Frequently asked questions

Paul Cooijmans


Click on a question to go to the answer and use the <Home> key on your keyboard to return to the top of the page if needed.

Three Minotaur heads as appearing on the Cooijmans family coat of arms


I have a question

Please first try to find the answer on this page, the rest of the web location, or elsewhere on the Internet via a search engine. If that fails one may consider asking it by electronic mail (popularly known as "e-mail").

I have more than one question

(1) Please ask only the first, wait for the answer, and read it before sending a next one. When multiple questions are asked at the same time, the second and further typically become superfluous or change after seeing the first answer (which tends to be different from what the asker expects) so that time and effort put into answering the second and further questions would be wasted (and no, the asker can not determine beforehand whether or not the further questions are sufficiently unrelated to not become superfluous, as experience has borne out). (2) Also, the answerer is not a machine that automatically responds to questions and has nothing else to do; rather, the answerer is a creative person who needs one's time to be productive, and whose time one is taking up by requiring questions to be answered. Answering questions takes much more time and effort than asking them. Quickly typing a list of questions and then expecting the answerer to spend hours answering them is asymmetrical and unfair; one is then treating the other person like a mindless robot. Note that there are two reasons for "one question at a time" given in this paragraph, which are each in themselves sufficient (experience shows that many overlook the second reason, which starts with "Also," hence this remark).

I want to send you multiple messages in a row without waiting for a reply

Please send only the first, wait for the reply, and read and try to understand it before sending a possible next one. Sending multiple messages in a row without waiting for a reply is rude, pushy behaviour and will with utmost certainty be held against you. It is like screaming at the other person, "Why are you so slow?! Why are you not responding?!" And no, this is not a peculiarity of mine; this is standard "netiquette".

I want to ask you a question about something I read on your web site

Please refer to it by providing its uniform resource locator, and quote the pertinent passage correctly and integrally. This will prevent you from putting words into my mouth and thus asking about something I did not actually write, which would obviously make your question unanswerable.

I want an interview by e-mail

I am more than willing to cooperate in an interview if there is an absolute and unconditional guarantee my answers will be presented integrally and verbatim, including punctuation and spelling. Such a guarantee is self-obvious to me, but not to everyone, which is why it is mentioned here. Under this condition, interviews are a sublime way for me to communicate with the world. Obviously, meant here is an interview that will be published, not a private interview for yourself that serves only as a trick to evade the one-question restriction.

I want to ask a question anonymously or pseudonymously

Anonymous (or pseudonymous) questions are not answered because experience has shown that anonymous or pseudonymous persons have bad intentions. For clarity: To avoid being anonymous, push <Enter> (on some keyboards called <Return>) twice after typing your message, then type your name. This is not irony or patronizing, some people actually need this instruction for they do not understand the word "anonymous".

I have a question that starts with "What about…"

Please rephrase it into a proper form so that it is clear what you are asking. Questions starting with "What about…" are often too vague to be answered.

I want to put my question in the subject line of the message

Please put it in the body of the message instead. The subject line is for the subject, the body for the message. That is how one naturally reads e-mail. Questions in the subject line are never answered.

What is your I.Q.?

That information is kept private. In the past, a list with all of my test scores was online, but after abuse it was removed. I do not claim to be extremely intelligent; people may see me thus, but that is based on their perception of me and of what I have done, and not on knowledge of actual scores.

Are you a psychologist?

While legally entitled to call myself a psychologist — psycholoog, in Netherlandic — I never use that title in practice. Dealing mainly with I.Q. tests and thereto related statistics, I know all too well that psychologists in general possess so shamefully little expertise in that field that presenting myself as a psychologist would not add any credence whatsoever to what I do.

I have a question that contains an assumption

Please take the assumption out, put it into a separate question, and ask that first. Questions containing assumptions can not be answered if the assumptions are wrong; and those inclined to ask questions containing assumptions often get their assumptions wrong. Example: The question "Why is two plus two five?" can not be answered because it contains the false assumption that two plus two is five. So, the proper way to go about it is to put the assumption into a separate question; that is, to first ask "Is two plus two five?"

i wants to ask a question in all lower case letters as i is too lazy to holds down the shift key

I request to use capitals where required; that is, for the first letter of each sentence, the first letter of each name, the word "I", and all of the letters of acronyms and abbreviations that are conventionally written in capitals. If one takes this small trouble, one will suddenly find one's written communication to become very much more effective, not just with me but with any civilized person. Lower-case messages are not taken seriously by anyone of erudition. This reply is therefore a golden opportunity for who did not know this yet; an "eye-opener"; a "learning moment".

I want to ask a question in the tiniest possible font size

I request to use at least a normal, legible font size, and in fact I strongly suggest you send your message as plain text instead of hypertext markup language, in which case you will not need to define a font size at all. And while you are at it, I also suggest you go to the settings of your electronic mail program and check the box that says, "Always send messages as plain text", or uncheck the box that says "Compose messages in H.T.M.L. format". The problem will then be solved permanently. Your messages will also be lighter in file size, which saves bandwidth and energy consumption, and makes for less exhaust of harmful gasses into the Earth's atmosphere. Does not this delight you to no end?

(This empty space is to enable your web browser to jump from the hyper references on top of the page to the relevant answers; without sufficient empty space at the bottom of the page, this process might fail for the bottom-most answers because the browser could not scroll down far enough before reaching the bottom of the page, especially with a high-resolution monitor being employed.)