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[aprssig] APRS and Game theory (the golden rule)...

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Sun Aug 6 01:54:42 UTC 2006

>... If you cruise around the US with a 5w HF tracker,
>sometimes you'll get IGated with no path, sometimes 
>ECHO or GATE would be sufficient, and sometimes only 
>GATE,WIDEN-n would work.
>Sometimes when I read these path recommendations I think
>people have prioritized bandwidth conservation above 
>successful use of APRS.

Ah, but the problem is that the "success" of any one station 
on APRS is always at the expense of everyone else.  Without 
the concept of bandwidth conservation as the foremost 
principal, only the most abusive signals achieve the highest 

This is classic game theory.  APRS works best for the
most ABUSIVE users.  That is why we always have to 
counter this NATURAL human tendency with preaching,
warnings and recommendations... ad nausium....
The classic Golden Rule....

I know it sounds preachy, but the only way to achieve
the best overall success rate for everyone, is to somehow
get "everyone" to accept -less- so that the congregate of
everyone else gets "more"...  And the funny thing is
that the original user is actually one of these "everyone else"
to everyone else, so in the long run, he gets *more* too.

No question about it.  Using an abusive path will work 
better.  But if everyone does it, then each individual
gets nothing...

Classic game theory proves over and over again, that
human nature will always chose to go-for-the-max for
one's self, even it means that the result is no-one wins
anything, instead of accepting something less than
the jackpot, that no one will get if everyone tries for it.

So we preach....  And of course it means that if you really
need to get out during a particular packet or a particular
position, or a particular message, then go ahead and
step on everyone else until you are successful.  Nothing
wrong with that.  Just don't do it often, and certainly
don't do it all-the-time!

Reserve the right to do it when you need it, by everyone
else not doing it all the rest of the time...  and remeber
you are part of "everyone else"...

So again, I am not preaching to individuals, my preaching 
is to "everyone else"... of which we are all a part...

de Wb4APR, Bob

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