Deciding What to Say

The new spaghetti diagrams entail considerably more complex analysis on the part of the actors. In particular, an actor deciding about news to convey must first decide whether to be truthful or to lie; having made that decision, the actor must then decide what to communicate. This is going to be difficult.

The first step in the process is a search of the History Book for likely events to reveal. The main logical constraints are that the deciding actor must know of the Event and not be the Subject, and the DirObject must not know of it. The next consideration is the value of the information to the DirObject. To make this discussion clearer, I’ll use Joe to represent the actor deciding what say, and Mary as the actor whom Joe is addressing. Two primary events of concern to Mary are:

Subject badmouthed Mary to somebody else.
Subject told Mary's aura count to somebody else.

Of lesser value are events that damage Mary's perception of the Subject of that event:

Subject badmouthed somebody else.
Subject lied to somebody else.
Subject reneged on a deal

There are several other possible newsworthy events but I think that they’re not important enough to demand consideration at this point. 

But now the question is, under what circumstances would it be beneficial for Joe to lie to Mary using either one of the above two types of event? Suppose that Joe tells Mary that Fred badmouthed her to Jane. That would be useful to Joe if it turned Mary against Fred. But won’t Mary’s own history with Fred provide her with a more reliable source of information, leading her to suspect Joe of lying?

It would certainly be useful to reveal that somebody reneged on a deal, or that they lied. But how could Joe be certain that what he heard was a lie? 

How about this: the only certain nefarious acts are breaking a promise not to attack, and reneging on a deal. Right now I have in effect merged the description of these two actions into a single description: betrayal. Thus, accusing somebody of a betrayal would cover either of these two actions. Does that make it impossible to track down the true event?

Here’s a hypothetical sequence of events: Joe tells Mary that Fred betrayed Jane. The next time Mary runs into Jane, she asks, “Did Fred betray you?” If Jane confirms Joe’s accusation, then Mary’s trust in Joe is increased and her trust in Fred is diminished. But if Jane denies the accusation, then Mary’s trust in Joe is diminished. 

Is it ever worthwhile for Joe to lie to Mary? She can find the truth so easily that he’s taking too big a chance.

It would seem that the only thing that stands up to close examination is the telling of aura counts. If Joe tells Mary that Fred told Jane that Tom has 2 shial auras, there’s no way that Mary can confirm or refute the statement. 

I seen to have eliminated everything except the telling of aura counts. Under what circumstances would it behoove Joe to lie to Mary about this? He could certainly screw up her estimates of aura counts this way. But is there something specific for him to consider, or should he follow a general policy of lying to people about aura counts? 

No, lying about aura counts should be part of a larger strategy of misleading people about aura counts. So this entire issue is subsumed to the general issue of strategy. I’ll have to defer this discussion until after I’ve worked out general strategy — the subject of the following essay.