Dumb Questions and “Duh”

Carl Sagan said that there is no such thing as a dumb question. With all due respect to Mr. Sagan I have to partly disagree as to the best of my knowledge he was a never a member of an internet fitness board.

This is the only occupation where a person can hold a degree in an exercise or health related science, have a wall full of certifications and specializations, possess multiple decades of training or trainer experience and a record of sports/coaching achievements up to world level and there will still be a DYEL idiot that believes they know more than you, or anyone else for that matter. This is also an occupation where a person can have a fancy certificate stating they are a personal trainer and still be incapable of training people appropriately.

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
Bruce Lee

“Depends on the stubbornness of the fool, or the arrogance of the wise man.”

When I come across something I view as a “questionable question” I dissect things to concoct a reasonable answer that could be explained in the simplest terms. Unfortunately for the asker, a high percent of the time this requires a lot more information and they wind up having to answer 5-10 questions from me in order to give them an answer to their question.

I don’t mind that actually. A person is asking for help and doesn’t know, or didn’t consider the details and the variables. Ideally this will help tease out some information to get them in the direction.

This hasn’t always worked out as sometime the other side still failed to grasp the answer or the answer was lost in a dog pile of answers ranging from outright wrong to partially correct to somewhat passable to purely anecdotal.

I especially like the questions students pose during training classes that stump me and require me to give them an IOU. This requires work on my part and I have yet to come away from things without having learned a lot of new information.

It’s when a person with claimed experience (as in years of experience) in a matter asks very fundamental questions that give me pause.  I would presume a GroupEx instructor would able to teach a GroupEx class in a different room, or outdoors if needed.  I would presume a Strength and Conditioning Coach would be able to rattle off at least a dozen upper body and arm exercises suitable for teenage girls. My first thought when re-reading these questions is  “Does this person know what they’re doing, and would any answer I give be lost on them?”

Of all possible answers,including not giving an answer at all, the worst response I believe is  “Duh”  I hate the Duh response, when a trainer posts it as a comment in response to something. I’ve noted that Duh responders never seem to post any performance videos of themselves, provide informational posts or give much in the form of enlightening answers. Despite what they may think they’re not the smartest man/woman in the room and based on what I’ve observed, they’re just good at typing Duh.

Whether you believe dumb questions exist or not, the condescending response “Duh” only demonstrates a level of arrogance. IF the question truly was dumb, did “Duh” really add anything?


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