You shouldn’t act surprised when people say they don’t know something. This applies to both technical things (“What?! I can’t believe you don’t know what DNS is!”) and non-technical things (“You don’t know who Nick Burns is?!”). Feigning surprise has absolutely no social or educational benefit: When people feign surprise, it’s usually to make them feel better about themselves and others feel worse. And even when that’s not the intention, it’s almost always the effect. As you’ve probably already guessed, this rule is tightly coupled to our belief in the importance of people feeling comfortable saying “I don’t know” and “I don’t understand.”
A main objective here — we try to remove fear. We think this is one of the biggest impediments to education. In most of the world, but especially school and work, people are afraid of looking stupid. This fear frequently keeps us from asking important questions like “how does that work?” or even just “why?” Worse, it keeps us from saying “I don’t understand.” That means many of us muddle on with a half-baked or entirely incorrect understanding of core concepts. Misunderstandings compound, and over time become harder and more embarrassing to admit to and address.
A well-actually happens when someone says something that’s
almost – but not entirely – correct, and you say, “well, actually…”
and then give a minor correction. This is especially annoying when the
correction has no bearing on the actual conversation. This doesn’t mean that
hackspace isn’t about truth-seeking or that we don’t care about being precise.
Almost all well-actually’s in our experience are about grandstanding, not
you borrow something…
Ask to take it with you — make a note
of it, and bring it back! We have lots
of supplies, equipment, parts – we know you can’t always finish everything
while you’re here.