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Troll Hunting

There is a certain conflict inherent in writing about investment ideas. Ideas have any value to the reader only if they are written from a variant perspective that is meaningfully differentiated from the market in terms of information and judgment. At the same time, it is not ideal to wade through ad hominem attacks from internet trolls. Any good investment ideas will have strong - often strongly emotional - opposition from people who hold opposing views.

At first, the appearance of internet trolls struck me as a curiosity. What a bizarre way for someone to spend their time. I have no particular love for medieval dulcimer music or haiku poetry, but it would never occur to me to lurk around dulcimer recitals or haiku festivals just so that I could snarl insults at dulcimer players or haiku poets... And this is not due to any particular virtue or concern for their feelings. Instead, I'm just too busy with things that I do like to do. The world is cluttered with interests that I don't happen to share and it makes no difference to me. In fact, it is probably in excess of 99% of ideas that I don't accept or tastes that I don't have. So why do some internet readers bother to paw through event driven, value based writing on investment ideas and everyday arbitrage just to say, in effect, how much they hate event driven, value based writing on investment ideas and everyday arbitrage? Strange.

As it has morphed from an oddity to an inconvenience, I offer a general strategy and a specific disclaimer that I will simply refer to in the future. Here is goes.

General Strategy

In nine months, across over a quarter of a million page views and a substantial number of commenters, I have received no/zero/0 overlap between 1.) internet trolls and 2.) people with their own actionable ideas. Instead of matching insult for insult, which I think that they rather like, I simply reply with the question, "what is your favorite idea?" Favorite, falsifiable, occasionally humiliating ideas make people vulnerable. Apparently, people either like ad hominem vitriol or they like generating ideas, but they don't engage in both and they don't like to admit that they don't. So, just ask. I have yet to receive a single answer from an internet troll. It ends the conversation every time. I have taken into account that in revealing my general strategy, I am taunting internet trolls to hit me with scathing insults followed by well-researched value investments. Bring them on (and as long as you bring both and if the investment ideas are really good, please present them via direct private message)


All I want out of (my work) life is to underpay for the value that I receive. I am agnostic about all (legal) things other than price. I will show up with the fifty cents of money to pay for anything that is worth a dollar. Now, in many cases the reason why a dollar of value is available for purchase for the price of fifty cents is a certain Pavlovian dread associated with horrific past performance. So, while I am utterly indifferent to the path that a given security took to get to its price, it often happens to be that there are those among my favorite ideas that have declined precipitously. I don't care. I am not responsible. It changes nothing. So, if a given comment amounts to, "you like 'x'? But 'x' declined by 'y' before you bought it or recommended it", then the commenter will receive in reply a link to this disclaimer. If you are a value investor and buy or recommend a security that has similarly declined in order to reach the price at which you find it attractive and you too get comments with this construct, please feel free to use this disclaimer, too. Many comments have the same point and they don't really need multiple answers. One could get fancy in explaining marginal cost and benefit and the importance of ignoring sunk costs, but why bother.