It may seem odd to think that whiners are some of the most important people in RuneScape. Most of us would read in disgust about the people who whine about merchants, quest rewards, holiday events, etc. Constructive criticism is one thing, and whining is another, right? But what we fail to remember is what both these things have in common - that they can potentially influence the game's future.
Consider the amount of attention constructive criticism gets. Usually the more patient people would read paragraph-long or so complaints about how RuneScape is coming along in terms of it's updates. Unfortunately, that population feels very small compared to the rest. Now consider the amount of attention posts containing swears or insulting comments about the game updates, bans, etc. We seem to enjoy watching people being pushed down because they don't follow the rules, garnering more attention for the original poster. Consider the riots in-game that we've witnessed over the years. We watch and listen to the whiners a little more than we think we do, not because of the validity of the complaint, but because we want to see what happens next.
But someone has to read every single one of these complaints, regardless of how they are conveyed. Unless the paragraph-long ones are absolutely brilliant, the short poorly-worded ones seem to stand out more. They're a headache to read, and yet we try to read them anyway because somehow in that mess you can see what they're getting at, except we tend to comment more on their writing style instead of the actual complaint. Sometimes a simple, "This sucks" really does sum it up. After reading so many paragraphs, some of us just read with glazed eyes, while the short-and-simple complaint can easily rile us. We get tired of hearing people go, "I hate merchant clans!" or "PVP is ruined!" But did we consider the amount of attention coming from our own reactions to them that lead to people actually listening and doing something about it? Did we consider that maybe because of the whining we take it up upon ourselves to go and try to write something a little more constructive to make a point?
Take for instance the 76K-trick on PVP member worlds. People were setting up arranged fights in attempts to gain expensive items to sell on the market for millions. There were no specifics stating whether or not this was allowed, but the some could see that it was become very unfair for the rest of the population, not to mention very much not in the spirit of the game. On 26th October 2009, Mod Chihiro identified this as well: "…it looks like many players feel the same way." "Anti-76k'ing-measures" were put into place and while it may not be entirely perfect, not to mention not what many players have been asking for (i.e., bringing back the old Wilderness), it was a sign that they do listen to the complaints.
Not every "problem" with the game has been resolved yet though. So maybe whining is annoying and some of us want the whiners to just go rot with Iban in the Underground Pass, but they are the ones that get us going to think about just how we feel about changes to the game, or anywhere for the matter. Perhaps some of us are too apathetic about the game, or simply don't want to bother writing up a complaint.
Be thankful someone's complaining for you. If it weren't for them, the changes that we're seeing gradually might not exist at all. Complain a little if you don't like those changes, and be a part of making the game better.