Yesterday’s post offered a simple poll question:
# How Many People Will Select The Same Option As You?
I didn’t think this poll would attract as much interest as it did because in one sense I was just copying a poll from Slashdot. I guess people liked the fact that I offered one twist: I attempted to shape the results by suggesting that the “obvious” answer of 1-25% wouldn’t work. If everyone was choosing their responses randomly, we might expect about 16 percent of respondents to choose this option, and therefore it would be the “correct” response.
But surely some respondents would realize that if everyone was rational, then everyone would choose 1-25%, and it would no longer be “correct.” I didn’t spell it out in my post, but it only make sense that if everyone follows this pattern of logic to its rational conclusion, then everyone should choose 100%, and everyone will be “correct.” How many of our readers took the hint? The graph below shows how our readers compare to Slashdotters:
Clearly our readers were, at the very least, paying some attention to the hint. A much higher proportion of our readers selected 100%, and a whopping 42 percent selected 75-99% or 100%, compared to just 22 percent of Slashdotters.
Interestingly, the effect was large enough that those responding 26-50% in our poll are now technically “wrong” — just 25.9 percent chose that option, compared to 31.6 percent of Slashdotters (I removed the Cowboy Neal option from my analysis).
Some commenters, both here and on the Reddit thread about yesterday’s post, have suggested that if the poll was repeated several times, the real-world results would skew closer and closer to 100 percent. Now that’s something we can verify empirically — let’s try this again: