Friday, September 26, 2014

First Two Weeks: Let's Play A Game!

A few weeks ago, when reviewing another year of predicting all the new series fates after just two data points, I said I had kind of made my point with this idea and was looking to switch it up somehow. There seemed to be some interest in adding an interactive aspect to it. So for anyone who's interested, we can give that a try this season. Here are my rough ideas for how that will work, and feedback is very welcome.

First of all, what I post will be very simple: I'm just listing the ratings, lead-ins and competition for week 1 and 2 (along with the percent drop) with no further prose and no prognosis. (Out-of-timeslot previews will be included but count as "week zero"; these go up after two regular slot airings.) This setup should be less work for me and more fun for you! Win-win!

Then it will be up to you to make the renewal/cancellation call. I wanted to incorporate some sort of confidence point system into this, with a couple ideas in mind:

1) There should be a significant penalty for missing a high-confidence pick. For example, last year I felt pretty strongly that two out of Mom, The Crazy Ones and The Millers would be renewed, but I had no real read on which ones, so I just said renew for all three. In that kind of situation, if it was one-point-won-per-point-wagered at every confidence level, it would still be best to go highest-confidence on each bet. And that's not what I would want. Overconfidence should be heavily penalized if it's wrong.

2) There should not be a penalty for missing a low-confidence pick. In other words, as with The Question, I don't want to give an incentive for sitting out. It should be "safe" to take a flier at the lowest level. So missing on the lowest-confidence level should be worth no less than zero points.

I initially thought about having multiple levels of confidence, but I don't think much is lost game-wise by only having two tiers. So here's my rough idea for point values. Please let me know if this should be tweaked, as I'm very open to it:

Win, CONFIDENT: +2 points
Win, NOT CONFIDENT: +1 point
Loss, NOT CONFIDENT: 0 points
Loss, CONFIDENT: -2 points (or even more?)

The posts will close at 6:00 am the morning after the third airing, and I will put them up the morning of or shortly before the third airing. I thought about putting them up right after week two finals come out, but I often looked at what happened with other shows across the next six days. I don't want to rob you of that advantage, and I don't want to make you have to remember to come back days later.

I thought about adding the option to defer to week three, an option I've given myself in earlier years, although that would also add the undesirable issue about having to remind people to come back later. So let me know on that. If we do it: I'm pretty sure you should not be able to win a "confident" amount after deferring, so a win on a deferral will be worth one. And I also want a penalty for a loss after deferring, to prevent people from deferring in every single less confident situation. -1 point?

Anyway, this is probably roughly how it will go, but I'm willing to be swayed by your comments. Let me know, and the first one (Red Band Society) will go up on Tuesday or Wednesday.


Spot said...

Cool! I am in .I don't really have any suggestions, this seems great to me ;)

Spot said...

As it stands, a "confident" call has equal expected value if you think you've got a 2/3 chance of being right. A -3 penalty would make that 3/4. Not sure which I prefer, just throwing the calculations out there. Similarly, deferral as it stands is worth it if you're truly 50-50 and think another week will get you to >75% confidence, or more broadly if you think an extra week will at least halve your chance of being wrong. (We'll ignore the high-confidence possibility because you won't be using that in possible deferral situations anyway.)

The broad idea is great!

Spot said...

I like the idea of a defer option. But I say if a player chooses that option the onus is on them to come back to that post and guess; consider it a part of the gamble. :-) And they should be penalized something. Losing a point on either side seems reasonable.

Are you thinking of posting your analysis & prediction after all possible voting is done and how you would have voted? Are you going to play along with a pseudonym? Cause this is a game that's better suited to playing along with us than The Question since you aren't the "house," Spot.

Spot said...

Seems like a great idea to me! I'm in (and don't really have any suggestions either).

Spot said...

I'm already pretty sure Red Bang Society is cancel after 2 weeks.

Spot said...

Sounds great. I'm very in :)

Spot said...

Thanks. Though it looks like a big number, I think I will up it to -3 or -4. -4 would set the break-even point at 80%, which is my historical rate.

Spot said...

If you lock in after two weeks, I don't think you should be able to change after the third. I would prefer that people announce the deferrals, though I guess I don't really see any harm in not requiring it.

Since The Futon Critic lost them, I don't have the two-decimal numbers anymore, sadly.

Spot said...

I don't plan on participating, but I might weigh in after the deadline on some of the more controversial ones.

Spot said...

If you put it as high as -4, then people simply would avoid that option. I certainly wouldn't risk 4 for maximal gain of just 1. Perhaps same goes even for -3.

Spot said...

Sounds like a great idea! I'm pumped to lose at this as much as I lose at The Question :3

I like the convidence option, but I'm not so sure on defer. Any way you would make a penalty for deferring seems like it would just overcomplicate it, and not having a penalty would make everyone want to defer, no?

Spot said...

I don't think FOX is quite near that level. The most the CW has even had in history was a 2.0, not adjusted for historical decline. CW will never see a 3.2. In fact New Girl, Mindy, Bones, Hell's Kitchen, and Red Band Society would be huge for the CW, even at sub 2 levels. In fact even Utopia doing a .5 on Friday would be a higher end bubble performance. Yeah, FOX's ratings suck, but doesn't mean they have to renew the shows with the sucky ratings.
Honestly, I think right now only the Simpsons, Family Guy, and Hell's Kitchen are a lock right now. They will keep at least one returning live action comedy. At least one returning drama.

Spot said...

I wasn't implying that FOX was on the CW level. It's still quite ahead and like you've said, their lowest performers would still be hits for the CW.

What I meant is that the same way we have different expectations/ thresholds for the CW, we also should have for FOX now.

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