I have noticed good instructors often will start a
training session with something like "don't be afraid to ask
questions, the chances are every-one else is thinking it as
I've taught a number of undergraduate programming labs (not quite what you're talking about, but I think close enough). These labs have had a lecture component (I stand in front of three rows of computers and talk at the students for half an hour or so) and a "work" component (students work for two and a half hours while I go around answering questions). It's very difficult to get people to ask questions in front of a crowd, mostly (I believe) because it's scary to run the risk of being wrong in front of your peers. (It's also difficult to get a reasonable answer if you stop a lecture and quiz someone -- most people will duck the question. "I don't really know" is much easier to take than being shown wrong.)
This sucks really, really hard. It's terribly frustrating to try to explain something and to know that at least a dozen people don't understand, that they're going to ask you the same kind of questions when it's "safe to do so" (when they can ask just you, rather than ask in front of everyone), and not be able to easily field their questions where it'll do the most good. (Sure, I can try to answer their questions before they ask, and I've done so in the past -- but it doesn't work as well because they haven't thought the questions through as thoroughly. Thinking about a question, how to phrase it, what sort of examples to give, that sort of thing helps you understand the problem and makes it easier to learn. I've abandoned about half of the SoPWs I've started because the act of phrasing the question revealed the answer.)
I'm sort of hoping that someone on PerlMonks knows how to counter this fear of failure. I'd love to have some more tricks up my sleeve the next time I ask, "Any questions?" and get a lab full of silence. But more than that, I think we need to re-think our collective attitude towards "mistake nodes" if people are constantly trying to consider their own "unworthy" nodes for deletion. Fewer "no effort" considerations, maybe. Fewer off-the-cuff downvotes for "dumb" posts. I don't know The Answer(tm); I've just barely started thinking about the problem.
Finally, a big heartfelt "thanks!" to monks like tye, Ovid, and merlyn (by no means a complete list) who seem to have a limitless capacity for answering even the most basic questions over and over and over again. You folks make the Monastery a great place.
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Re: Re(2): why a nodelet can be kept against author wish?
by stefp (Vicar) on Jul 13, 2002 at 14:59 UTC