By the numbers: INFER forecasts increase and "time" is most popular word in April

Zev Burton
May 26, 2022 09:00PM UTC
Since INFER’s launch earlier this year, we have seen our forecasting community grow steadily. Forecasters are taking part in tournaments, conquering challenges, and forecasting on a variety of questions running at any given time. In this new series, “By the Numbers,” we will look at what forecasters contribute each month and discover how our community evolves and grows over time. Below are the highlights for April 2022:


INFER’s forecasters submitted 2,534 forecasts last month. Here’s an interesting visual: if each forecast were a standard-size gallon of milk stacked on top of each other, that would be over twice the height of the Eiffel Tower! With 68 live questions in April, INFER received an average of 37 forecasts per question. See the breakdown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Distribution of forecasts per question


With all those forecasts generated, we took a look at how accurate forecasters were. Three questions resolved in April, resulting in nearly a three percent decrease of the consensus Brier score (remember that the lower the Brier score, the better) - see below.

Figure 2: Consensus Brier Score change for April 2022
The following forecasters saw the most improvement to their relative Brier Scores after accounting for the resolved questions in April:

Table 1: Forecasters with the largest improvement in Relative Brier Score


Throughout the month, forecasters contributed 2,832 comments, which included rationales tied to forecasts, replies to others, and additional discussion. This level of activity suggests that forecasters have been interacting with each other and have been contributing to steady discourse within the forecast questions. 

In addition to the quantitative forecast data INFER generates by aggregating forecasts, it’s equally important that forecasters take the time to articulate the reasons behind their forecasts. This justification is valuable for stimulating discussion and uncovering new perspectives among the community. It’s why INFER asks you to explain why you think you’re right before submitting a probabilistic forecast: 
What were forecasters mentioning in their comments last month? We wanted to see if we could identify any trends, so we looked at the most popular words to appear in rationales (save for words such as “updating” and “confirming”). The most popular word in April was “Time,” used in 259 instances (nearly 10% of all comments!), followed by “China” and “Russia,” with more than 220 mentions. Check out other popular words:

Figure 3: Top 10 words used in April 2022 comments
Are you curious about any other numbers? Leave a comment below!

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