Re: Si definition of Friendliess

From: Jimmy Wales (
Date: Fri Apr 06 2001 - 17:05:48 MDT

Arona Ndiaye wrote:
> With all due respect Chris, should I need to 'tear down' a Chevy 350 engine
> I would spend time & sweat on learning anything I can about engines (even if
> it takes me 3 years) before asking for help... or I'd ask someone else to do
> it. I wouldn't expect someone to dumb it down for me.


Of course you would expect someone to "dumb it down" for you, wouldn't you?
That's the best way to learn!

When you want to learn physics, you don't (unless you already have a very strong
background in advanced mathematics or something) go to the library and start reading
scientific journals. You start with a textbook that explains everything in a step
by step fashion, and you supplement it with various popular science books by people
like Stephen Hawkings, to get an idea of the big picture issues at a level you can
grasp without advanced technical knowledge. Later, if you get really good at it,
you can read the actual scientific papers written by the leaders in the field.

If I wanted to learn to tear down a Chevy 350, I wouldn't go right out
and get the technical specifications manual and start puzzling over
it. I wouldn't just grab a hammer and hacksaw and start opening it
up, either. I'd look for a good book on the subject, hopefully
including lots of easy-to-understand diagrams and step-by-step

And I'd *start* by "asking for help", which would mean taking a class
at a local community college.

I might even look on the web, but if I found a site that didn't suit
my current context of knowledge, I'd bookmark it and look for
something more basic, something to get me up to speed. Maybe there's
a mailing list where I could meet people like Chris, friendly people
eager to help out the 'newbie' to their field.

It's much faster to learn in this way. Why waste 3 years learning a
mechanical task? If you need to learn it, you can learn it in just a
few months if you are willing to ask for help.


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