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March 31, 2009 – Comments (6)

To stick my head out of the foxhole? This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post.


First and foremost I need to reiterate that I was very specific about not recommending any changes in the CAPS scoring system. I don’t want to change the rules of a game that was established long before I joined and is much larger than my contribution to it. My main request was for an additional tool, a screener, that would help myself and a few others get more out of CAPS. I have no desire for any changes that would be likely to diminish or change anyone else’s experience.


I can sympathize more now with TMF after seeing the divergence of the responses. I tried to keep things simple, but a lot of people added impractical pie-in-the-sky type requests. Who could blame TMF for throwing their hands in the air and saying they’ll never satisfy everyone?


I can’t acknowledge each comment individually. I still have to do my company research for the night. I chose a select few where I believe I have a useful perspective.


#4. AnomaLee, I respect your work but not your point here. I see no comparison between a limit order and the 20 minute delay. To look at things from another perspective, imagine two CAPS players trying to rate MSFT. One has a job and the other lives in Mom’s basement drinking Mountain Dew and spilling Cheetohs dust on his pot belly all day long. Either of them could set a limit order if they wanted to really buy MSFT and turn the computer off for the day. But only one can spend all day canceling and re-entering his CAPS pick to get the best possible entry price (or run a script to do it for him). Personally, I have a job.


#6. Stats, how practical is it to include trading volume as an eligibility criteria? Seems difficult to establish exactly where a stock stands with respect to that parameter at any given moment. Also, remember I’m not asking to change the rules or restrict what other players can do (see comment #7 also).


#9. Alex, I discount accuracy because the market awards nothing for it and it is easy to game in CAPS. Score is the only measurement somewhat analogous to profit, which is what I want. The screener I propose would allow me to discount accuracy and you to include it, and even ignore score if you wish.


#11. Holy shyte! You can write scripts in CAPS to power bot zombies? This is by far the most eye-opening comment and explains a lot of what I have seen. Any response, TMF?


#16. Super, regarding the 5 star blown out companies, no need to force-close the picks. Just change the ratings of all unratable stocks to unratable/NA rather than stars (see comment #20). Trivial fix.


In short, I think if one expects any changes one should observe certain rules:

1. Do not ask for changes that will interfere with another player’s scores or CAPS experience. The game is the game, we knew the rules when we joined. One possible exception to this is the 20 minute delay. Sorry, Cheetohs guy.

2. Do not ask for changes that you yourself would have absolutely no idea how to implement. If that is the case, they are likely unwieldy and logistically impractical. Remember that even though CAPS is collective intelligence, it IS free and upgrades cost money.

3. Do you have a strong reason to think many others would desire the same change that you do? Even if there aren’t 66000 people here, there are probably 10000. How many are going to benefit from that special charm for only investing in companies that don’t use trans fats?


I hate to say this, but there are just too many comments (several agreeing with or objecting to things I never proposed). Please keep this thread tight and on point. We’re trying to get something done here.

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 31, 2009 at 10:13 AM, portefeuille (98.85) wrote:

#11 aehhhmmmmm

I know that someone could, I think you use something like "perl".

I would consider myself more a theoretician ...

and sorry for #28, I overshot there ...

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#2) On March 31, 2009 at 10:38 AM, nottheSEC (79.57) wrote:

Nah an open, honest discussion on how to improve things.These are quality assurance tweeks and we are the customer. All due respect to MF is given and they usually do a good job.  All best..J

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#3) On March 31, 2009 at 12:54 PM, TMFCHarris (98.62) wrote:


First off, thank you for posting your first blog, and then for following up here. We are definitely reading these threads, and are looking at various ways to implement some of these suggestions and discussing timeframe changes on some things we already have planned. I can't give any guarantees or specifics on future improvements right now, but I did want to add three facts to the discussion:

1) Rated unratable stocks. We just finished removing these stocks from the lists, which should release tomrrow. What this means is that unratable stocks with ratings are still in the database, and will still have a rating if you go to their ticker page, but they will not appear in the stocks tab, the market movers, or your stock of the day. We may go farther and remove them from CAPS, but the data on that decision is still being evaluated.

2) The Silent Majority. There are several different ways to determine when a player ceases to be "active" and we're still trying to find the one that works the best. That said, I can tell you that in the past 90 days, over 22k players made or ended picks in CAPS.

3) Effect of the silent majority on ratings. A player needs to have seven picks with active timeframes to be rated, so we are moving players into N/A land if they "came once in 2006 and never came back." As the timeframes that these visiting members picked expire, their member ratings - and the weight they have on the stock ratings - expire as well.

Also, as more of a side note than anything else, I have built things to automate players in the past (how do you think the Track Players get their picks? ;-) and it is really impossible to use a bot for timing. Once you accomodate the delays, the need for page refreshing and the existing anti-scraping tools in place, you are better off setting an email alert for a stock price 10% above your start and manually ending at close.

Fool on,

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#4) On March 31, 2009 at 5:48 PM, SuperPicks (28.53) wrote:

"Silent majority" shouldn't be silenced unless if it has been about 1.5years since any picks activity IMO.

After all, Motley Fool is about the long term, and many investment professionals & advisers tout buy & hold.  So punishing those (or taking away voting influence) within CAPs that haven't done any picks the past 6 months or past year is unfair to those who may truly be market gurus. 

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#5) On April 02, 2009 at 3:11 PM, zzlangerhans (99.80) wrote:

Comment #3 is the one I've been waiting for. I'll take you at your word that these adjustments are being evaluated, especially considering that your post never mentions the more important issues of the screener and score leadership rankings. Consider the subject dropped, for the time being.

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#6) On April 06, 2009 at 8:22 PM, redfox18 (99.93) wrote:

I agree with your reasons for being here. I too came here to learn. I wish more players would write pitches explaining  thier pick so that novices like myself can learn from them.

As for changes to the system my main concern would be the inability to get into and out of low volume trading stocks. Why should we rate stocks and  wait days for the pick to go active.

Love your work.

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