Honesty is the best policy

by Suspended Reason

Saoirse Ryan, DAO’n’Out: A History of Crypto Parties 2016-2020:

To the properly house-trained individual, the truth becomes an excellent source of excuses. Dallas was not yet house-trained, but he was getting there. And contra story logic, those instances of laziness and shirked duty do not, inevitably, eclipse those instances of observance.

Honesty is the best policy” is strongly contingent on strong cultural technologies for monitoring. (The monitoring constrains, so your self-presentation has to be ballpark with what a third-party observer would witness/tell from monitoring tech.) It is highly socially and culturally indexical as advice, e.g. it is most true if you live in a small community that is ecologically huddled such that everyone is monitoring everyone else, nearly all the time. The more distant, and less huddled or ecologically proximate, individuals are, the less monitoring capacity. (The more costly it is to monitor.)

Monitoring makes it costlier to lie on several dimensions. The liar must change or constrain his behavior to match the lie whenever witnessed, on whatever information channels are monitored. He must invest considerable cognitive overhead in maintaining his story. And the chance that he is discovered and punished retributively are higher.