Wiio’s Law: Communication usually fails, except by accident

Just found this interesting set of laws, called Wiio’s laws:

  1. Communication usually fails, except by accident.
    • If communication can fail, it will.
    • If communication cannot fail, it still most usually fails.
    • If communication seems to succeed in the intended way, there’s a misunderstanding.
    • If you are content with your message, communication certainly fails.
  2. If a message can be interpreted in several ways, it will be interpreted in a manner that maximizes the damage.
  3. There is always someone who knows better than you what you meant with your message.
  4. The more we communicate, the worse communication succeeds.
    • The more we communicate, the faster misunderstandings propagate.
  5. In mass communication, the important thing is not how things are but how they seem to be.
  6. The importance of a news item is inversely proportional to the square of the distance.
  7. The more important the situation is, the more probably you forget an essential thing that you remembered a moment ago.

And there are three corollaries by Korpela:

  1. If nobody barks at you, your message did not get through
  2. Search for information fails, except by accident
  3. Give the student a chance to realize he misunderstood it all

These are all taken from this blog post.

At this time, I don’t have any thing else to add to these laws. But I’m sure that in the years to come, I am going to quote Wiio’s laws #1 and #2, and Korpela’s corollary #1 repeatedly to people. (Just like I love to quote the Three Chinese Curses:

  • Third Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times
  • Second Chinese curse: May you come to the attention of important people
  • First (and most dangerous) Chinese curse: May you get what you wish for

And this concludes my first ever parenthetical remark which has a bullet list embedded in it (And also concludes this blog post))