Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fours Rankings

I've added the fall V4 rankings to the side bar. A reader asked that I track the fours ranking through the season as I do the eights, so I'll give it a shot. I didn't do this in the past because it's very difficult to do and this year will probably be even worse. The difficulty stems from the fact that there is no single championship race for fours and many of the top ranked fours do not race each other during the season. The only time there was a good mix of fours was at the Knecht Cup and that looks to be in trouble this year with Windermere on the same weekend. For example, what if Pitt wins Dad Vail and Wisconsin wins Eastern Sprints, but they didn't race each other at Knecht - who is faster? It will be very difficult to know. Also, I start out the eights in their preseason ranking. I don't do a fours preseason ranking because it's not always clear who will race in that category and I could end up ranking a boat that never races. As a result, I'll start the fours in the spring in their fall finish ranking.

What I'd really like to do is run a prediction market for both V8 and V4 rankings and give some sort of a prize for the winner. That would absolutely be the best way to rank. Even if I found a site that would let me set a market up for free, the prize aspect would no doubt run afoul of NCAA gambling rules. A prize would be critical to make people actually use their best judgment rather than vote for their favorites (like the polls). If anyone has any other ideas on this, let me know.

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Anonymous said...

We are all rowers, after all, and an essential part of our sport requires us to make choices completely free of whatever our preferences or favorites might be: seat racing. we've got the ethic to pull the hardest we can on every piece in order to make sure the fastest boat is set. we probably have the ethic to vote on best judgment rather than favoritism when it comes to a prediction market.

that being said, favoritism will probably still interfere.

i've never played the market, but from wikipedia article you linked to it seems like you could get around the favoritism:

wikipedia says "People who buy low and sell high are rewarded for improving the market prediction" so, people who vote for lower schools will make those lower schools rank higher. What you are trying to avoid is an inaccurate high ranking due to a bunch of people "buying low". to avoid this you can introduce artificial constraints which will numb the effect of these low purchases.

maybe introduce some sort of taxes on share purchases in the market, based on the fitd fall rankings. for example, there would be a heavy tax on purchasing a large amount of shares of a school voted less likely to win, whereas a purchase of a large amount of shares of a more realistic choice would be lightly taxed.

what i mean by tax is a change in the effective number of shares purchased. for example, if you buy a share which represents voting for dayton to win would represent perhaps 1/2 of a share voting for georgetown to win... thus purchases for the schools which you've considered more likely to win will count for more in this market. in order for a lesser ranked school to be expected to win, they will need a whole ton of faith, whereas it will be pretty easy for a higher ranked school to remain in the lead.

Basically what this tax should do is just dumb down what happens in a real market... buying shares of a low stock is going to improve the prediction of a certain school's result, but not by as much as it would in a taxfree case, buying shares of a high stock will improve its prediction by a more normal amount. dumbing it down like this should make the market less likely to fluctuate due to favoritism.

maybe you could normalize your taxes so the winner always has 1 share = 1 effective share and the tax on the further competitors is calculated off of this.

but then again, i'm not a market person. maybe someone who is will know if this makes sense or not.

JW Burk said...

Hmmm, I'll have to think about that. My initial reaction is that a tax would introduce an artificial bias which I'm trying to avoid. The idea of the market is to try to learn the wisdom of the masses and a tax would leave the taxing authority with undue influence. But, I would be interested in hearing some other takes on this. Ultimately, though, what you said in the beginning may be right - a sense of honesty and an athlete's natural competitive drive to win may be all that is needed. This might be fun to try if I can find a hosted solution.

Anonymous said...

The thing is though that at Sprints most teams have an eight first and then a four, whereas this does not seem to be the case at Dad Vails... So, I would think that as far as fours go, you'd think of Sprints first...

I mean, you wouldn't rank a 1V heavy boat against a whole bunch of 2Vs would you?