One of the things that, I think, terrifies many people is having to admit their own ignorance about something. I think this becomes especially more pronounced when we feel like we should now something. Often, we hem and haw, and we even bite our lips and keep silent, hoping that, somehow, we will stumble across an answer (or someone else will do the stumbling) and we will be able to glean the answer through their challenge and then we’ll have it and seem smarter the next time around.
If you do this, stop it! Right now! Seriously! First, it’s annoying. Second, there’s a good chance the item you are ignorant about, others are as well, so you might actually learn something in the process.
An example from today… we were discussing something regarding URL encoding, and an example was given showing a URL and a string of characters in the URL. As we were discussing this, I felt somewhat weird, like I should understand what was happening. At first, I decided to play it cool, because I was sure someone would discuss it and I’d be filled in. That didn’t happen. As we kept getting deeper and deeper into the examples I started to get more and more anxious… what did this represent? Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I asked “so, what is the pattern being used here? Why does that pattern get us to this issue? I don’t understand why it’s formatted that way…” and trailed off expecting to be called an idiot or laughed at, or some other indignation.