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Why do people ask stupid questions?

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Why Do People Ask Stupid Questions? An age old question!

FYI, if you do find a question on that seems to make no sense or serve no purpose, ask a Community Assistant or Supervisor to see if it should be reworded or removed.

Our users share their insights on this topic:
  • That might be construed as presenting a personal judgment rather than a legitimate observation. What might seem "stupid" to one person could be meaningful to someone else.
  • If a person is serious there is NO SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION! There are many reasons why a person may ask what you consider a stupid question. The person may be shy and trying to make small talk. Some people just get nervous talking one-to-one with another person. Then there are some people who just don't think before they open their mouths. It's always wise to grit your teeth and be pleasant. You never know why the person asked what you consider a stupid question in the first place. Also, the former poster gave a good answer in stating, that just because you feel it's a stupid question, it may well not be.

    For example, if you bumped into a scientist and he/she was talking about their work and you had a question or two, how would you like it if they considered your question stupid and not of importance? We generally ask questions to learn and if we feared asking stupid questions we might not learn as much.
  • Some people have different ways of figuring out ideas. They may understand the concept and the answer to that one question will make it all click.
  • They may find the question humorous, like "Why don't cows have armpits?" Other times they may just be belligerent.
  • The person writing the question or answer might be very young (5-10 years old) and may not know how to ask an appropriate question.
  • The person that asks a question might not be fluent enough in English to manage an entry into a search engine to find the answer to his question. It is difficult at times for those with excellent English knowledge, so how can those who have English as a second language be expected to manage?
  • Who decides what is stupid and what is not? WikiAnswers caters to people from around the world, and so a question that may seem stupid to one person may be a useful question to another. You just cannot label any question as stupid.

    Also, we believe that everyone has right to knowledge and that everyone is free to ask his/her query without any hesitation. Sometimes people ask questions - to which the answers seem so obvious - that make it hard to believe the questioner is serious. People will sometimes have a good question, and for whatever reason they will phrase it in a way that will not communicate the question clearly. Some contributors struggle with English, or perhaps have English as a second language. When I see some questions that are "mangled," I'm sometimes in awe at the thought that this could be a person struggling to learn English, and still has the courage to try a question.

    Except where questions are obviously vandalism of one sort or another, we do our best to give questioners the benefit of the doubt. Just because someone asks about something that I think should be obvious to anyone, that does not make the question or the person asking it stupid. There was a time when I did not understand, for example, that the earth orbits the sun. Someone, decades ago, took the time to explain it to me. I'm grateful for that.

  • There is no such thing as a stupid question. It's a matter of perception. If you take the time to use some critical thinking skills, you will most always find the honest inquiry. While some things may appear basic and common sense to one, they may not be to another. We need to embrace each other, help each other, and build each other up as you would want people to do for you. This is one of the reasons why this site exists; to enlighten, and give understanding to others who have a propensity for knowledge and the learning process.

    Many of the people asking questions are youngsters trying to get their heads around school projects and homework, much of which seems fairly pointless to them. So, when you are presented with a "duh" question and have no idea what the presenter of that question actually means, do bear in mind that the apparent stupidity of the questions frequently arises from an assignment that they might not understand fully - kids turn to any possible source in order to get grades.

    Of course, some of the silly questions come from bored youngsters who do not understand that they are wasting space on someone else's website, and do not realize that it is annoying. These kids just need to be redirected to a place where they can "cut up" and be silly online - a social networking website or a blog.

    Name-calling and making fun seem like a good idea, but if the person asking that "stupid" question is actually a 5- or 6-year-old kid, they can really be hurt by adults running them down. A more mature way of handling the problem is to ignore the question, or to answer seriously and give them a more appropriate place to find information. For example, I almost always tell people in those situations that they should try a more specific search engine. This not only explains that WikiAnswers is not the place for that question, it also gives them a website to explore - and all without name-calling.

  • Questions are good to ask and no question should be considered dumb, no matter how far-fetched it is. A question is an attempt to learn something new, and that is always smiled upon in all societies.

  • People don't ask dumb questions. All questions are equally valid if the questioner is truly looking for information. These questions are just people who are looking for answers when they can't or don't feel comfortable talking to friends or family members. It's how they want to answer or how the world will respond to that question that's important.

    The only dumb question is the one that isn't asked. Sure, there'll be some questions asked by individuals whose motives are selfish and who tend toward vandalism. But by and large, each question is an honest one. So treat it like that! Don't second-guess the person asking that question. Except, of course, to edit the question to make it meet standards here yet preserve intact the core of the inquiry.

    Most of us have a built-in "right" meter, and we know when our leg is being pulled. Few questions posted here shouldn't have been put up. We trash the ones that don't belong. As for the rest of us, we should be about powering through the doubts concerning the legitimacy of a query, edit that question if necessary and then give it an answer, Feature it, or leave it for another user to answer. (No shame in that!) Then you're done! Except to insure it's in the correct category, of course. That's the WikiWay.

  • People may ask a "stupid" question mainly because either they have a lack of knowledge or you have an excessive amount of knowledge that you feel the question is "stupid." So in all, people really don't ask stupid questions they just ask questions that you feel are common sense. Or people might purposely ask a stupid question to be funny or annoying.

    Everything is relative. What's common knowledge where you are may not be somewhere else, and is most likely not stupid in the locale of the person asking.
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