How many times have you heard the phrase "there are no dumb questions?" People who are afraid of looking silly for asking simple questions are usually asking good questions! No, the truly stupid questions are those asked by people who are too lazy to read the answer right in front of them.

This problem usually crops up in school when teachers have to repeat to the class over and over to read the instructions before beginning an assignment. At some point during your K-12 experience, you probably had that one teacher who handed out a "read the directions carefully" test. These are excellent at weeding out the kids who will probably fail the course. The first question on the test tells the taker to "read every question carefully before beginning the test." The second question asks you to put your name in the top corner; after that, the questions get more ridiculous as you go on, asking students to do stuff like jump up and down or shout at the top of their lungs "I AM THE BEST AT FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS."

The very last question reads "now that you've carefully read through the test, only do questions one and two." If you did anything but read through the questions and write your name at the top, you failed the test because you didn't follow the instructions.

This problem doesn't go away with age—in many cases, it gets worse. College professors practically have to staple the syllabus to their students' heads to get them to read it, and even then it's a 50/50 chance.

We humans have a knack for putting forth the least effort possible, and that includes asking people to help us figure out stuff we're completely capable of understanding on our own. This doesn't just go for school assignments, but for everyday life. Fire alarms always go off because people microwave popcorn too long. Drivers ignore road signs and are taken by surprise three miles down the road when lanes end or speed limits change. Ikea tables wind up crooked because you didn't read the instructions (PICTURES! THEY ARE PICTURES AND NOT EVEN WORDS!) that came with your almond Flumgorp.

And people ask meteorologists the same, stupid questions about the weather time and time again without actually reading their forecasts. Fans of James Spann's Facebook page love when people start asking him what time the storms will start or when the line will reach a certain city. Spann is one of the owners of The Alabama Weather Blog, which serves as a major forecasting hub for much of the state's population. Whenever the Birmingham meteorologist publishes a link to a blog post about thunderstorms or other extreme weather events, many of his more than 144,000 followers will beg him to tell them information answered in the blog post.

Now, James is a great guy and isn't mean to people, so he answers these folks very politely: "read the blog for details" or some variation thereof. I have the pleasure of being a dick to people because, hey, this is Gawker. But most meteorologists and weather writers from other organizations can't just haul off and call someone an uneducated baboon's ass for having the audacity to demand a personalized forecast when they could have clicked one link and gotten that exact information.

Whether it's a weather forecast or a college course or the instructions on the back of a box of Rice-a-Roni, reading stuff will eliminate 90% of your stupid questions. But hey—odds are that people who actually need this bit of common sense didn't read this post anyway.

[Image: "Closeup portrait, dumb clueless senior mature man, arms out asking why whats the problem who cares so what, I dont know." by PathDoc/]

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