Recently my friend abadidea had an experience dealing with people talking down to her about her problems in tech. One thing I saw in the thread of conversation that led to this were well-intentioned people incorrectly identifying the kind of communication she was offering, thinking that she was asking them for help with a problem so simple they could help her, and not just expressing her feelings about a system excluding her.
I see this fairly often, especially in the unmediated public space that is Twitter. Imagine a schoolroom, if you will, full of students. It is a free moment; the teacher is at the front, but the students are free to chatter to one another.
“Hey,” says the teacher, “Does anyone know this?”
Suddenly, peoples’ hands shoot up.
“Oo oo oo!” calls out a student. “Oo, oo, I don’t know!”
What’s happening is someone is so eager to answer a question, to solve a problem, to be right, they want to approach a conversation as a problem. That’s understandable, lots of people like that. We like being right. We all like to be the one in the know, the one who solves a problem. Especially if it gets attention of someone cool. Someone famous. Someone impressive.
But chances are, that’s how you look. You don’t look cool or interesting.
You look like a dumbass.