I Don't Know Day

Lets make today a special day in which you are encouraged to admit that you don't know something. Anything, really. Perhaps that you don't know how many planets there are in the solar system (hey, it keeps changing and the count is apparently currently at eight) or how many arguments the Tween class in Flash takes in its constructor (the answer, according to Jen's tutorial, is seven and that's the reason why I keep wishing they'd used a parameter object instead).

Admitting that you do not know something is a very important step in the eventual road to knowing something. And, in this day and age, the road between not knowing and knowing can be a very short ride indeed thanks to the all-mighty wisdom of Google so you really don't have too many excuses for not eventually finding things out, even if you don't know them this very instant.

Personally, when I don't know something, I say "I don't know." I might follow this up with "but I'll find out" but I usually don't even bother as I personally take it for granted that that is implied. And I find that I expect the same of others, both in life generally and when working together. At the very least, I believe that it shows that you have respect for the other person by not wasting their time with hastily-constructed misinformation.

Misinformation sucks. I'd rather have less information than misinformation. In fact, in this age of information overload, I place great value on retaining a small pool of succint, precise knowledge that is well-organized. Instead of retaining an endless store of facts, I try to retain a carefully-selected set of processes and links; a conceptual map that I can apply to different situations. A map that I can zoom in on when necessary and use to gather detailed information for specific instances that I can later conveniently forget, while remaining secure in the knowledge that I retain the tools I need for finding it again should I require it. Keeping a blog is great for this, by the way. I usually blog things that I feel I may need later but which I do not want to commit to memory (hey, memory is expensive!)

But I diverge...

It all begins with admitting that there will always be more out there that you do not know than you do know and that's not a bad thing, or a good thing -- it just is. There's nothing to be ashamed of in not knowing something. The saying goes that "to not know that you don't know" is the worst thing. I would add to this that "not admitting that you don't know" is equally as bad.

So, as part of I Don't Know Day, I invite you to add to the comments something that you don't know (and then share with us what you find out about it.)