Crowdsourcing Divinest Sense from March Madness

By David Roher

“thumbs up if u know JB’s haters are pathetic… when he is all about the love” — SkilletBiscuitCrew on Baby

There are two ways to manage internet commentary. You can restrict the conversation to an elite group, or you can restrict the format to that which provides valuable information no matter what. Youtube comments fall in the second category: the behavioral data is fascinating even if the text is meaningless.

You’ll be talking about basketball a lot over the next couple weeks. Why not make it productive?  I’ve set up a twitter account, @VitalesCat. Tweet at it with the name of a school, followed by the percent chance that you think it will win its scheduled game. (Example: “@VitalesCat Harvard 52”). When you tweet during the game, you’re crowdsourcing live win probability!

The individual tweets will be boring, but the whole thing is pretty cool. When you observe a game, you’re entangling yourself in the outcome. Basketball is so complicated that it’s impossible to watch the whole thing at once, so all observers are watching their own game. We’re getting a single, open-source stream of data that covers the entire tourney from every possible perspective. And all we have to do is tweet. Tell your boss it’s for science.

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