Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1 Creating a Claim on the Foresight Exchange
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Last Updated: 2003-07-25

Suggested Claims

For claim suggestions, or to float a new claim by the community, please see the mailing list.

Other Sources of Help

A number of FX players have started a Wiki page on claim creation. Please visit that for tips and more information, and to add comments as you see fit.


As noted in the rule, the judge cannot be the owner, and neither of them can be anonymous.

Description of procedure needed here.

State Diagram for Claims

Claim Creation Guidelines

Players can create just about any claim they want to, but they should try to follow these guidelines. Except for the point about sports claims, these are suggestions, not rules. Please direct your comments on these guidelines to

  1. Be as specific as possible in the wording to make the resolution as unambiguous as possible. There is no 'too vague to answer' option in this market, so a judge may have to choose a partial distribution to the YES and NO holders in such a case (which defeats the purpose of the market).
  2. Avoid stating an opinion as to the likelihood of the claim -- stick to the facts (which may speak for themselves).
  3. Word the claims in the positive sense to avoid having to parse double negatives when dealing with NO coupons.
  4. Your claim will be seen by many people, so please take the time to run it through a spelling checker.
  5. You may include html (hypertext) tags (e.g., <UL> </UL> for lists). They will work on the web pages, but will be stripped out for email (email players and the announcement of the new claim). Be sure to test your tags (leave wording changes open at least until you have done this). Tags like the following are preferred:

    keyword (at <a href="URL">URL</a>)
    rather than the usual <a href="URL">keyword</a>. This isn't good html style, but it works well for documents that travel over different media (e.g., an email interface to the market is in the works), to give a more informative plaintext version for email:

    keyword (at URL) [where "URL" is a hypertext link]
  6. The intent of the market is to address claims on science and technology, though general interest claims are tolerated (e.g., some political claims under the 'misc' category). No claims on sporting events will be allowed (we could be inundated with claim(s) on every game!).
  7. Do not mention the judging date in either the short description or the long description. There is a separate field for that. However if there is a specific date that the claim in contingent upon you should state that in the claim. In that case, the judging date may be delayed to allow for time for data collection.
  8. Do not mention that the judge may close the claim early, as that applies to all claims.
  9. The short description should let people know which way the YES coupons go, e.g., "Neutrino Mass > 0", rather than just "Neutrino Mass".
  10. Ask for comments on Don't worry about anyone stealing your claim, because we will all know that you started the discussion of it.
  11. Use upper & lower case appropriately in the four character trading symbol: try not to start with a lower case character, and don't use ALL CAPS unless it's an acronym.

Russ McFatter [] writes:

When you create a claim, keep your audience in mind. Your audience is composed of FX players, who are much more likely to actively trade a claim if it is interesting and controversial.

Many FX claims, however, get derailed well before the judgment deadline. What seemed to be an interesting controversy becomes, when distilled to its essence, nothing but a "shadow" claim based on one uninteresting aspect. There are three pitfalls here: and, all too often, a vain attempt to avoid one swerves a claim right into another.

  1. NOT JUDGEABLE. Many "interesting" questions can't be clearly phrased so that people can agree on the answer. Will the world be a better place in twenty years? Who can say? Regardless of how much you might like to argue such a claim, is simply isn't one that people can really 'bet' on.
  2. TOO VAGUE. Some claim authors try to make a claim 'seem' deterministic by intentionally blurring the border between "YES" and "NO". They try to word claims such that the judge has "latitude" in deciding when the conditions of the claim are met. Of course, it's a rare occurrence that the players agree on the interpretation! A single word, or phrase, can kill the play value of the claim if its meaning is not immediately obvious to everyone: "better", "likely", "interesting", "trivial", "agreed"... all are subjective. If your question absolutely requires this flexibility, it will not make a good FX claim.
  3. OVERSPECIFIED. A claim that comes too close to the first pitfall, and barely swerves around the second, is likely to fall here. This is an attempt to clean up a vague yes/no question by tossing in extra qualifiers that the author thinks will help make his "idea" clearer to the players. If you find yourself doing this, ask yourself: "What do I really want this claim to be about?". Then rephrase the claim from scratch, or discard it and pick a new one.
    On March 31, 2003, the weather in Peoria will be good. "Good" means that the sun will shine for most of the day, it won't be too hot, and it won't rain. "Too hot" means that the local news station reports a temperature-humidity index no greater than 73 degrees, unless they don't issue a weather report before 6:00pm in which case the temperature on the thermometer at Earl's gas station on South Main must have remained below 76F for most of the day, at least when Earl checks on it. Oh, and it can't be too windy either, which means that this claim will be judged NO if any tree branches come down that day, unless of course the state DPW is doing tree-trimming then. Rain is allowed (and this claim will be judged YES), however, if the preceding month has been "too dry", where "too dry" is defined as...

    Overspecification can kill your claim in several distinct ways:
    1. It ceases to be about your "interesting question", and becomes a matter of semantics instead.
    2. Every additional qualifier poses more interpretation problems. What do we call "rain", as opposed to "drizzle" or "mist"?
    3. You cannot possibly allow for all eventualities. If the claim above enumerated the judgements for rain, wind, snow... what about hail? Also (and this is important!): if you specify BOTH of the winning conditions ("this claim will be judged YES if the AFC wins Super Bowl XXX, and NO if the NFC wins"), you leave the possibility that NEITHER case happens, (there is no Super Bowl XXX, or some other league is formed, or...); or both. 4: Some of these "qualifications" can actually be confusing exceptions which override the "natural" outcome and confound the odds. ("A meteorite collision will destroy half of the world's population before 2100. The appearance of the word 'meteor' or 'meteorite' in the answers to the New York Times crossword puzzle on any Sunday before the year 2099 also counts.")

To avoid these pitfalls, avoid writing claims which:

  • are not based on publicly available information
  • two reasonable individuals might interpret differently
  • contain any subjective language
  • are not intuitive or require detailed explanations

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