Brad Frost:

“Just” makes me feel like an idiot. “Just” presumes I come from a specific background, studied certain courses in university, am fluent in certain technologies, and have read all the right books, articles, and resources. “Just” is a dangerous word.

I’m guilty of giving this type of advice. I try not to over simplify instructions and make people feel stupid for not knowing how to do something but I know I end up doing so. I’m glad Brad wrote this post to remind me to stop doing that.

    @cdevroe I think Frost’s problem is that he tends to read “you are dumb” into those statements when he really should only be reading “I believe this is simple if you have done it a lot”. If he’s never made an SSH key before that isn’t an indication he’s dumb; it only means he hasn’t yet done something that the speaker thinks is a common and/or commonly-performed task.

    In short, I think Frost worries too much about what is merely easily-fixable ignorance.

    @adiabatic He was expressing how those statements make him feel. His feelings are totally valid. I do not believe he is overthinking it. We can do better.

    @adiabatic And I agree with you as well, that ignorance is not a measure of “dumbness”. My entire life people have said to me “you’re so smart” because I can use a computer or program. I always correct them. I know computers, others know cooking or carpentry. I’m no different.

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