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Adam Jackson  

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  • 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
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