Stupid Questions

2004-07-20 14:07:31

It's always seemed to me that "stupid questions" are firmly linked to the notion of "public embarassment": you're in a business meeting or a lecture and a question comes to your mind. But everyone else appears to comprehend the material, so you fear you'll come off as an idiot if you ask about something you don't understand. In practice, what's usually happening is some kind of group "mind-lock" where a number of people have the same question you do -- but nobody wants to admit it. In general, I've found it's best to simply ask away -- it can be fun and gratifying to see the obvious looks of relief on other people's faces. Plus it can increase your manna in the group: everyone else now thinks yer kicking ass and taking names and getting to the bottom of things.

That said, there are questions that really are stupid:

[1] Ref Build A Better Life By Stealing Office Supplies: Dogbert's Big Book Of Business, page 97. It's the only completely accurate book ever written about life in a large corporation.