He who asks is a fool for five minutes

>> Sunday, 15 March 2015

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

The older I get, the more I know...how much I don't know.  This stands true for me at work, home, and life in general.

Sometimes I feel so confused with life and its happenings that I'm sure everybody else already must know everything I do and then they have their intelligence on top of that.  I find I think like this quite a lot at work.  But the same seems to apply to baking, gardening, decorating, suduko, crosswords, laundry without total destruction etc.

The nature of work in technology means spending a lot of time searching for information on how to do a lot of technical stuff.  This searching naturally leads to many technical forums. Often I see, what on the face of it seem to be, fairly simple questions.  These questions are usually responded to by someone who considers themselves to be an expert with a RTFM.

I'll accept that as ok, especially if they leave a link to go and have a read.  But what if they still don't understand, what if they need extra guidance, what if the question they asked to begin with wasn't worded well?  Do they deserve to be called a lazy idiot? Should they be told to go away and read it again?

Whilst this is aimed at the technical, it's true anywhere in life.  None of us were born knowing how to do things, we all had to learn but why do some people believe that because they learnt the hard way so must everyone else?

If I say to my friend "my cakes don't rise as well as yours what am I doing wrong?" I know she will say "What recipe are you using? Is the method the same as mine?  I do this".  Why do so many online user groups and forums do the complete opposite?

I believe in freely sharing information and that it is ok to ask others to do the same.  I also know that whilst I like to consider myself a special individual, I am not.  I know if I have a burning question, someone else probably has it too.

Times I have asked questions in halls full of parents like "do they need the packup in a carrier to throw away after lunch or in a backpack" and felt an idiot for asking as 100 burning eyes give me the 'isn't it obvious' look. But on the way out someone always says "I'm sooooo glad you asked that, I had no idea either"

I don't care if I ask a dumb question, I think this is less dumb than never knowing the answer.  And I am happy to be polite and understanding to anyone who asks a question that I know the answer to.

In a forum I think I have 2 choices: be helpful and polite or don't get involved.

The perceived anonymity of the on-line world has turned many people into rude, uncaring individuals.  Trolling, whilst not liked, is seen as part of life.  It doesn't have to be this way.

So just for the record,  I am planning to continue to ask as many questions as I can for the rest of my life.  I may ask how I can find out, I may just ask for a direct answer and I don't mind whether you give me one or tell me how I can find out.

In return I commit to answering as many questions as I can in a polite way and this sometimes might involve a diversionary route to a source of information, yes occasionally that might include a polite 'I don't know but something might popup on Google (other search engines are available) just might'.

For those of you against me in this quest to accept that some people aren't superhuman all knowing beings : 


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