Shaggai

Statistical RAFOgraphy

34 posts in this topic

I was pondering RAFOs, and wondering if and how it might be possible to derive useful information from them. I realized a few things, which are pretty obvious.

1. It's significantly easier to derive information from RAFOd yes/no questions than from RAFOd questions with more than two answers.

2. If the answer to a question has no/very little significance, Brandon is unlikely to RAFO it, no matter what the answer, because it won't affect the plot and is less likely to be revealed in a book.

3. If the answer to a question is extremely significant, Brandon is extremely likely to RAFO it, no matter what the answer, because it will affect the plot and is more likely to be revealed in a book.

4. If a question is confirming/denying only one theory from a large pool of theories, Brandon is less likely to RAFO it.

5. If the answer to such a question is no, Brandon is less likely to RAFO it than if the answer is yes. This is because removing one theory from a pool is less significant than removing all theories from a pool.

So, using only this information, on average more questions that are RAFOd will turn out to be true than false. The margin expands when we narrow the parameters to "yes/no questions that refer only to one theory out of a pool".

However, it's likely that Brandon knows this, and RAFOs more questions than he might otherwise, in order to make it more difficult to analyze. As such, more information is needed to fully analyze RAFOs. I haven't been around here that long, so I don't know much about which questions were RAFOd. So I need help. If anyone remembers any questions that were originally RAFOd, but were later answered by some means, could you post them? If all goes well, I hope to be able to find a pattern among the data which will help determine the quality of evidence provided by RAFOs.

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(WoR)

some asked if Rock's god of mischief is Hoid, and was RAFO'd. In a separate interview asking if we'll find out more on Hoid, Brandon said to 'look for a story told in a bar'. I have no idea why he RAFO'd and later answered, unless he was just trolling the first guy.

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(WoR)

some asked if Rock's god of mischief is Hoid, and was RAFO'd. In a separate interview asking if we'll find out more on Hoid, Brandon said to 'look for a story told in a bar'. I have no idea why he RAFO'd and later answered, unless he was just trolling the first guy.

 

I get the feeling that Brandon tends to RAFO interesting but not critical questions the first couple times he sees them, and then gives in and tells the answer when he's had the question floating about in his head a while. Basically - he likes to string us along, but will give in if we ask the same thing enough (unless it's a major plot point).

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Brandon has said - multiple times - that he likes to randomly RAFO questions every now and then, to keep people guessing about which RAFO is significant, and which one is random. In other words, so getting a "RAFO" doesn't turn into "This is correct / not correct, but you'll need to read and find out." The correct way to take a RAFO is to try to not assume anything. 

 

This being said, Brandon is more likely to answer plot-insignificant questions. Which makes sense. 

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(WoR)

some asked if Rock's god of mischief is Hoid, and was RAFO'd. In a separate interview asking if we'll find out more on Hoid, Brandon said to 'look for a story told in a bar'. I have no idea why he RAFO'd and later answered, unless he was just trolling the first guy.

Thanks. I'm more looking for questions that were answered by reading and finding out, but any questions help. Questions that AoL or WoR solved would probably be the most prevalent.

 

Brandon has said - multiple times - that he likes to randomly RAFO questions every now and then, to keep people guessing about which RAFO is significant, and which one is random. In other words, so getting a "RAFO" doesn't turn into "This is correct / not correct, but you'll need to read and find out." The correct way to take a RAFO is to try to not assume anything. 

 

This being said, Brandon is more likely to answer plot-insignificant questions. Which makes sense.

I'm not trying to come up with a foolproof or even particularly accurate system. Just one that says "this is more likely than that". Even if I get enough questions and find a pattern, it is still good not to assume anything. I'm not disputing that.

That said, Brandon RAFOing random questions doesn't mean that there are no patterns. If 50% of all RAFOs are random, and 50% are for plot reasons, there will still be a pattern. Assuming that, say, 60% of all plot-based RAFOs for y/n pool-based questions are for "yes" answers, and 40% are for "no" answers, 55% of all RAFOs will be true. It's still more likely, if not much more likely, that an RAFO will be "yes" than "no".

Edited by Shaggai
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(WoR)

some asked if Rock's god of mischief is Hoid, and was RAFO'd. In a separate interview asking if we'll find out more on Hoid, Brandon said to 'look for a story told in a bar'. I have no idea why he RAFO'd and later answered, unless he was just trolling the first guy.

Aside from what was said by others, one question was much more... blatant... than the other.

So basically, ask him more indirect questions. So not "Is Sazed Harmony?" but instead, "Is Harmony the combined form of Ruin and Preservation?"

Edited by Stroniax
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I think that you'd need to closely monitor his emotional state and the fluctuating level of joy a bit of trolliness would give him to determine any real pattern.

So, if he could be so kind as to do his signings in an fMRI from the future...

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I think that you'd need to closely monitor his emotional state and the fluctuating level of joy a bit of trolliness would give him to determine any real pattern.

So, if he could be so kind as to do his signings in an fMRI from the future...

I'm only looking for an overall pattern, so I don't need specific information for each question. This is intended to provide a baseline probability, not a differentiated one. If he did signings in an fMRI, we wouldn't need probabilities. Edited by Shaggai
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Well, given the current level of fMRI interpretation technology, we probably still would :D

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Well, given the current level of fMRI interpretation technology, we probably still would :D

True, I suppose.
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We could just hook him up to a lie detector and interrogate him...

Curiously enough, this is not the most drastic of means that has been suggested to coax more information out of him.

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A thesis on RAFO... guess it was inevitable.

I needed to start making topics somewhere, and all the good theories were taken.
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I needed to start making topics somewhere, and all the good theories were taken.

Taken? But they were mine to steal in the first place!

(Upvote if you get the reference) :)

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I'm oddly tempted to downvote that instead for some reason. I think the puns thread has skewed my mind...

 

Asking if there's anything nobody else knows about a topic you're interested in is usually a good way to get answers so long as you're not going first.Likewise, asking for negatives on something that has a set number of answers that have been narrowed down outside can be very useful. I guess what I'm saying is that avoiding the dreaded RAFO is a matter of being as roundabout as possible, and not getting jealous when a more direct approach occasionally gets better results...

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I'm not trying to devise plans to avoid RAFOs. I'm trying to squeeze as much information as possible out of the ones we get anyway.

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And then, after your plan succeeds, you'll be able to gather informations from rafo, and sandoerson won't be able to hide anything, and we'll figure out all the spoilers to the yet-unwritten books, which will then be, well, spoiled.

Shame on you! That's like reading the first page of a novel first.

 

EDIT: lol, I wanted to say the last page obviously

Edited by king of nowhere
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And then, after your plan succeeds, you'll be able to gather informations from rafo, and sandoerson won't be able to hide anything, and we'll figure out all the spoilers to the yet-unwritten books, which will then be, well, spoiled.

Shame on you! That's like reading the first page of a novel first.

 

But... I always the read the first page of a novel first. I am ashamed. :(

 

( ;))

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I like the idea Shaggai, it's reminiscent of what Sazed tries to do in Hero of Ages. This isn't a million miles away from analysing the Death-Rattles either.

 

First thing is do we have a list of RAFOs anywhere so we can see what got answered in WoR?

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This is going to be a fair bit of work, but the hardest part will be finding every Q&A you can. After that, it's a simple matter of Ctrl+F and typing in "RAFO". I haven't been around here for too long so I don't know where you'd find most of the Q&A's... I'll try to provide you with a few links though

 

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/7267-words-of-brandon-compiled-x-2/

 

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=691#13

 

I went to theoryland and searched "RAFO" and got 622 hits, there's a bit of info to comb through! A lot of it won't be Stormlight Archive though.

 

http://www.theoryland.com/intvsresults.php?kw=RAFO

 

 

Good luck, this is a fairly big undertaking! 

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Reading randomly through theoryland, I found this:

 

 

 

QARLIN (17 OCTOBER 2008)
So are all these epic novels in the same universe? Elantris, Mistborn, Dragonsteel, all that?
BRANDON SANDERSON (20 OCTOBER 2008)
I'm afraid that question is best left to the rest of you, for now, to discuss.
TAGS
cosmere ,  elantris ,  mistborn ,  dragonsteel

If I'm reading this correctly, the entire existence of the Cosmere was RAFO'd back in 2008!

 

Edit: Here's another semi-Rafo

 

 

XANDEIS (18 OCTOBER 2008)
Who is HOID? I have read Elantris and all three Mistborns but don't remember the name, am I missing something?
BRANDON SANDERSON (20 OCTOBER 2008)
Hoid is a mystery which I cannot speak on other than what has been written in the text of the novels. However, I'm sure that others have explained it by now.
TAGS
mistborn,  elantris,  hoid
Edited by Delightful
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How far we have come. Oh my.

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How far we have come. Oh my.

Indeed.

Edited by Delightful
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So I searched the Words of Brandon thread for RAFO, and compiled a list of the "yes/no" questions that have been answered, and their answers. I used Ctrl+F to find "Stormlight" and "Roshar" in the Theoryland one, but I doubt I got all the questions relating to the Stormlight Archive, unfortunately. There were a few that I believe have been answered but I couldn't find the answers to. They are:

-Are the Heralds Surgebinders without Honorblades? (WoB said it was answered, but didn't have answer.)

-Was the Shardbearer Kaladin killed Helaran? (I think this has been answered, but I might be wrong.)

Ignoring those two, though, the answers for the questions I took down were 75% "yes" and 25% "no".

Edit: Statistics changed because I added in the existence of the Cosmere, removed a duplicate question.

Edited by Shaggai
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