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On Interviews: A Pretentious Study

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Since I have been given the option of either studying for exams or write a menial guide, I have chosen the latter. And, this isn't focused on Security either and is not whatsoever based on real life. This is a video game. 
First off: no torture whatsoever. Just don't. It's not even nice for roleplay, it's abusive at best and at worst makes the person want to cryogenically freeze themselves in the interview chair. 


Let's begin with why you're doing this in the first place. I've found out that whether you're a criminal detective working for a low-tier wage with Nanotrasen ISD, or you're some bigwig CCIA trying to interview a squirmy witness - it doesn't matter. I've found out that using this strategy in most, if not all interviews on the Aurora, usually result in more knowledge then you would've gained just using "here, just tell me everything you know." 

Human nature is a big part of this. Whether we try to suppress it in our characters, it's still there undeniably. All good roleplayers and bad roleplayers alike show it - some more then others - but it's easy to pick up on after a while. A grizzled roleplayer can succumb to well-placed, well-worded questions and give up what they're doing while still maintaining roleplay in the balance, after all, we are HRP. Interviewing is just that, maintaining the balance of roleplay while also trying to gain knowledge out from either the prospective suspect, witness, or other. And, interviewing really depends on who you interview. If your witness is talkative, then let them control the flow until they mess up and make an error you can exploit to get more information or a witness who barely talks who you have to carrel into talking. 

And a little meta I've noticed, there are two types of interviewers: one who effectively controls the interview, and those who ride the flow of the interviewee. While both options are fine, a mix is what is recommended. Preamble concluded, now onto the meat. 


1.) Study. Study, study, study. Study the case, study any previous evidence or testimonies, and make sure that you know what you're doing before you do it. This is relatively easy, and plus you're on the internet. Just have it on a tab beside you or alt-tab to it. If you don't have anything to study, then you better make them think you do. Use logic and common sense if you don't.

2.) Now with that out of the way, let's begin with the environment. Whether it's in a conference room or in a dimly lit interviewing room in the brig, the environment starts off the scene for the interviewee and the tone. One of the first things they see is whether your prepared or not, whether this might be through paperwork, previous witness testimonies, and a briefcase on your side it's still a present thing they immediately see. This is one of the lesser things that people focus on, yet it is still as important - although, less so - then other things. 
Also apart of this is whether or not you look organized and showing cohesion as a team. As a witness, I would be more afraid of the security team (or for that matter, any team) that is effectively communicating with each other than those who fight each other with fists in maintenance or the holodeck when the Head of Security (or any boss) isn't looking. Look professional, and look smart. Another instance could be CCIA, as an Agent talking and communicating with your trooper escort is a great example as well.

3.) When you begin the interview, at least with the universal recorder the regular crew has access to, I find it always nice, to begin with, a statement from you. "This is [name x], interviewing [name c] at [time] on [location]." Or, adding anybody in observance and or assisting you to interview included. That's just the basic formula. 

4.) After you have all the preliminary matters squared away, start by allowing them their freedom to speak. Allow them to share their testimony of events regarding [x] or [y], and have them go on and on. This usually entails a timeline of what occurred when, and how. This varies from person to person, but this is most important in witnesses or victims - not in suspects. With suspects, they've likely either prepared for this or they try to give the most undetailed version of events to avoid suspicion and saying something that could catch them in a negative glimpse. After all, the truth always reveals itself. 

5.) Now is the time to intervene. Whether they said something wrong, they concluded their statement of events or something that you need to nitpick further into and exploit to gain more leverage, information, or whatever other purposes. If the case is they said something that goes against previous testimony or evidence, question them but do not reveal why. Once they have shown their answer, then reveal the veil and tell them what they said was incorrect - but do not allegate they were lying. If they continue to refuse, then go down that path. In other passive cases, begin with questioning over the timeline of events and get specifics and details rather than generalizations of occurrences. 
This should take up most of the time of the interview, trying to get more knowledge by the specific focused question. Know why you're asking before you do. And, as a reminder, do not get hostile or inflamed with your interviewee. Keep calm and rational. 

6.) With most of the interview over, it's time for the conclusion. I usually say something along the lines of "I believe we have gone over everything, is there anything you want to add, state, or discuss before we conclude?" Then, if nothing is said or they do say something and is addressed, finish with saying the interview is terminated to let them know it's over and stop recording.

Boom. You did it, your interview's done and now what? If you've finished your interview, do your paperwork. The interview form in the request console is perfect for this, and make sure to have them sign it before allowing them to waltz away. Make sure to apply your interview well, either in other interviews with suspects or using it against them as evidence to brig them - or in the rare, yet funny, case of a tribunal. Imagine that.
Properly doing your paperwork is step one, just in case the pesky Internal Affairs Agent strikes demanding to know why this prisoner is interned and trying to see the elusive case report and all available evidence - like we have an investigation team. 

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