I use my real first name on here. I'm trans, and developing as a rationalist was instrumental in realizing that, so the two things are kind of tied together and the name partly symbolizes the rational part of me. Also, I had a hard time thinking of a good username and didn't really like the idea of hiding behind one on here due to a variety of factors.
And I don't use my last name because I don't want this account tied to real life me. Real life me has to deal with normal people, whose idea of rationality is AI and emotionless robots. It's much easier to just quietly use rationalist techniques and frame things in normal terms than try to explain all that inferential distance.
For other sites, I use my full real name if I want the account to be discoverable (github/gitlab, linkedin). For games I use my first name where possible because it's one of the few areas where people use it a lot to refer to me and I really like being called Raven. My writing has a realistic pseudonym. And for everything else I use usernames.
I will point out that making a habit of distrusting authorities is what led me to rationality.
Perhaps I have applied that lesson too broadly though, especially on here where people are more reliable. When I read OP's comment, I automatically assumed that they were having a knee-jerk reaction to something cloaked in mystical language. I was wrong about that.
I think that your heuristic is a good one. It resolves a problem that I've noticed lately, where I tend to make mistakes because I think I have a way to improve a situation but I'm missing some piece of information.
And I've decided against pursuing tulpamancy. The damaging side effects concern me, even if they're infrequent, and your best argument pretty much sums up the rest of how I feel. I see now that I was excited about the possibilities of tulpas and failed to apply the same demands for rigor that I would normally apply to such an unusual concept.
That's definitely concerning. On the other hand, there's lots of people who don't have that sort of side effect (and several in this thread), so I think it's kind of rare... but perhaps this sort of result gets swept under the rug? Though, I wouldn't predict that in advance -- I'd expect it to blow up everywhere.
I'm not really sure what to think. Part of me wants to brush this off as a fluke and say that I would never break down like that but this is a failure mode that I hadn't even considered and that makes me nervous.
Do you know if there were any factors that would have contributed to that incident? Like them already being a little schizophrenic or something along those lines?
If LW's stance on tulpas was a hard ban, I would have proceeded with my own experimentation. I'm here because I need to become stronger. Bowing down to authority every time someone tells me not to do something isn't going to accomplish that.
That said, I'm interested in warnings that consist of more than a vague "this is bad". After all, that's part of why I posted here.
I used to spend 6+ hours a day (every minute I wasn't eating/sleeping/in class) in an MMO. My avatar never had any agency; it was just an extension of my body like my hand. Occasionally I would act "in character" but it was always a conscious decision prompted by me wanting to make other people laugh or simply play along with something someone else did. I've never heard of avatars acquiring their own sense of agency, but it's not like I went around asking people if that happened to them.
Your tulpas never acquired their own skillsets?
Do you think that would have happened without the pre-existing condition?
I love that book and there's a lot I like about Sy but I definitely hope I don't end up following his trajectory. It's more of a cautionary tale, although you know what they say about generalizing from fictional evidence...
Careful experimentation sounds like a good idea, although I think it might be easy to go too far by accident. I'm not mentally unstable but I do have a habit of talking to myself as if there's two people in my head, and I was low key dissociative during most of my childhood.
There's the Twelve Virtues (http://yudkowsky.net/rational/virtues/).
I like the religious/mystical language and imagery, but I think it's important to remember that the Sequences/Virtues/Codex/whatever are not scriptures in the traditional sense. Scriptures are unquestioned; they're something you're supposed to take on faith without disagreeing. Somewhere in the Sequences, Yudkowsky explicitly says that you're not supposed to blindly listen to him, and at least implies that he's probably made mistakes in the book.
Just finished Elephant in the Brain and Friendship is Optimal. Currently working on The Charisma Myth and the 48 Laws of Power.
Inadequate Equilibria was really good.