Finding the true gurus in CAPS
Did someone already write this post? Hopefully not. I’m still a little young to be the guy who tells you the story that you just told him yesterday. This is an attempt to coalesce in a thread some thoughts that highly contributing members have had about improvements we would like to see on CAPS. TMFJake, I’m aware you are on the case and I appreciate your efforts. But after the last “upgrade” I think it would be best for our preferences to be on the record before any changes are made. For those of like mind, please keep comments on point so that we can maintain this thread and eventually arrive at a mutually satisfactory slate of prospective improvements to present to TMF. As attention spans are short, I’m going to make the suggestions first and then rant afterwards.
I. A screening tool to identify players that outperform according to individualized standards. Leave the rating system as is, just allow us to search within it for our own purposes. Stock and member screeners are already in place, unfortunately the data inputs are generally useless (risk tolerance??). My personal preference would be to look at score only, isolating outperform pitches on non-OTC stocks and eliminating the S&P comparator. I could go either way on leveraged ETF’s, but I’d definitely like the option to eliminate red thumbs on unshortable ETF’s
a. Option to isolate green thumbs or red thumbs
b. Option to eliminate .OB and .PK
c. Option to eliminate accuracy
d. Option to eliminate S&P comparator
e. Option to eliminate leveraged ETF’s
II. Make CAPS more friendly to those of us who like to write about stocks of actual companies, and easier for us to find each other and read each other’s work. Many of us follow sectors or a small collection of stocks and they are like our naughty, misbehaving, unpredictable children.
a. Emphasize comments, or provide preferences to see more comments on the stock page. Raising the comments and moving the news down to the bottom would be an improvement. I come to CAPS for collective intelligence, not comprehensive company data.
b. Put rec boxes back in the top bull/bear spots.
III. We want to be score leader on our pet stocks. Our ratings will inevitably plateau if we don’t resort to playing games with the scoring, so we want to be able to compete for something.
a. Change the leaderboard to reflect the players with the top cumulative scores across all their picks, the way that the score leader is chosen. We don’t care so much about that guy who randomly picked it at the low point two years ago because he liked the ticker symbol and racked up a double. I want to know the guy who got positive scores on it up and down nine times in a year.
b. Add a score leader ranking. Who are the score leader leaders?
IV. Clean the game up just a little.
a. Why can we cancel picks during the 20 minute delay? I understand the delay, but not the cancel. You’re encouraging people to sit in front of their computers all day picking and canceling as they feel for a high or a low. My brokerage won’t let me do that, and I don’t really want to do it on CAPS either.
b. It’s irritating and misleading to see stocks that blew up maintaining 5-star ratings while they trade in pennies, because they’re under the threshold and there’s no incentive for anyone to close their outperform picks (if they’re still even around).
c. What’s the point of having a player score graph that only goes back a few months? If you can’t take it back to inception you might as well put that space to better use.
d. There are not 66000 people playing CAPS. People who were here for a week in 2006 shouldn’t be in the ratings. If they haven’t picked or blogged in three months, they’re most likely gone, let go. Send them an e-mail, if they don’t answer cut them out of the ratings. I don’t want to be an “AllStar” in a game where the journeymen all retired last year.
e. People who only registered to pump or flame and don’t even have picks shouldn’t be among that number either. They also shouldn’t be allowed to post anything if they’re too lazy or insecure to rate the stocks they’re yapping about. Let them stay on Yahoo.
f. Is there any way to fix the lags and errors that plague the scoring? If you’ve tried and you can’t, that’s OK. But it’s annoying to finally close a pick after a year with a 7.8 score and see it show up in the Ended column as a 4.9. I know, I’m the guy who doesn’t think Accuracy matters. But still …
And now the rant …
I come to CAPS to practice virtual investing in actual companies, and to read pitches and blogs by those who do that much more skillfully and profitably than I do. In return, I’ve contributed everything I could as I have learned, and I’ve been as honest as I can about my limitations and errors.
What could be better than being a top 10 ratings leader on CAPS? Actually, just about anything. Not the least of which would be if CAPS helped me make actual money in the market.Unfortunately, the current system fails to identify players who can be followed into outperform picks with real money with any expectation of not losing one’s shirt. High ratings themselves are particularly unhelpful as predictors of success, although the low ones are fairly useful as predictors of failure. When I first joined CAPS I took the word of anyone with a rating over 99 as gospel. Once I hit 99 myself and climbed as high as the 99.7’s, I continuously had to raise that bar as I was painfully aware of my own inability to grow rather than vaporize my own brokerage account. Eventually I realized that CAPS rewards longevity and obsessive-compulsive disorder far more than it does the ability to make money in the market.
Can CAPS identify true outperforming investors for those of us that want to follow them into long investments in real companies, where we can actually buy shares at their CAPS start price? It is very possible that it cannot. After all, those investors are a small minority, and why would they waste time on CAPS or any other stock site when they could be quietly enriching themselves? Then again, maybe they are out there, maybe they’re very proud of themselves and want everyone to see what they can do, or maybe they just want to share. But if they are in CAPS, most likely scattered around the top 200, I want to find them.
Apparently, there are some who believe that CAPS was not designed for this purpose and we are somehow misusing the system by seeking such a benefit from collective intelligence. If so, please carry on as you were. Our requests should not affect your CAPS experience in any meaningful way. If you feel compelled to write a “Love it or leave it” type response, I would encourage you to conserve energy and move on to another blog post instead. To the highest-rated, I don’t intend to denigrate your efforts. Some of you would certainly be among the highest-rated on my individualized list as well. But it’s been a rough couple of years and I’m ready to make a little money. Past performance may not guarantee future results, but I’m willing to weigh that risk. CAPS, are you ready to help?