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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/updated-supercharged-caps-faq-24761022.aspx

Subject:  Updated Supercharged CAPS FAQ Date:  10/30/2006  7:45 PM
Author:  TMFCramerica Number:  3790 of 8840

It's definitely time for a CAP Beta Feedback FAQ. We're getting a ton of posts now, and thank you for all the great words we're reading and all the excellent suggestions and thoughts you're sharing. Many of the suggestions are somewhat repetitive, which is only natural since hundreds of new participants are joining every day now. You're giving us your "Day One" impressions and questions, and we appreciate it. But also, in deference to those who've already been through their first day, we wanted to write up this quick FAQ and use it as our quick answer to the repetitive kinds of questions asked, and also as a reference doc that people could check out prior to posting to this board or emailing the CAPS team. Also, be sure to always check out the Help tab within CAPS for general questions. Thanks for all your beta-testing, and keeps those bug reports, first impressions, second impressions, and constructive criticism (and wild praise) coming. We so much appreciate it all!

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CAPS Official FAQ – Updated as of October 30, 2006

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Quick Table of Contents:


General Questions -

(1) “How do I actually use CAPS? What are the range of possible applications?”
(2) “Why isn't CAPS a traditional portfolio-modeled game with each person given a designated amount of cash to invest?”
(3) “How does the data updating process work within CAPS?”
(4) “Your results are all short-term -- this is just a day trader's game, eh?”
(5) “But how can I take this seriously? It's not real money!”
(6) “Some of the best participants seem to be day traders or market-timers. What's the deal: Is CAPS teaching UnFoolish strategies?”
(7) “How can you be scoring me for a 5-year pick I made after 5 days?!”
(8) “How does the accuracy ranking methodology work?”
(9) “Let me guess: CAPS was designed from the start to be a for-pay service, right? Come on, guys -- admit this. You're going to yank this all back at some point and say, "Pay!"”
(10) “Is CAPS an acronym? What does it stand for?”
(11) “I am completely addicted to CAPS...."


Specific Questions and Concerns -

(1) "My ticker isn't pickable."
(2) "My post has a typo, OR I clicked the wrong button!"
(3) "It's 10:15AM Eastern but my pick is still Pending..."
(4) “I'd like to be able to pick a ticker more than once."
(5) "Does CAPS include dividends?"
(6) "I'm getting killed! I'm way down!"
(7) "No fair! I just joined, others are already way ahead!"
(8) "How is my Player Rating calculated, again?"
(9) "Your [pick your favorite] feature could be improved!"

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General Questions -


(1) “How do I actually use CAPS? What are the range of possible applications?”

We hope one or more clear benefits to CAPS are already evident to you. For instance, we track all Wall Street predictions, we track Jim Cramer (always wanted to know how worthwhile those TV show call are, eh?), etc. Or, alternatively, how about watching and following on a regular basis the real-time actions being taken by the highest-rated participants on the service -- could you ever have done something like that in quite this way, before this CAPSized world? If you are looking for more ways to use the service, or benefits that CAPS can offer you, here are some informative posts from your fellow customers:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24658692
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24659301
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24666506

Here is David Gardner's "It's a Swiss Army knife for investors" post describing a range of applications on CAPS:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24734537

Here is Michael Sarill's "Beginner's Guide to CAPS":

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24735835

(Yes, Michael realizes he spelled beginner wrong in the first paragraph.)


(2) “Why isn't CAPS a traditional portfolio-modeled game with each person given a designated amount of cash to invest?”

Here is David Gardner's classic "you are an analyst not an investor" explanation:

http://boards.fool.com/message.asp?mid=24667592

Here is Michael Sarill's explanation:

http://boards.fool.com/message.asp?mid=24394298&sort=recommendations


(3) “How does the data updating process work within CAPS? Some numbers seem out of synchronization.”

Our daily stock feed comes from Yahoo Finance. This daily change information can be located in the following areas:

a) Under the “Today (Change)” Column in the scorecard view of player's pick lists.

b) On ticker pages, in the header of the right-hand column that
reads: “XXX is $42.56, up $0.11 (+0.26%)” with either a green or red background.

In these instances, stock information is updated as frequently as you refresh your page, according to our Yahoo feed. However, the data from Yahoo is delayed roughly 20 minutes. So, the daily stock change information is always a bit behind, but should always catch up.

This daily feed information within CAPS, in turn, doesn't perfectly synchronize with the score tabulations that influence player ratings. Score calculations – and therefore, Stock Gain and S&P Gain calculations - happen according to a cycle of roughly 30 minutes. Notice that as you continually refresh your page, the Today (Change) column continually updates from our feed (although, remember, 20 minutes delayed from the actual quotes), while the Stock Gain, S&P Gain, and Score Columns will not update accordingly. They catch up according to a designated cycle. When this calculation cycle happens, your player rating will adjust accordingly based on the score change and accuracy change.

Therefore, we understand that certain data may appear out of synchronization with itself, and also out of synchronization with the actual market. However, with time, everything should update accurately and with appropriate precision.

We hope to optimize this experience with time - and also do a better job of communicating these points within CAPS.


(4) “Your results are all short-term -- this is just a day trader's game, eh?”

LoneIguana's Thoughts: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24672646

David G Assessment: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24672703


(5) “But how can I take this seriously? It's not real money!”

That is true, although many people are entering their real portfolios so in lots of ways it's an expression of real money. And in other ways it's not, sure, but we actually see great value in people picking stocks to Underperform, adding to our community intelligence, even though they don't short stocks in real life! Do you ever think, "That stock is going down," and you wind up being right, but you don't short stocks or buy puts? Through CAPS, many Fools who can't be bothered to short stocks are sharing their insights into stocks they think will lose. It's not real money, but when you are operating in a publicly accountable forum, your currency is your reputation, and you'd be surprised how much that counts for many of us. If you've been following our CAPS Beta discussion board, you know that the most consistent feedback we've gotten is that people actually check more -- and in a sense CARE more (their words!) -- about their CAPS portfolio than their real-money portfolio. That may sound bizarre until you remember that every action you take in CAPS is permanent, archived, rated, ranked, and scored, both for posterity, and against your peers.


(6) “ Some of the best participants seem to be day traders or market-timers -- people piling up picks! Of course, a lot of people trying that are also doing quite poorly, too. But anyway, what's the deal: Is CAPS teaching UnFoolish strategies?”

CAPS is not "designed" to "train" anyone in "Foolish strategies."

CAPS is a living record of your investment choices.

You may choose lots of stocks and jump in and out. And you may be an All-Star at that, or you may be a bum.

You may choose very few stocks, and almost never end any pick. And you may be an All-Star at that, or you may be a bum.

CAPS is a meeting place for many different minds and approaches. We would hate it to be anything less. I love the fishbowl aspect of it, and already in our top ten you have many different styles emerging. And every single strategy and approach has been rewarded by those practicing it well. And our community intelligence is richer for it.


(7) “How can you be scoring me for a 5-year pick I made after 5 days?!”

The same way the National Football League scores its 60-minute game one second at a time, even though we all know the game only ends after the fourth quarter. Of course, often the best sign that you're going to win after the fourth quarter is if you have a nice halftime lead. And the way you achieved that halftime lead, by the way, may well have begun by running back the game's opening kickoff for a touchdown. Sticking with sports for one more analogy, the team that scores first in Major League Baseball wins two out of three times. As you can see, scoring you from the first minute is not only more fun, but it can be quite telling. Of course, we're the first to agree that allowing more time to pass leads to more rationality and a better chance that smart choices will be rewarded. (At least, that's what we keep telling ourselves looking at our losers....)


(8) “How does the accuracy ranking methodology work?”

Todd Etter's Explanation:

http://boards.fool.com/message.asp?mid=24569250&sort=recommendations


(9) “Let me guess: CAPS was designed from the start to be a for-pay service, right? Come on, guys -- admit this. You're going to yank this all back at some point and say, "Pay!"”

If you've been following our CAPS Beta Feedback board you will know of our assertion that the experience you're getting today on CAPS is being built to remain free, ad infinitum (emphasis on the "ad" part...), and in fact we're only continuing to add more free features as we speak, and will be for a while. When pressed, we would say it's likely that at some point in future we may end up offering premium services around/outside of CAPS – or laying over top of it. But by no means are we planning on yanking back your CAPS and telling you, "Now you gotta pay!" Emphatically not. If we see valuable ways to create new information or tools or experiences on CAPS, we are a business that likely would not endeavor to build them for free. We like profits, just as all shareholders do! (Keep in mind, for-pay services only ever work if people value them enough to pay for them. If people don't, they disappear.) To return to the main point, the CAPS you're enjoying today will (a) remain free, and (b) get even better.


(10) “Is CAPS an acronym? What does it stand for?”

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24500966&sort=whole


(11) “I am completely addicted to CAPS...."

No problem. Join the club:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24509683

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24510086