How to signal curiosity?

At LessWrong we en­courage peo­ple to be cu­ri­ous. Cu­ri­os­ity causes peo­ple to ask ques­tions, but some­times those ques­tions get mis­in­ter­preted as so­cial challenges or rhetor­i­cal tech­niques, or maybe just reg­u­lar ques­tions that you don’t have a “burn­ing itch” to know the an­swers for (and hence maybe not par­tic­u­larly worth an­swer­ing). I some­times pref­ace a ques­tion by “I’m cu­ri­ous,” but of course any­one could say that so it’s not a very effec­tive way to dis­t­in­guish one­self as be­ing gen­uinely cu­ri­ous. Another thing I some­times do is to try to an­swer the ques­tion my­self and pre­sent one or more an­swers as my “guesses” and ask if one of them is cor­rect, since some­one who is gen­uinely cu­ri­ous is more likely put in such effort. But un­for­tu­nately some­times that back­fires when the per­son you’re di­rect­ing the ques­tion at in­ter­prets the guesses as a way to make them look bad, be­cause for ex­am­ple you failed to hy­poth­e­size the ac­tual an­swer and in­clude it as one of the guesses, and all your guesses make them look worse than the ac­tual an­swer.

I’ve no­ticed ex­am­ples of this hap­pen­ing to oth­ers on LW (or at least pos­si­bly hap­pen­ing, since I can’t be sure whether some­one else re­ally is cu­ri­ous) as well as to my­self, and can only imag­ine that the prob­lem is even worse el­se­where, where peo­ple may not give each other as much benefit of doubt as we do around here. So my ques­tion is, what can cu­ri­ous peo­ple do, to sig­nal their gen­uine cu­ri­os­ity when ask­ing ques­tions? Has any­one thought about this ques­tion already, or per­haps can rec­og­nize some strate­gies they already em­ploy and make them ex­plicit for the rest of us?

ETA: Per­haps I should say a bit more about the kind of situ­a­tion I have in mind. Often I’ll see a state­ment from some­one that ei­ther con­tra­dicts my ex­ist­ing be­liefs about some­thing or is on a topic that I’m pretty ig­no­rant about, and it doesn’t come with an ar­gu­ment or ev­i­dence to back it up. I’d think “I don’t want to just take their word since they might be wrong, but there also seems a good chance that they know some­thing that I don’t in which case I’d re­ally like to know what it is, so let’s ask why they’re say­ing what they’re say­ing.” And un­for­tu­nately this some­times gets in­ter­preted as “I’m pretty sure you’re wrong, and I’m go­ing to em­bar­rass you by ask­ing a ques­tion that I don’t think you can an­swer.”

ETA2: The rea­son I use “sig­nal” in the ti­tle is that peo­ple who do just want to em­bar­rass the other per­son would want to have plau­si­ble de­ni­a­bil­ity. If it was clear that’s their in­ten­tion and it turns out that the other per­son has a perfectly good an­swer, then they’ll be the one em­bar­rassed in­stead. So ideally the cu­ri­ous per­son should send a sig­nal that can’t be faked by some­one who just wants to pre­tend to be cu­ri­ous.