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Old 02-11-2019, 02:56 PM
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Is there such thing as a stupid question?


Some will say there is no such thing as a stupid question but just only stupid people. What do you think?
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:09 PM
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That's like saying "There are no racist statements, only racist people." Of course a statement can be stupid and/or reflect the character of the person asking it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:11 PM
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:12 PM
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The only place I've heard that is on South Park. And it was used to show that Mr. Garrison is a terrible teacher.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by scarface54345 View Post
Some will say there is no such thing as a stupid question but just only stupid people. What do you think?
Can stupid people ask smart questions? If not, then the existence of stupid people kind of implies stupid questions exist.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 02-11-2019 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:24 PM
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Of course stupid people can ask smart questions. Even all-around stupid people can sometimes ask a smart question by accident. And there are some people out there who are "stupid" in the sense that they can't answer questions very well, but who are great at asking very smart questions.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:31 PM
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:34 PM
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I used to have a poster on my wall that said, "There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:52 PM
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Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:56 PM
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In response to a student's question, my high school Latin teacher replied, "There are no stupid questions, but if there were, that would be one".
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:08 PM
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Of course stupid people can ask smart questions. Even all-around stupid people can sometimes ask a smart question by accident. And there are some people out there who are "stupid" in the sense that they can't answer questions very well, but who are great at asking very smart questions.
There is a lot to address here. One, I actually agree that stupid people are capable of asking smart questions. My post merely posed the hypothetical that started with the assumption that they couldnt do so, in order to further facilitate the discussion.

Two, if someone asks a smart question by accident, that implies that they have no understanding of why it is regarded by non-stupid people as a smart question. The stupid person was trying to get an answer to something that they just so happened to pose in a way that communicated much more nuance and understanding than intended. If we actually broke down the question for what it was, what information was being sought by asking it, wouldn't it still have to be regarded as a stupid, or at least non-smart question?

And finally, the person who cant answer questions very well but excels at asking them, who you describe as "stupid" is not stupid at all. Just like people on the spectrum aren't lacking in empathy, they just cannot express it well. The person struggling with answering questions simply has a deficiency in the presence/quality of tools needed to harness their intelligence to use in the narrowly defined context of question answering.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:21 PM
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What i would disagree with is the idea that a stupid person can ask a smart question purely by accident. A question asked with a different answer being sought than the answer that the question is assumed to be seeking by those to whom the question is posed is not a smart question. It is a poorly communicated question that just so happens to unintentionally ask something else which is beyond the scope of the questioner's understanding.

It's a question that *would* have been a smart question, if it was what the person asking the question was trying to have answered. But it accidently *sounded* like something it was not, namely a smart question.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 02-11-2019 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:34 PM
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It's a platitude intended to convey that it's smart to ask questions and you're stupid if you don't.

Does the early bird really get the worm?
Or do the best things come to those who wait?
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:12 PM
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It's a platitude intended to convey that it's smart to ask questions and you're stupid if you don't.

Does the early bird really get the worm?
Or do the best things come to those who wait?
Should I buy 20 Powerball tickets so I can get that pink Bugatti for my girl or just save up so I can rent that big plasma tv that maw was telling me about (that I hope to one day own)? (read in Cletus Spuckler voice)
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:15 PM
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It's a platitude intended to convey that it's smart to ask questions and you're stupid if you don't.

Does the early bird really get the worm?
Or do the best things come to those who wait?
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:32 PM
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:42 PM
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Should I buy 20 Powerball tickets so I can get that pink Bugatti for my girl or just save up so I can rent that big plasma tv that maw was telling me about (that I hope to one day own)? (read in Cletus Spuckler voice)
Don't do either of those.

See, now wasn't it smart of Cletus to ask?
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:44 PM
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A stupid question is one which proves the person wasn't paying attention.

Like the "Why male models?" question in Zoolander, which the character asked right after another character gave an in-depth answer to that exact question.

The person asking that stupid question might or might not be stupid, but smart people can do stupid things. (The divorce court demonstrates that much.)
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by scarface54345 View Post
Some will say there is no such thing as a stupid question but just only stupid people. What do you think?
Allow me to quote a great 21st century philosopher:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Porter
This whole “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” bullshit ends in high school. This is life. We’re playin’ for points. And there are a shit-ton of stupid questions. Like when I was in the lobby of a hotel in Oklahoma and a middle-aged woman approached me and said “excuse me; is that the elevator?”

<Multiple exasperated glances back at elevator>

Are you shittin’ me? What other door looks like this? NO; matter of fact, I want you to name another fucking door that opens magically from the middle and has two buttons on the side. NAME IT! You think people are walking in there and disappearing? Is this an episode of Star Trek? No; that’s prolly the goddamn elevator, isn’t it?

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 02-11-2019 at 07:52 PM. Reason: fixed coding
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:19 PM
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Don't do either of those.

See, now wasn't it smart of Cletus to ask?
*error*
*error*
*option not pre-loaded into thinkin box
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:57 PM
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The person asking that stupid question might or might not be stupid, but smart people can do stupid things.
But the question really is can stupid people do smart things, not vice-versa. Smart people can, for whatever reason, have that intelligence temporarily/momentarily supressed by stronger competing forces which results in the smart person doing a stupid thing(s).

But stupid people don't have an appropriate counterpart to the smart person who temporarily has their intelligence hijacked by other, stronger forces (emotion, illness, intoxication, etc.) and end up doing stupid things. There is no temporarily suppressing a person's idiocy.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:58 PM
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Virtually everyone asks stupid questions from time to time.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:33 PM
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:00 AM
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It's a platitude intended to convey that it's smart to ask questions and you're stupid if you don't.
Yup. The way it was introduced to me and was “There are no stupid questions; only stupid silences.” IOW, being silent because you think your question is a stupid one that reveals your ignorance of something is the REAL stupid choice.

This platitude was given in a context in which one who allowed his ignorance to remain concealed would potentially expose people to avoidable hazards.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:04 AM
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No such thing as stupid questions or stupid people.

The very act of asking a question to improve knowledge is rooted in an intelligent drive.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:55 AM
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The stupidest question I was ever asked? A women walked in Wal-Mart behind me and asked me "Is this Walmart?" I resisted the urge to tell her "no it's not", I just looked at her and walked on. When I looked back she was walking to the service counter. I guess to ask someone smarter than me.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Porter
This whole “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” bullshit ends in high school. This is life. We’re playin’ for points. And there are a shit-ton of stupid questions. Like when I was in the lobby of a hotel in Oklahoma and a middle-aged woman approached me and said “excuse me; is that the elevator?”

<Multiple exasperated glances back at elevator>

Are you shittin’ me? What other door looks like this? NO; matter of fact, I want you to name another fucking door that opens magically from the middle and has two buttons on the side. NAME IT! You think people are walking in there and disappearing? Is this an episode of Star Trek? No; that’s prolly the goddamn elevator, isn’t it?
And the person asking the question has never seen an elevator before in their lives; having grown up on a small island without any buildings higher than two stories. Or perhaps they call them lifts and think that lift = elevator but are not 100% certain and don't want to look silly by doing the wrong thing.

Still not a stupid question.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:11 AM
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Questions that contain their own answers:

"What is the number for 911?"*

The one question that always amazed me when I was a Computer Science prof was "Is zero an odd or even number." From 3rd and 4th year Computer Science majors. Do they know nothing about binary numbers???

(Once after being asked this I asked FtGKid1 this question. "It's even." "Why?" "Because one is odd." He was 4.)

* Or 999 if you are British, etc.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:39 AM
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There's different categories of questions that appear stupid.

Questions which pertain to things which you simply could not see until they were pointed out and then they were obvious. You'll never ask that question twice. These are often stumpers just because someone wasn't able to separate the surrounding noise from what they were trying to find. Like a directional sign in a department store, or how to find that specific drop-down menu with the obscurely-named option at the very bottom which is the only way to find that file you are sure you made.

Questions which stem from avoiding going through the effort of logical thinking. Lots of people have more trouble with remembering facts, and linking them up in a rational way than, I'm guessing, the self-selected group on the Dope. Many of those people get used to 'being too stupid' and have stopped trying. Like me with numbers -- I have dyscalculia and can't add or measure or any of those ordinary things without enormous concentration; it's so much easier to get the right answer by simply asking someone else -- almost anyone else. You could call this learned helplessness.

Questions which are idle and inattentive and apparently only for making a conversational noise. My husband often does this. "Are you eating breakfast now?" "Is that the mail?"

Last edited by Ulfreida; 02-12-2019 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:41 AM
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"Do these stairs go up?"
No, these stairs are stationary. You can use them to go up or down, so long as they extend in the direction you wish to go. Stairs that go up (or down) are referred to as an "escalator", even though they don't really go up or down either. They go around, but on an incline/decline plane.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:51 AM
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Some will say there is no such thing as a stupid question but just only stupid people. What do you think?
It's better to ask a question and be thought to be stupid than to not ask the question, fail, and be known to be stupid.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:10 PM
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I used to have a poster on my wall that said, "There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."
You can have it again.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:42 PM
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The stupidest question I was ever asked? A women walked in Wal-Mart behind me and asked me "Is this Walmart?" I resisted the urge to tell her "no it's not", I just looked at her and walked on. When I looked back she was walking to the service counter. I guess to ask someone smarter than me.
In a place I used to work, we had an outdoor section, access to which was through a door on which was written 'Outdoor Section This Way'. On a regular basis, customers would point at it and ask me 'Is the outdoor section though that door?' using the exact wording on the door. After a while, I just answered everyone who did that with 'Nope' and grinned at them, and every single time they then laughed and walked through.

Not sure if they just loved the sound of their own voices, or if it was people on automatic, and the stupid answer broke them out of it.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:05 PM
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Anyone who thinks there's no such thing as a stupid question has never watched a Congressional hearing.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:23 PM
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Stupid question asked by a relatively smart me, to my art historian wife.

"Who painted Whistler's mother?" which, by the way, I knew was a portrait that some artist made of his mother.

I was having an off day.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 02-12-2019 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:19 PM
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It just occurred to me that I’ve been looking at one for more than six years, right here on the Dope.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:00 AM
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As Srephen King wrote in Rose Madder: A stupid question is one you already know the answer to.

I can be behind the cash register with the light on, wearing my red work shirt and ringing up an order, and someone will come up and ask "Are you open?"
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:15 PM
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As Srephen King wrote in Rose Madder: A stupid question is one you already know the answer to.

I can be behind the cash register with the light on, wearing my red work shirt and ringing up an order, and someone will come up and ask "Are you open?"
As a variant on that- for the airport coffee shop I used to work in, I was part of the team that helped open it. The whole wing was cordoned off, the lights were off, there was no stock in the cake fridges or on the shelves, staff were wearing casual clothes and dust, while trying to hang signs up and there was a pallet with a pile of cardboard boxes in the middle of the floor. Three people walked moved the barriers out the way, walked round the pallet and the boxes, went to the till and, to the person hanging a sign above it, asked 'Can I get a cappuccino/latte?'

A stupid question is one a moment's thought or attention would give you the answer to.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:09 PM
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I think this is from "The Thin Man" (the movie) but it might have been one of the sequels:

Nora: "Would you like a drink?"
Nick: "It's a little early, isn't it?"
Nora: "Too early for a drink?"
Nick: "No, too early for stupid questions! Of course I want a drink!"
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:49 PM
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There's different categories of questions that appear stupid.

Questions which pertain to things which you simply could not see until they were pointed out and then they were obvious. You'll never ask that question twice. These are often stumpers just because someone wasn't able to separate the surrounding noise from what they were trying to find. Like a directional sign in a department store, or how to find that specific drop-down menu with the obscurely-named option at the very bottom which is the only way to find that file you are sure you made.

Questions which stem from avoiding going through the effort of logical thinking. Lots of people have more trouble with remembering facts, and linking them up in a rational way than, I'm guessing, the self-selected group on the Dope. Many of those people get used to 'being too stupid' and have stopped trying. Like me with numbers -- I have dyscalculia and can't add or measure or any of those ordinary things without enormous concentration; it's so much easier to get the right answer by simply asking someone else -- almost anyone else. You could call this learned helplessness.

Questions which are idle and inattentive and apparently only for making a conversational noise. My husband often does this. "Are you eating breakfast now?" "Is that the mail?"
And there's the passive aggressive stupid question, like when I took the train to Honeybourne from Paddington, and the stop was announced, and the train stopped, and I got my baggage and went for the exit, whose doors had just opened wide to the air, only to have my pathway blocked by the conductor standing astride the exit with both of his hands on the luggage racks on either side of the aisle. So I said "Is this the exit?". Because it obviously was the exit and my stop, I just didn't know if there was some unwritten rule I was breaking or if he was simply in my way.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:54 PM
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I recently had a question asked of me that I'll just charitably call "thoughtless". I was telling someone about my spinal cord injury, specifically that i had retained full sensation everywhere throughout my body. The person stared at me for a sec, then looked down at my leg and poked my thigh, saying "So you can feel that?"
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:54 AM
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This thread reminds of a running gag in the movie Empire Records:

<employee answers phone>
Empire Records, open til midnight.
<pause while caller talks>
Til midnight.
<end of call>
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:49 PM
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It's an interesting topic.
One might think, "You're stupid for not already knowing that." But I don't feel that makes the question itself stupid, if it's sincerely something the person didn't know, yet wanted to. On the contrary, really. Seeking knowledge is wise.

The other category is asking something that one could easily find out oneself by reading the goddamn sign, or processing what I just said, or by giving it a second and a half of logical thought. I would categorize these as lazy questions, rather than stupid ones.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:20 PM
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The other category is asking something that one could easily find out oneself by reading the goddamn sign, or processing what I just said, or by giving it a second and a half of logical thought. I would categorize these as lazy questions, rather than stupid ones.
But calling them lazy questions suggests it’s always a failure to apply effort rather than the failure to reason effectively. If we accept that some people are stupid (e.g. they reason ineffectively), then we should also accept that questions from these people will reflect their stupidity.

Last edited by you with the face; 02-14-2019 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:31 PM
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Some will say there is no such thing as a stupid question but just only stupid people. What do you think?
I think I'm not answering any more of your questions until you return to the How did the universe and consciousness create themselves from nothing? thread and reveal the correct answer. The suspense is killing us.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:58 PM
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I think there are rather stupid hypothetical questions. "What if cold was hot?", etc.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:24 AM
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My dad taught electrical engineering at the local community college. He would tell his students, "There is no such thing as a stupid question." Inevitably, shortly after saying that, he'd get a question to which he'd say, "There are no stupid questions, but damn, that's close."

Teaching has demonstrated to me that many "stupid" questions are ones that were already answered, and if the questioner had been paying attention they wouldn't be wasting our time.
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:16 AM
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Dilbert has the answer.
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Old 02-21-2019, 04:29 PM
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Yes, there is.
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