The book (Cybernetics and Society) provides a framework for seeing Publius, the messages, and the online discussion, in a totally new way. A changed perspective. The discussion can be seen entirely as an expression of messages, control through feedback, and progress at work.
"publius 'the chief man of the island' of Malta (Acts 28:7),... The word here rendered 'chief man' (protos) is supposed by some to be properly a Maltese term, the official title of the governor."
"Hence 'Cybernetics', which I derived from the Greek word kubernetes, or 'steersman', the same Greek word from which we eventually derive our word 'governor'."
-Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics and Society
Publius is clearly the steersman. As Publius comments: "I will be able to help steer you from time to time." Publius, literally, steers (controls) through "MESSAGES". (THE MESSAGE, THE NEW MESSAGE, etc) Publius also describes himself as guide and messenger, whose actions include monitoring, directing, leading, instructing, supervising, watching. (To keep the ship on "course", notice the terms: "beacon" and "landmark")
Publius establishes a goal or purpose: "prize", "treasure", "bounty", to be sought - an "enigma" to be solved.
While Publius steers, progress toward the goal is achieved by the interaction of the fans, more so as time passes. Progress includes organizing, arranging, moving forward, travel, thinking creatively, speculation, investigation, research, discovery.
The key to the progress is feedback: exchanging information, working in concert, discussion, discourse, debate, participation, negotiation, applause, flames (and arrows), jeers, battle, advice, positive response, agreement, congratulation, tip of the hat, connecting relationships, answers, etc. (many questions: a question presupposes feedback)
The messages, and the ensuing discussions and acitivities, express a process. That's the key.
"On the day the wall came down
The Ship of Fools had finally run aground"
As fun as it might seem, Pink Floyd are playfully fooling the fans. If that's not entirely obvious, ask yourself: What exactly is it that is being sought? Indeed, there is no enigma. Pink Floyd do not know something you don't know. There is no missing information - no uncertainty - no question about it. The great secret is that there is no secret. It's totally absurd! Reads like a Douglas Adams novel. Pink Floyd wants You to know they are just normal people.
"Because there'll be no safety in numbers
When the Right One walks out of the door"
Though it may so seem, the point is not to manipulate people just for the sake of manipulating people. The Pink Floyd fans and experts were given a purpose and goal, and controlled. Like an automaton. The reasonable response for the fooled is to stop the foolishness and decide ones own purposes and goals in Life.
"A long road lies ahead; begin to chart its course..." -Publius
But what about the unique prize - you ask? What could Pink Floyd possibly have to offer in the form of a unique prize? Pink Floyd are musicians. The only unique prize they could possibly offer is the music of Pink Floyd.
On to the prize, treasure, bounty, in The Division Bell...