Paul's Internet Landfill/ lj/ no-subject-2006-03-22


The old cliche says "there are no stupid questions". I try to live by that, but I still feel embarrassed asking questions in many situations, especially when I suspect that the answer could be obtained by doing a little bit of research. As a result, I put off asking the question until I "get around" to doing the research.

I guess that is sensible. I don't want to waste people's time more than I do already. I think this attitude is also the culture of the Information Age: I have witnessed many a flame because somebody asked a question that was easily answered by a web search.

But we're losing something, too, I think. People are good sources of information: if you find somebody knowledgable and ask a quick question, you get a quick answer. That is a net savings of energy, I think. In addition we are social animals. By asking each other questions (even stupid ones) we develop bonds with each other in a way that you don't get by sitting at a computer and surfing Wikipedia. I worry that we forgo our ability to bond with each other in the name of efficiency.

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