Questions and Answers

“Can people be unconscious in the System? Can they sleep and dream?”
Yes and yes.
“When were the launches announced?
Around 2307, plans and designs began to form between both sys- and phys-side, and the project was widely announced in 2310. Development began in earnest at this point, with the extrusion of the launch arms beginning in 2315.
“Can instances be kept in a sim without being able to escape?”
No. There is no locking in with ACLs, just locking out.
“Why can’t people change their form without forking?”
The basic gist is that it’s a consensual dream. That which is possible is that which can be dreamed by everyone. Flying? Go; folks can dream that. Growing a tail and imagining how it would feel to do so? Not quite everyone’s thing so it’s restricted to the point at which the System steps in to help.
“One has to learn new skills, right? You can’t just ‘know’ new things.”
Correct. You still have a mind in the classical sense, and there is a boundary between your knowledge and the collected knowledge of the System.
“Would something psychosomatic like phantom pain still exist?”
Yes, definitely. One could fork to get rid of it, but that’s not something that’s commonly talked about (for instance, the Odists could have forked to address some of their concerns, but never actually did so, and then it become socially uncomfortable to talk about). That said, uploading to get away from chronic/terminal conditions is very common.
“What happens if someone can’t fork properly? Will the System notice and take corrective actions?”
The System will prevent you from forking if it puts the root instance, another individual, or the System at risk, but anything beyond that would likely mean talking to an engineer. The System is very hands-off when it comes to forking, since that only exists due to a System malfunction in the first place, and it overcorrected and destroyed both instances
“What’s the population of Lagrange System?”
Around 20 billion instances, 13 billion clades circa 2310.
“If intoxication is wholly voluntary sys-side, do people still get addicted?”
To an extent, though mostly in the sense of a psychological addiction or habit.
“Is it possible to schedule a sensorium ping from the perisystem architecture at a later time?”
Yes. True Name is pinged for a meeting with Jonas in Toledot.
“Is there any cost or barrier to forking?”
Forking was much more expensive early on in the System’s history. That dipped dramatically in the 2170s and by the 2300s, was down to negligible amounts, to the point where people rarely realize it costs anything at all.
“How does forking cost work?”
The reputation debit happens at five minutes after creation of the new instance or when either the new or original instance forks again. Initially, forking split the existing reputation in half between the instance and the new fork with a minimum cost (which has not been decided yet). For instance, If Jace#Tracker has Ŕ10 and the minimum cost to fork is Ŕ5, they can fork and, after five minutes, their reputation will be split so that both they and the new instance wind up with Ŕ5. Later, the reputation split was changed so that the new instance wound up with reputation equal to the cost of forking. This quickly became negligible, so it became habit to transfer a chunk of reputation to the new instance on creation if they were expected to need such.
“How do constructs—human or animal—work?”
The general rule is if it can be consensually imagined in the same way by anyone on the System, it’s possible. We know enough about dogs that someone going through the process of dreaming up Dog, all that makes Dog, the essence of Dog, could certainly make Dog in such a way that everyone thinks “puppy!” It’s less algorithm in the sense of sitting down and programming a dog, as it is bringing a dream of dogs to reality.
“Who manages the Ansible system?”
The Sino-Russian Bloc started it as a way to one-up the Western Federation, so it was run by them for about ten years, but after the population exploded, they seceded in 2125. After that, it was maintained by a loose organization of private and public companies, depending on the nation, which maintained their own upload clinics and licensed access to the Ansible. The physical infrastructure is part of a station at the Earth-Moon L5 point, which started as a luxury experience and then went private.
“Does a neurodivergent person remain neurodivergent after uploading?”
Nothing is changed during upload. Neurodivergences remain. There are changes that one could make but they aren’t required (and, as they require quite a bit of forking to do, don’t tend to be done by those who are less comfortable forking).
“Can one fork incompletely? Can they choose not to fork certain things/aspects?”
No, there’s no real loophole to forgetting there. Michelle was something of a special case based on neurological trauma and uploading before the System had solidified. She did what all can do, which is to selectively reinforce traits during forking. She just chose not to do so herself because she felt that would be somehow giving up on what RJ made of eir life; a sort of survivor’s guilt. All of the clade can still wind up, intentionally or not, in that flickering state. True Name does it intentionally in Toledot, and it’s a plot point in Nevi’im.
“Is there concerted efforts to try and improve the Earth or preserve the Earth? Is there a way for people inside the system to help with improving the Earth or is it more like… You’re in the system, what do you care?”
They wax and wane over the years. They’re on the rise in 2112, then waning again in 2235. That’s leveling back out in 2350. Douglas mentions deacidification projects in Toledot, saying that some are concerned that funds are being diverted away from those for the launch project (probably not true, but it’s an explanation people believe to explain the waning interest). The biggest wedge would be the lack of any concrete way to help. They can’t do anything but talk. No financial influence, no physical influence, etc. This leads to a sort of platonic disconnect. They’re not on the physical plane, so they don’t feel like they can help, and thus they don’t. The same goes for phys-side. They would like the brainpower on the System to help, but don’t earnestly believe they will. My guess is that, in the first five years or so after uploading, a few high-minded big brains will try and contribute time and knowledge, but there’s still that sensation of “well… What does this even mean? We’re not beholden to a healthy planet anymore”. Phys-side doesn’t quite understand the System, so they hold out at least a little hope that someone in there will help
“How well known would the intricacies of the system be to someone who never uploaded? Like, would they know about the reputation market, trackers, taskers, etc. Or would it be more like, jargon you never heard before from some sub culture?”
Not well known, no. Douglas Hadje is left pretty baffled when Ioan and May talk about dissolution strategies. Then, after he uploads, he mentions that it’s very normal, but also a little unnerving, because everything he read isn’t exactly as imagined.
“If you were to create an animal in the sim, would you be able to move it/control it by perception? Like, you think “I want to pet my dog right now” would the dog just appear right by you?”
Yep, and this is the simplest type of creation. Those that make more Dog™ dogs that dog very well and put them on the market are seen as artists.
“If you can make changes to your appearance when you fork, is there anything keeping you from looking like someone else?”
It’s one of those socially taboo (and also incredibly difficult to pull off accurately) things, but you can look exactly like someone else if you want. It’s super frowned upon, but there’s nothing in the System itself that’ll stop you. Folks can also check the perisystem architecture, which will tell you someone’s clade information, so it only works until someone thinks to do that (not exactly something everyone knows how to do to be fair. Your instruction is basically “here’s how to clothe yourself, here’s how to fork, here’s how to travel, here’s where you can live. Good luck”).
“What happens to a user in the System who does repeatedly taboo things & actions that would normally result in someone offline being imprisoned?”
Nothing, but with a big asterisk. There’s no way to punish them. There’s no authorities to do anything about it, and even if there were, ACLs can keep people out of a place, bit not inside of a place. The asterisk is that there’s all the information you could want, so one of two things tends to happen: you get ostracized because your name is all over the news feeds, so you get locked out of all the big public sims, people stop talking to you, and your name becomes mud; or someone hires someone to assassinate you. This is why the governing unit, such as is possible, is the public sim, because if the owners want to maintain a reputation and population, they have to stay on top of who they ostracize. People may live in private sims (though honestly, only a small portion do, choosing either to live in cities or small communities, as Debarre does), but spend most of their time in larger public ones, where people pool reputation to build a place by e.g: hiring sim designers or building from stuff off the market.
“Does the family get the ashes. Or rather, can they?”
Yes, after all organ donations are made.

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