It depends

Friday, March 09, 2007

I've heard the expression that the answer is almost always, "it depends". Whether or not the answer is "it depends", of course, depends on certain factors. ;-) Math problems usually have a concrete answer, for instance, at least until you get into more advanced subjects.

One thing I try to keep in mind, however, is that an expert in the field can always tell you what the answer to your question depends on. A novice will generally give you an answer without first understanding the background and context for your question, thereby ignoring critical factors that your answer depends upon, or simply tell you that the answer depends, but will not be able to articulate what it is that will help you come to a conclusion.

To separate experts from posers, ask a question and see if the person can tell you the factors that would influence the answer.


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