The Median Value Game (please read first post)

That’s only true for a small number of entries near the middle and only for a short time. In fact, that time has already passed, because any existing entry that has a chance has already been the median at some point. The value, I can happily report, is converging. So I already know that my entry, for example, isn’t going to win. Not that I would have any motivation to help it. The whole point was to discover some magical central value of humanity (to overstate it a little). And, we hope, new values should be coming in that hit that target zone between the two or three middle ones, giving us more accuracy on the value we seek.

Recently–in terms of entries–the median value has finally begun to settle down, indicating that I could have some confidence now in the general vicinity (which is highly subjective) of what the final result would be, given a large number of entries.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the turnout I was hoping for. I have received only 20 answers from this message board, plus 7 that I recorded in person prior to posting this thread.

When the data on this thread dried up much sooner than I expected, I knew I had to end the experiment, but I wanted to ask more people in person in a last-ditch effort to gather a reasonable amount of entries. But I keep forgetting to do so, and that’s why the game hasn’t ended yet. My apologies to the 20 people on the edges of their seats. I’m giving myself one more shot to collect data, though, so hang in there.

Meanwhile, if anyone else wants to throw a dart, the dartboard is still pretty big, I’d say.

Okay, that’s it. I got 4 more entries today, plus I found one in my messages that I had overlooked. So, I’m calling the game closed with a total of 32 entries.

I will be posting the results shortly.

Drum roll, please.

All entries, sorted from smallest to largest:

Mr Shine 0.0174
JMLVT68 0.1213
snfaulkner pi (approx. 3.1415)
bibliophage 3.581
Prof. Pepperwinkle 5
jepflast 7.71
Shannon* 8
Saint Cad 9.93
Aspidistra 12
Giles 12.5
WF Tomba 18
Chris* 32.12
Bayard 39
Clyde* 46.5
Eric* 54
Enginerd 62.4
Kimble 70
sachertorte 101
septimus 142
swampspruce 327
PoppaSan 837
Ian* 1234.5
Benj* 1375.6
Crotalus 1879
glowacks (e + pi) ^ (1/(i ^ i)) (approx. 4942.075)
gkster 12345
Biotop 65322
Little Nemo 123456
Jimmy* 233000
Josh* 500001
Jim* 1 billion
glee googolplex

(* = not from SDMB)

The median value was 66.2, and the co-winners are Enginerd and Kimble.

If you’d prefer not to include the people I asked outside of this message board, then Enginerd’s value alone was the median.

Thanks again for playing!

Ah. But what have we learned from this?

M-hmm. Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

I’ve learned that only through the power of love can I transcend death and stop bullets. Or maybe that was The Matrix.

I mean I thought the answer to the meaning of Life, Death, the Universe and Everything was 42. But 66.2? This requires a realignment of reality!

Some thoughts.

I actually recorded my answer of 7.71 over three years ago when I first thought of this. It’s a game of thinking about what other people will be thinking. Basically, I was thinking most people would be scared to go too far above 10. I figured there would be a lot of answers around 5, and a few stray ones much higher.

After it was too late to change my answer, I realized I had missed what is probably the most prominent element of correct strategy, which is to restrict your answer to a single significant digit. The way median works, you want to have as good a chance as possible to duplicate answers with other people.

Some people may have realized this, but most seemed to be deliberately trying to avoid producing the same value as anyone else.

In retrospect, the most obvious answer might be “1”, which is in the middle in the sense that anything raised to the zero is 1. Kinda surprised I didn’t get a “1” answer now, or a 0.5, or even a 50 or a 500.

I also overlooked the fact that some people would simply pick something they thought might be halfway between 0 and infinity.

Woohoo! Three cheers for dumb luck!

This was a neat game - thanks for organizing it.

Yay! To second Enginerd, thanks for running the game. (Hopefully, I shouldn’t be disqualified for briefly wondering whether Enginerd or I came closer to the median value. In my defense, it’s late and I had a bad day at work.)

Wow, that’s a really awful showing on my part. What was I thinking?:confused:

What I was thinking was that most folks would in fact start by thinking about numbers between 1 and 10 (which is probably the first error), or even just thinking about 1. But even if that were the case, there’d be a handful of people going the other way, picking larger numbers. It seemed that to stay near the median, you’d want to err on the side of slightly smaller numbers. I think this might have been a subconscious conflation of median and mean, even though I understand the definitions of those two terms. So if you want to err towards the small side, and if everyone else goes through the same logic, they are going to pick small too, so you have to pick smaller, and so on and so on. So my process drove me to a very small number, relatively, where I eventually figured people would give up.

SO wrong. :smack: