1 A 3 O R N

Increasing Prediction Market Popularity

One Potential Method

Created: 2021-02-04
Wordcount: 0.6k


I'd like to live in a world where prediction-market use is common and high-prestige.

The easiest way for this to happen is for prediction markets with money to be legal.

In the absence of this, there might nevertheless be some potential low-hanging fruit for a point-based prediction market -- Metaculus, or some unidentified contender -- to promote the wide acceptance of prediction markets. The same action might also improve the general quality of journalism, potentially.


The prediction market creates a new feature. The feature allows a user of the market to create a small badge, displayable on the user's blog, Medium, Substack, or elsewhere, that displays the person's username and a score measuring the accuracy of their predictions.

The score could be an absolute measure such as Brier score, or a relative measure such as the percentile that the person occupies within the market. It could also be colored according to the number of predictions the person has made; or it could have a tag indicating that this accuracy only obtains within a particular subject or field; or it could indicate the time horizon with which they typically make predictions; generally, there are numerous addendums that could be added.

All of the above details are important, but for the moment I put them to the side.

The badge could be displayed at the head of every article by the author, potentially.

Codewise, this would work similarly to any front-end widget managed by another server, i.e., like a commenting system, like a Twitter embed, and so on and so forth. So of course it would update live as the predictions by the author came true / did not come true, even on older articles.

(This badge could be supplemented, of course, by embedded questions from prediction markets, which could be placed in articles. Metaculus already has these.)

Possible Points in Favor

People are tired of shitty media. There's an enormous groundswell of media distrust from many angles, as far as I can tell. A measure like this is easy to understand, at least in the basics, and provides clear evidence of credibility for those who use it, entirely independent of trust.

It also evens the credibility playing-field between individuals and large agencies, which could be popular.

People like little badges if they grant status. If the first users of this are sufficiently high-prestige, or if predictions / articles made by users of this badge gain fame, then many people will want this. After all, people wanted to get the Twitter verified badge, right? This could lead more people to the prediction market, which would be good.

Tying narrative to numbers helps broad acceptance of prediction markets. Prediction markets are great, but prediction markets are not stories, and people love stories. Having people write journalist-y narratives within the context of their personal predictions could then make prediction markets more popular, while also constraining said people to attend more carefully to the truth.

Possible Points Against

Writers don't want auditability. This is true; a lot of writers do not. If enough writers start using this, though, ideally the lack of such a badge would be considered strong evidence the writer does not take truth seriously, and it would therefore become in the interests of writers to include it.

People just won't start using it. I think the most difficult part, here, is getting an initial quantity of writers to start using such a badge. A prediction market could help this by enlisting some famous people to start using it. But I freely admit early acceptance is the trickiest part. I'm not sure what the best approach is.

There's a host of generic objections that also apply equally well to all prediction markets, which I will not here address.

Honestly, not sure if this would work or not. But it seems like there's a possible world where the right implementation could help a lot.