A couple weeks ago, I saw a cool experiment online, and for this week’s Dinner Table, I want to try it here.
Here’s how it works:
I’m asking everyone who reads this Dinner Table to submit a number, between 0 and 100 (integers only), using the box below. The number I want you to submit is your best guess for what is two-thirds of the average of all submissions.
So, if your best guess for the average of all submissions is 90—i.e. you think the mean of all numbers submitted by all readers will be 90—then you should enter 2/3 of 90 in the box. So your submission would be 60. Only integers are allowed, and the winning answer will be two-thirds of whatever the mean submission ends up being, rounded to the nearest integer—so if the average guess ends up being 58, and two-thirds of 58 is 38.667, the winning answer is 39.
This is a bit of a mindfuck. You’re trying to outwit the other Wait But Why readers by asking yourself the question, “What would a bunch of Wait But Why readers do if they were trying to outwit all the other Wait But Why readers?”
This takes some thinking. Take your time and think hard before you answer.
Two important requests:
1) Only one submission per person please.
2) Do NOT read any reader comments before submitting your number. Reading comments will give you insight into what other readers are thinking, which voids you as an eligible guesser. Once you submit your answer, feel free to discuss the question in the comment section.
For next week’s Dinner Table, I’ll reveal the winning number and a breakdown of all the responses that came in. I’ll also discuss how I thought about the problem when I first saw it, and I’ll compare the WBW results to the results in the place where I originally saw this experiment.
UPDATE: The results are in.