Bookmarked Best Case Contrarians by Robin Hanson

Interesting line of thought about when contriarianism makes sense. I wonder about a connection to counter factual thought experiments as a sorting mechanism for such positions, and about probes and experiments to explore contrarian positions in practice, where the cost of experimentation is low, but the results help see if the contrarian position has merit.

Consider opinions distributed over a continuous parameter, like the chance of rain tomorrow. Averaging over many topics, accuracy is highest at the median, and falls away for other percentile ranks. This is bad news for contrarians, who sit at extreme percentile ranks. If you want to think you are right as a contrarian, you have to think your case is an exception to this overall pattern, due to some unusual feature of you or your situation.

Yet I am often tempted to hold contrarian opinions. In this post I want to describe the best case for being a contrarian.

Robin Hanson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.