What is a "contest"? What are these contests popular among academics?

Yes, simpler is better, so I prefer an open contest to a curated contest, but I'd expect anything that honestly deserves the name "contest" to be most of the way there. I think the most important details are keeping track records and actually being adversarial.

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The context really matters. One of the big issues with curation is that the more influence someone's recommendations have on real world power etc the stronger the incentives to tilt your views to present a common front. Yes, in general the fear that your opponents are being tricksy so you can't afford to acknowledge or raise drawbacks in your positions as they surely wouldn't is a problem. However, the more you are part of the buisness of governing the relatively greater those incentives are since whether or not you tow the line has much more influence on both the laws passed and your own future.

So I'm happy using a curated prediction market in circumstances where I don't feel the curators have much stake in anything besides good outcomes. Tetlock's superforecasters is a good example as they predicting events the are largely abroad and he is no obvous way any position would benefit curators over others (apart from accurate pred). I think in some corporate contexts it would be like this...in many others and government it has all the features that raise risks you give a good description of

Note that I don't think it's quite that the stakes aren't high. Rather it's just that the defenses are strong against the threats. The CIA uses some of these methods so I'm sure ppl could benefit by affecting them but no more so than gov agents generally and it would be impractical to infer just what answers would benefit them.

So it's not just when things are low stakes. It's when it's hard to gain by offering corruption since defenses high, the outcomes you want predicted hard to identify and you have easy contact with experts.

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This seems like a problem of any system large enough to need some kind of moderation/mediation. Anyone with skin in the game tries to work the refs. Michael Lewis did a podcast about all the different ways this has been going on in America. And it happens in democratic systems just the same as elsewhere: someone has to rule that this person is eligible to vote and that person is not, someone has to rule that this ballot is legally marked and that one is not, and someone has to count. The phrase "to a first approximation"--and perhaps the old paradigm under which both major parties competed for the median voter--have covered up the curator problem, is all.

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Simplest version of Delphi is curating in choosing who participates, but not much beyond that.

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Just sayin'.... the "curated democracy" idea, where the curators are "experts" and the task is to develop the best course of action, has a lot in common with the classical forecasting tool, "The Delphi Study." Here, a party which wants a disinterested view of an issue important to it first locates experts and enrolls them (usually with payment) into the study. The way it is carried out is described here.

Of course, this has nothing to do with democracy, and the participants do not decide what course of action will be carried out. That will be done by the sponsor of the study.

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"there is no one we can agree to trust, so we need to agree on sometime simple and clear that will run with few such adjustments. I’m most interested in that second kind of design problem."---RH

I think you wanted the word "something" where the word "sometime" is used.

I agree with the sentiment that "keep it simple stupid" (KISS) is necessary for democracy.

Pondering the Federal Reserve in this context is a bit troubling.

Most orthodox macroeconomists believe the Federal Reserve should be insulated and run by experts.

The structure of the Federal Reserve makes it almost unaccountable, and a less transparent body.

So if the central bank tanks the economy by being too tight... how do voters vote?

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Re: "each market has some mechanical details, but those matter when there is lots of trading". I suspect you left out a "don't" or a "less" here.

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