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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Message Inconsistency


Wildfire WEA issued on 6/28/2023


In prior posts, we discussed the importance of message consistency. Most frequently, this is a topic that applies to messages issued by multiple senders and their contents contradict one another, this is EXTERNAL inconsistency. Inconsistency between messages can cause a lot of confusion for the message receiver, but it can also mean that they have to choose who they will believe and who they will trust in the future. It's best to coordinate with messaging partners so that this doesn't happen. The message posted here is an example of INTERNAL inconsistency. Here, we read that the wildfire has closed the park. There are no protective actions included, but from the notice that the park is closed, one can assume that they should AVOID that area. Reading further, MCSO has also indicated that sheltering is available. For whom? Why would someone need shelter? Have they been evacuated? Are there residences within the park boundaries that would require people to leave? One might assume that this is the case, especially if we read one step further. The last sentence of the message states that three areas are NOT within the evacuation zone. Putting this all together, the reader would need to interpret the following: there is a wildfire; the park is closed; some people have to evacuate, but not all; there is shelter available. The INTERNAL INCONSISTENCY is shown in the lack of protective action guidance in the message. Readers need to know if they are being advised to evacuate and to shelter. In the entire message, there is no clear instruction or recommendation for this action. Instead, there is some vague mention of shelters being open and zones not being affected. A consistent message is key for message understanding. In this case, it could affect their ability to decide and to take actions in a timely manner.

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