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lessdazed comments on Useful Statistical Biases - Less Wrong

11 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 April 2007 04:51AM

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Comment author: lessdazed 17 February 2011 09:11:11PM 1 point [-]

Say I were convinced that there is valuable wisdom of the crowds when guessing about the number of jelly beans in a jar.

I would be especially surprised by the average of humans' guesses being accurate because I would have thought more relevant the humans' average estimation error by percent of difference between the jar and the guess, whether it was an overestimation or an underestimation.

A guess of 425 beans is off by 425 beans and 50%, a guess of 1275 is off by 425 beans and 33.33%, and a guess of 1700 is off by 850 beans and 50%.

For a young child glancing at a map, which is a worse guess for how many states are in the U.S., 1 or 100? 10 or 100?

I think 1 and 10 are worse.

Comment author: AspiringRationalist 01 July 2012 07:21:42PM 3 points [-]

This can be solved by taking the error on a log scale rather than a linear scale.