The Challenge ran from May through November 2017 in both English and Arabic, and nearly 800 volunteer forecasters with ties to 20 Arab countries engaged in forecasting on political and economic questions of importance to the Arab World.
Overall, forecasters reported high satisfaction with the tournament, the top factor being an increased motivation to learn. More than 90% of the tournament’s final survey respondents reported some sort of learning benefit. One forecaster from Egypt wrote that he found the tournament helpful for “knowing that I’m not always right and listening to other opinions” as well as “garnering more knowledge about some topics which I didn’t know much about when I joined this competition.”
“The most useful thing about the tournament is that sometimes I have to [forecast] something I know little about, so I end up researching about it and trying to read all articles related to the issue before answering.” -Forecaster from the United Arab Emirates
Many participants reported enjoying the friendly competition offered by the tournament, with one forecaster stating that he enjoyed the “competitive spirit,” while others felt more motivated by the uniting purpose of an international, crowdsourced prediction tournament focused on the Arab world.
“…the tournament gave me the opportunity to track a number of interesting current affairs issues and see the outcome of my forecasts in a short to medium term window.” -Forecaster from Lebanon
With diverse motivations across the participant pool, forecasters remained focused on entering and updating their predictions throughout the six months of the tournament. Forecasters made 44,957 forecasts on 60 questions and left 13,593 comments, the more helpful of which were upvoted over time. (Good Judgment’s platforms encourage commentary to share justifications for forecasts and contribute to the wisdom of the crowd.)
- Price of Saudi gasoline: “Before 1 November 2017, will Saudi Arabia announce that it is changing the domestic price of gasoline?” 528 forecasters made a total of 1,359 forecasts on this question.
- Syria no-fly zone: “Before 1 November 2017, will a NATO member announce the establishment of a no-fly zone over any part of Syria?” 526 forecasters tallied 1,122 forecasts tallied for this question.
- Iran’s presidential election: “Who will win Iran’s May 2017 presidential election?” 515 forecasters contributed 876 forecasts on this question.
As the tournament progressed, participants and organizers paid increasing attention to questions that resulted in non-status quo outcomes, or outcomes that marked a change in world affairs compared to May 2017 when the tournament began. Questions that resulted in non-status quo outcomes included those relating to Iraqi and coalition partners’ retaking of Mosul in July 2017; credit agencies’ downgrading of Venezuela’s long-term credit rating in July 2017; and the retaking of Raqqa, Syria in October. It is often the prediction of non-status quo outcomes that is more interesting and noteworthy for Good Judgment customers.
“[I found it useful to explore] … different points of view and other people’s analysis and judgment on certain events.” -Forecaster from Syria
With the 2017 Elite Forecasters Challenge now closed, we would like to thank the Arab Strategy Forum and congratulate all participants on a successful tournament this year.
Fig. 1: The 2017 Elite Forecasters Challenge sign-in page.
Fig. 2: Example question forecasting page.