FITs details

Fantasy Intellectual Teams (FITs) is a game that is intended to shake up and improve the status hierarchy of public intellectuals. Unless there are last-minute changes, here is how FITS will work.

There will be ten owners competing. First prize will be $100. No other prizes will be awarded. There is no entry fee. The first ten people who contact me via email (arnoldsk at us dot net) will be allowed to draft a team. If I get fewer than ten entrants, I may not hold the contest. If I get more than ten, I will try to match people with others to have joint ownership. Please say whether or not you are averse to being a joint owner.

Each owner will draft a team of 15 public intellectuals, called players. A draft is a competitive process in which you take turns picking your players. If someone else picks Tyler before it’s your turn, you cannot pick him.

The draft will be held on Saturday, March 27, at 12 noon, New York time. If an owner is not available at that time, you may submit a list of 50 or so players in the order in which you rank them. Your draft choices will be drawn automatically from players still available on your list.

The live draft will be held via Zoom. Only owners will be invited to that Zoom meeting. Owners will be allowed up to 30 seconds to pick–otherwise a player will be picked for you from the somewhere in the bottom half of the cheat sheet. I hope that the draft raps up in an hour or less. I will try to publish the rosters on this blog a day or two after the draft.

I originally came up with a complicated set of “positions” for players (podcaster; academic economist; etc.). But instead I will simply require that your team include at least 7 players who are not tenured academics. For example, you could have 7 tenured academics and 8 others. Or 3 tenured academics and 12 others. You may draft players who are not on the cheat sheet.

The season will last from April 1 through June 30.

Your players will accumulate points in four statistical categories: Bets (B), Pairings (P), W (wins), and M(memes). For example, if one of your players scored 8 B’s and another scores 3 B’s while your other players score no B’s, then your team total in B’s is 11.

Each owner’s team will be ranked in each statistical category. The first-place team in B’s gets 20 points, the second-place team gets 18 points, the third-place team gets 16 points, and so on. If there is a ranking tie, then the two teams split the points. So a tie between fourth place (14 points) and fifth place (12 points) gives each team 13 points.

Each owner is responsible for sending me notice when one of that owner’s players has earned a B, P, W, or M. I will be the final judge of whether or not this has in fact happened. Notice must be documented by a link to text or a podcast.
Events that take place on Twitter or Clubhouse will not count. The events must take place during the season.

To be credited with a B, the player must express an opinion in probabilistic terms, or in terms that clearly imply that the player believes that the opinion has a significant chance to turn out to be wrong.

To be credited with a P, a player has to make a joint appearance on a podcast or a blog or an online publication with another qualified intellectual. A qualified intellectual is anyone drafted by any owner or anyone else on the cheat sheet. For example, if you owned Chris Arnade and he appeared with Michael Lind, as in this Pairagraph discussion, Chris would earn a P.

To be credited with a W, a player has to have a written or recorded statement that refutes a view expressed by a qualified intellectual. I will be the judge of whether it constitutes a successful refutation.

To be credited with a M, the player must have some time in the past or during the season created a meme that gets used in at least three instances during the season in an article, essay, or podcast. For example, Nassim Taleb could be credited with an M for “black swan” if the owner sends documents for me three articles published during the season in which someone uses the expression “black swan.” Further uses of “black swan” do not count for an additional M. But Taleb could get another M for “anti-fragile” if the owner can document three uses of that meme.