Measure is unceasing

Betting and consent

There is an interesting thing around consent and betting:

This post was prompted by a few situations in the past:

  1. Offering a bet to a fellow forecaster at my forecasting group, Samotsvety (I feel totally fine with this)
  2. Offering a bet to Daniel Filan—someone I respect—where I think that he is overestimating something, and he feels that I am underestimating it (I feel totally fine with this)
  3. Offering a bet to someone I know is a much worse forecaster than I am who claims to be 99% sure of something (I do this occasionally)
  4. Offering to bet to someone who writes that “I would bet all the money I have (literally not figuratively)” (I offered a specific bet, and would have gone through with the bet, even though loosing it would have been a major inconvenience to the person).
  5. Incidentally, they later backed down, which I still can’t get over.
  6. Offering a bet to a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory that Trump would not be reinstated after his 2020 loss, where I know the QAnon conspiracy theorist personally (I feel fine with this, have won a bit over 500 EUR)
  7. Taking a bet that Trump would not be reinstated as president in 2021 after Biden won, against nameless conspiracy theorists on Polymarket (have done this, feel fine)
  8. Offering to bet to someone who exhibited some symptoms of a manic episode (offered the bet, accepted the bet, then dissolved the bet once they lost)
  9. Offering to bet money to someone who had some symptoms of schizophrenia that they would not come up with a revolutionary math idea (considered the bet, but did not make it. I plausibly should have, since they keep believing in a similar thing three years afterwards.)

So what I am saying to someone when I offer them a bet is:

I like you. However, I think what you just said is bullshit, or at least uncalibrated. And my reaction to that is to attempt to extract money from you in a way which I think will leave you with less money but with better models about the world and about your own fallibility. Now, it may be that I am wrong, in which case you can take advantage of me, but I think that this is the less likely outcome.

I think that ultimately, I do feel generally fine making bets with people, even if I’m a bit conflicted. In particular, I think that being me being known to offer accurate probabilities as ellicited by bets is a useful thing to offer even to people in altered mental states. But in the past I’ve been hesitant to do that (see points 5 and 6 in the list above). In the future, I’ll experiment with sending this post to people that I think are in a position like points 3-8 in the list, before I make a bet with them.

I’m curious to get people’s impressions on this. Here is a small poll, and comments below are open.