Stupid questions aren't a myth. They do exist and they aren't even rare. I'm pretty sure it's more likely you get asked a stupid question than you get hit by a car.

There are stupid questions

So what qualifies as a stupid question? A question:

  • to which you can deduce the answer yourself by applying logic.
  • outside of the area of expertise of the person you are asking.
  • for a well-known fact.
  • so broad you already know it will have a sophisticated answer.
  • that you've already asked, but forgot the answer to.

All those points cause a continuous stream of stupid questions which are only useful to piss someone (me) off. You won't make any friends with that and you'll probably end up with a bunch of unhelpful comments. To be constructive, here are some tips on how to keep everybody happy.

Use your brain
Most questions you can answer yourself. Often with logic or possibly with some help of the internet. Your question probably has been asked and answered before.

Do your homework
Have some options ready to make it a multiple choice question. This allows you to have an actual conversation/discussion about the topic. If you know what you are talking about it will be more interesting for the person answering your question and is motivated to help you out.

Listen to the answer and understand it
Don't just nod, say yes and walk away. Make sure that your question has been answered. This will prevent you from asking the same question twice, because you have an actual usable answer and you are more likely to remember it.

Take a hint
When a question is too broad it can still be answered with some terms to search for. This will still help you to get on your way towards an answer or help you grasp a particular subject.

Now you know how to properly ask a question and reduce the number of questions to the bare minimum. It doesn't mean people don't like answering questions and giving advice. It just means they get less annoyed by you and maybe even enjoy answering your challenging question.