Will 2023's most popular market be about a public event?
resolved Jan 12

"Popular" here refers to "most unique traders".

Question courtesy of @ian, who makes the ultimate call about whether the market counts as "about a public event".

This market is part of Manifold's 2023 Predictions, a group of forecasts about what's in store for Manifold this year. Markets will be resolved by the Manifold core team.

Jan 26, 11:03am: Will the year's most popular market be about a public event? → Will 2023's most popular market be about a public event?

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I suppose Lk-99 is a public event as it is not strongly enough of the flavor: ‘will I find a partner’, ‘will the cat let me pet it’, ‘what intervention will be most useful to my life’.

predicted NO

@ian If we wouldn't count the LK99 as we're not sure whether it fits the public/private distinction: The market with 2nd most traders is cleary public


predicted NO

@Primer Still, we should be able to hold Manifold itself to a very high standard concerning resolution to its own markets. I can see the reasons to avoid n/a resolutions, but want to provide a counter-argument:

If we tolerate too many not-quite-100%-right resolutions, people won't bet their true beliefs either as one always needs to leave a little room for kinda-false-resolutions.

(I think Yes is correct, but still would have preferred n/a. The market not closing at 99.x% as well as the discussions in the comments are evidence for traders' uncertainty.)

bought Ṁ40 of NO

Just putting it out there: I don't think the superconductor market is about a public event

@JoshuaWilkes I’m actually having trouble figuring out exactly what a public event is, election is obv public, girlfriend/relationship is obv private, but there are a lot of situations between those poles. Superconductor does seem private bc it’s a niche lab phenomena, discovered by a small team

predicted YES

I interpreted it as a public event - it was widely discussed, and the replication attempts (which is what the question asked about) were very public.

bought Ṁ50 of YES

@ian I feel like any event discussed in dozens of newspapers including the NY Times etc. is pretty clearly a public event? https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/08/science/room-temperature-superconductor-ranga-dias.html

@A That’s compelling but I guess any popular markets starts out about either a public or private event, that must’ve become public at some point because it’s a popular market. Can you give an example of a private event with a market that attracts thousands of traders?

predicted YES
bought Ṁ50 of YES

@ian Are you saying that because the superconductor news didn't initially attract much attention that makes it a private event, and that thereafter any attention it receives can't change that? That seems odd, e.g. if someone little-known declared their presidential candidacy and initially got little attention but did ultimately win the election, would it depend on exactly when the market was created whether "Will X win the presidency?" counted as a public event?

@jack The discovery and replication itself is more on the private side of things though, right? The results have become publicized.

@A I mean the event people are betting on occurs in a lab with a few people in it.

predicted YES

Some analogies:

  • Is the achievement of ignition at the National Ignition Facility a private event or a public event? I think it's public.

  • Is a Supreme Court ruling public or private? It's a ruling made by just 9 justices. Clearly public though imo.

Also, people were livestreaming replication attempts, so that seems clearly public.

@jack How would you categorize a ‘relationship will end market’ that started private between 2 people but somehow went viral on tiktok?

predicted NO

Or to make a parallel point, a private celebrity wedding that was widely reported on?

bought Ṁ350 of YES

@ian the market is about if /anyone/, from respected laboratories to random Twitter users, will replicate the claims about LK99. That is an incredibly public event - anyone can cause it to resolve.

predicted YES

Both of those seem to clearly be personal markets even if widely reported on from the start.

IMO a royal wedding seems like it would also be a public event. But "will these celebrities get married" probably not.

predicted NO

@jack yes, things like a royal wedding or a supreme court ruling are clearly public facing even when they take place behind closed doors.

predicted NO

@RobertCousineau the reason that I consider this to not be a public event is that although there is/was intense public interest (albeit much more visible on Manifold and Twitter than elsewhere), the separate components are either not public or not necessarily public. The original work and uploading to Arxiv, the multiple attempts to replicate (can anyone upload to Arxiv?), none of these are public events in the common sense.

I think what @ian is ultimately going to have to decide is whether publicity or publication makes something inherently public.

predicted YES

@JoshuaWilkes Umm if you look at the etymology here, I feel like by definition publication makes things public :)

predicted NO

@A I think it's debatable. The etymology argument looks pretty, but clearly (IMO) fails for 'publicity'. For publication, it's harder to argue and I think I'd be being disengenuous if I said that a book publication wasn't a public event.

In this case, the replications would be uploaded to Arxiv. Is that publication, given that it's explicitly a 'pre-publication' step?

@JoshuaWilkes I lean towards n/a as I don’t have a great idea of public vs private and the only version of a private market we can all agree on is a personal market, which we already have tracked via the market that Jack linked.

predicted NO

@ian Remind us why you have been made the adjudicator again? :D

@JoshuaWilkes Lol because I came up with the question, but I obv never gave it enough thought, it seemed obvious at the start. Do you see any private cases that aren’t caught by personal markets?

predicted YES

@JoshuaWilkes anyone can perform the original work required (assuming they have the knowledge and materials/equipment). And yes, anyone can upload to Arxiv, with the caveat that they review your first submission in a subject area much heavier (or, require an endorsement). I'm certain if someone successfully replicated LK99 and wrote even a half decent paper about it, then created a free account and submitted it, it would be on Arxiv shortly.

Attached is the message I get when I when I attempt to register with my personal email:

predicted YES

@ian current thoughts?

@RobertCousineau You’re talking about the ease with which prople can publish the results of their private experiment. This is far from an election, sports event, tv show result, youtuber foolishness, etc.

@ian If a personal market on a relationship proposal was published on tiktok would this make it a public event? And if anyone could interfere with the event, is it public?

@ian If a personal market went sufficiently viral that the people involved could reasonably be considered "public figures" before the key event, then I'd argue yes, else, no. For reference, what if someone's personal market catapulted them into a listicle such as this one: https://www.perthnow.com.au/entertainment/celebrity/most-popular-celebrity-proposals-from-2023-revealed-c-11443168
Note that the least popular post appears to be just under 1 million likes, so that may be a fair barometer for "public figure" status being conferred by such a sequence of events (as a lower limit, perhaps the person creates a personal market, the market is so breathtakingly strange that the internet loses its collective mind over it but somehow the partner doesn't find out about the planned surprise proposal, the proposal itself hits the 1 million engagements mark on the relevant platform). Proposals at sporting events are, despite occasionally going a bit viral, events between private individuals even though anyone nearby could interfere with them (the game is a public event, the proposal is at a public event).

Responding to earlier points, as @jack said, a royal wedding is a public event (occurs in public view, with numerous news sources reporting, etc.). I would generalize that argument to suggest that the birth of a new royal baby, despite its origin being almost by definition private, is also a public event. Royal and other celebrity pregnancies are notoriously over-public compared to the preferences of many of the people who, in addition to bearing that child, have to bear unwanted public attention due to their status as public figures, but may not qualify as "events" per se until their resolution. The solution to the Collatz Conjecture (if such a solution should emerge) is a public event, despite the fact that it will emerge from private minds and/or servers, precisely because of its cultural significance. The (evidently/apparently failed) attempt at a novel superconductor was a public event for the same reasons: it has 23 citations on arXiv, 30 listed trackbacks including 2 separate mentions in Nature, one in the NYT, one in Popular Mechanics, etc. and based on the circulation of WaPo and NYT alone, those articles amount to millions if not tens of millions of unique readers.

Here are a few axes on which I differentiate public events from (formerly) private ones gone viral, using this article as a baseline referent:

Design: The article was publicized deliberately and without such publication, the event as we know it (replication failures and all) would not have occurred. Contrast with a video clip which was initially taken of a private event and (for whatever reason) became a viral hit, let's say a given disaster in a "greatest wedding fails" compilation to reduce the odds that it was a deliberate attempt at virality, where the disaster would remain essentially the same for the parties involved although any embarrassment could be magnified by the viral fame.
Intent: The attempts at replication, failures, and eventual alternative explanation have sparked a broader conversation, and that was the original intention (unlike most viral images, videos, samples of text, memes, or other possible claims to fame where aside from the fame itself, no particular public interest need exist)
Counterfacual coherence: Drawing a coherent line between public and private, in the counterfactual where the experiment did replicate successfully, would the first public demonstration of the properties of that substance be the first interview with journalists, the first experiment with publicized results, or the preliminary tests leading into that experiment? I'd argue strongly against the preliminary tests and for some milestone between the former two options (inclusive). Peer-reviewed ≠ published, and the failure to replicate is one of the most culturally significant events of the year around science, which (though presumably not the authors' intent) means it's a public event nevertheless.

In contrast (and with no foundation in reality, this is explicitly a BS hypothetical):
The torrid affair or lack thereof between the original researchers would be a private event, regardless of any legal proceedings which might emerge from it (though the proceedings themselves would be public). To step away from hypotheticals, the Depp/Heard trial was a public event but the key events discussed therein were private: at no point were invitations or notifications intended to be provided to members of the public, media, or even other people passing by or a given circle of more intimate acquaintances, family, etc.

[Austin here] It's ultimately up to Ian, but I also would have expected the LK99 market to count for public event...

@NicoTerry @Austin My problem with this question is that it was made under false assumptions: I assumed there was some instance of a private & non-personal event. However, no one can come up with a private event market that isn't a personal market. So I vote to n/a this market in favor of the more explicit market: /Manifold/will-the-years-most-popular-market . Or I suppose we could rename this market to be: Will 2023's most popular market NOT be a personal market?

predicted YES

@ian any further thoughts?