The relay people are easy to spot. Their body language doesn't generally back their "facts" or "figures" especially when challenged. These actions actually annoy people because it means they are probably wasting their time listening to more, but manners would force them to hold back what they know, because likely the relay will just take what the portal says and will relay it often distorting it as they go since they have no foundation to comprehend fully what they heard. If you've ever played telephone you know what I mean.
If someone repeats a phrase that everyone in the "telephone" line of whisper transfers fully understands and is on the same page, the "call" goes to the last person with minimal if any at all distortion. The perception is the only thing that would change really. If what's being whispered is by any party in the chain not fully understood/comprehended what's passed on is distorted by perceptions that may not be informative enough to pass it.
I tend to get into debates with relays a lot because I've gotten into the habit of qualifying information. If someone tells me something that is fascinating or interesting, and I am considering adding this "data" to my research, I will first ask them qualifying questions about the topic to elicit just how much they actually know.
Someone who researches information before integrating it into their toolbox (mental), knows exactly where they "heard" it, or can provide enough background to prove they know what they are talking about. Portals aren't perfect, sometimes they get it wrong, but at least they researched it and attempted to understand it enough to back what they are saying. It takes good listening and the ability to realize when and admit when your information may be wrong to be a good portal.
When I'm acting as a portal I debate what I know when challenged but I also listen and back down gracefully if I'm proven wrong. At the very least I will take new information and re-validate what I know cross referencing what I heard in the challenge. This is the process of evolution and you should always try to be open minded, even if your passionate and sure of what you know.
In this day and age of time not being sufficiently available in the short 24 hour day to do everything you need to do in a day, it's not unreasonable to demand quality portals to extract new information from. One thing I like about the news is they are required to prove their information (*snicker*) and to have a valid source... If it's good for the news and efficiency (and time is money right?) then it must be good for people too. (the news often skirts the relay phase as well but they do so without stating what they are saying is fact, often they use words like "may be" or "according to ___ sources...)
I'm not talking about the small talk or normal gibberish conversations we engage in for entertainment and bonding, I mean those people you tend to listen closer to because they help you reach that "I want to learn something new and potent each and every day" point.
I actually choose my friends based on (in part) weather or not they just talk to impress others with dazzling facts they just recycled (re-tweet?) from someone else without even attempting to know it well enough to competently explain it and answer questions about it, and those who can debate the topic because they aren't just passing along hearsay. Passing on hearsay is fine if you use qualifying statements like the news does i.e. "I heard, but haven't confirmed yet, that _____".
Information and time multiplied by action = power or rather potential power. Your inner circle needs to be quality people, with ambitious dispositions. They need to be varied in career choices. A good strong social network is built on a foundation of diversity, your friends should (some of them) have qualifications or skill-sets you don't have, and you generally should have something of value to offer them. For example if your a doctor you offer free advice and treatment or help deciding things medically, where by you may be a tax attorney and the doc may be in tax shelter trouble :) You get the idea.
With so little time available, and so much to accomplish before your a millionaire, we need to be more careful who we choose as friends, or at the very least whom we depend on for reliable information. Relayers waste our time when we need serious answers, portals make us feel like we invested it (our time).
I do enjoy relay's during some social events as they tend to be obvious when they aren't fully congruent with what they are saying (body language, confidence in the voice as they talk etc...), but relayed information is a lot like reading blogs, you can read them and they may spark a topic you want to learn about so they've given you a seed to validate and learn more about.
I have relays and portals (I like having people who are portals predominately) in my circle both inner and outer, but I keep a balance. Nobody can claim to be one or the other all the time really but we all are at any given time predominant to one or the other. Relays can bring value because they tend to act as a sort of "headliner" regurgitator. They offer information and you have to do more research to be sure, but sometimes you'd never think to look something up if you didn't hear it. You have to keep in mind that anybody at any time even those you trust always validate what they pass on, could be wrong, or the information could be tainted- always validate (if it's something you want to know for more than simply entertainment value that is).
If my relay friends (those who don't make any effort to understand the information they are passing out) and my portal friends mix enough times, the portals will educate the relays and the relays may start realizing the potential power gained or lost by their decision to pass or actually first absorb and comprehend the information they are passing out (regurgitating).
In some cases I see this happening (portals calling relays out through debate) and I see the shame in the faces of the relays as they realize just passing on information isn't always a good idea and can be an embarrassing debacle if the wrong person is listening and annoyed by the ignorance of the conversation. I refer you to a great scene from good will hunting that illustrates my point nicely: