The Trouble with Honesty

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I've been doing this blog for a very long time, and during these many years, I have consistently tried to be as open, honest, and transparent as possible.

That has been a good decision, because the "metrics" that matter to me – – a growing base of readers, a fantastic community of highly intelligent and mutually supportive Slopers, and a respectful atmosphere – – is exactly what I set out to achieve. Sometimes the truth can make me look foolish, and I certainly open myself up to trolls and mean-spirited outsiders by being so open – – but I'd rather be open than a charlatan.

There are fee-based newsletters which excel at making themselves look right, no matter what their track record is. The art of using weasel words and revisionist history seems to flourish in the realm of financial opinion. (Try declaring "Wave 2 is through!" for twelve consecutive months and see how it sounds). I don't want to be a part of that.

Of course, this is on my mind because last week was a rough one for me, and I did a couple of posts that made me particularly vulnerable. One spoke in stark terms about the horrible day I had on Wednesday, September 1st, and another asked quite openly for help from my readers on seeking a technical indicator which quickly got dubbed as an unfindable "holy grail."

Neither of these posts were necessary, but both of them were consistent with how I run this blog. The easier choice on Wednesday would have been to simply Change The Subject and talk about something else (pretending it wasn't an awful day) or, if I were a real scumbag, say what a terrific day I had. Instead, I opened myself up to derision (which was probably like Christmas  to the frat boys at you-know-where).

It's funny, because when I was making triple-digit gains, I was accused by some of being full of it. And yet when I bemoan a 4% loss, a few people laugh at a supposed train wreck. I'm still very much in the game, fellas.

This all got brought up because of an incident today. I noticed that Dutch had zapped someone on the site for some nastiness. Since the nastiness was deleted, I didn't see what it was, or who posted it, so I forgot about it. Later today, the author of the aforementioned nastiness emailed me, going off on me about banning him from the site (which I didn't) and not being open to other opinions (which isn't true).

This fellow and I have been emailing each other back and forth pretty much all day long. His concern has been that my bearish bias has been leading readers into "ambushes". I have made no secret that I've been seeking concrete techniques as a counterweight to my well-known bearish bias, and I think I've got a few solid ones now, thanks to the help of dozens and dozens of people that have emailed me their suggestions.

The bottom line for me is that Slope has a culture I like, and part of that culture is borne from being open and honest, through the good and the bad. Sometimes I'm brilliant, sometimes I'm a moron, and most of the time I'm somewhere in between. (Lately "moron" would probably be about right). I will leave you with this:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may just never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it's all between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.