General Question

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

Is there any such thing as a stupid question?

Asked by flyawayxxballoon (1347 points ) July 22nd, 2008

I’m only referring to serious questions that seem so obvious that you’d think everyone would know. But if the person really doesn’t know, does that make themself, or the question, daft?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

80 Answers

klaas4's avatar

No, only stupid answers.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’d say its a stupid question only if you already know the answer. Why ask the question at all? I had a teacher once who said if you have a question, chances are someone else has that same question. You could be doing others a favor by asking something you might think is stupid.

wildflower's avatar

A genuine question is never a stupid question.

Questions with alterior motives, thoughtless or badly prepared questions on the other hand, can indeed be stupid

ninjaxmarc's avatar

could you rephrase the question for me?

marinelife's avatar

Asking a question you think you know the answer to in order to beat the answerers over the head with your knowledge is stupid (along with disingenuous).

Asking a question, because you are lazy and do not feel like making an effort to find out yourself first is stupid. (Not to be confused with trying to look, but failing to find.)

Asking a question to confirm your opinion of your own intelligence or other trait is stupid.

The rest are just questions.

fabulous's avatar

I disagree there is definitely such thing as a stupid question. I can’t bring up the link right now but does any one remember my question.

What is your favourite colour?

What was I thinking great answers stupid question. HaHa.

PS take into account I was only new back then so take pity on me.

wildflower's avatar

Ah, but if you were genuinly curious about colour preferences, that wouldn’t be a silly question.

fabulous's avatar

ahh your sweet thank you I feel better now. Just looking for attention really
HAHA

wildflower's avatar

You’re grand! Any question you truly want answered, is a question worth asking. :)

scamp's avatar

yes there is.

PupnTaco's avatar

Only the ones that have been asked before.

loser's avatar

scamp! You crack me up!!!

scamp's avatar

Thanks loser!

mirza's avatar

thanks loser” sounds offensive and yet its not

loser's avatar

nope, I’m not offended! Just amused!!!

scamp's avatar

I know! I thought of that when I posted it, ha ha!!

augustlan's avatar

Here’s an example of both a stupid question AND a stupid answer, sadly, both from my actual life: I was 14 years old, and standing on the beach in ATLANTIC City, New Jersey with my best friend, I ask her “What ocean are we on, the Pacific or the Atlantic?” (I SWEAR it was just a brain fart) She looks at me like I’m an idiot and replies “Duh, the Atlantic…the Pacific is in Virginia Beach.” At least I knew that the 2 oceans were on opposite sides of the country! Ah youth…older and wiser, now. Well, older at least.

scamp's avatar

@augustlan too funny! Thanks for sharing that, and welcome to fluther!

Miss_Lys's avatar

i agree with klaas4

augustlan's avatar

@scamp Thanks!

girlofscience's avatar

Yes, there are such things as stupid questions (even in the context you mentioned). I really hate teachers/people who say that there aren’t.

I was once in an Advanced Multivariate Statistics class, and we were looking over some statistical output that said ”.06.” When my professor referred this value as “six percent,” a girl in my class raised her hand and asked how to figure out that .06 was equal to 6%. That was a stupid question.

klaas4's avatar

Why? If someone doesn’t know, or just doesn’t see the answer, why does it have to be a stupid question?

Again this is some kind of personal-opinion question, just like “Would you upgrade yourself?”. Everyone has a different opinion on this, so it’s almost impossible to come to a definitive answer.

girlofscience's avatar

@klaas4: If you’re in a class that’s called “Multivariate Advanced Statistics,” asking how to convert a decimal to a percent is a stupid question.

klaas4's avatar

Maybe he/she just forgot?

girlofscience's avatar

You can’t forget something that fundamental in a statistics-heavy class.

klaas4's avatar

If you say so…

wildflower's avatar

@girlofscience
Perhaps it wasn’t so much the question you deemed stupid, but rather the person asking. Since they do not possess the knowledge you do.

girlofscience's avatar

@wildflower: Well doesn’t that open a can of worms. It’s far easier to evaluate a single question as being stupid than it is to evaluate a whole person as being stupid. While it is possible that this girl was indeed stupid herself, I do not have enough evidence to determine this is the case. I do, however, have enough evidence to judge her single question as “stupid.”

Additionally, the simple fact of someone not possessing the knowledge that I do does not make him/her stupid, and I interpreted your tone of that sentence as derogatory (though I could be wrong, as tone is difficult to distinguish in text). I may not possess knowledge that another does, but I do not consider myself a stupid person, and I do not consider those who do not possess knowledge I have to be stupid either. I was simply making the point that asking such an elementary math question in an advanced statistics class was stupid.

wildflower's avatar

It was by no means derogatory. My point was that you seem to judge another person’s question based on your need for the answer, not theirs.
You knew the answer, therefore it would be stupid for you to ask. This other person seemingly did not know the answer, therefore I don’t see how it’s a stupid question for them to ask.
Personally I think the stupid thing to do would be to not ask the question if you don’t know the answer.

anonyjelly16's avatar

No, I don’t think there is such a thing as a stupid question. Even if it were truly stupid and obvious, it would serve some purpose even if it were shallow—i.e. it would give people hearing it an opportunity to feel better about themselves and how smart they are :-)

flameboi's avatar

You Have to be in one of my philosophy classes, after that, you will reconsider your answer (there are stupid questions!)

oceansmist's avatar

Isn’t the only stupid question the one that is never asked? Yes, there are idiotic and inane and silly and off-the-wall ridiculous questions but are they truly stupid? Doesn’t the word “stupid” mean “ignorant”? How can you ever learn things if you never ask the question? Isn’t it other people that make you feel stupid for asking a question rather than the question itself being stupid? Wow, all of that over whether or not there’s a stupid question out there somewhere! Ha Ha!

sweet_one's avatar

yep this one…

augustlan's avatar

@sweet one: not so sweet, are you?

sweet_one's avatar

well, come on!!! this is a site for questions…seriously…we can ask better questions than this…I’m just starting out…I wonder how many ppl thought of this question…lol

augustlan's avatar

@sweet: Like traffic signal q’s?

sweet_one's avatar

@ augustian well, its better than this…in my opinion…this was an expected question…mine arent…

JackAdams's avatar

My buddy’s old man asked a stupid question, when the kid did something he wasn’t supposed to be doing.

The old man’s stupid question was, “Do you WANT to get whipped?”

The kid responded with, “That’s got to be the most idiotic question, anyone has ever asked me, in my entire life.”

The late comedian/actor RED BUTTONS (1919–2006) once said, “Never spank anyone who will eventually choose your nursing home.”

August 27, 2008, 8:21 AM EDT

snowboard06's avatar

I ask them all the time!

XrayGirl's avatar

I don’t think there are stupid questions, because we don’t always know where the asker is coming from…just because we ask a question, it doesn’t necessarily mean we don;t know the answer…;)

Nimis's avatar

This one girl asked why the handicapped get the best parking spaces when they don’t have to walk because they have wheelchairs. Everyone just stared at her. (Usually a good way to gauge if you’ve asked a dumb question.)

Which, I suppose has some dumb logic to it?
Is that an oxymoron? Or does logic simply apply to a system of rules and reasoning?

JackAdams's avatar

I saw this woman ask a stupid question in the post office, about a week ago.

She was there on a Monday, and asked the clerk, “If I mail this letter today, Monday, is it reasonable to expect that it will be in San Francisco on Friday?”

The clerk said, “Madam, I would bet money on that!”

The woman then said, “Well, that presents a problem for me, because it’s addressed to Miami…”

Nimis's avatar

JackA: Wait…does absurd fall under stupid?

JackAdams's avatar

I’ll defer to your wisdom on that…

Nimis's avatar

JackA: People make fun of me for my love of Venn diagrams. But, damn it. They’re impossibly handy. (Like right now.)

JackAdams's avatar

Venn? Is that the guy who was always being asked, “Know whut I mean?”

Nimis's avatar

JackA: Nyuk. Though, seriously? You’re giving me a brain itch. What is that from?
You know whut I mean, Vern? Hrmm…..

JackAdams's avatar

It’s from a dude who, unfortunately, is no longer with us, named Jim Varney.

His character was, Ernest P. Worrell

The “P” stood for “Powertools.”

Nimis's avatar

JackA: Ernest!
(Never knew that’s what the P stood for. If your name were Jack __ Adams, what would your initial be?)

JackAdams's avatar

H, for HOFF.

Nimis's avatar

JackA: Haha…in which case, I think his ex-wife is filing for rights to your name.
I think you got to pay her every time you use it.

jvgr's avatar

“I’m only referring to serious questions that seem so obvious that you’d think everyone would know…”

This is probably the most important situation that a question needs to be asked. Assuming what “everyone” knows isn’t helpful when you learn that most don’t

The only stupid question is when someone asks a question identical to that of a previous questioner but weren’t paying attention, but it’s not so much a comment on the quality of the question as it is about the questioner.

Always ask what you need to know (but be selective when asking “how do I do this…” kind of questions)

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, I think there is. Here are some from my collection. I didn’t make any of these up. They are copied and pasted verbatim.

How many miles on the earth?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of housing?
What does it mean if a dog has one eye a different color and the other is a different color two?
Who discovered the earth?
What happened up to 1941?
When were nomads around?
When is a woman considered pregnant?
What does it mean when a person puts the left sock on then the shoe then the right sock and the right shoe on rather then both socks then both shoes?
It is not a good idea to enter your neighbor’s house by a ladder to an upstairs window?
Im a runaway where do i go?

goober's avatar

@fly,see the truffle question!!!!!!!!!!!!!Oh you already did.

90s_kid's avatar

The stupid question is the one that is not asked. My English teacher always said that.

Jeruba's avatar

My teachers used to say that, too, but I didn’t believe them.

90s_kid's avatar

I know——Teacher what is 2+2? Come on, that isn’t not a stupid question…

Jeruba's avatar

“If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions
do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask
questions?”
—Scott Adams

girlofscience's avatar

Ugh, ok, the answer to this question is yes, always.

There are absolutely such things as stupid questions.

If you are learning about the auditory system, and you are discussing hair cells, and you ask if balding males experience hearing loss as a result of their loss of hair cells, that is a stupid fucking question.

Okay?

Jeruba's avatar

Uh, do they?

90s_kid's avatar

Yeah, I am lost

Jeruba's avatar

(I was kidding. But maybe the person who asks is wondering about a correlation with aging. Seems like there could be some thought there.)

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Someone not me…really! asked my teacher if our time line had to be chronological. For someone who uses the chronological in a regular sentence…

bobisho's avatar

No such thing as stupid qyestions, only stupid people who ask them. (paraphrase of my middle school teacher)

veronasgirl's avatar

I don’t think so. Every question is asked for a specific purpous, while it may seem “stupid” in someone elses’ mind, it isn’t in yours.

Jeruba's avatar

I think there are thoughtless, empty-headed questions just as much as there are thoughtless, empty-headed remarks. Some remarks are made without any purpose at all except to fill a silence or relieve an impulse. But it’s true that we may not always correctly identify foolish questions. There’s always a risk of error when people guess at one another’s intentions.

icehky06's avatar

All the questions I ask are put into the ‘stupid question’ category so I’m willing to bet there is.

arturodiaz's avatar

questions asked in fluther that can be easily answered by googling are stupid questions.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

If I wasn’t on my iPod, i’d link to some of the questions that I asked when I first got to Fluther. I was so ignorant.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

One without any words. ?

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@arturodiaz Google this and then ask if it is a non stupid question. ?

Mr_Callahan's avatar

Only other people’s, certainly not mine.

Avinite's avatar

There are questions which are not deserving of answers, because although they make grammatical sense, they do not have an answer, or do not make any semantic sense.

What does a unicorn smell like?
or
What colour is freedom?

SABOTEUR's avatar

A question can be stupid if you don’t bother to think it through.

Luna's avatar

if it deserves a stupid answer, then yes, it is stupid question

Moegitto's avatar

If a question answers itself, then it’s a stupid question. Not to sound rudely blunt, but if you ever answer yourself by asking a question, then it presents a conundrum…

flutherother's avatar

Why did the apple fall from the tree? Now there’s a stupid question if ever there was one but by asking it Newton discovered the laws of gravity. Questions aren’t stupid its just that we sometimes can’t be bothered answering them.

EverRose11's avatar

Someone, somewhere will always find one question or another to be of unimportance, thus creating a stupid question in their mind , How that for an answer ? Do you find my question stupid?

john65pennington's avatar

We had been married for six months. We were on our way back home from her doctors appointment, where we learned that she was pregnant with out first child. Wife had a sorrowful look on her face. I turned over and looked her in the face and said, “honey, what’s wrong”? She broke out crying and said “how did this happen?”.

I was speechless and never said a word.

zander101's avatar

I don’t think there is a thing as a stupid question, maybe it may seem that certain questions are, due to the context in which it is asked and the viewpoint it is coming from. Communication is a power thing with the human condition, when two humans are in alignment with one another over the course of expressing ideas, things mentioned between the two of them will make sense, however if it was the opposite it’s obvious that the person hearing it would question it, thus deeming it as a stupid question.

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