Guide

Following is a quick guide for TechPoll, including how to register, make predictions, update predictions and other requests and actions.

Registration

Registration allows you to submit predictions and to request information using your Twitter account.

First of all, we recommend that you follow @TechPoll, this way your can request and received information using direct messages.  Otherwise, if you choose not to follow @TechPoll, you will only be able to request and receive information via the public timeline.  In this case, you can request information by mentioning @TechPoll and you will then receive information via @TechPollStream.  You do not need to follow @TechPollStream, as this stream includes requested information for all users.

To register your Twitter account, simply tweet: @TechPoll registerShortly after you should receive a message (via @mention) confirming that your registration was successful.  Registration will also initiate @TechPoll to follow you, allowing subsequent requests to be made using direct messages, in addition to the public timeline.

Registering in this way will give your a public default profile, where others can view your predictions whilst topics are still open.  To register with a protected or private profile, simply tweet: @TechPoll register(protected) or @TechPoll register(private).  Any new predictions made using either a protected or private profile are not visible to other users, until the topic is closed out, at which stage the predictions become visible to other users.  With protected predictions, other users can see that you have made a prediction, but the actual prediction itself is hidden.  With private predictions, other users cannot see whether you have made a prediction or not.

To change your default profile, simply tweet: @TechPoll setProfile(<profile>) , or send a direct message to @TechPoll simply saying: setProfile(<profile>) , where <profile> is either public, protected, or private.  Changing your default profile does not affect any predictions which have already been made, it only affects new predictions.

Predictions

Once you have registered you can make predictions for the open topics.  Each topic represents a specific unreleased product.  The topics are tagged by company name (i.e. Apple, Google, Microsoft), and also tagged by type of product (i.e. iPhone, iPad, Mac).

For each topic, there are a series of subtopics which are the subjects where you can make predictions.  The subtopics will define the type of prediction required, being either a whole number (e.g. 5), a decimal number (e.g. 2.3), a date (e.g. 01-Jan-2000), or text (e.g. A).  The subtopic may define a speicic range for the prediction.

You may select more than one answer (i.e. multiple values), however, the more values you select the fewer the points you can gain for getting it correct.  This is explained in further detail in the section Points below.  Predictions with multiple values are made by separating each value with a comma (e.g.  3, 5, 7).  For whole numbers and dates, you may also select a range, using the tilda symbol (e.g.  3 ~ 7, or 01-Jan-2000 ~ 05-Jan-2000).

To make a prediction for a particular <topic> and <subtopic>, either:

Tweet: @TechPoll <topic>.<subtopic>.setPrediction(<prediction>) , or
Direct message @TechPoll saying: <topic>.<subtopic>.setPrediction(<prediction>)

For example, to make a prediction on the launch date for the iPhone 5, tweet the following:-
@TechPoll iPhone5.LaunchDate.setPrediction(01-Jan-2000)

You can update your prediction at any time, prior to the close of the topic or subtopic, however, the number of points you can gain or lose will be less than that for your original prediction (See Points section below).  The prediction can be updated using the request resetPrediction in a similar format to that for setPrediction.

Each subtopic will provide a guide for the required type of prediction, range and format.  Further information on making predictions is also provided at: techpoll.wordpress.com/twitter.

Points

After a topic or subtopic has been closed, points will be distributed to users whom have made a prediction.  Points are gained for a correct prediction and points are lost for an incorrect prediction.

The maximum points that you can gain for a correct prediction is based on the number of possible answers and the number of answers you have selected.  Each subtopic will define the number of possibilities (P), for example, a ‘yes / no’ question has two possibilities (P = 2), whilst a number or date could have many possibilities (P = 2 ~ 100).  You may select (S) one or many answers, provided that it is less than the number of possibilities (i.e. S < P).

The maximum number of points you can then gain for a correct answer is provided in the following table.

Maximum Points

The maximum points gained is defined by the following formula:  Maximum Points = +5 * P / S .

The maximum points that you can loose for an incorrect prediction is five (5) points, regarless of the number of possbilities and the number of values you have selected.

For example, when you select one answer (S = 1) for a ‘yes / no’ question (P = 2), you can gain a maximum of +10 points, or loose a maximum -5 points.  When you select three answers (S = 3) for a question with 20 possibilities (P = 20), then you can gain a maximum of +33 points, or loose a maximum of -5 points.

The actual number of points you gain or loose is also dependant on how early or late you make the prediction, which is defined by the time (T) factor.  The time factor is zero (i.e. T = 0.0) for predictions made on the day the subtopic was opened and is one (i.e. T = 1.0) for predictions is made on the day the subtopic was closed.  Each subtopic will also define a rate of decay (D), which defines the proportion of the maximum points for predictions made between the open and close dates.

The proportion of the maximum points gained or lost , based on the defined the rate of decay (D), is illustrated in the figure below.

Points vs Time

The actual points is defined by the following formula:  Actual Points = Maximum Points * (1.0 – 0.9*T ^ (2^D)) .

For example,  if you made a prediction on the day the subtopic was opened (T = 0.0), then you can gain or lose 100% of the maximum points, or if you made a prediction on the day the subtopic was closed (T = 1.0), then you can only gain or loose 10% of the maximum points.  Alternatively, if you made a prediction mid-way between the opening and closing dates (T = 0.5), for a subtopic with a decay rate of D= +1, then you can gain or lose 78% of the maximum points.

Further Information

Further information on Twitter requests is provided at:  techpoll.wordpress.com/twitter

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