It seems to me information is a special resource that shapes a players possible impact upon the SIS/story in ways quite different to other constraints (mechanical values, or enforced turn-taking). I can't quite work out whether more information produces more choices, or reduces the possibilities - I suspect this depends a lot on the game you are all playing - but it seems a special case either way, with a special kind of value. So under what circumstances will players forgo information?
I was first struck my this issue when I watched Quatermass and the Pit, where the professor interrupts the librarian telling him about the fiendish history of their dig site in order to return to the dig site again without the full facts. Similarly, Buffy going off half-cocked and getting in the weeds because the critical info is only just being discovered by a pale Willow. Now, these are characters. But I think that players also, especially if they enjoy certain kinds of sim play, would like to be put into these situations. Yet my experience, say from Cthulhu, is that if you're in a town with a library you damn well try and spent 60 hours in the library til there's nothing left to learn. I'm interested in ways to shift this.
1. One obvious way is to use force: you're in the library when the beast strikes again.
2. Another way is to punish over-research. I think this could be an interesting avenue if the cost or stakes are known; my experience of it is more along the lines of ok, you spent all the time in the library, and now four more people are dead including your manservant. And your blunderbuss is gone.
3. One nar way is to do 1 but present a choice - you hear a scream from the village below but you've only learned one of the beast's weaknesses. Do you risk yourselves for the innocent?
I'm sure there are many more. I am particularly interested in a more simmy approach. I guess you could just reward good roleplaying' (playing out being the impulsive one) or 'keeping genre' (in buffy we always have a fracas without knowing all the facts), but I want more. It seems to me many players may both want mystery and to be proactive, but this balance only works if the GM is hot or the scenario is crafted the right way. Are there mechanics that ensure that you don't need to be a hot GM to provide choices and still keep people in the dark? How would you reward them to 'stay blind'?
As I'm writing this, I can see one way - every time a player would uncover a fact that you think is crucial, you ask them if they want the information or are willing to trade it for some kind of reward (hero point, bonus, neckrub). That way, the mystery can be preserved but players aren't being deprotagonisted. This could be some kind of adjunct to a No-Myth style of play: there is some myth abounding, but the ways you can get to it are manifold, and some of the ways might turn out to be dead ends, if you're willing to take goodies instead.
Thoughts and ideas? Glares and frowns? Clown shoes and cream pies?
[edit: I'm certain that there are many ways this has been done already that haven't occurred to me, and I'm sure your game has done it too. This is cool - bring it on. For the purposes of this thread, I do not want to forego information.]