I just hate it when someone starts Holier Than Thou diatribe. But, at the risk of sounding petty, sanctimonious, and like a big, fat Little Mama... here it goes:
Step One to VHF Happiness: Face-to-face is full of grace.
Let's all face it - cruisers who use the VHF radio as a platform to humiliate other people and Tattly Natalies who broadcast problems over the radio that can be solved more efficiently with face-to-face conversation should be stripped from the waist down and spanked with a dirty, wet fly swatter!
Step Two to VHF Happiness: Spread news sweetly; not stinky feet-ly.
The VHF is a tool - similar to the old-fashioned telephone party line way-back-when. It is a way to have a community conversation, to include friends, to a party... to a potluck... to join in fellowship and fun... a way to spread the word... to make others aware of imminent danger (notice I used the word 'imminent') and to get recommendations of good places and people... not spread rumors... not to hash out disagreements or personal rifts on the Nets. Because let me tell you... I don't want to hear that garbage first thing in the morning. Wait until I'm hot and sweaty in the afternoon without A/C and sitting very unlady-like in front of the fan... like now... and then, maybe I'll even join in on the grumbling. But- not first thing in the cool and tranquil morning while I'm sipping my coffee and loving life.
Step Three to VHF Happiness: Be prudent in your words; they're listening in herds.
Another thing - if you wish to exchange personal information or discuss things that are private over the VHF radio, you can bet that there is more than one person listening. You can get defensive all you want- say it's bad manners to 'lurk' in on a conversation and that the 'lurker' is the one who deserves to have hurt feelings. I disagree. It's foolish to think you are having a private conversation - you're not. Use the phone if you want private or send an email. Better yet- walk, row or motor yourself to the person you wish to speak with in private and shut the companionway... and the hatches... and the portholes.
Step Four to VHF Happiness: Talk first; avoid the worst.
AND... (write this down if you need to) - I'm reiterating Step One with more vigor:
if you did not have a private conversation with 'the offender' first BEFORE you put your grumblies on the radio for the whole world to hear... you ought to be stripped completely naked and spanked with a dirty, wet fly swatter! (And those of you who think that sounds fun are just plain sick, by the way.)
Seriously, an attitude of kindness and helpfulness goes a long way. As Carolyne's kindergarten teacher used to say, "Find a way to be a problem solver, children. We already have too many problem makers in this world."