes a circus for ALL involved. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but people need to more careful, selective and thoughtful on how they choose to post their opinions and thougth's because I see were they cause a lot of hard feeling for ALL involved, including myself. Opinions should be POSTED with respect no matter how one feels about an issue. An opinion on a subject can be given with GOOD taste. Lincoln was a wise man and I think we could all learn a lot from his words of wisdom. I think no matter were any of us are in life if we reach back far enough we ALL have something to be Thankful about and with this being said we all have something to SMILE about. Being negative about issues bring's everyone down and I for one want to be a POSTIVE person, because life is just too short to be Angry all the time. God Bless you Nick and keep up the GOOD work :)

-- Posted by aniamal lover on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 11:44 AM

It is not about having the article correct or incorrect it is about being respectful and courteous.

-- Posted by sycamorehistorian on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 10:31 AM

If this post had a "Like" button, I would have clicked it. Well done.

-- Posted by krebstar on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 10:05 AM

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