Non-Answers still give the answer, they just limit repercussions for the speaker
Politicians choose their words carefully such that what they say can't be used in a soundbite against them next election. Just because they're choosing their words such that their non-comital, doesn't mean all communication from them is white noise.
So a decent chunk of human communication (perhaps up to 93%) is formed from things other than the words. Every time a politician is asked a direct question and gives an indirect answer, often, somehow the audience just knows what the actual answer is. Its almost like the truth becomes a shared secret.
Much of this is intuition, much of this is reading body language or piecing together data from multiple sources, but usually when I hear a politician give a crappy answer like that, we can usually infer the truth.
Non-Answers being clear unambiguous answers happen all the time in our day to day life:
As an example: If I've had a nice date with an attractive member of my preferred gender, and I ask if she wants to come back to my place, and she says "Maybe", that is totally a non-answer; unless:
- It's paired with a tone of excitement, wide eyes, a shy smile, a puckering of lips, a subtle giggle, and offering me her hand. That body language reads as yes.
- The "Maybe" limits her from appearing too keen, as a barrier against slut-shaming, and giving her a way out if she changes her mind later or I change my mind.
- It's to avoid social repercussions and awkwardness from saying a clear "yes". Same logic as a politician afraid of the soundbite's consequences.
- Its said while with her body rotated away from me, legs crossed away, and with a depressed, bored, attitude. That body language reads as a no.
- The "Maybe" is to avoid hurting feelings. It's to avoid the repercussions of saying "no", especially if she thinks I may be quick to anger. Same logic as a politician afraid of the soundbite's consequences.
Your society will function mostly fine with non-answers. There will be the odd issue:
- Minor cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder will be much more debilitating.
- Not getting clear unambiguous consent in sex/dating is a recipe for the occasional disaster.
- Text / email / sms communication is basically going to be useless without a complex emoji sdtandard.
- I'm assuming parents and primary school teachers, don't give non-answers to children. Children can learn to read between the lines like this about age 10, and once they can do that, they can survive a world of non-answers. If they don't learn before this I have no idea what'll happen, but suspect they wont be able to give a non-answer clearly either.