Psychological Tipping Point

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0314-despairYesterday was an odd one here on the ol' blog. First off, I think the best way to keep a pulse on the psyche around here is via the comments section, but due to the demands of my schedule, I only get to read about 2-3% of the comments that are entered in the first place, so oftentimes I – of all people – am somewhat out of touch with the nuances of what's going on with people here (mercifully, seven straight years of blogging have created a self-sustaining community, so this is one of the few places where the blog's owner doesn't have to prod people into saying something!)

But, Slope being by and large a bearish blog, it's not surprising that its readers were in a funk (although, interesting, traffic grew about 25% versus the day prior). What struck me was a handful of people had decided to basically isolate themselves from blogs altogether, since I suppose they felt it was causing them a harmful bias.

I suppose I can see some logic in this. I hang out here and at ZeroHedge most of the time, so I understand that I can be subject to more than a fair bit of confirmation bias.

But I think there are a couple of flaws in putting one's head in the sand.

First off, we as traders know how convenient it is to blame an outside entity for our own problems. If you lost money, perhaps it was the fault of Ben Bernanke, or Goldman Sachs, or Brian Sacks, or some other sacks out there that I've forgotten. It's just as easy to blame a web site or a blog for your bias. So placing the responsibility for any bad trade on anything outside yourself is an error. This is not to say I am above such things; it's something I combat within myself all the time!

Second, I believe that there is much more benefit from the learning that goes on here than any detrimental effect of group-think. Indeed, there is a healthy number of very outspoken bulls that are perpetually on the comments board, and I think they do a very good job not only of offering excellent ideas but also tempering some of the tin-foil-hat nature that would be apt to running rampant were it not for their presence.

In short, I hope we see some of these lapsed Slopers return to the fold. Judging from some of the emails I got from people directly, as well as some of the comments, it seems a lot of folks "snapped" yesterday. Here's hoping they heal and return.