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Site updates: News, Tachyons, Tutorials, and more

By max.wainwright on Nov. 11, 2017, 6:10 p.m. GMT

There have been a lot of updates to the site over the past few weeks. Some are big and obvious, and some are less so. We hope that they collectively make Metaculus more fun and easier to use.

First, and most obvious to those reading this, we've brought the Metaculus blog onto the Metaculus site. Feel free to leave comments on news postings just as you would for Metaculus questions! You can always find the news in a link at the bottom of any page.

The biggest update, however, is the introduction of tachyons. Tachyons are Metaculus's in-game currency which can be used to go backwards in time to remove or change an old prediction, or to zoom forwards and sneak a peak at the Metaculus prediction before it closes. You can currently earn weekly tachyons just by logging in, and bonus tachyons by completing achievements or tutorials. We have more plans for tachyonic uses and how one might earn them more quickly or trade them with other players, but we'd love to hear your feedback and ideas too.

To go along with some of the tachyonic powers, we've at long last implemented score history plots for questions with continuous outcomes. Hopefully this will make the scoring system for such questions a little less opaque! More updates will be coming to continuous-type questions in the near future.

The next big update is the introduction of tutorials. So far we have a simple tutorial on Metaculus basics, plus a longer tutorial that teaches the idea of prediction calibration. When most people make predictions in everyday life, they tend to make absolute predictions about whether something will or will not happen, maybe hedged with words like "probably" or "almost definitely". Here at Metaculus, however, we want users to get quantitative, and quantitative predictions are much harder. What does it really mean to say that there's a 20% chance of rain, or that Edmonton is the capital of Alberta with 95% certainty? The calibration tutorial is here to help.

There are a number of other noteworthy minor updates as well:

  • we have an improved log in / log out menu, so a user can now see their score (and tachyons!) on any page;
  • the user profile page has been split into profile and settings pages for easier navigation;
  • users can now change their email addresses;
  • continuous-type questions do a better job of displaying question resolutions;
  • plus various style tweaks, bug fixes, and back-end speed-ups.

We hope you enjoy the improvements! Feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Happy predicting,
The Metaculus Team