A reverse auction

Read this before skipping ahead to read the other posts. Which is something you should generally do in a thread.

I read an article about a reverse auction and I want to try one out here.

I want to make it clear right at the start that this is a purely hypothetical auction. No actual money will be bid and no actual prizes will be given out. So you can imagine the prize is whatever you want; a house, a yacht, a unicorn, an intimate dinner with Cecil, whatever. And the bids are in imaginary SDMB credits.

Here are the rules of this auction:

  1. You are only allowed to bid once.
  2. You cannot read any of the other bids before bidding.
  3. You cannot post unspoilered information about any of the bids while the auction is in effect.
  4. All bids must be a positive integer. Any bid that is zero, a negative number, a fraction, an irrational number, or any other exotic number will be discarded.
  5. No bid can be computational and referential to other bids. You can’t, for example, say you are bidding the whole number that is closest to the average of the previous three bids. Any such bid will be disqualified.
  6. All bids that are the same as another bid will be discarded. Only unique bids have a chance of winning the auction.
  7. The winner will be the person who submits the lowest unique bid. Note: This auction will not be won by the highest bidder (unless there is only one valid bid).
  8. The bidding will close at midnight on May 8.

In keeping with this, I would ask that people use spoilers to keep from accidentally revealing information to other posters. This includes both bids and any discussions about why you picked a bid. Spoilers can be done with a {spoiler}spoiler tag{/spoiler} substituting brackets for braces, like this.

My bid is:


My initial thoughts on bidding are:

Obviously a really low bid like one or two would be a bad idea because it’s likely to be duplicated and eliminated. An arbitrarily high number like 47,944,056,838 would almost certainly be unique; but it would also almost certainly be too high to win. So I tried to figure out a number that was high enough to avoid the crowd but low enough to be just outside of that crowd.


I recommend padding the bid with 0’s or other characters to hide its length

I bid…


I bid 9

I bid 85 cents.
ETA: hmm. I have units attached. I guess my number can just be 85, but that’s higher than I really intended.

Two things:

1. I still don’t know how to do a spoiler so I’m going to try the OP’s directions here:

spoiler tag.

OK. got it.

2. Clearly I’m no expert is spoilering but I’ve noticed that the blurring does not hide all that it should. For instance you can still see how many letters are in the spoiler.

NOTE: Please read my spoilers as they are only ideas for spoilering

Could we do something here to obscure the length of the spoiler? Such as:

250XXXX and 25000XX.

instead of

250 and 25000.

ETA: OOOOOOPS!! it looks like i’ve been nin-ja’d.
Wow. “hadn’t read all the posts yet” in a thread with 5 posts. Damn. What a putz!

Oh heck, somebody’s gotta do it. I bid 1.

All right, damn. I am really dense here but I’d like to play so… here comes more dumb shit:

Little Nemo: your “My initial thoughts on bidding are:” followed by a spoilered paragraph confuses me. The “My thoughts on…” suggests that we are to read it yet you spoilered it.

Also, isn’t this a thread game?

If you’ve made your bid, go ahead and read all the spoilered stuff. I just wanted to make it easy for people to avoid reading bids and discussions about bids before they had a chance to make their own.

Maybe. But I see it more as a poll and/or experiment in crowd psychology. The only “game” aspect is trying to guess what other people are thinking.

The following is my bid I have added extra X’s to it so as to not give away the number of digits. It will be in this format:


With 3929 being my actual bid in that example.

If I could make one more suggestion? If this is the first time this has been done on the SDMB maybe you should try a shorter practice run first. Maybe end a quick game on April 10th or something?

ETA: ooops forgot to bid. here we go:


No one will win this auction.

Think about it: No one should choose 1 because it’s too obvious (contrarians might try it but they’ll cancel each other out). So we eliminate 1.

That makes 2 the lowest biddable number. By similar logic 2 can’t win either, so we eliminate 2. That makes 3 the lowest biddable number, but because it’s the lowest we eliminate that too. In fact, every number is equally unacceptable no matter how high it is.

Therefore I assume that everyone’s “spoiler” is actually blank inside and there are no bidders in this auction.

My bid is 16.

I’ve seen this done before, I think on The Guardian (a major English newspaper) website, and I seem to remember the winning bid on that occasion was something like 127. But they have a MUCH bigger readership than the SDMB, so I figure the winning bid here should be correspondingly smaller.

This thread seems to be a version of the Interesting Number Paradox

When is the last day to post?


000 7 XXX


My bid is 0000017. We tried something like this in a quiz setting some time ago, but we were too few bidders and the game was not repeated often enough to get interesting. I wonder how it will work out here. I still believe that it is recursivity that makes this interesting.
And I fear not being able to control cheaters who do read before submitting their bid can be problematic. Let’s hope it works nonetheless, I’m reading the blurs right away. I hope I am close to the lowest bid and nobody gives a lower number, and my hope is based on the number of answers so far, multiplied by an arbitrary factor, divided by a hunch, rounded down to the nearest integer, then changed to something completely different on a whim.


My bid is:


My thoughts are:

Taking a chance that there won’t be many takers at very low numbers, but not willing to quite take the chance on the very very lowest integers. Time to find out if people were thinking the same way I was.

Baby needs a new pair of shoes…#$&3

The bids so far:

14 10 8 9 85 1 57 16 7 17 18 4 3

I’m slightly surprised there have been no duplicates yet - looks like 1 has a decent shot at winning, and unless this thread gets considerably more interest than the average SDMB thread, I’d put money on a single digit winning. But there’s lots of time for things to change.