Our local computer club provides free help to people in the community. Recently they sent out an email saying this:
To my surprise, I later got this from the author of the warning:
Keeping it "simple" causes very wrong impressions of what this is and what it can do. It also can cause stupid rumors to spread: "Oh, don't buy an iPad - they have viruses!".
I also don't think we should be deciding what people can or cannot understand. I agree that some of the people who seek help from that club are not capable of following even simple instructions or are too lazy to want to. But that's not the case for all and it's also true that assuming incompetence creates incompetence.
I've always taken the tack of explaining things like this fully (or at least providing a link to somewhere that explains) and then politely offering to provide direct assistance if needed. I think that's the best way to do it.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2015-11-29 Anthony Lawrence
The whole thing that makes a mathematician’s life worthwhile is that he gets the grudging admiration of three or four colleagues. (Donald Knuth)