Wikipedia:Don't stuff beans up your nose
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors on Wikipedia:Behavioral policy. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
|This page in a nutshell: If you tell people not to do something, your advice may backfire and instead tempt them to do it.|
The little boy's mother was off to market. She worried about her boy, who was always up to some mischief. She sternly admonished him, "Be good. Don't get into trouble. Don't eat all the cabbage. Don't spill all the milk. Don't throw stones at the cow. Don't fall down the well." The boy had done all of these things on other market days. Hoping to head off new trouble, she added, "And don't stuff beans up your nose!" This was a new idea for the boy, who promptly tried it out.
In our zeal to head off others' unwise action, we may put forth ideas they have not entertained before. It may be wise not to caution against such possibilities. Prophylactic admonition may trigger novel mischief. As the popular saying goes, "don't give 'em any ideas".
So, perhaps consider saying the following instead:
Keep your nose clean!
|This page is referenced from the Wikipedia:Glossary under BEANS.|
- Negative suggestion
- Reactance (psychology)
- Reverse psychology
- Security through obscurity
- Streisand effect
- Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point
- Wikipedia:Don't delete the main page
- Wikipedia:Don't stuff beans up the developers' noses
- Wikipedia:No climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man
- A counterpoint to this essay