Thanks, I’m glad to hear that. :) Also, very thankful that the LW community took this really well.Beyond that, as for my motivations, aside from curiosity as to whether it would work, etc. I considered that it would be an interesting learning opportunity for the community as well. With actual nukes, random untrusted people also have a part to play. Selecting a small group of people tasked with trying to bring down the site might even be a good addition to future instances of Petrov Day.
For what it’s worth, I took care to ensure that the damage from taking the site down would not be too great. The site was archived elsewhere, and the admins themselves accepted the risk of the site going down by starting this game. If this could have hurt people, I wouldn’t have done it.
Beyond that, loyalty and trust are also very important to me. If the admins had trusted me with the launch codes, I wouldn’t have nuked the site (intentionally).
After thinking more about this experiment, it has got me thinking about the payoff matrices. Is there anyone that would have pressed the button if there was guaranteed anonymity, and thus no personal cost? If so, make a second account—I’d be curious to hear your reasoning. Also, in this case there is no tangible benefit that anyone could get by nuking the site. How do we adapt this to situations where there is a benefit that can be gained by pressing the button?
P.S.: My offer still holds! Admins, if you’re feeling adventurous, give me the codes next year and I’ll prove that I won’t use them!
Is there anyone that would have pressed the button if there was guaranteed anonymity, and thus no personal cost? If so, make a second account
If I understand you correctly, that won’t work. The identity of the button-presser is not determined by which account pressed the button. It’s determined by the launch code string itself—everyone got a personalised launch code. (Which means that if someone stole and used your personalised code, you’d also get blamed—but that seems fair.)
I read that as “make a second account to say anonymously why you would have done it”.
In the spirit of learning from this, I’d be interested to know how many people you sent the message to and how you chose them etc.
I particularly liked the “You will be asked to complete a short survey afterward” touch—what made you think to include it?
I think maybe 6-8, not sure. I was going to go further but the site went down too quickly. Users were selected based on having a large number of posts.
I wanted something to make it sound realistic. And rationalist/EA culture loves surveys and collecting data. :)
Yeah, that honestly made it feel so real.
Part of me wants to say you plonker for falling for it (as you said, there were plenty of clues, plus the fact that the launch codes weren’t repeated in the second message) but another part of me remembers that I fell victim to a Trojan once so I have some sympathy for you.