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Infermation is what we can know about something from reports of that thing. Infermation is most commonly available about long lost texts, and the pattern of human history means that many sources of Infermation are several generations removed from the thing under examination. Sources may, obviously, vary a great deal, ranging from direct assessments, both academic and popular, of the thing in question, to notes and references, index lists, bibliographies, catalogues and assorted general remarks. The acceptance of Infermation as valid and valuable has allowed academics to make many advances that would otherwise have been impossible. The Infermatic industry, which first flourished on Alphas, has grown throughout the academic community, promoting and assessing the use of Infermation and producing dedicated Infermatics for both academic and general consumption.

Many believe that the most useful contribution of the Infermation industry has been the wide acceptance that since often blind assumptions are entirely valid in the analysis of that which cannot be directly observed, so the analysis itself is the most important thing. This truism can be applied to that which can be directly observed, and since analysis itself is of primary importance so upholding variety in analysis is obviously more important than clarification of the thing under analysis. It can be infermed from some sources, such as the [Village Book]?, that Infermation is not a totally new phenomenon. This in turn has led some to speculate that the accounts of the Orbital Wars which have come down to us are in fact Infermation themselves - suppositions and interpretations and inventions from accounts of accounts of an earlier conflict or conflicts, condensed and regurgitated for reasons of entertainment and understanding. Of course, this doesn't matter.

It has been widely observed that, on those rare occasions when something missing is found, the information it yields is invariably of less interest or lesser quality than the pre-existing Infermation. This has resulted, more than once, in the destruction of such new discoveries, lest such artefacts come to obscure their own meaning and reduce their own importance. Such acts, inflammatorily described as "vandalism" and "desecration", are not uncontroversial, even if they are in the best interests of both current and future consumers, and the reputation of long-dead producers. There are also those who criticse Infermation on its grounds, many of whom blame the recent [War of Ducant's Identity]? on the Infermatic industry.

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Last edited November 29, 2004 4:00 am by Gregg (diff)