message to past-you

Is it a nice day out? Do you like baby goats? Are you overdue on thank-you notes for your Christmas presents? Here you go.

message to past-you

Postby Timepoof » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:11 pm

I have a question for anyone who wants to answer it. The answer can be as detailed as you want.

If some time traveler went to the past and could change things, but the things they changed would just branch off into an alternate universe from that point -- no destroying memories/your current self, no paradoxes, nothing like that -- what would you want them to tell past-you, and when?

You can include multiple "when"s, but make sure to clarify -- are the later dates' conversations influenced by the earlier ones or are these multiple different timelines/universes, and each time, past-you is talking to the time traveler for the first time?
You can figure out years/dates for the messages or just say your age/recent major life events.
You can be as cryptic as you like, as long as your past self would hypothetically understand the message.
You can tell the time traveler to do conditionals ("if past me shrieks, go away and don't come back").
I repeat, your message can be as long and complicated as you like.

I promise, I would have told you guys if I actually had time travel powers.
The WAFFLES will submit to this indignity.
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Re: message to past-you

Postby Throne3d » Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:20 pm

All the things I want to say to past-me probably sound really harsh to him, at the time.

Possibly, depending on how many years ago it was, I would poke him towards glowfic earlier. The time I got into it wasn't particularly bad, but it could've been fun to be part of the earlier group, more so than I have been. Other than that it'd be a bunch of small things or really fake-sounding reassurances from 'the older version of you Who Is Very Clearly Wiser', which wouldn't go across too well.
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Re: message to past-you

Postby Timepoof » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:21 pm

Feel welcome to also share random small things.
The WAFFLES will submit to this indignity.
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Re: message to past-you

Postby Aestrix » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:39 pm

Past self: don't try to move to the new apartment on that weekend in January when it suddenly started snowing, you know it's a bad idea and you are really, really correct there. A truck will spin out in front of you and hit you, and total your car.

Teenage past self: listen, that guy you follow around and heal in SWTOR, he's an asshole that brings nothing but misery to your life. I know he's charming when he's paying attention to you, but he will not do that often after the healing honeymoon's over. Drop him, move on to healthier healing relationships. You are a healer to be kept safe and protected and cherished, not put on a shelf and ignored until convenient. Don't let anyone tell you any differently.

Also, while we're here, makeup. It's not very hard, and you look super pretty with it, just get some eyeshadow and mascara and you're good to go.

Middle school past self: you're not crazy, they actually ARE all terrible. Middle school sucks, I'm so sorry.
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Re: message to past-you

Postby DanielH » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:11 pm

Can the time traveler report back to present-me or are they trapped in the alternate universes they create? There are things I would like to have not forgotten. If they can’t report back I can at least have him tell the things to the alternate mes.

More detailed write-up to follow.
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Re: message to past-you

Postby Moriwen » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:30 pm

I'll ignore the obvious lottery number/warning about world tragedy exploits.

To 13-year-old self:
[identity verification code whose purpose would be defeated by actually posting it.]
Therapists don't suck; your therapist sucks. Get a different one.
[List of medications] will fix 90% of your life problems.
For the love of pete, skip the bandanna phase. Just get a pixie cut already.
Your sister's going to be fine; it's just [diagnosis redacted for rarity.]
Don't do science bowl. Just don't.
Gelatin is not the same thing as Jell-O.

College freshman self:
[verification code]
Your art class is going to take a field trip to the museum to look at ancient Greek vases. Cut class that day.
Don't get on the swingset at the picnic.
It's not you, it's [name]. He's going through a lot of stuff.
Check out the tabletop games club, it's awesome.
[Professor recommendations and disrecommendations]
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Re: message to past-you

Postby Kappa » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:45 pm

To me at any point in my life before I met Alicorn's husband: It's not a curse, it's just a coincidental string of low-quality boys. Eventually you will meet a high-quality boy and it will be Good.
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Re: message to past-you

Postby Timepoof » Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:56 pm

Awwwwww you guys you're adorable.

@DanielH you could write up a version where they can report back and a version where they can't?
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Re: message to past-you

Postby Adelene » Fri Oct 21, 2016 7:41 pm

to me six months after I moved to North Carolina, when I'd decompressed and had brainpower available again:

- You are for real, no shit, no questions about it disabled. The couple years are going to be an excellent time to work on getting supports in place: do that. Consider getting the diagnosis; you might be able to avoid it, but in this timeline it ends up happening anyway, so if you need it to get supports, do that, not having the supports will end with you having to get it anyway. Also, get yourself a cane and a shower chair, these are excellent lifestyle choices especially considering they're like $30 each on Amazon.

- When your parents invite you to Disney World, pay attention to how you feel about that; it's not going to change and it is important. Going anyway won't be a disaster (though avoid the safari ride, you end up with a permanent hip problem from it) but it's okay not to if you can bring yourself around to the idea.

- Get the cat, he's a good cat. Pay attention to his health, though, and if you want to get him a friend make sure you get one you can get to know first.

- [various medical info]
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Re: message to past-you

Postby DanielH » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:15 pm

Moriwen wrote:I'll ignore the obvious lottery number/warning about world tragedy exploits.

I won’t.

Me, on July 30th 2010 (specific date chosen semi-arbitrarily)

  • Here’s proof that I’m from the future: the random.org numbers pregenerated for tomorrow’s date (the 31st) with the default settings (1–100) start with 15, 5, 72, 53, 73, 76, 81, 91, 70, 9.
  • A question that isn’t particularly important: there’s a fanfic you were reading about now [describes]; I wanted to reread it but can’t find it any more; what’s it called and just in case can you save it? [If the time-traveller can get me the answer back that would be nice, but there’s a good chance it was just deleted from ff.net; also, it wasn’t that good in any objective sense and I wouldn’t recommend it but I liked it].
  • In any case, you should very definitely read this one and the website of the same name as the listed author of that fic. The story does start slowly, and I don’t know how much is written yet, but it’s worth sticking to.
  • [Only if Chapter 10 isn’t published yet] The answer is to the question at the end of Chapter 9 is in Gödel, Escher, Bach: the Hat becomes conscious. I wouldn’t recommend actually answering unless you can understand why GEB would say that, though; literally nobody answered correctly in my timeline and it would be suspicious if the only one who answered couldn’t say anything more about it.
  • [Otherwise, if Chapter 10 has already been published] Here’s a map of which parts of the rest of the story are worth giving warnings about: [TSPE arc: don’t read until that arc’s finished. Time Pressure: read right away, but be prepared for Hermione dying; she does come back later (spoiler only for the forum, not my past self), etc.]


Six months later (January 30 2011), same person
  • Happy birthday!
  • By now you’ve probably realized that it wasn’t very reasonable of me to just send that information back in time; I don’t know if you’ll have figured out I was going to send you another message. Proof: random.org numbers will be 2, 91, 48, 11, 25, 76, 91, 64, 83, 98. And April 2 is the best soon day for this to be relevant: the powerball numbers then are: 6, 22, 34, 43, 45, 23.
  • Take the lump sum, not the annuity. Don’t spend very much all at once. With reasonable non-cheating investing can live indefinitely on it if you spend just $2 million per year, or you can spend less than that (you should of course be able to live on far less) and use the rest of that per-year amount for good purposes (Singularity Institute, GiveWell’s top charity, etc.). A blog (Mr. Money Mustache) will start on April 2nd which you should follow,
  • General investment advice: keep money in a collection of index funds. The efficient market hypothesis (discussed briefly in HPMoR ch 4) says that you can’t beat the market unless you have some unfair advantage. The recent startup Betterment is really good for this.
  • General time travel advice: You should not draw too much attention to your ability to time travel unless you are sure you’re ready to go public, and then stop using your unfair advantages in things like investing.
  • Specific investment advice: There’s a very new thing called Bitcoin which is pretty volatile. It’s reasonable for somebody like you to take an interest in it. Here are the exchange rates from my timeline: [copy of [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_bitcoin#Prices_and_value_history]the table here[/ur]]. Also [some market data].
  • Specific time travel advice. Note that if you aren’t careful you can completely destabilize these prices, especially the Bitcoin ones.
  • It’s up to you to figure out what balance of the above is best. You have several months and I had only a few hours’ notice I could get a message through.
  • I recommend Luminosity, Radiance, and the rest of Alicorn’s stuff. When she announces she’s starting a new roleplayey thing with a coauthor and people can request the link to read, do that; I took far too long to start reading it because I was afraid she was going to be permanently mean to her characters. It also starts slowly, but once they start if you eat the food of the dead, you can never leave hades, so i guess that wasn't hades you should start reading. Don’t worry when Alicorn does the thing she talks about being a very mean thing on Twitter; Shell gets better. I probably delayed reading for plural years because of that Twitter comment.
  • [If this isn’t cheating the time travel rules]: here is a thumbdrive with all of Wikipedia and its history, the completed HPMoR, Luminosity and Radiance, all papers published by MIRI with instructions to send them to Eliezer Yudkowsky with February 23rd’s Powerball numbers 29, 32, 36, 49, 29 and the comment that it’s a cheap test even if the future papers in his writing style don’t constitute enough evidence and the request to keep it quiet and get somebody he knows who is likely to actually buy a ticket to cash it in if he can’t be anonymious. Those powerball numbers are clearly labeled not to use for my past self; winning twice would draw too much attention.
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