We’ve all been there: someone asks you a question so inane that the only adequate reaction — after the jaw drop — is “Let me Google that for you.”
So what is a Stupid Question? It’s not necessarily one whose answer *you* think is obvious. Nor is it one whose answer can be found online. At the end of the day, the answer to pretty much everything can be found somewhere on the Internet and no one can be expected to spend hours (or even minutes, in some cases) trawling site after site.
But sometimes a question has an answer so immediately and completely available online that it practically takes longer to ask the question than it does to find the answer on the Internet. You know what I’m talking about. And that, my friends, is a Stupid Question.
When I wrote about Stupid Questions in my New Years Resolution post — and whenever I bring up the topic with friends and colleagues — people react with eye rolls and indignation, so clearly this situation is so pervasive that it demands a collective effort to rectify it. I bring you … “The Answer’s on the Internets!” (Yes — the plural is intentional. No, I’m not going to [sic] it.) Ground rules herewith:
— The purpose of this feature is not to make fun of people, but first, to underscore the fact that we are all independent and knowledgeable and that sometimes it’s far more efficient to look up something yourself rather than ask someone else. Second, I will try to make this feature useful in addition to entertaining by tagging and categorizing questions.
— Since this is The Book Publicity Blog, questions need to somehow pertain to book publicity / promotion / marketing. (I may relax standards for questions that relate to book publishing in general depending on the utility of the question.)
— Email the question you were asked and also the link you found that answers the question to bookpublicityblog[at]gmail[dot]com. Put “The Answer’s on the Internets” in the subject line of your message. Note: I will not look up links myself because, you got it, the answer’s on the Internets!
— All questions will be posted anonymously. Your entire submission will be anonymous unless you specifically request that all or part of your name / company be used. All identifying details will be removed / changed (unless your question is dependent on those details in which case it will not be posted).
— I will attempt to post questions (and answers) on a regular basis — hopefully once a week — depending on how many submissions I receive.
— Lastly, “The Answer’s on the Internets!” should not make anyone afraid to ask questions. I myself like to ask lots of them. I also happily answer lots of them. I’m simply encouraging people to first take just a second to check whether a satisfactory answer might be quickly and easily found online.
You know the story about giving a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime? Rather than simply providing the answer to a Stupid Question, send the person the link to the answer so maybe the next time they’ll be able to find the answer on their own.