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Comment author: AspiringRationalist 18 March 2012 09:07:49PM 1 point [-]

A bit late to the game, but the link now appears to be broken. Has gessum been moved?

Comment author: dreeves 30 May 2017 10:38:20PM 0 points [-]

Now resurrected!

Comment author: MathieuRoy 03 February 2014 11:23:49AM 1 point [-]

So D "wins" the bid, and B pays him $15 to go get the kids from their grandma's.

Shouldn't it be more something like 15+(100-15)/2$? So both win (about) the same amount of utility? Otherwise, the one who was ready to pay 100$ saved ("won") 85$ and the other won nothing (s/he was indifferent to pay or do it for 15$).

Nice post by the way. Such techniques seem useful if you trust the other will make a bid that really represents the amount s/he's ready to pay.

Comment author: dreeves 13 February 2014 10:50:54PM 1 point [-]

Thank you! See above ("Better to not have people feel like their desperation is being capitalized on.") for my response to your first question. And we actually believe that our system is, in practice if not in theory, strategy-proof. It's explicitly ok to game the system to our hearts' delight. It seems to be quite robust to that. Our utilities tend to either be uncannily well-matched, in which case it's kind of a coin flip who wins, or they're wildly different, but we never seem to have enough certainty about how different they'll be for it to be fruitful to distort our bids much.

The strategy of "just say a number such that you're torn about whether you'd rather win or lose" seems to be close enough to optimal.

In response to comment by Swimmer963 on White Lies
Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 09 February 2014 09:42:33PM 16 points [-]

Upvoted for a rare case of lying where I find myself unable to suggest a good alternative way to not lie, even for people with high verbal SAT scores.

Comment author: dreeves 12 February 2014 08:16:34AM 1 point [-]

How about adding a tiny bit of ambiguity (or evasion of the direct question) and making up for it with more effusiveness, eg, "it's not only my job but it feels really good to know that I'm helping you so I really want you to bug me about even trivial-seeming things!" All true and all she's omitting is her immediate annoyance but that is truly secondary, as she points out below about first-order vs second-order desires.

Comment author: iconreforged 25 January 2014 05:51:06PM 2 points [-]

Am I mistaken, or is this a case of Coasian bargaining?

Comment author: dreeves 01 February 2014 06:09:15AM 1 point [-]

Yes, we're super keen to make sure the efficient thing happens regardless of the initial distribution of resources/responsibilities/property-rights/etc. And we use yootling as a bargaining mechanism to make that happen. In general we're always willing to shove work to each other or redistribute resources as efficiency dictates, using payments to make that always be fair.

Comment author: wadavis 23 January 2014 07:49:26PM *  2 points [-]

In the comments you mentioned that you have been doing this for 9 years. Have you had to resolve attempts to game yootling, gone through phases where yootle was played to win, or ended finding stable price equilibriums? I like the idea and am trying to predict the problems I would encounter.

The example that comes to mind is: I don't mind doing dishes, my roommate despises the task. Under the introduction of yoodling a task will start at $5 : $55, then supply/demand, icecream stands on a beach, and all those other key words I did pay enough attention to will kick in, next thing you know we are sitting at 30:30 price equilibrium and playing the game of 'what do I think this is worth to them', 'how much can I milk them for' and the unmentionable 'dammit, I won. I was only trying to force their price down'. All meta-games I'd rather avoid.

As an aside, similar systems have developed in some of my more open/honest friendships: Join me at my social event and I'll buy the drinks, If I go to your social event you are buying the drinks. Those same systems have also blown up in my face with less established friendships:

'I already have this planned for tonight, but make a better offer and ill cancel those plans to join you'

'You want me to compete for your friendship!?'

response redacted

Comment author: dreeves 01 February 2014 06:03:57AM 0 points [-]

In practice the sealed-bid version seems to be ungameable, at least for us! None of the problems you mentioned have arisen. My parents have tried this and had more problems but as far as I could tell it always involved contention about what to consider to be joint 50/50 decisions. Bethany and I seem to have no problem with that, using the heuristic of "when in doubt, just call it a 50/50 decision and yootle for it".

Comment author: ThisSpaceAvailable 23 January 2014 03:39:13AM *  2 points [-]

If you'll excuse the critique of your syntax, it should be "to object both to ... " As it stands, it's a garden path sentence, with the initial parsing being that there are two auctions with disparate wealth, and you don't think it's reasonable to object to both of them.

Also, if an annotation consists of a link, you can put it like this [1]

Comment author: dreeves 01 February 2014 05:37:36AM 0 points [-]

Fixed and fixed. Thank you!

Comment author: Vaniver 22 January 2014 08:55:49PM *  1 point [-]

You're right that it's similar to a Vickrey auction in that the 2nd highest bid (in the 2-player case) is used as the price

It's very much a first-price auction; here, you're minimizing loss instead of maximizing gain. If you add a third person who bids $10 to pick up the kids, that person does it (because they're the lowest-cost option).

The good is jointly owned

Actually, wouldn't it make sense to only pay the winner 1/n of their bid (from each other participant)? In the case of picking up the kids, the union has received a negative windfall, and is attempting to price it. The cheapest solution is $15, so the cost is $15- which is then borne entirely by one party!

Now, this is assuming that people are pricing their bids at indifference ($15 completely compensates for having to pick up the kids), which may not be the case. You could try to equate B's regret at paying D's price and D's dissatisfaction with having to perform the task, but this seems silly compared to pricing indifference.

Alternatively, rather than trying to allocate the windfall equitably (which leaves both parties worse off by the same amount, but with different levels of surplus), you could try to equalize surplus- which would be B paying D $42.50. I think this makes the incentives inside the bidding stronger, but makes the incentives on when to bid more troublesome, because this encourages you to yootle when the other person has a lot at stake.

Comment author: dreeves 23 January 2014 12:02:04AM 4 points [-]

I'm impressed! That's kind of the conclusion we gradually came to as well, after a lot of trial and error. Better to not have people feel like their desperation is being capitalized on.

Another way to put it: when you're really desperate to win a particular auction it's really nice to be able to just say so honestly, with a crazy high bid. Trying to allocate the surplus equitably means that I have to carefully strategize on understating my desperation. (And worst of all, a mistake means a highly inefficient outcome!)

PS: To be clear about first-price vs second-price, it's technically neither since there's no distinct seller.

Here's the n-player, arbitrary shares version:

Each participant starts with some share of the decision. Everyone submits a sealed bid, the second-highest of which is taken to be the Fair Market Price (FMP). The high bidder wins, and buys out everyone else's shares, ie, pays them the appropriate fraction of the FMP.

"Even yootling", or just "yootling", refers to the special case of two players and 50/50 shares. In that case, instead of bidding a fair market price (FMP), you say how much you're willing to pay if you win. True FMP is twice that, since you only have to pay half of FMP with even yootling. So instead of deciding what you'd pay, doubling it to get FMP, then halving FMP to get the actual payment, we short circuit that and you just say the payment as your bid. For yootling with uneven shares it's easier to bid FMP and then pay the appropriate fraction of that.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 22 January 2014 05:47:10PM 12 points [-]

I'm curious about how this works with very differing levels of income. My first thought was that that'd break it, since the system ceases to be fair if the absolute upper limit that I can afford to bid on anything is $50 whereas my roommate can easily blow $150 on something in the category of "I don't mind too much, though I do have other things to do now". On the other hand, that would also cause me to very quickly obtain lots of extra money that I couldn't have had otherwise, so that's definitely a bonus. But it still seems like the balance of power would be quite strongly tilted in favor of the wealthier person.

Comment author: dreeves 22 January 2014 07:11:20PM *  11 points [-]

Bethany and I philosophically bite the bullet on this, which is basically to just agree with your second point: the wealthy person gets their way all the time and the poor person gets what's to them a lot of money and everyone is happy.

If that's unpalatable or feels unfair then I think the principled solution is for the wealthy person to simply redress the unfairness with a lump sum payment to redistribute the wealth.

I don't think it's reasonable -- ignoring all the psychology and social intricacies, as I'm wont to do [1] -- to object both to auctions with disparate wealth and to lump sum redistribution to achieve fairness.

Now that I'm introspecting, I suppose it's the case that Bethany and I tend to seize excuses to redistribute wealth, but they have to be plausible ones.

Comment author: fortyeridania 22 January 2014 07:06:58AM *  4 points [-]
  1. This mechanism seems like a Vickrey auction (Wikipedia).

  2. Steven Landsburg mentioned using such a method (albeit simpler) in The Armchair Economist, where the example concerned choosing which movie to watch.

Comment author: dreeves 22 January 2014 06:53:56PM 2 points [-]

You're right that it's similar to a Vickrey auction in that the 2nd highest bid (in the 2-player case) is used as the price, but it's different in that there's no 3rd-party seller. The good is jointly owned and the payment will go from one player to the other. In particular, yootling is not strictly incentive compatible like Vickrey is (though in practice it seems to be close enough).

Thanks for the pointer to Landsburg! Looks like he worked out a way (by enlisting another economist couple) to have meaningful auctions despite having joint money with his spouse. I predict that system didn't hold together though. I should email him!

Comment author: [deleted] 22 January 2014 03:48:27AM *  5 points [-]

I don't speak Computer, but this is the bot: http://aaronparecki.com/articles/2011/02/12/1/loqi-the-friendly-irc-bot

We use him in a company hipchat room, and I don't know if he has been altered/reprogrammed in any way to run auctions.

Comment author: dreeves 22 January 2014 07:27:46AM 2 points [-]

Specifically, here's the little add-on for Loqi that conducts auctions: https://github.com/aaronpk/zenircbot-bid

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