Some of you may be happily oblivious to the Winter Bash hat dash, in which case you can skip right over this question.

For those who are afflicted with the annual fever, I would like to encourage you to post or vote on this question only (unless of course you have a legitimate Meta post to make or participation to be ... um. had?) as a means of containing your enthusiasm.

The hat in question is "Airing of Grievances" so you may, if you wish, follow the theme of the hat. Happy Festivus to all, and may your feats be always strengthful.

  • 2
    I was just about to post a grievance about not getting the hat, and it arrived, so I shall settle for a comment. – Andrew Leach Dec 22 '15 at 14:35
  • This is good of you, @Kit. – anongoodnurse Dec 22 '15 at 15:54
  • All you need to do is vote on meta to get The Airing of Grievances, not necessarily post. – Rand al'Thor Dec 23 '15 at 13:54
  • @ermanen Nope, sorry. – Rand al'Thor Dec 24 '15 at 0:11

17 Answers 17


I have a grievance I'd like to air. People are sometimes not nice. I wish they would stop.

If I have come across as not nice, then I'm sorry.

Merry Solstice!!!

  • And a joyous Yuletide to you! – Kit Z. Fox Dec 22 '15 at 15:10
  • Seasons greetings to one an all. – 7caifyi Dec 22 '15 at 15:28

My grievance is that I did have a grievance, but a very nice mod changed all that, and now I'm ... quite happy. A thank you to all.


My grievance is that complaints here are often too motivated by hats this time of year. I didn't get that. Did I actually just post a long response recently in meta that was actually in response to someone's bid for a hat?

I did, didn't I?


And a Merry Winterbash to all!


My grievance is that Nobody Likes Me. Everybody hates me.

I tried eating worms last Christmas, but they weren't very nice (and I didn't get any extra presents).

Does anybody have a worm recipe that tastes okay and actually works?


I shall air grievances none, but for lack of The Airing of Grievances hattage.


My grievance (one amongst many actually, but I digress)...is that I missed out on the first 2 "gimmees" this year in Winter Bash! Fudgecicles!


My grievance is that I am neither an idealist nor a very active downvoter. Since I reached 8,000 reputations in less than 3 months, I will try to be both an idealist and an extremely active and fast downvoter from next year.

I have a record to break next year. Not reps, but my running time.

Hope you will all achieve your targets and break all the barriers and records in 2016! Good luck!


My grievance is that all this holiday food is making me fat(ter). Stop feeding me, dammit.

  • 1
    +1 Merely for the use of "Everyone gets a hat" as a 'stache! – AndyT Dec 23 '15 at 11:08
  • 1
    @AndyT, I'm pretty pleased with that myself. :-) It's also quite amusing to see how many of the other hats, defaulting to the same size/placement, turn into weird little goatees. – Hellion Dec 23 '15 at 15:22

My grievance is that most of the hats don't go well with my icon. It's like they're designed for faces or something... I don't get it. :-)

And this is probably posted too late to get the hat, but that's okay, because see above.


It is not a grievance, but a nagging worry that this post on SciFi SE will not receive 10,000 views (now at 9,690). You don't have to read it, but it would be nice to click on it. Thanks! (or not, depending.) Oh...and if you are feeling exceptionally generous, the N_Soong's answer to my question needs 4 more votes to hit 100.

  • I have just given you a Christmas gift! – user140086 Dec 23 '15 at 5:02
  • @Rathony Bless you, Father Santa! – ab2 Dec 24 '15 at 0:21
  • @ab2 I gave it its 100th! Happy New Year! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Dec 24 '15 at 13:10
  • 1
    @Araucaria Many thanks! All the best in 2016! – ab2 Dec 24 '15 at 14:58

My primary grievance is that Thalia is very hard to get when you don't have enough rep to vote to reopen! I know that I could just ask and answer lots to get more rep, but I tend to do a lot more voting than answering - normally when I get to a question I could do a half-decent answer for, people have already written better answers than I could!

My secondary grievance is the same as Martha's. And that we end up doing stupid things to get hats.

Ooh, my tertiary grievance is that I edited loads of old answers before I realised that Timey-Wimey was only for editing old questions. But hey, I guess I improved the site and am moving towards Strunk and White.

My quaternary grievance is that the rules for Clean-Up Crew haven't been clarified yet. And I want more secret hats.

My quinary grievance is with myself for posting here without bothering to research what comes after "tertiary".

Further grievances will be added when I think of them. I actually already have the hat for airing grievances, but I couldn't resist writing a rant. And hopefully getting the Sun Wukong monkey "hat".

  • 1
    Quaternary. :-) – Kit Z. Fox Dec 23 '15 at 12:59
  • @KitZ.Fox - Thanks :). – AndyT Dec 23 '15 at 13:23
  • My suspicion is that Clean-Up Crew is for cleaning up your comments from last year's Hairboat hat. Which I didn't get, so I have nothing to clean up. I think. – Marthaª Dec 23 '15 at 15:00
  • @Marthaª - Seems unlikely – AndyT Dec 23 '15 at 15:03

I'd like to grieve that I missed this hat having been otherwise occupied on the 23rd.


My grievance is that I am apparently not controversial enough to earn the monkey hat. Hey, I know -- let's talk about singular 'they'! That oughta do it.


My grievance is that too many people prescriptively advocate for descriptivism by insisting that the rules of grammar not be followed, even if the work concerned will be subject to scrutiny under the academic standards of higher education.

1) Languages should become more explicitly defined as they evolve and expand over time, not more vague, not less structured, nor less differentiated across similar but not identical meanings. New rules must necessarily be agreed upon as new and more precise language comes into use. The whole point of language is to communicate in a way that promotes a more accurate understanding of each other. We already have a perfectly relate-able way of communicating feelings to each other, it's called art. And, sure, language can be applied as a medium of art, as well; However, language is also unique its ability to exemplify specificity. It has more applications to be used for many purposes so berating the one feature unique to it seems a bit stubborn and pedantic itself.

2) Advising people who have bothered to come here, register an account, and ask a specific question regarding English grammar are obviously interested in knowing what the answer is in terms of the academic standard of higher education. If a person is in a casual enough situation where correctness of grammar is not an issue, then they wouldn't be prompted to ask about what the grammatically correct way of saying something is, in the first place. In other words, any suggestion to disregard proper grammar and just write how you speak is directly equatable to willfully sabotaging someone's term paper or college thesis, and kind of like being a jerk, if you ask me.

3) Why must self-described descriptivist linguists butt their noses into questions specifically about the proper use grammar? If all they are out to do is describe what is and not participate in or influence the development of a more conformed, specific, complex, and yet more widely understood, language standard... then why should questions about actual grammar be of the least bit of interest to them? Why not just keep their opinions about language theory to themselves and let the prescriptivist grammarians answer questions that are asking about the prescribed use of grammar?

I'm not against anyone who wants analyze modern conversational speech - go ahead, analyze and describe all you want... in the domain of cultural linguistic discussions and/or philosophical conversations; But, when it comes to questions regarding the proper use of grammar, sentence structure, or the parts of speech (questions which are clearly seeking advise from actual educators and not the contemplative notions of language theorists) - Well, couldn't you just take a pass on those questions?

P.S. How on earth can people possibly convince themselves that stripping away the scaffolding which lends shape to something and tossing the rest into one, big, free-flowing blob of mix-and-match sentence fragments and generalizations into a pile, on the floor - that that somehow qualifies as being the more scientific of the two approaches to language? Scientific methods are strictly devised within the most restrictive of parameters obtainable with every little detail of every little itemized protocol being followed, diligently. So how exactly is descriptivism in any way scientific?. Disregarding any portion of a set of predetermined instructions (a.k.a. rules) is the most unscientific way to go about making reliable observations. Scientific = conformity to standards, regardless of whether you like those standards. So, please, just stop saying that?

  • This is not about a hat... – Sk Johnson Dec 24 '15 at 7:25
  • Scientific=descriptive of reality. One person's opinions and preferences about how to differentiate similar words or rigorously define terms aren't authoritative, or binding on other speakers. Prescription is fine, but it needs to be based on knowledge of the actual situation--that is, on accurate description. One example of a reasonable approach to prescription is the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. An unreasonable approach to prescription is "my fourth-grade-teacher teacher told me so" or "I like precision, so it's grammatically incorrect to use imprecise language." – herisson Dec 24 '15 at 9:48
  • Observation is meaningless without first knowing exactly what variables are at play. Finding that out requires that strict protocols be developed, understood and stringently adhered to so that the chance of error or false associations can be eliminated as much as possible. The idea that the science consists of nothing but watching the world at large - with all its variables, unknowns, and randomization in full effect - is absolutely the most unscientific approach ever invented. Do you know there's this thing science is famous for having a high level of excellence in doing? That thing is – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 22:00
  • called "research". It involves manipulating the environment in calculated and specific ways in order to "observe" what impacts what. It also requires that everyone doing the research has a solid understanding of each other -which means collectively constructing and defining a predetermined set of parameters, their terminology included. All of this strict and unforgiving infrastructure has to happen before any observations can be assumed to be reliable. So the descriptive part of the scientific approach is only about 1/5 of the whole process... and it's the final 1/5, at that. – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 22:03
  • The descriptivist opinion just introduces more ambiguity, which leads toward a regression of the language, not its evolution. Refusing to agree to a common basis of understanding, just because the construct was devised rather than manifesting itself is a great way to prime us for the tower of Babylon effect. Maybe you enjoy chaos and misunderstanding but most people don't.Confusion impedes our technological advancement, as a species. Also, no damage is caused by informing inquirers of the academically accepted answer. Severe damage "might" be caused to them by idiomatic responses. – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 22:38
  • People do all that in actual experiments about language. But prescriptive grammar advice is not about science, it's about adherence to social conventions. (Or in some cases, adherence to some particularly charismatic individual prescriptivist.) Language is absolutely used for communicating feelings and not just facts—look at your own post for an example. Precision and accuracy are not the only ends of language. Furthermore, following prescriptivist advice does not always increase precision. For example, trying to avoid split infinitives often increases the ambiguity of a sentence. – herisson Jan 3 '16 at 22:40
  • @sumelic I don't mean to sound as if I'm yelling at you about it, my comments are not directed at any specific person and I don't mean to come across as accusative or to attack you for simply pointing out the reasoning behind why some people consider it scientific. Please don't be offended, personally. I'm just... you know... airing my grievances to the world. – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 22:46
  • Adherence to common understanding of each other with complex communication. Why should there not be an infrastructure to that? – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 22:49
  • Well now I agree that infinitives ought to be split, probably more often than not. But that is not being taught anymore, or is dying out soon enough. But it bothers me that people insist prepositions are fine at the end of a sentence when really what they're ending it with is a compound verb that just looks like a preposition (because it usually is) – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 22:54
  • I'm not offended, I just disagree with your post. That's why I commented in the first place; I don't mind discussing it further. I hope my comments are also not offensive to you. As I said earlier, I'm not opposed to prescription in principle (very few descriptivists are). The issue is that not all prescription is valid; some of what people say about "the proper use of grammar" is just opinionated peeving. – herisson Jan 3 '16 at 23:03
  • No, you've been very cordial, thank you. I was certain I'd be setting myself up for some viscous tongue-lashing with this post but I'm very happy to find the opposite from the first person to comment. I appreciate that :) – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 23:08
  • My main concern is that some poor, young student will be writing a term paper for a professor who is extremely stuffy about the "rules" of grammar and that student suffering from a failing grade because they were encouraged to ignore what their professor would most definitely find to be unacceptable, when that could have been avoided by at least informing them of both versions. To chose as their situation may need. – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 23:17
  • I do get why some people loathe some rules, I had a college English instructor decide to ban the use of the word "the" for the whole semester which is an utterly ridiculous (and downright impossible) rule to reasonably follow. He actually did dock the grade of any paper we turned in for every single appearance of "the" found. Needless to say most of the students had walked out on his class by the end of the first quarter.. – Sk Johnson Jan 3 '16 at 23:24

My grievance is that I don't have the monkey hat yet. Harumph.

  • Maybe you should be more abusive. – Kit Z. Fox Dec 22 '15 at 18:37
  • Nearly there @Martha! – AndyT Dec 23 '15 at 12:33
  • 1
    @AndyT: Just two more downvotes, that's all the votes I need/ Just two more downvotes before I get monkeyed... – Marthaª Dec 23 '15 at 15:03
  • There you go! (character limit) There you go! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Dec 24 '15 at 20:21
  • @Araucaria: danke schön! – Marthaª Dec 25 '15 at 5:28

Did I miss? It is still 23rd here :)

If I missed, here is the airing of grievances.


I hate hats.

I hate hats.

I hate hats, I do.

  • 2
    Thanks. Happy holidays and good luck :-) – user140086 Dec 25 '15 at 14:13

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