by Michael Cain
The fall term is hurtling towards us. And that means that Dr. Hanley will soon start the Post-Zombie Apocalypse Constitutional Convention class. Which means that I have to finish preparing for the prediction pool I put myself on the hook for. Since no one made any constructive suggestions for how to run the pool in the comments to that post, here’s what I’m going to do. Consider this your last opportunity to say, “No, Michael, you should do <something immensely more complicated> instead.”
A few days after every update the prof posts, I’ll download the comments attached to it and extract author, timestamp, and comment text. I’ll discard everything that isn’t a clear prediction. For example, “Yeah, what Tod said, except seven instead of six,” is not sufficiently clear. I’ll classify the predictions as right or wrong when there’s enough subsequent information available to make that possible; some comments may remain unclassified. At the end of the term, I’ll use a formula — the details of which haven’t been worked out just yet — to score the authors based on accuracy and announce the top few and bottom few. There will probably be some other winners as well, like most prolific predictors and the funniest predictions.
Predictions should be about what the students will or won’t do in terms of organization, output, etc: they will form more committees than there are students, or they won’t finish a constitution, or the constitution will forbid slavery. I’ve decided that I’m also going to have a separate category for meta-predictions, predictions about the predictions: there won’t be enough predictions to justify calling it a pool, or Mike Schilling will make the most predictions that are puns. Predictions that I deem to be personal attacks — on anyone, not just me — or in sufficiently poor taste will be discarded. My opinions on those may not match other people’s, three years on the budget staff of the state legislature thickened my skin considerably.
Odds and ends… Multiple predictions in a single comment are okay. ROT13 is okay, although one of the reasons I decided to extract predictions from the comment stream is to spur discussion and such. Only the first appearance of a particular prediction will count. However, specificity matters; “Slavery will be allowed” and “Slavery of left-handed redheads will be allowed” both count. I will refrain from making predictions but can’t speak for the professor. I’ll accept predictions that were made in response to the prior pool post or to this post. The decisions of the judge are mostly final.
Update: Hanley here. With M. Cain’s kind approval, I am providing a link to a .pdf of the briefs of the states I will have students representing and a (now fixed) .pdf of the map I am using (the shaded areas are disputed borders).