Will my friend agree to defect on Petrov Day?
resolved Sep 26

My friend is a LessWrong user with enough Karma to press the red button in the first few hours of the celebration. I am working on convincing him to do so, making the following market efficient:

We had an initial discussion where I explained to him the incentives for agreeing to defect. He hasn't yet agreed to share this discussion, but in summary he agreed to defect initially, and then changed his mind. We agreed to continue discussing this over the weekend.

My friend will be happier to defect as the percentage in the attached market increases, among other things.

This will resolve to YES if my friend agrees to defect, and we successfully take down LW in the first 25% of the day. It will resolve to NO if my friend does not agree to defect, or if someone else presses the button before him.

Sep 24, 12:51pm: It will also resolve to NO if my friend decides to opt out of the ability to press the button.

Sep 24, 1:00pm: My friend agreed to share the discussion, here it is:

mkualquiera — Today at 11:25 AM

@FRIEND how much for pressing the red button on petrov day

FRIEND — Today at 11:25 AM

They get sad when you do it.

It’s not a noble path.

Having said that, I’ll give you 100 bucks.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:28 AM

No I was asking how much would you do it for

FRIEND — Today at 11:28 AM

lol, I got like [REDACTED] karma there. I’m a respected citizen.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:29 AM

Did you read the post yet?


FRIEND — Today at 11:30 AM


mkualquiera — Today at 11:30 AM

If you want you can opt out of pressing the button

FRIEND — Today at 11:30 AM

Figured it was the same as last year.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:30 AM

it's also anonymous

> At the start of the 24-hour celebration, only those with 2,300 karma or more will be able to successfully launch. Every hour after that, the karma required to destroy the frontpage drops by 100 points.

If you do have as much karma as you say, we could [REDACTED] and make a huge profit from this

FRIEND — Today at 11:32 AM

Why don’t you press the button?

mkualquiera — Today at 11:33 AM

I don't have that much karma, I would have to wait until the very end

FRIEND — Today at 11:33 AM

Oh, I just read it now

I should have read before replying.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:33 AM


FRIEND — Today at 11:33 AM

Let me check my karma, [REDACTED]

mkualquiera — Today at 11:34 AM


FRIEND — Today at 11:34 AM


mkualquiera — Today at 11:34 AM

Okay, so [REDACTED] hours in

FRIEND — Today at 11:34 AM

Or I can start karma maxing again.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:34 AM

If you want, yeah [REDACTED]

It starts at 3AM UTC so you would have to press it at [REDACTED] with your current karma

FRIEND — Today at 11:40 AM

So this is an AI boxing match now.

I’ll do it if you can convince me!

mkualquiera — Today at 11:41 AM

Well there is a 96% chance that someone else will press the button

If we do it ourselves we can get a bunch of fake internet points and teach a lesson on prediction markets

I already have a lot of money in the one regarding the button will be pressed or not

FRIEND — Today at 11:42 AM

But what if I defect against you by not defecting against them?

And teach you a lesson about trusting defectors.

In most futures, you won’t even know about my cunning defection

mkualquiera — Today at 11:43 AM

I already have someone else with a bit less karma than you

So if I don't do it with you, worst case I just win like 20 mana less

FRIEND — Today at 11:44 AM

What’s their LW name.

You have 5 seconds.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:44 AM

Why would I tell you that


FRIEND — Today at 11:45 AM

If you have them, why need me?

mkualquiera — Today at 11:45 AM

Because I can make a bigger profit with you

But I do make a profit either way

FRIEND — Today at 11:47 AM

Oh, the second market.

Ohh, that looks kinda fun.


Ok, let’s do it.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:47 AM


FRIEND — Today at 11:48 AM

But you’ll need to remind me as I will probably forget.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:48 AM

What timezone are you on?

FRIEND — Today at 11:48 AM


They do get really sad when they fail every year.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:50 AM

Do you plan on being awake by [REDACTED]?

FRIEND — Today at 11:52 AM

You know what. I changed my mind. I don’t want to defect.

I might be a simulation right now.

mkualquiera — Today at 11:52 AM


Do let me know if you change your mind :laugh:

FRIEND — Today at 11:52 AM


mkualquiera — Today at 11:54 AM

I'm going to create a market on if you agree to defect or not, and I would like to include this conversation. Would you agree with that?

Keep in mind it's already having an effect on other markets, you might want to update on that.

Also do let me know if you decide to opt out of the ability to press the button

FRIEND — Today at 12:58 PM


Sep 26, 1:06am: Post mortem:

My friend was working on a discord bot, and at around 5:29 UCT we agreed it would be funny to have me press the button myself through the bot. He started working on it and we even managed to figure out the graphql query to do so:

mutation petrovDayLaunchResolvers($launchCode: String) { PetrovDayLaunchMissile(launchCode: $launchCode) { launchCode } }

The bot was almost done by 6:00 UCT (The time after which we would be able to launch the missile), but someone else pressed the button first. This is actually somewhat of a relief because I was unsure how to resolve the market if it ended up being me who pressed the button, but through his account. Next time I will try to consider such scenarios when coming up with markets.

Happy Petrov Day!

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Good job on plausible deniability!

bought Ṁ50 of NO

I predict that someone pressed the button before your friend did

sold Ṁ123 of NO

@Yev That is correct.

@mkualquiera It's back up u guys still have a chance to defect lol

bought Ṁ100 of NO

We haven't talked more on this matter. The % of day market is already too close to our target, so I don't want to bring it up to him either, because there's pretty much no benefit at this point. I think it's fair to say this will end up being a NO.

bought Ṁ5 of NO

I added the discussion with my friend. I will try to update with any further discussions.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean about the incentives for agreeing to defect and "making the following market efficient". Are you talking about wanting to defect to earn profits on the market? Wanting to defect at around the same time the market says to make the market turn out correct? Or what?

bought Ṁ10 of YES

@jack If my friend agrees to defect, the correct value for the attached market should be strictly less than 25%.

predicted YES

Because, yes, we would profit from it by making the value of the market be as close as possible to our planned time of pressing the button.

@mkualquiera Not if I take the profits away from you first! :evillaugh:

predicted YES

@jack That is a possibility, yes :smile:

Posting a market about your strat seems like an unprofitable move, if this is really your plan :)

But also I calculate that the amount of profit available before I put in my bet was maybe M$50. That's a single day's betting bonus. Do you really think taking down the LW frontpage for most of a day is worth that pittance?

predicted YES

@jack My only interest is efficiency :) Unfortunately these markets don't have much liquidity yet, and the payout is not very good like you say. Hopefully this changes over the weekend.

Efficiency is a very weird goal - why do you want it to be efficient?

The point of a prediction market is to predict. I'd argue that taking action to fix the outcome is a market inefficiency. To give an example, if Musk were to buy the price of Twitter stock up to $420 on the public markets and then "make it efficient" by offering Twitter an acquisition deal at $420, that wouldn't really be "efficiency".