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An Answer Vs a Reply

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There is a considerable difference between "an answer" and a "reply" to a question and there are certainly many people whom I have come across, who do not seem to know the difference, or the importance of the difference. Here, we will clarify that difference and the importance of that difference.

In the last few months, I began researching on how to grow mushrooms outside. I like mushrooms and have access to land where I can grow them so, I started reading-up and watching videos on the subject. As usual, for a beginner in any new field, there are many questions that will pop-up.

After purchasing the needed spores, I got a little confused on details between growing mushrooms outside, or inside and I posted my question under a video posted by the company I bought the mushroom spores from. This was the question:

"Are You sterilizing that substrate? Just curious. I bought your spores and want to try growing outside."

The answer and yes it was an answer, came a week later in form of: "Sterilization is not necessary for outdoor cultivation!"

Simple and to the point. That is a perfect answer because it is a correct reply. "Correct reply" is part of the definition of what an answer is. Not all replys are correct answers.

In learning more about growing mushrooms, I found-out that straw is also used in growing mushrooms sometimes. I came across a video, where the person talking about the growing of mushrooms mentioned using "sweet straw". Now, I am not exactly a city person who has never seen straw, or heard about it but I have never heard of "sweet straw". So, I asked:

"What is "sweet straw"? I tried looking online but I am not getting a good answer. Thanks!"

The reply was: "just use normal straw and put some sweet sugar on it."

I do not consider the above an answer because I am not sure what to make of it. At first, I thought the person was joking but this reply was from someone who posted a video made by the University of Wyoming. This person also grows mushrooms themselves. It doesn't feel like there would be someone pulling my leg in this situation.

So, even if the person had good intentions in telling me to "put some sweet sugar on it", this is ridiculous. How much sugar am I putting on the straw? And from what I know, sugar doesn't stick to straw. It's going to fall in between and end-up on the ground. Haha!! And what do they mean by "sweet sugar"? Is there non-sweet sugar out there? Isn't the point of sugar to be sweet? See how an incorrect reply complicates the situation instead of making it better? I had one question, now I have many more because I did not get a "correct answer".

So, I urge people to not be afraid of saying: "I don't know". Or, saying: "I'm not quite sure"; add a "maybe", or provide an answer for someone else who might be able to give an answer, as supposed to quickly giving-out a reply. Anyone can give a reply. Let me show You.

If someone asks: what is the weather like outside now? The answer is (for me right now): rainy, cloudy, cool and a bit windy. That is the correct answer. A reply to that question could be: meow! It's a reply. Not one that would help in any way but it is a reply: I meowed back at a question and that is indeed a reply (of sorts).

Thus, please do not answer with meows unless facing a cat. When facing humans, try specific and correct words to formulate an answer to any given question. It is important not to mislead others and/or be truthful. I for one, prefer someone not answering me (which happens often) than making-up stuff and being dishonest, or being incorrect. That does not help and it actually makes the situation more difficult. Clarity - always strive for clarity when in relation with others/otherness. Thank You.

All the best to everyone!

Outdoor Mushroom Beds- The Easiest Way to Grow Edible Mushrooms in Your Garden or Back Yard!


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on April 15, 2021:

Yes, Mrs. Shauna I tend to be wary of misinformation, or misunderstandings and so, I generally try to double check on what I am being told. Better be safe than sorry, as they say. Haha!! (Sometimes people do have good intentions but they do not manifest as such, in regards to advice, or giving-out information.)

Thank You for passing-by and leaving a comment. Cheers!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 15, 2021:

Mr. Happy, you're so right about "answer" versus "reply". Rather than the person to whom you posed a query come back with an oblique reply, it would be courteous for them to pop in and say something like, "I'll be back with an answer to your question as soon as I do some research." Then, come back and offer a viable, accurate answer/solution.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 14, 2021:

Mr Happy you are so right! Often is a misunderstanding and going back to explain and rectify questions, answers and replies can be frustrating.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on April 13, 2021:

Thank You for the visit and comment, Mrs. DDE. I presume sometimes people focus on just saying whatever first comes to mind (usually thoughts driven by emotions).

Listening and focusing are not often given the importance necessary and they are taken for granted. This leads us to miscommunication, misinterpretation, misguidance and it can lead to more serious mistrust and such.

Thanks again and all the best!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 13, 2021:

Interesting questions and so often I hear not what I want but the reply is either out of the topic or ignored. I would not get a yes or no answer instead an answer that has nothing to do with the question.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on April 13, 2021:

Thank You for the visit, Mr. Bill. If I had not encountered so many people giving me "replies" when I am looking for "answers", I would not have thought to write about this.

Have a great week and hey, maybe You'll think about growing mushrooms too, since You do some gardening yourself.


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 13, 2021:

Interesting topic, and I actually agree with your summation. I have no problem saying I don't know. It should come as no shock to anyone who knows me that there are things I don't know, even about writing, or about teaching, which I did for twenty years. And I'm fine with not having an answer. My ego does not need to be fed too much. It's not good for its health. :)

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