Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pundits And Prediction Markets

As I've become more involved with prediction markets, I've grown increasingly frustrated with journalists who make predictions (aka pundits) without linking to prediction market questions.  This is, in my opinion, lousy journalism, and insulting to readers.

Linking to a prediction market question has a number benefits, including:

  • requiring questions to be resolvable, which forces pundits to clarify what they're actually predicting
  • tracking performance, revealing over time whether a pundit's claims are insightful or nonsense
  • allowing readers to respond by forecasting on the prediction market, creating a more engaging user experience

Anyone who believes what they're saying should be willing to stake their reputation on it by creating/linking to a prediction market and disclosing their forecasts.  It also creates a richer audience response; forecasting in prediction markets involves clear expressions of individuals' views, which many readers might prefer over the chaos of comment forums.  My hope is that eventually, articles that contain predictions will always link to a prediction market--or embed it within the media platform itself--similar to how finance articles display tickers for any stocks they mention.

In the meantime, readers can also create prediction markets.  Lately, whenever I come across something that looks like a prediction, I'll create a market myself--here are some recent examples.  Creating new questions on Inkling is easy, and anyone who signs up can do so.  (note: we do require approval, but we almost never reject a question.)  It typically takes just a few days for our users to start moving markets to a reasonable forecast.

The media's job is to provide readers with accurate information, and when it comes to forecasting, prediction markets are an invaluable source of information.

Ben Golden is a software developer, economist, and evangelist for Inkling Markets.  You can find him on Inkling Markets as benthinkin, and on Twitter, @BenGoldN.  Email him: ben at inklingmarkets dotcom

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