At work, a nurse approached me with a medical gadget with a sticky-note attached that said "Needs New Batteries". She pointed out that it would have been quicker to go to the cupboard, find batteries and replace them than to walk to the office for a note and write it out. She wanted to know the word for someone who would do that.

So what do we call someone who would rather point out a problem than find a solution? Or what would we call that way of thinking?

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    pessimist. cynic. critic. – Unrelated Nov 25 '15 at 19:24
  • Captain Hindsight comes to mind... – Hypaethral Nov 25 '15 at 19:30
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    To answer that we need to know why the person chose to do it that way. Was it because they were too lazy? Was it because they didn't want to be taken for granted and become the person who always changes the batteries? Was it because they didn't have time to change the batteries right then, but wanted to let the next person know that this one wasn't working and save them a second trip? Etc. – Jim Nov 25 '15 at 19:49
  • There is an attitude called "not in my job description". This might be the reason why the person wrote the note instead of installing the battery. (Or the person who scrawled the note might have been on her way to a very sick patient.) – ab2 Nov 25 '15 at 21:22
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    I think you can get a sense by the comments and answers which are kinda all over the place, we'd really need to know the motive of the note-leaver to accurately peg the characteristic(s) of the person. – Kristina Lopez Nov 25 '15 at 21:49

The closest term I know for that is "buck-passer". Instead of participating in fixing the problem, they "pass the buck".

"Our city mayor is a professional buck-passer. He gave a two speeches last month complaining about the dire city budget situation, but our city treasurer tells me the mayor has repeatedly refused her meeting requests to review budget options."

The word "naysayer" could apply to someone who points out all the reasons why something can't or shouldn't be done, and supplies no solution. However, that's not fit for this situation, because the person actually took action, though it was a thoughtless, wasteful action. Buck-passer is a better fit because the person DID take action, but their action had the effect of passing the buck, of making someone else responsible for the solution.


Perhaps a do-nothing moralizer

"moralize" definition : to reflect on or express opinions about something in terms of right and wrong, especially in a self-righteous or tiresome way.


I'm not sure that it quite matches your title but it certainly seems to fit your requirements. A jobsworth is a person who finds that

taking the initiative and performing an action, and perhaps in the process breaking a rule, is beyond what the person feels their job description allows

Such individuals are notorious for malicious compliance:-

Malicious compliance is the behavior of a person who intentionally inflicts harm by strictly following the orders of management or following legal compulsions, knowing that compliance with the orders will cause a loss of some form

when their behaviour cannot be explained by idleness.

  • Ooh, I like malicious compliance. I'm going to save it in my phrase book. – StorymasterQ Jan 12 '16 at 10:47

A downer is someone who points out all the flaws in anything, and creates a negative atmosphere around anything.

Passive-aggressive is another way to describe the type of behavior displayed by the person who left the note.

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    I thought we were looking for the word for the person who left the device with the note, not the nurse who found it. – Barmar Nov 25 '15 at 22:03
  • @Barmar i misread the paragraph. I'm editing my answer acordingly. – spirographer Nov 25 '15 at 22:11

Requirements analyst - specifies what's needed. Describes the "what", and generally not the "how".

Describes a problem. Does not (as a requirements analyst) design or implement a solution. (Those are activities done by designers and implementors.)

There is nothing inherently pessimistic, debbie-downerish, cynical, passive-aggressive, do-nothing, or lazy about specifying a problem.

We need more talented and careful requirements analysts. Get the problem right and you have a much better chance of getting the right solution. (Think - problem specified as Sadam having weapons of mass destruction; solution produced: Iraq War... Bad spec.)

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