Subject: "Software Deficiency Futures"
From: Don Marti <dmarti@zgp.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 10:53:10 -0800

What if the bug tracking system and the prediction
market were combined?

Users could trade futures on a change in status of
a bug.

For example, if the program "exampleview" did not
support PNG images, a user could file a wishlist bug
"please support PNG" and place an offer to buy a
contract on "Not closed successful by 30 September".

(If the user had to open and view a PNG on 1 October,
and if exampleview didn't do it by then he would have
to license a copy of ProprietaryImageViewer Pro, then
the user could use the market to hedge his exposure
to the software deficiency.)

The obvious counterparty in the transaction would
be an exampleview developer, who would accept the
contract, check in the feature, change the bug
status to "done" and wait for an impartial party
(a distributor or aggregator?) to close out the bug
and pay her.

So far, what's so much better about this than a bounty
system?  The advantage is that it lets anyone play
the market, and allows for diffusion of information
across projects by arbitrage.  A user could place
a complicated request that would be best filled by
cooperative action across projects, and an arbitrageur
could transfer the incentives to the places in which
it would make sense.

A BTS/prediction market would also provide for
realistic predictions of software feature completion
dates.

(In the long run, this kind of thing could hedge
exposures on larger scales, too.  The "late release
that killed Christmas" problem would be gone, since
people with knowledge of the development process
would already have been trading on it.)

-- 
Don Marti                    
http://zgp.org/~dmarti/                
dmarti@zgp.org