Worldwide Campaign to stop the Abuse and Torture of Mind Control/DEWs
The key to effective rumor control efforts is an ability to perform three functions.
The first step, rumor identification, requires the support of people in each constituency group who are in a position to hear the latest rumors as they are circulating. In general, these are people who are very active in the conflict and interested in developing more constructive approaches. It is often helpful to provide these "rumor reporters" with training so that they understand how misinformation can drive the cycle of destructive escalation. It is also important that these individuals to be widely trusted by members of their constituency group.
The next phase of the rumor control process requires a workable mechanism determining the truthfulness of rumors. Here "rumor investigators" (who may be the same people as the "rumor reporters" or others), help determine, from their group's perspective, the accuracy of rumors pertaining to their group. While there will certainly be cases were the practices of secrecy and deception makereliable rumor checking impossible, there will also be many cases in which incorrect rumors can be at least partially corrected.
Additional insights into rumor control is offered by Beyond Intractability project participants.
This rumor investigation mechanism can be structured in a variety of ways, as long as it provides information that is widely regarded as trustworthy and reliable. "Rumor reporters" might be organized into a committee made up of people from both or all sides that meets periodically to exchange information about current rumors and then organize efforts to determine their accuracy. These committees should also involve people with access to the information needed to conduct effective investigations.
Another way of structuring such a program involves widely-trusted neutral intermediaries who systematically contact key parties involved in a conflict to identify and investigate the latest rumors. When these intermediaries hear a story that they think is likely to be untrue, they initiate an investigation to try to determine whether or not the story is accurate. Also needed is a plan for handling inconclusive investigations. This means that the investigators have to clearly acknowledge cases in which they are unable to determine the reliability of rumor.
The third and final phase of rumor control efforts is rumor correction. Here the investigators need some reliable mechanism for promptly reporting their findings to interested parties. In cases were there is no agreement on what has happened, they should report what is known, what is not known, and what is still being investigated. They should also report differing interpretations of available facts. When an investigation determines that the rumor is not true, then a plan for correcting the error should be initiated. The success of this plan depends upon the credibility of the intermediaries and their ability to communicate widely, effectively, and quickly.