Friday, March 6, 2009

Positive or Negative? The Economist, Prediction Markets, and Mechanical Turk

A few days back, the Economist published a short story about prediction markets, saying that the concept has not taken off as many people were expecting. Chris Masse from MidasOracle got a little obsessed about the piece, publishing many blog posting about the article, and even making calls to everyone to post answers and discussion in their blog. Everyone who just read the blog post would think that the Economist article was pretty much tearing down the concept of prediction markets, their practicality, and their usefulness.

Michael Giberson actually responded saying that the article was pretty much a run-of-the mill article, and there was nothing to respond to and that the article was not even negative. Chris listed a long list of argument why the article was negative.

OK, so is it positive or negative? Well, let the crowd decide. I posted the article on Mechanical Turk, asking 100 Turkers to read the article and rate it in a scale from 0 (most negative) to 10 (most positive) about the sentiment of the article towards prediction markets.

Here are the results:

Well, the average was a 5.8/10, meaning that the average detected sentiment was pretty much neutral with some hints on positivity.

The lesson: never let your own judgment drive your decisions. Measure and analyze the data!

Sorry Chris! Too much drama for nothing!