Chronos and Betting

Trying to set up a betting situation can be seen as saying, “My position is stronger than your position because I am willing to put down money and you aren’t”. In reality, the strength of a position shouldn’t depend on who has the spare money to blow on a bet and who doesn’t-it should depend on the facts of the matter and the strength of the argument.

The biggest problem is that betting introduces off-board behavior to the Board. Let’s say A and B make a bet on anything from a basketball game to the outcome of an election. We’ve all witnessed the bet here. B wins the bet, but A contests it, or just plain doesn’t pay off. B comes to the Board to complain about A. What next? Do the participants in the thread judge whether A’s challenge is to be accepted? Do the mods order A to pay up or be banned? Is everyone supposed to shun A, or ride B for being a sore winner, since B won and A lost and everyone agrees “wanna bet!” is simply a rhetorical device?

Nope. If A and B want to make a side bet, let them PM each other (do we still have Private Messages?) and leave the SDMB out of it.

Is that really a problem? We have a forum where people buy and sell stuff in the physical world.

I tend to agree that bets are a good tax on bullshit, but also I understand that some people don’t care to bet. I think it’s not that big a deal to allow betting as long as people aren’t jerks about it, and that the problem is being a jerk, not offering a wager. We could easily have some prescribed rules around it.

I have made bets with people on the boards before and they were fine. And if someone ended up not betting in good faith, then you make a Pit thread about them and the community reacts how it does. I’m not convinced that the existence of a wager makes the problem of social dynamics on a message board more difficult.

People already call each other pretty vile things over their behavior, is “didn’t send the $20 we agreed on” worse?

I agree with this.

There have been some reasonable complaints in this thread, but a general rule of “You can offer a bet, but don’t harass anyone about it” would be better than an outright ban.

I’m pretty sure it’s new and part of the January 2020 revision to GD and Elections rules only. Not Game Room.

Also agreed on all counts - and I particularly like the phrase “bets are a good tax on bullshit.”

My bets, here and elsewhere, are always friendly. As I see it, a bet of some modest amount (like $20, usually) is a way to put a little skin in the game. “Do you really think that? Hmm. Care to make it interesting…?” If the other person declines, fine, that’s their decision. I’m certainly not going to get upset about it. But I will secretly think that person is willing to jabber but not to commit.

And that is the problem. Not only will you believe that, but that is what is implied if the person declines the offer. Thus you have used a tactic that makes it seem like the poster doesn’t actually believe what they are saying.

The reality is that most people don’t bet, period. And those that do make bets do so either in verified places or with people they know and trust, not internet strangers.

Yet you admit you think poorly of people if they refuse to bet. How is that friendly?

I am actually capable of thinking something but not saying it, and not having it affect my behavior in any way.

And it’s not that I think the person “doesn’t actually believe what they are saying.” It’s that, as I wrote, they’ll jabber but not commit. Talk is cheap even if you are entirely sincere and believe what you say, no matter how farfetched or provably wrong, with every fiber of your being.

Expressing an opinion and backing it up with evidence is not “cheap”, and being willing and able to use money instead is not a suitable substitute.

While I’ve nothing against two willing participants engaging in a friendly wager (particularly if the stakes are donations to charities, as they have often been here), I find the idea that “bets are a tax on bullshit” ludicrous. As noted already, demands to back up one’s position with money have on several occasions been used to intimidate opponents and to impugn their commitment to their arguments, not by rhetoric or evidence but by financial means. If anything, I question whether those resorting to such tactics under those circumstances are themselves committed to their own arguments, given that they feel the need to resort to such. It’s not a good look IMO.

That said, I too was unaware that there was a specific rule against betting beyond the “jerkish” application of it.

I understand @Elendil_s_Heir 's position. It sounds pretty much like “Thinking in Bets” by Annie Duke

But @Czarcasm has just made a the point that I was also thinking about. Debaters on these boards are supposed to support their positions by presenting their best arguments. Wagers can be at best an amusement or a distraction.

Is a post made by someone who is homeless and posts from a public terminal “jabber” if reason and/or cites are provided, but betting money is not?

This is exactly right. The ability to throw around money shouldn’t be permitted as a cheap substitute for debating facts on the merits. First because it’s not accessible to people who don’t have money. Second because it’s foul play to change the debate terms from deterministic to probabilistic.

For example, if I state a 7 to 1 chance against a certain electoral outcome happening, but it happens anyway, that doesn’t prove that forecast or any of the supporting information was wrong. It just proves that 7:1 isn’t a sure thing, as any gambler already knows.

But you do agree that you think poorly of someone who doesn’t take a bet. I assume that is the case also for a third party, in that you would think poorly of someone who didn’t take a bet with me, for example.

And I also assume that you would expect and want others to think poorly of someone who doesn’t take a bet.

Taking an action with the predictable result of others thinking poorly of someone is a bit jerkish, IMHO.

I’ve never seen a proposed bet on here that was any more substantial than betting on a sports game.

Just because I have my preferred team, and I can even point to statistics that make me optimistic that my team would win does not make it inevitable. Asking someone to back up what they have already said was probable, not certain, adds nothing to the conversation, does nothing to get anyone to “commit” to anything.

Basically, you are saying that in order to be a proper fan of a team, if you predict your team winning the tournament, you must be willing to bet on it. That’s just nonsense.

As far as contemporary factual things rather than predictions, that’s even stupider to bet on. You either have obvious things like, “Is the sky blue? Is water wet?” which can be googled and resolved faster than bet terms can be made, or they are questions like “Was the Civil War fought over slavery or state’s rights?” in which there will probably never be an agreement that settles the bet.

That said, I have what I think is one of the very last sanctioned bets on this board. I bet with another poster that we would not have elections this November. If we do, I donate $10 to a charity of his choice, if we don’t, he has to send me 2 cans of beans. I didn’t make the bet because I believe with every fiber of my being that we won’t have elections, I made the bet because it amused me, and because I win either way.

never mind

[quote=“UY_Scuti, post:36, topic:912992”]
It was addressed to someone else
[/quote]Understood now.

I don’t offer bets at the drop of a hat, and I don’t offer people bets if I know their resources wouldn’t permit them to accept. And obviously a bet is no substitute for a reasoned discussion that includes evidence offered by both sides. Sheesh.

Huh? What does that have to do with what I said? I pointed out that the implication is there whether you say it out loud or not, and that said implication is unfriendly. You even said exactly what the implication is: “they won’t commit.”

How are those different? If someone isn’t committed to something they said, that means they can’t stand behind it. If you can’t stand behind what you say, you don’t 100% believe what you said.

But none of that is why most people don’t bet. The reason is simply that they don’t bet, or don’t bet in the given circumstances. If someone simply doesn’t do something, then it has no bearing on whether they are committed or not.

My point is that the implication is incorrect, and thus does not in any way further the conversation, for the reasons others have said while I thinking through and typing this.

For all I know, you bet because you have enough disposable income where losing that money isn’t that big a deal for you. For me, losing $20 I could have not lost is something I will not do–I view it as wasteful to do recreational betting.

Evidence is not binary.

It forms a continuum.

If a poster here makes overbold predictions about the future, and I offer to bet them two dollars that they’ll be proven wrong in a year, and they reject that, then the rejection could have many causes. It could be that they value the pseudonym, and don’t want to bother with the hassle of an internet bet. It could be that they have religious objections. It could be that a relative is suffering a casino addiction and they want to set a family example. And, yes, it could simply be that they’re completely full of shit.

If someone rejects a bet, the actual response to that (at least on a message board) is “Hmmm…”. It’s not a binary switch. It’s never a binary switch. It’s just one piece of a puzzle. If it’s a poster who’s been an evasive asshole for ten years, than one more piece of evidence that they’re an intellectual chickenshit is not really necessary. But not everyone knows everyone, not everyone has interacted with everyone. Sometimes it’s worth making the offer, and seeing what happens. Obviously, if an offer is rejected, it should be dropped immediately. That would not be hard to moderate.

And even beyond that, there are other benefits to having a few dollars on the line. To make an agreement means that both parties need to consider very carefully the exact description of what they think will happen, or exactly how long it will take for a prediction to happen. Bets are inherently falsifiable. There is genuine value in that. Putting a few bucks on the line helps sharpen the edges.

But the acceptance or rejection of a bet on a message board is not a mystical scry into the inner soul. It’s just one piece of info. A 1% tax on bullshit is not the same thing as 100% tax on bullshit, but it’s still a tax.

Except that, as I’ve already noted, it can also be a rebate of bullshit (or whatever the appropriate reversed metaphor is). Being willing to bet is no more or less indicative of one’s confidence in one’s position than refusal of that bet is of one’s lack of confidence in it. Proffering a bet is merely a tactic, and not always a nice one.

“Hmmm…” right back atcha.