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[Computational Complexity] This Post is Quite Different then Any You've Every...

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  • GASARCH
    I recently a letter from WETA (public TV) which I quote from: This letter is quite different from any we ve ever sent to you. For years we wrote to you about
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27, 2010
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      I recently a letter from WETA (public TV) which I quote from:
      This letter is quite different from any we've ever sent to you. For years we wrote to you about WETA's great programs and the need they filled in your life. Today, I must write to you about WETA's needs. And if friends like you don't respond to them, there will be far less programs to enjoy.
      There is something wrong with this letter: I have gotten the exact same letter from them for about 4 years now. Hence the statement This letter is quite different from any we've send to you is not just false but verifiably false.

      While I expect letters to exaggerate I do not expect to have easily verifiable lies that do not even help their cause. So why did they do this? I do not know. But whatever the reason, it is sheer incompetency. Hence I will not give to them. This raises the following question:

      If a charity (or whatever Public TV is) asks for money they can exaggerate how much they need it. Should they?
      1. Some readers will say GOSH, they really need the money! I better give!
      2. Some readers will say They always need money. I am not going to bother.
      We also have here a societal problem. Since many (legitimate) charities exaggerate about how dire their situation is or how serious their problem is, after a while it all gets tuned out. We have here a a Prisoners Dilemma problem- each one thinks (correctly?) that if they exaggerate their problems they will get more money. But if they all do it the public gets cynical and gives less money overall. (NOTE- I do not know this to be true, but I am curious. If anyone does know then let me know.)

      How can they get out of this trap? I do not know. However, the least they can do is to not say things that are obviously false. There may be a well defined Game Theory or EC problem here. Or it may be a public policy problem. We won't know until its solved.

      --
      Posted By GASARCH to Computational Complexity at 7/27/2010 12:04:00 PM
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