Where do you stand on the subject of lying?
This is really one for discussion rather than just a blog.
I find that I have a clear idea on what is right and wrong in this area, and I know some people have slight variations on this one way or the other. i think I am saying what I do correctly, but obviously it is selective memory, self justified and confirmation biased, so I can't be sure either way.
Personally, I don't like lying - however, for me, saying something that is actually true but just has some omissions is not actually a lie as such. Some people will consider that unacceptable. Others will be happy to say things that are not quite true. Some people are happy to blatantly lie for their own gain.
Outright stating something that is not true really winds me up and I won't do it. Well, I try not to - it hits my conscience if I do something as simple as telling a kid there is a Tooth Fairy. Of course this is an area some people are more than happy with if it is a white lie with no real consequences and not for some sort of gain in any way. I understand the logic but I would rather say nothing and leave someone else to tell a white lie. Not correcting them is about as far as I will usually go.
Then there is deliberately constructing something that is technically true, but you know damn well that someone will mis-read what you are saying. This is an area I find very close to the line and not that keen on - but just the "OK" side of it. My tolerance of this is very much based on marketing and adverts - where they appear to be allowed to make technically true statements and get away with it. However, my cynical side assumes this to be the case and I always look for what has not been said but could, or should, have been said. Someone says "up to 100% more shine" or something and I immediately hear "anything from 0% to 100%" - I think about what it actually means if what is said is just about technically correct and assume the worse. I suspect that makes me a cynic.
In general I think that in most cases leaving out details that could have some negative impact is probably still just the right side of "OK" - even in business contracts. In business you expect someone to ask the questions, and state what they want. Consumers, on the other hand, have to be hand-held a lot more and you have to say things that seem obvious, even if they are negative, in order to avoid any misunderstandings later. As a result we have a lot of things on our web site spelling out the limitations on some services as well as the benefits. This is "doing the right thing".
Simply leaving out details because they do not matter is clearly "OK", IMHO. You have to be slightly autistic I suspect to worry about not including every single detail and rigorously tell the truth and the whole truth all the time. This is where you get in to the area of "does this make me look fat?" and the answer "yes, hideous!", which usually loses friends and alienates people...
Of course there are some grey areas where people think what they are saying is true. If you really believe it, then that is not really lying - I think generally you have to know you are saying something wrong to be lying. Somewhere in between you get the situation with people saying what they do not know is true or not, but could be, so they will say it anyway because they don't know it is wrong for sure (i.e. bullshit). This is the area where I start accusing our favourite telco of lying though. I would rather people said they do not know than make stuff up.
So, am I odd?
(OK, I know I am odd, but in this particular matter?)
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