Saturday, 12 April 2014

Schrödinger's Rifter

I was reading a post from Jester about what happened during a battle (see here).  His opponents showed up and disputed what happened.  Clearly, someone is lying... or are they?

As a (very junior) member of RvB command, I often hear disputes about what occurred during a battle.  This is because some RvB fights (not all!) are arranged and supposed to be somewhat fair (why? because fights that are close can be very thrilling).  So when such an aranged fight occurs, sometimes after the fight there will be some arguing about what happened - someone upshiped, they had more numbers, logi etc etc.  Often the stories from each side don't reconcile, IE it sounds like someone is lying.

Initially I thought this was due to sore losers - or bad winners.  I mean, there is only one reality right?  There either was a logi ship, or there wasn't.  The fleet had 10 members or 20, not both.  It's not Schrödinger's Rifter after all!   In Jester's case, one could conclude it's either ego or propaganda spin - both sides want to appear virtuous and dangerous Eve warriors. 

After a while, after hearing so many stories (and being in so many fights), I realized that it isn't people intentionally lying. In an Eve fight, a lot of stuff is going on. There is too much information for your brain to fully process and other facts are hidden. So your mind makes up a story about what is happening (filling in the blanks, making assumptions, shortcuts) to help you cope, and you react to this story.  It often is better to react with partial information than do nothing at all.  In a crisis situation, inaction can be fatal.  Of course, it also leads to mistakes, but such is war.

So two sides having a different story for the same fight? Par for the course!  Of course in some cases one side might be lying... but it's not the only explanation.  Remember Hanlon's razor!

Edit: just published an article that's quite relevant to this, about bias:  Biases in reading and writing

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