I wonder how do you read this question: How far could a peak social manipulator go?
A Rogue Ant. and I had a discussion in the comments and came to a realisation that we read this question in two different ways. A Rogue Ant. suggested that we 'bring this issue up in a meta question and ask for consensus'.
A Rogue Ant. sees this question as a question 'about their [character's] future possible achievements within an undefined and potentially huge set of situations', while I perceive it as a question about the character's capabilities (manipulation and its limitations).
My reasoning is based on:
- The OP's question in the body: However, how far could one with pinnacle skill in manipulation go in terms of what they're able to influence and manipulate without the skill being a superpower or supernatural in nature?
- Use of the reality-check
From my perspective, this question is about the nature of manipulation and its limitations. The character appears only to eliminate the skill level variable (which is also one of the limitations). The provided examples serve as an attempt to establish the limits of possible.
Please read A Rogue Ant.'s comments or direct questions to them if you wish to learn more about their position on the issue and their reasoning.
I agree that the question could've been worded better.
This is not my question.
My background is in arts, psychology, and communications. My perspective is influenced by my background. In other words, I am biased (and I do not feel bad about it).
I am not looking for consensus. I am more interested in various interpretations of this question and the reasonings behind them.
I guess I need to make myself clear about my purpose for starting this discussion (which is most likely different from A Rogue Ant.'s interest).
I am not looking for a verdict on who is right and who is wrong. It does not matter to me. I want to understand how people perceive questions like this. I want to see what logic and what assumptions people use when interpreting this type of question.
I specifically stated my background because it is ultimately responsible for my understanding of the abovementioned question. I have biases that lead to certain assumptions that look 'obvious' to me. However, I have enough self-awareness to understand that my 'obvious' differs from other people's 'obvious'. The answers to my query can help me to see these differences.
I also hope that the answers can yield some insights into how to deal with questions related to humanities. It is my opinion that this stack is too focused on natural sciences and technology. I believe that WB.SE should have more questions about philosophy, culture, and societies because these are important parts of the fictional worlds.
If I understand better how people think and how they read questions I may finally be able to word my thoughts on the subject of humanities. And maybe put some suggestions that would make it easier for people to ask this type of questions.
Of course, this is my opinion and I would not force it on anyone.
Please feel free to ask for clarifications, explanations, or additional information in the comments.