My grandmother is smarter than you October 29, 2018 7:32 AM   Subscribe

How would you explain it to your grandmother? is such a terrible question to ask regarding tech. I work daily in my office with actual, real-live grandmothers who actively develop software with IBM and RedHat. Please kill this ageist and sexist assumption. It is actively harmful and factually incorrect.

Possible alternates could be: layman's terms, plain English, simplify it for me...

The inhabitants of Crone Island are heavily armed and well organized.
posted by jillithd to Etiquette/Policy at 7:32 AM (78 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

Just for context, I did delete that comment in the Red Hat thread (and subsequent replies) but this is a good reminder in general.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:34 AM on October 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


My work is allllll about explaining things to people, often tech-related - specific instructions, general ideas, you name it. I 100000% agree with you. I usually say "someone who's never seen this before", "an inexperienced user" (thank you two jobs ago), etc.

My grandmothers are long gone, but the one I met would have really liked Twitter.
posted by wellred at 7:42 AM on October 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


"an inexperienced user"

Much preferable to "a complete idiot," fortunately.
posted by Melismata at 7:45 AM on October 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I am a grandmother and I can't favorite this hard enough. I watched the reboot of Murphy Brown and nearly spit at the tv because the old people can't use technology, isn't that amusing bit was so ham-fisted, stupid, age-ist, and Not Funny. This belief directly keeps me from being able to work in technical fields, which I am Very Good At, and I'm so bloody tired of it. Must stop ranting now. Thank you.
posted by theora55 at 7:58 AM on October 29, 2018 [53 favorites]


I had a boss once who used say, "Explain it to me like I'm Rip van Winkle and I just woke up." That serves the same purpose without being unkind or unfair.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:23 AM on October 29, 2018 [31 favorites]


It's insulting to the Dutch though
posted by thelonius at 8:30 AM on October 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


“Explain like I’m 5” (ELI5) is a pretty common online saying. I mean, it’s technically still agist, but in the other direction. But honestly, 5-yo brains need explanations, so I’m not reading that one as insulting.
posted by greermahoney at 8:31 AM on October 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


It's insulting to the Dutch though

Dutch veterans of the American War for Independence, maybe.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


Yeah, the current grandparent generation are the _same kids_ who (allegedly) could program VCRs, set the clocks on microwaves, and, oh, write basic programs on their Commodore 64s with an ease which mystified their own grandparents. And they are the ones MAKING all the tech - or the tech underpinning the tech - that people are dealing with and talking about.

It's just...dated. I've noticed this in a lot of media: the stereotypes people are playing/making fun of/reacting to are often the ones currently portrayed in media, but those are the tropes of the previous generation.
posted by amtho at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


I have sometimes used my mom as an example of someone who is computer illiterate because my mom is computer illiterate. I agree that using a generic grandmother to mean "someone who doesn't understand things" is ageist and sexist and an insult some awesome grandmothers I know.
posted by bondcliff at 8:37 AM on October 29, 2018


How would you explain it to your grandmother?

I wouldn't, they're dead.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:40 AM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I work in a tech/service related job where I am on the phone and troubleshooting/walking people through at times very complicated procedures. I always try to explain things to people as if they are intelligent children who are learning something new.

Assume that someone is unfamiliar but not unintelligent has always been a mantra for me. And slow it down is also a good thing to keep in mind, not only for the new user, but for yourself as well.
posted by Fizz at 8:41 AM on October 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


There's a secondary layer of judgment/insult to "How would you explain it to your grandmother?" and its analogues that also drives me crazy, tbh. It's the idea that if a person doesn't understand [complicated technical concept] easily and without any assistance, that they're less of a person. It definitely deserves consideration that plenty of grandmas likely do grasp [tech concept at hand], but even the grandmas that don't deserve better than to be a shorthand for ignorance.

As my mom is fond of saying, "I may need you to teach me how to use my laptop, but I taught you how to use a spoon."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:52 AM on October 29, 2018 [86 favorites]


Now officially in love with DirtyOldTown's mom
posted by donnagirl at 8:58 AM on October 29, 2018 [27 favorites]


Rip Van Winkle-shaming, sigh.
posted by theora55 at 9:05 AM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


you know that's a joke, right? Right?
posted by theora55 at 9:09 AM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Counterpoint: The user is my mom.
posted by emelenjr at 9:12 AM on October 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


This sort of thing happens often! My septuagenarian mother had Comcast over to install high-speed with a new modem. I'm a middle aged lady and I was visiting at the time.

When she asked the technician how to reset the password on her own, he said, "It's not too hard. You could ask your son or your grandson to help you."

"Her grandson is three," I said.
posted by mochapickle at 9:22 AM on October 29, 2018 [26 favorites]


I teach grandmothers how to use technology all the time. Some are good at it and some are less good. I'm careful about my language but also explain to the people I am teaching that the reasons they are often struggling is because many major websites are designed by younger people who may have no experience with some of the things that can and often do accompany the aging process.

- vision issues, including needing magnification and also having trouble with low-contrast (grey on black background types of things)
- mobility issues, including having to click on a very tiny target to open up settings, click on something that is moving, or click something 22 times to make it do something (stupid "train my robot car" CAPTCHAs)
- memory issues including interfaces that change depending on whether you mouse over them (see mobility issues) or websites that update into more user-unfriendly configurations (new gmail, my older users all hate you) or things that hide until you need them

I feel like explaining problems in technology to technology creators relative to actual issues people experience (and mentioning that there are real people attached to them) can be useful but you don't need sexist/ageist shorthand to do it.

I talk about my landlady's issues with technology. She is 94. She only has one eye that works well. She is nobody's grandmother. Some of her issues are age-related, only in that the tools she wants to use are not designed for people like her. They totally could be and they are not, Every time we say "Explain it to my grandmother" one of the other things we're admitting is that technologists have not been kind to grandmothers and that, i think is where we should be focusing our energies.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:24 AM on October 29, 2018 [56 favorites]


As a person in my mid-40s who works in IT, I often want to frame it as "How would my kids explain this to me [if I could even get them to consider me worth their time to teach]?"
posted by wenestvedt at 9:26 AM on October 29, 2018


Also, I tell a lot of our users that they are smart and they are capable, and just because something is on a computer is no reason to think they can't figure it out. Have some confidence, dammit!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:29 AM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


When she asked the technician how to reset the password on her own, he said, "It's not too hard. You could ask your son or your grandson to help you."

"Her grandson is three," I said.


This one gets double points because sexism.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:35 AM on October 29, 2018 [41 favorites]


Right? And aimed at us in our own living room by a total stranger. I’m still mad!
posted by mochapickle at 9:46 AM on October 29, 2018 [20 favorites]


Heartily seconded. Enough with ageism in general, but particularly with ageism/tech assumptions. I was telling some story recently about my dad and his friends, all in their 70s, and somebody made a joke about them not understanding email or something. I explained that my dad and his friends are all electronics engineers who have been on the forefront of developing the technologies they are holding in their hands since the the 1970s. They have a much deeper understanding of information systems than most sneering tyros.
posted by Miko at 9:51 AM on October 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


I am STILL salty about some comment on the Blue earlier this year (maybe, time moves differently these days) that was like "55-year-olds don't even know how to do sex" and I was all THEY INVENTED THE GRAPHICAL WEB AND ONLINE CREDIT CARD PROCESSING SO THEY COULD SEE/GET SEX EASIER so sorry to disappoint but even though we are extremely unattractive to you and you don't want to think about it we have done some shit, kiddo.

We just need slightly bigger fonts to do it in.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:06 AM on October 29, 2018 [54 favorites]


layman's terms

Shouldn't that be layperson's terms?
posted by FJT at 10:27 AM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Any "explain it to me like I'm $XTYPEPERSON" is going to be offensive, generally speaking. Requests for explanations should be self-centered (in the good way): "Please explain this to me in simple terms," or "I don't understand the basics of $Z; can you walk me through it" is always going to be better than using a cohort as an example of ignorant people.
posted by tzikeh at 11:12 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


layman's terms

Shouldn't that be layperson's terms?


Yes, and "plain English" isn't somewhere you want to go either.

To head it off: no, I'm not kidding. Just make the request about you--it is, after all. "Please help me understand this, but please keep the explanation simple because I don't know much about this at all, thank you" is not difficult to write.
posted by tzikeh at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Previously. And it's still valid.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:31 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


The sexism is the most annoying part of it to me (my grandmother likes technology, my grandfather just ignores its existence).

"Explain it to me like I've only had 5 hours of sleep and all I want to do is go back to bed" seems like it would be pretty universal, but maybe I'm projecting.
posted by trig at 11:44 AM on October 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


Some are good at it and some are less good.

In my 30 years of IT experience, I've found this to be relevant for people of all ages.

... one of the other things we're admitting is that technologists have not been kind to grandmothers and that, i think is where we should be focusing our energies.

Abso-dadgum-lutely this, though I'd amend "grandmothers" to "everyone".
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Greg Ace, no. This specific type of unkindness has been specifically aimed at grandmothers, mothers and aunts... older women. Not 'everyone'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:52 AM on October 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


Not 100% sure, but I don't think Greg Ace's "amend grandmothers to everyone" comment was intended to dismiss the sexism in the "like you would explain it to a grandmother" line. Rather, it read to me like a more limited reply to the point about technologists and how they are blithely letting people get left behind rather than improve the usability/UX of their tech. He was saying it's not fair/accurate to use grandmothers as a trope in that gripe either.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:23 PM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


And if you feel the need to look at a broader group: technologists have been unkind enough to women in general to chase them out of STEM altogether, pretty much.

Back in the seventies and eighties, women used to be into computing as much as men. This is no longer the case in the US and much of Europe. Makes you wonder what happened, doesn't it?
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:23 PM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


"make it easy enough for your boss to understand" bc no boss i've ever had could figure out anything more complicated than how to take a 4h lunch AND expense it at the same time
posted by poffin boffin at 12:30 PM on October 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


I use "neighbor". Neighbors come in many shapes, genders, etc. Most of my neighbors are not technologists. "Technologists who work on liberating their neighbors often face repercussions", "explain to my/your neighbor," "neighbor-friendly explanations of technical topics", and so on.
posted by brainwane at 12:38 PM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Too-Ticky - I completely agree that the whole "my grandmother" business is unfair and discrimination against women is unwarranted and I didn't intend to minimize any of that. As DirtyOldTown suggests, I was just trying to extend the idea that in addition to rooting out ageism and sexism, technology in general should also be designed to be more accessible to everyone, because having trouble with it isn't just limited to any specific demographic.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Counterpoint: The user is my mom.

For Metafilter, I often suspect that Richard Littauer's other UX review website is applicable.
The User Is Drunk

Your website should be so simple, a drunk person could use it.
You can't test that. I'll do it for you.
posted by zamboni at 12:43 PM on October 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I tend to use "... As if you're writing documentation for a new employee who just joined the team" with some success, because context context context.
posted by davejay at 1:23 PM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Let's see, by 1918, my grandmother flew an airplane, drove a car, tractor and an R.E.O. Speedwagon. Could work a switchboard and radio But could she vote, hell no.

Simply, she knew her limits and didn't need no 'splaining on things she didn't use and if she did, she would learn.
posted by clavdivs at 1:36 PM on October 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: Splainit to me like I'm drunk.
posted by HotToddy at 2:21 PM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I made the comment. I'm sorry for not thinking before writing. Lesson learned.
posted by zardoz at 2:59 PM on October 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


I mean, the oldest millennials could be grandmas already so think on that.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:01 PM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been on Metafilter for a dozen years and I want to give back, so if it helps, I am comfortable with anyone who wants to say about anything "Explain it to me like I'm 4ster."
posted by 4ster at 7:07 PM on October 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


My father, who is 77, has a better computer and plays more video games than I do these days (the benefits of double retirement). He's currently trying to learn to use a DualShock or whatever the PS4 controller is called (I own three and do not care) so that he can play Red Dead Redemption 2, which he is annoyed they are not bringing to PC.
posted by Caduceus at 7:26 PM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry I'm still stuck on the part how clavdivs grandma was in REO Speedwagon....
posted by elsietheeel at 7:59 PM on October 29, 2018 [25 favorites]


In the late 90s my friend's Grandma wanted to edit family photos, so she figured out how to use a scanner & taught herself Photoshop. Later on she got a digital camera & started creating albums on Flickr. She figured out email and chatted with her Grandkids over ICQ. Her 90th Birthday present was a new computer chair and she was SO happy. I know because I saw the photo of it she posted online.

She's who I think of whenever someone says How would you explain it to your grandmother? Her and my co-workers who are both Grandmothers and professional computer programmers.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 9:28 PM on October 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


Lol, davejay, that's a good one but it only works when that's not what you're actually doing. /returns to doing that
posted by wellred at 5:05 AM on October 30, 2018


I usually say, “Explain it as though I’m a Martian who just landed here and knows nothing about our technology,” but now that I think of it, that makes no sense whatsoever. I’ll switch to Rip Van Winkle.
posted by holborne at 6:33 AM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Agree - not long ago, I collaborated with my kids' grandmother (who was the Washington Post's librarian for 30 years, has an MA in public history, and publishes semi-regularly in the journal of the Rudyard Kipling Society) on a paper for a scholarly conference. There are some very sharp grandmothers out there.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:52 AM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Explaining things to the dead is indeed a tricky art.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:08 AM on October 30, 2018


"First we burn it, which is appropriate for this self-congratulatory junk, and then when the shades come we offer them blood to speak. How about yours?"
posted by clew at 12:08 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thank you for this. I’m a woman who was in tech starting in the early 80s. Whenever someone assumes I can’t possibly know how to work something - probably because I am a middle-aged female- , I get so frustrated and annoyed. Do they think everything tech was invented in the last couple of years? And that none of the people working on it were women?

Why do I even ask?

Anyway, thanks.
posted by AMyNameIs at 4:32 PM on October 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


"Explain it to me like I'm a third-grader."

Not age-ist. You can in theory be an adult in third grade. Adam Sandler proved it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:59 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


we can use"how would you explain it to askmehow's son's Grandma" without being sexist or ageist b/c she is an, otherwise very with it, octagenerian that embodies this unfair phrasing.
posted by askmehow at 5:16 PM on October 30, 2018


I was gonna say "Explain it like I'm an unfrozen caveman," but they must have some general knowledge of information technology to get through law school.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:13 PM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


No, please don't use a specific clueless grandma. That doesn't help. I don't care if your grandma is clueless. I've never met her and I don't want you throwing her under the bus to ask for a better explanation when it's totally unnecessary. "Explain it to me as if I were a human person who doesn't understand it, " actually does suffice. Nobody's parent or grandparent needs to be involved.
posted by potrzebie at 11:19 PM on October 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


I know it's boring, but 'Please explain this to me in basic terms, I'm very new to this' works fine.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:01 AM on October 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


Okay, explain Adam Sandler to me like he is a third-grader.
posted by Namlit at 5:16 AM on October 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


Why not "explain it to me like I'm an alien and I just landed on Earth". It implies that I'm intelligent (I mean, I *did* just fly through space) but that I'm in a totally new environment about which I am clueless.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:30 AM on October 31, 2018


When I was editing Army tank acquisition documents, I used "Would a podiatrist understand this?" because at that moment in history, one of the members of the House Armed Services Committee (who might theoretically need to read a particular document to decide whether the Army would purchase a certain tank) who had been a podiatrist before getting into politics. So here was a person who had, at the very least, made his way through medical school and run a reasonably successful small business, and then been elected to the U.S. Congress a few times (starting before the Tea Party wave, so he probably wasn't a complete gomer). But he had no military experience, nor did he have any particular training in large-scale acquisition, nor was he an automotive engineer, and yet, he may have to render judgment on which tank the U.S. Army would need to commit to for the next several generations of warfare.

I still ask myself, occasionally, Would a podiatrist understand this?
posted by Etrigan at 8:01 AM on October 31, 2018 [16 favorites]


Seems like, "I don't understand. Could you explain it to me so that I understand?" would be totally sufficient. Requires admitting vulnerability rather than projecting it onto marginalized groups of people, so it takes a bit of personal courage, but I have faith in everyone here.
posted by lazuli at 8:30 AM on October 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


(Which is different from Etrigan's example, which did require trying to put themselves in their audience's place, but that's a specific audience in mind, not some weird sexist projection.)
posted by lazuli at 8:31 AM on October 31, 2018


My great-grandmother taught me several of the oldest technologies known to humankind, so.
(Cooking, handsewing, knitting, crocheting, how to treat burns and infections with household items.)
When I turned sixteen and started taking calculus, she announced how proud she was to finally have a great-grandchild who followed in her footsteps. Because she had taken calculus too. She was born in 1903.

Generalizations aren't great. Wholeheartedly agree with lazuli's approach; it's one I do myself.
posted by fraula at 1:20 PM on October 31, 2018 [6 favorites]


We just need slightly bigger fonts to do it in.

Shouldn't do sex in a font, it interrupts the christening.

I think people should explain things like they actually want the person they're talking to to understand.
posted by Grangousier at 1:59 AM on November 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Of course. The tricky thing can be making sure that the explainee's level of understanding, and the level at which the explanation is aimed, are well matched. After all, we do not all understand the same things, explained in the same way.
That's the whole point of saying things like 'explain it to me like...'
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:06 AM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think people should explain things like they actually want the person they're talking to to understand.

Quite. When I was in University I had a side job doing remedial teaching to 14-18 year olds. And while this was basically in a classroom setting (pure logistics, no other reason) with usually a dozen attending, the pupils all had different requirements, different levels of education as they were in different grades and from different school categories, hence they needed different levels of explanation. So, the common way to tackle that was by taking a few minutes to skim the textbook chapter they were dealing with, to get a feel for the kind of explanation they'd need. Okay, on some occasions you'd find they missed something essential somewhere further back, which you'd then try to set right.

This one-on-one explaining is something I manage quite well; it's been regularly commented on by managers and colleagues. I've also done small workshops where people are generally at the same knowledge level, and just the odd further explanation for one of the attendants doesn't bother the others. But I've seen workshops and trainings go totally off the rails because the teacher was unable to connect with the knowledge level of one or two attendants (basically, there should have been prerequisites set which those attendants really didn't meet).

So if you find you need a reference to some person's level of knowledge to illustrate the level of explaining you have to do, remember that there are no such generic reference persons, only particular persons with particular levels of knowledge. And the people in your audience need to know that person well enough to be able to use that reference. Someone's grandmother, or nephew, cat or horse are not well-known, so unusable that way.
posted by Stoneshop at 4:09 AM on November 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


I had to teach my dad how to use email when he was in his 50s. I've never seen him have so many tantrums, and I'm saying this about a chronic alcoholic. Fortunately he discovered online bargain shopping and bridge, so he had an incentive to learn after that, but it was still all uphill.

My mom, now deceased, had been all over new technology and was the reason we'd had a computer. My dad never touched it.

My former boss, a man in his 60s, came into my office one day and asked if we could have facebook. He'd been at a marketing seminar and heard it was useful. I said sure, I'll set that up, what would he like to do with it? His eyes widened. "Do... with it?" I handled our social media for the first year or two, before I got too busy. I also had to explain to the other attorneys that if they had their work email on their phone, then they had to password protect it and set it to delete after a number of bad login attempts.

My understanding of gender and technology is that the average grandma is more likely to use social media than the average grandpa, but it's the kind of thing she won't get credit for because social media gets poo-pooed as unimportant.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:23 AM on November 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think "like you'd explain it to your grandmother" and "like you'd explain it to a third-grader" are often used as exhortations to avoid overuse of insider jargon and assumptions about the user's previous knowledge and experience. In those cases, I think "explain in layman's terms" and "explain in the simplest possible terms" can be useful as replacements.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:58 AM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


You could also use specific lack of knowledge as a basis: Explain it to me like I've never seen a computer before. Explain it to me like I've just learned to use the internet. (My son once started an explanation to me with "the internet is . . .", but he knows me and knew I'd think it was funny.)

Or go with a historical figure. Explain it to me like I'm Mozart. Explain it to me like I'm Marie Curie.
posted by FencingGal at 12:19 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Explain to me as if I were someone who was not well versed in the subject matter in this context and require additional information you might assume someone more well versed in this subject would already know as a matter of course for their field, interests, or work."
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:52 PM on November 1, 2018


Also, this

I was gonna say "Explain it like I'm an unfrozen caveman," but they must have some general knowledge of information technology to get through law school.

Is mean and uncalled for.

Everyone thinks it's cool to slam attorneys, right up until you need to call us.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:01 AM on November 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Late to this, but as a programmer closing in on 50 I want to add that even if you don't care about the agism against the general public, think of those of us who need to keep making a living in this field. Agism in IT is absolutely brutal and every time someone reinforces old folks can't understand the new hotness it contributes to people like me finding it harder to get the work we need to feed and house ourselves. This stuff isn't just impolite and hurting people's feelings, it's got actual practical harms.
posted by phearlez at 7:19 AM on November 2, 2018 [5 favorites]


bile, the old Phil Hartman SNL sketches had the unfrozen caveman as an actual practicing, litigating attorney. I think it was meant to riff on that, not any sort of lawyer = caveman thing.
posted by phearlez at 7:22 AM on November 2, 2018 [6 favorites]


Also, this

I was gonna say "Explain it like I'm an unfrozen caveman," but they must have some general knowledge of information technology to get through law school.

Is mean and uncalled for.

Everyone thinks it's cool to slam attorneys, right up until you need to call us.


I was making a reference to the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer character from Saturday Night Live. I wasn't aware that it had passed into such obscurity. The joke of the character was that he was just as smart and savvy as opposing counsel, but would sarcastically claim naivete due to his status as a literal unfrozen caveman. There was no "slam" against anyone.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:26 AM on November 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Totally agree with this, will be mindful in the future.

Also, I don’t think I’m alone in finding the specific redditism “explain like I’m 5” thing wierd every time I see it on Metafilter—especially since “explain like I’m 5” has become a Reddit shibboleth for “please literally answer my question,” which in turn was needed because Ask Reddit is explicitly chatfilter and not meant for getting accurate answers to specific questions.

Metafilter does not need ELI5 because asking questions to which there could be a specific answer, rather than using them as topics for discussion, is part of the fabric of AskMe.
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:41 PM on November 2, 2018


My new phrase will be "Explain it to me like I've been using computers since the early 80s and everything I learned has been deprecated about 100 times in the last 35 years and I'm sick as shit of having to start over with every new OS/ software version." (I'm looking at you Adobe and Mac OSX)
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:34 PM on November 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


When I worked for a big UK law firm, the partners would sometimes ask for a "noddy's guide" to something - meaning a simple or basic overview of a topic that was outside their area of expertise. I find that term useful, because it doesn't imply any judgement about the intelligence of the person asking the question, just that they don't happen to be familiar with the topic.

"101" would probably service the same purpose, no?
posted by Pink Frost at 12:51 AM on November 5, 2018


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