Monday, November 1, 2010

EGS Twitter Survey for October 29, 2010

My Twitter profile

The latest question is the sort that seems a bit odd until one remembers "oh, right. El Goonish Shive. This is to be expected."

Ladies, gentlemen and whoever, the question:

You're temporarily transformed. You're the opposite gender and look very different. How do you prove you're you?

Expose, or hint at, embarassing secrets held by your nearest and dearest, ala Xander when he's split into two personalities.

Embarrassing facts about friends nobody else should know

Play the memory game ("remember when I..."), or just be yourself, use your personality. Those are the only ways you really CAN.

I open my mouth. I'm the only person who speaks the way I do. Barring that, I reference the time I got in trouble at school.

I have phrases for each notable person in my life that only I use and understand.

Handwriting/Signature :)

Cellphone numbers of familiars are always a good option besides memories. Also; conversations for last night/day.

Strike up a geeky argument. After quoting all of Metal gear solid 3's script to prove a point, They'll accept me.

Probably by drawing something. Or accessing any number of passworded items in my life, email, ATM, etc.

I've established a password with my family to establish my identity, should something like that come up.

walk around shirtless with my newfound boobs. My friend knows my "if I become a woman" plan, and it involves dry humping her.

Well, since I'd only want to prove myself to certain friends, I'd tell them a secret that only they know about me. ...Laaaaame.

Friends and I have set up key words to ID each other in such an event. Did that a couple months ago, cause of similar situation

To my co-workers? Make a certain comment about our boss. My family? Old childhood nickname. My friends? Obscure references.

I'd start pulling out unique memories or conversations I and whomever I'm talking to have shared in the past.

That assumes I'd want to be recognized as me. For people I'd really want keep I'd use the "something only I could know" trick.

I'd probably use one of my signature sayings, like "Waiter, these are NOT my pants!" Anyone who knows me would recognize it.

Use a phrase or wording people know I use regularly (and I don't mean swear my head off)

Hmm...that's a tough one. I suppose it would be something like "Hmm, why am I carrying around his stuff?"

Find a computer, use #PGP to make and sign a message with my #privatekey. They can then use my #publickey to verify who I am.

Easy, as the IT guy (er... IT girl now) I know all the passwords for everything, especially the ones that aren't written down!

Start quoting the outtakes on Firefly. "Eh, uh neh eh feh, take a left." "Don't tell me what to g@$ %@$# do. My ship!"

Why would I want to? The whole point of being transformed is to be someone different.

I know the exact date that the Eleventh Doctor crash-landed on Earth in Series 5.

Why would I want to prove I'm me? If I have to? Log on to my internet profiles. Only I know the passwords.

Husband/gaming friends: reference our RPG campaign. College Friends: sing the song we made up while living together.

Contact them via an online IM first to explain. Obviously they won't believe you, but that's when you use a webcam to show them

I would roll over and go back to sleep.

Depends on who's questioning me! Say something only I would remember.

It depends on the person I was trying to prove it to. For my wife, I'd reference our 12 year long roleplaying campaign.

I'd probably run to my room and start logging into my emails and games, dispensing random Doctor Who references as I go.

I'd make my girlfriend a cup of a tea, and give her a massage. If that doesn't work, then I'll just tell her on Facebook. :)

Depends on who I'm proving it to. But generally stuff like being able to log into my online banking, personal stories etc.

start talking about something I've written

Hopefully, my personality would be enough to convince my friends. If not, I'd tell them something only I would know.

Easy. Tell them things that only you would know but they could verify, or have somebody else confirm it.

easy ... point to the mole on my best friends arse

Assuming I have it: I show them my jacket and its contents. I then prove I am who I am by logging in to websites from memory.

i don't. I enjoy it while i can and take that time off from "life"as it were.

I would probably hug them, and squish their head into my recently grown chest, if I were tall enough of course

If it's my friends, I just tell them any part of an old RPG we used to play. If it's my family I have no idea what I would do.

Play a song, any song, and I'll play along on my guitar whether I've heard it or not! *later* "Yeah, it's you."

I actually have a plan for this: I'll just use the word "picnic" with my brother,since that's his OSH** alarm phrase.

I'd have them check my fingerprints in the hopes that they'd be the same as before the change.

the answer is tacos! then again that's my answer to everything

I would attempt to recite the recent happenings that had occured to me, like what happened before the transformation

Temporarily transformed...well, to prove I'm me I would recount some memories of Fort Knox and tank crewman training.

It would likely involve calling someone an asshole.

I actually think I have no way of proving my IRL identity. I know nothing that is known to some small circle only.

Show the person in question the scar on my head from the car accident.

I will prove that the buxom girl is me by signing assertations with my private key.

Call Mom. I'd have my cell phone, I'd sound like me in both voice and manner (mine is unique). Then she can convince others.

I would probably not try, if I had to, I'd mention Nuclear Chainsaws, EGS, Minecraft, and Naoki Urasawa in the same sentence.

My Tattoos or if I don't have them I have a phrase I use with my friends to prove we can be trusted.

My memory is horrible, but I would try to re-tell a memory of myself and the person I'm convincing.

My Response:

This part of the survey process is new. I figured I shouldn't just give my answer, but give my opinion on the answers given. Makes sense, no?

What I find most interesting in these surveys are the ideas that are presented more than once by multiple. For example, more than one person would prove their identity with Doctor Who trivia. Several people would use IT knowledge and computer encryption to prove who they are, and several other people would make no effort to prove who they are at all.

I do, however, think there are flaws in the computer approach. As secure as many of the presented options are, it's always possible that someone got that information. Even if it's incredibly unlikely that they did and you know exactly why they couldn't have, that's not necessarily going to convince others. This is particularly true if the reason you're certain you couldn't have been hacked are reasons your friends and colleagues aren't familiar with or understand.

Nerdy trivia is also a bit troublesome ("congratulations; you've proven you can read a wiki"), though that depends greatly on how it's presented. If someone is REALLY into a show, they tend to have their own personal quirks about how they talk about it. I've known several people who, if ranting about the same things while in a different body, I would recognize based solely on their mannerisms. At the very least, it would give an eerie feeling of similarity.

My Answer:

If I knew for a fact that it was temporary and had access to my finances, I wouldn't tell anyone. I would contact people via e-mail or text messages confirming that I'm fine and claiming to be going on a short trip, then just take a bit of a vacation. My assumption is that they wouldn't believe me anyway (in a "real world" scenario, at least), so I might as well make the most of it.

If I HAD to prove it to people, though, I'd go with the "stuff only Dan would know" approach, which isn't that hard for me to do because of El Goonish Shive. I would claim something about the next update, and when it came time for that update, BAM. Proof I knew the spoiler in advance.

This is actually something I've thought about doing, as I've pictured scenarios where I tell someone I'm the author of EGS and they don't believe me. That's pretty much how I'd prove it. Take the comic that inspired this question, for example. I would say something like "the last panel will have a character putting their index fingers together while saying something and looking off awkwardly to the side." Not a major spoiler, but it's not something anyone could reasonably be expected to predict or guess at.

Of course, the obvious flaw with that plan is that it would be a future update that proves it, and, for all I know, I'd be back to normal by then. But that's just one option. The basic idea is simply that I would go with the "provide information only I could know" approach.


  1. I agree. I'd take a small vacation. If I HAD to prove it, I have anecdotes for different people that I'm sure would convince them. Plus, you know, I have the keys to my very unique car.

  2. Until it was confirmed that the condition was not temporary, I'd just lay low. If if didn't go away, I'd probably just log into my computer with everyone watching. I use impossibly long passwords that I never share.

  3. Inside jokes, of course.
    "I want to say cats, but..."

  4. I am a fairly idiosyncratic person. I believe that most of my quirks and mannerisms would betray me anyway, and failing that, there are several objects that never leave my person which are instantly recognisable. Then I would fall back to the in-jokes and recalling past conversations if needs be.

    Of course, I would probably be reluctant to approach most of my friends, but I would have to find some way of convincing either my housemates or my girlfriend...

  5. I can play the hand ocarina/hand whistle by shaping my hands in specific ways and blowing into them.

    I would proceed to play every song from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

    Anyone who doesn't believe it's me at that point is just plain stubborn.

  6. I'd still use Skype or something. Sure, someone could've hacked my account, but you can't really argue with a webcam image of a girl saying all the things I'd say with my room in the background. Of course, it also helps that most of my friends are the type of people who read/would read EGS.

  7. I'd have to say that the first person I'd tell would be my bandmate. We're always talking about music that's being written and there are some songs that I've shown him that no one else could possibly have heard. I think that would be a good way to identify myself.

  8. The trouble with the know-your-passwords scheme for me is that it would be trivial to prove my OTI identity with it, but my IRL identity is sufficiently separate that it wouldn’t help me there at all.