I see it now and then, someone posts critique against something, perhaps a bit attacking, and gets a reply from another person in the style of "stop complaining", "you don't know what you're talking about", or "you are so negative". And this response gets turned around with "stop complaining yourself", branching the discussion into nonsense.

Is there a word for when someone brings nothing to the discussion and just complains about the complainer like this?

  • 1
    Still a complainer...
    – ermanen
    Jul 14, 2015 at 17:03
  • But one making a practically useless complaint, where the original one may have some substance.
    – ciscoheat
    Jul 14, 2015 at 17:05
  • How about a complaint-complainer? :)
    – ermanen
    Jul 14, 2015 at 17:14
  • Very straightforward, I like it. :)
    – ciscoheat
    Jul 14, 2015 at 17:16
  • Maybe "meta-complainer"? Or, if hyphenation is deemed too old-fashioned these days, "metacomplainer"? Jul 14, 2015 at 17:43

4 Answers 4


A noun term to describe the posts is perhaps empty criticism, and this is sometimes now called snark, in the sense that they are critical remarks; to call something pure snark and not snarky is to indicate there's no content other than criticism. They're empty of constructive comments. They're a snarker. I might stick with "troll" as suggested by @RG13, but perhaps the point isn't to imply intent.

In the adjective universe, they are being disdainful, which has plentiful synonyms-- contemptuous, scornful, derisive, sneering, withering, slighting, disparaging, disrespectful, condescending, patronizing, supercilious, haughty, superior, arrogant, proud, snobbish, lordly, aloof, indifferent, dismissive-- and many of those are also good fits for this. You can perhaps stick an -er on the end of one of them and have it fit, but "disdainer" doesn't have the modern feel of "snarker."


Yes. Those people are called trolls. They just want to devolve the forum discussion into a petty fight

  • 1
    Of course, but I was hoping for a more specific word in this case.
    – ciscoheat
    Jul 14, 2015 at 16:54
  • Alright, but that is the word we use for people that do exactly what you state in your post. They complain about the complainer, "branching the discussion into nonsense." They also bring "nothing to the discussion and just complains about the complainer." If you say troll, people will know what you are talking about much faster than if you say carper, belittler, decrier, denigrator,etc. Troll indicates right at the start that it's someone purposefully derailing (aka bringing nothing) to the discussion. Also it is clear you are talking about forum usage almost exclusively when saying Troll.
    – RG13
    Jul 16, 2015 at 3:51
  • The usage of the word troll has been inflated. I prefer to be more precise and make aware of specific behavior, rather than generalizing.
    – ciscoheat
    Jul 17, 2015 at 0:03














I could go on.



the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrisy

Or hypocrite if you wanted the word to describe a person.

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