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Adam Jackson  

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  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    @TBill: Your concern about "organizations that will pay basement dwellers to seek out successful lists with good audiences and post the party line" is a valid one.

    We, too, would like people to be able to trust discussion (at least to have a good chance of assessing who a commenter is, if they have a specific bias that would cast what they say in a different light).

    For that reason, we ask IR and PR firms and anyone with a connection to a company they're posting about to disclose that:
    Mar 11, 2013. 10:48 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    @D_Virginia: Comment replies which are nested underneath a comment which gets deleted do sometimes get removed because the moderators have to explicitly de-thread the discussion. It's a technical issue which we are working to rectify and improve upon.

    We do try as far as we can not to remove threaded material if it is not offensive. Human beings do make mistakes sometimes, though.

    To give you an idea of comment volume on SA:

    In January there were almost 125,000 comments posted on the site: tens of thousands of these were approved by the moderators. I estimate another few thousand were deleted.
    Mar 11, 2013. 10:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    @spald_fr: Optimistic rather than naive: I and my team are fully aware of the range of human behavior and activity in an online community. :-)

    The following comments are the best of it, though:
    Mar 11, 2013. 03:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    Rich in Quebec posted around 8am EDT on this thread and he's not in moderation which might delay his comments from appearing immediately, so it seems that it's just that he hasn't submitted any comments since then.

    It's touching to see when people in the community notice and comment on the absence of a regular participant in discussion on Seeking Alpha: we've seen a similar thing among the most passionate and regular StockTalkers.

    Along with expressions of congratulation or condolence that users and contributors post on the site when other users or contributors have happy or sad events in their lives, it's one of the most gratifying things I've seen during the time I've been working with the user community here.
    Mar 11, 2013. 02:33 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    @gggl: Actually we do have Author's Picks -- when an author takes the time to choose them, they appear in a separate tab next to the main comment stream. They just haven't been embraced and regularly used by all authors yet, so I encourage you to send a private message to any author whose article generates a long comment stream to encourage them to pick some of their favorite pro and con comments. Obviously, this feature will be of most value if authors have the courage to highlight the best critical comments rather than using it merely to pick out those commenters who agree with their article.

    @gggl and Joseph Stuber:
    You both note that you'd prefer if Seeking Alpha did not remove comments which were offensive -- gggl argues that offensive comments are a price to be paid for "free speech" and Joseph wonders whether we are trying "to protect the sensibilites of authors and commentors".

    Other message boards where you can discuss finance online are totally unfiltered. When you look in practice at the effects of unlimited free speech online in this context, you find that the most insightful and intelligent participants in the discussion get driven away by the volume of noise and stop contributing to the conversation.

    One of the reasons why our readers find Seeking Alpha valuable is precisely because our editorial team, in the context of choosing articles to post and creating the content we generate ourselves (Market Currents and WSB itself, for example), does a significant amount of filtering. They wade through large quantities of material so they can provide the most useful parts for the community. If Seeking Alpha were merely a "free speech" platform for any contributor to post any article, I suspect that most of you would not find it nearly as attractive to participate in resulting discussion here.

    Comments are different of course, since they are not filtered in this way by an editorial team. However, for discussion in comments to be valuable at all to people who have limited time to participate as readers or commenters, they need to be an intelligent stream of discourse that is focused on the relevant financial issues.

    Why do we believe so passionately in excluding attacks, even if they are not obscene, from discourse on Seeking Alpha?

    We don't see it as our responsibility to protect contributors on Seeking Alpha (and certainly not to protect our own editors) from criticism. Anyone who expresses an opinion should be ready to defend it by backing up their arguments with data in response to a criticism.

    One might assume that an occasional insulting comment in a discussion which is otherwise generally respectful would have little effect on the tone of exchange.

    But we do this kind of moderation because insulting comments create an atmosphere (especially when they start to become numerous) in which the people who shout loudest -- rather than those who make the most convincing arguments -- get most attention.

    Even more seriously, though, research just released in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
    shows that insulting comments do not just polarize a debate: they actually have a profound effect on people's perception of the facts. The research showed that readers of an article discussing a scientific innovation and its benefits and risks ended up assessing the risks as much more significant if they were exposed to comments attacking the author.

    I hope that helps people understand why we believe this to be such an important issue.
    Mar 11, 2013. 10:25 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    I'd like to start the comments on this morning's Wall St Breakfast by thanking everyone who participates in discussion on this part of Seeking Alpha and, as the person in charge of moderation, explain a bit about our approach to the community.

    Our primary aim is to create space for respectful exchange of differing opinions. So last week we removed comments containing claims such as "You're pathetic", "Get a life, loser ... You are a low-information human" and "You are also economically illiterate" because these sorts of remarks damage the tone of the community.

    It is important to note that we do not make moderation decisions based on anyone's political leanings at Seeking Alpha or the political views of any commenter, editor or contributor. But where the manner in which any political view is expressed (whether left-wing, centrist or right-wing) veers into territory which dispenses with respectful language, we remove such comments because they also damage the foundations of constructive discourse. We have deleted comments on Seeking Alpha in the past containing derogatory references to Romney's Mormonism in the same way that last week on WSB we removed material referring to the current White House staff as "the imperial entourages" and the current president as "the first spender and his family" because derisiveness of this sort makes it hard to focus on policies rather than personalities.

    Our guidelines for comments exist because we care about making this a friendly, respectful and intelligent place. We put time, careful thought and resources into making this happen, and our approach is outlined on the Comment Guidelines page:

    I invite you to work together with us. We have a passionate conversation community here on WSB: let's make it a friendly and respectful one as well.
    Mar 11, 2013. 07:29 AM | 35 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The True Genius Of Tesla [View article]
    Note about our moderation policies:

    moreofthesame's deleted posts were removed because they contained insulting language and material posted in all caps, both of which disrupt the tone of serious discussion:

    "If you have any balls and consider yourself a man ... Now lets see where your big mouth is" and "HEY DON'T ADD SOLAR POWER TO THE POWER GRID, IT MAY UPSET IT!! Hilarious and pathetic. You Mr Petersen are a Dinosaur with all your selfcomposed science and facts, a severe neurosis at work."

    We never remove posts merely because they disagree with another user or contributor: opposing perspectives stated in a serious tone, backed up by evidence, are what make the Seeking Alpha community a valuable milieu for educated exchange.

    In addition, contributors can attest that our moderation team does not always concur with their assessment that another user's post is inappropriate. Our moderators act independently, and contributors cannot delete comments from discussion on their own articles.

    A reminder of our Community Guidelines:
    Dec 30, 2012. 05:28 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Key Market Driver For The Next 2 Years: It's The Interest Rate, Stupid! [View article]
    Note from Seeking Alpha's moderators:

    muoio's long comment has been deleted. Long comments which run to more than a single screen are welcome as Instablogs, but they should not be posted identically or near-identically multiple times on different articles because they risk dominating the discussion.

    If you would like to submit a long comment, please make it a separate Instablog, and direct readers to it in your addition to the discussion.

    If you see such a long comment as a reader, please report it as inappropriate to our moderators.

    Our guidelines about comments are here:
    Dec 27, 2012. 02:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Student Transportation Is Dead Money Even With Its 9% Dividend Yield [View article]
    I'd just like to chime in here from Seeking Alpha and remind users that we do not censor user opinions to protect contributors; on the contrary, we welcome critical discussion.

    TennisBoy88's previous comment on STB on October 18th was deleted because he referred to Saibus' article as "pure garbage" but did not specify what in the article he disagreed with.

    He, and others, are always welcome to criticize -- but we attempt to ensure that discussion on our site focuses on criticizing specific facts, figures and arguments. So we discourage accusations, insults and invective.

    More here on our approach to discussion:

    If you have a dispute about an article, you can file it here:
    Nov 19, 2012. 06:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Market Currents' 500-Post Day [View instapost]
    Congratulations, Jason and the MC team. This is a fantastic achievement!

    (I'd also add that, as well as the RTAs and website, the new mobile/iPhone interface for Market Currents is an elegant way to see a whole list of news items easily while you're on the move.)
    Oct 31, 2012. 09:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Following Mr. Market Into Amazon: Suicidal Or Sensible? [View article]
    Ed (and others),

    I don't usually step into discussions in my role as person in charge of Seeking Alpha's moderation process and overseer of community discourse, but your comment comes on the heels of a discussion we have had among contributors about this very issue.

    There are many reasons that inspire contributors to write for Seeking Alpha. But when authors are criticized for their motivations, rather than on the basis of the data they present or the arguments they make, it often seems like they are painted as biased by some readers for holding a position and painted as biased by other readers for not doing so.

    In our recent discussion, authors cited several reasons for why they write. To sum up what people said (and the quote marks are not verbatim here, but just to show that these are not my own views being quoted here):

    "I write about a stock only to justify either why I own it or intend to buy, or why I do not own it or intend to sell."
    "I write about short opportunities, even when I do not hold a short position, to show investors opportunities where shorting could make them money."
    "I believe authors who do not own a stock can write more dispassionate analysis."
    "I write articles primarily to share my research and to benefit others."
    "I only write about things I'm interested in, but that doesn't mean I necessarily own the stock."
    "I believe ideas I am willing to put money behind are stronger than those I am writing about merely for intellectual interest."
    "I write about stocks I do not own because I have more ideas than money and can't afford to own or trade everything I like."
    "I write about stocks I do not own because I'd like to keep my portfolio down to a small number of stocks."

    All these, and more, are legitimate reasons for writing, and writers differ on their motivations.

    But our discussion community here at Seeking Alpha is immeasurably richer for the diversity of these perspectives. This approach forms one part of our community expectations, which you can read here:

    We positively do encourage readers to criticize authors, but please keep your criticisms focused on data and arguments rather than criticizing motivations.
    Oct 28, 2012. 06:34 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Do The Most Successful IR And PR People Use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]
    As the person at Seeking Alpha in charge of comments and community discussion, I would like to add here that we welcome investor relations professionals adding their voices to conversations in comments, with one important proviso:

    You must disclose and make it clear on your profile and in any individual comments that you have a connection to the company in question, and specify your role at the company.

    Please see our comment guidelines, here (specifically, the section regarding disclosure):
    Oct 25, 2012. 01:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A court in Norway upholds a national ban on displaying tobacco products in stores in plain sight as part of a policy to discourage smoking. Major European seller Philip Morris (PM) says it may appeal the decision on the grounds it violates a free trade agreement between the EU and non-member Norway. [View news story]
    Thank you for noticing this mistake. Our Market Current editors have corrected the post.
    Sep 14, 2012. 03:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A judge has rejected a request from Orbitz (OWW), Sabre and Travelport to throw out an AMR (AAMRQ.PK) lawsuit that accuses the companies of breaching antitrust regulations by monopolizing how fares and flights are distributed to travel agents. The decision had been under seal but was made public yesterday at the request of the parties involved. [View news story]
    The fight between airlines and the different GDS and travel companies can start to seem a bit obsessive -- ironic, of course, that Sabre was originally a creation of AA which (if I'm not wrong) was spun off into a separate company.
    Aug 29, 2012. 10:32 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Peet's Coffee (PEET) is being acquired by German holding company Joh A. Benckiser for $73.50/share in cash, or $1B. The price represents a 28.6% premium to Peet's Friday close. Shares are halted. SBUX -3.1%, lower with the market. GMCR +5.4%. JVA +16.4%. DNKN could also be volatile.  [View news story]
    Strong German/Austrian espresso with cold fresh whipped cream or hot pouring cream might be a nice development at Peet's now they are German-owned. And bring on the sachertorte to go with the coffee, I say!
    Jul 23, 2012. 12:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment