Derek Tillotson

No Stupid Questions

"There are no stupid questions" is something everyone hears at some point, whether it's from a teacher, a parent, or someone simply being sarcastic. The intent is to encourage people to ask questions (any) questions. But saying there are no stupid questions is similar to telling people to vote, even if they're uninformed on the issues/candidates.

The difference between uniformed voting and asking stupid questions is that while uninformed voting in large numbers can potentially be harmful to the political process, asking stupid questions will usually only be harmful to the person asking them. Asking a stupid question during a job interview will quietly get you rejected. Asking a stupid question on a first date could make you sound like a creep. Asking stupid questions to yourself may cause internal freakouts.

That's not to say asking questions is bad. It's usually better to risk a stupid question than to risk no questions. But even better than that is taking a few moments to decide whether that question is worth asking to begin with.

Written February 5, 2020

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