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Author: TMFBreakerDave Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Supernova Phoenix 1
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Subject: Re: Greetings, Fool! Date: 9/15/2006 4:37 PM
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Albaby, I guess I disagree with how you've framed CAPS up. The perhaps simplistic intent that you impute to us isn't how I or our team thinks of CAPS. We're not for instance trying to "create a market to beat a market," although that does touch on elements of what we're working toward, missing all the while many things besides. Hey, I don't begrudge your viewpoint at all -- it's rather an interesting way of thinking about things, and I'm assuming this is your initial reaction based on a brand-new or very recent first look at CAPS. I would say CAPS has at least a dozen separate uses for an investor (or even a consumer), something more akin to a Swiss army knife than the perhaps "household knife" you are seeing.

Among other things, I believe CAPS is creating both a new transparency and new information not previously available to anyone, let alone Wall Street's few. I would also say that CAPS's method of weighting ratings according to performance is fundamentally different from market mechanics, something quite different from being just "a second stock market," as I think you may have been suggesting. Indeed, I believe that people who use CAPS will henceforth be operating with more and deeper information than those who do not. That's my experience from having used the application for the past two years, anyway. And even if the information were merely commoditized or of no greater use than existing market data and pricing, the simple fact that it is a database that logs everything that each of us does individually makes it I think a uniquely valuable public resource, something that any individual can point out to any other individual to show a record of his or her market opinion and stockpicking achievement. I personally think that alone is pretty compelling. Hey, I'm really interested in seeing your page, for instance.

So I would say that it's not really that we're aggregating "known information," although that's some of what we do. I think we're bringing into being previously unknown information, everything from actually tracking and grading and appropriately weighting the influence of Morgan Stanley, or Jim Cramer, right through to weighting the forward predictions of people like you and me based on the demonstrated merit of their historic input provided in this new public venue. I sometimes use the analogy of the "CAPS Stadium" to which all the world is invited to come down on the field and play, if they like, to be accountable for their actions, to be rewarded properly (finally) as opposed to getting the "ear" of Barron's because they may be "well-known for being well-known," etc. Further, the information that I think we have all benefited from via the Fool's discussion boards, for instance, from stock tips to business pointers to good debate, etc., will now be held in this new, more powerful format, one that "remembers," and not just remembers but -- grades, scores, ranks. There's actually a neat "put-up-or-shut-up" new dynamic that I'm now seeing on our boards that further advances the quality of communications across Fooldom, and the trustworthiness of different viewpoints. I could probably write a 20-page paper about that alone, though on the CAPS Swiss Army knife, it's probably only just the toothpick. :)

I see a lot to CAPS, and based on reviewing feedback and member data I can also say happily that I'm not the only one. ;)

This posting is put up on the CAPS Addicts board, so you see where I'm coming from -- and can please feel free to discount everything I'm saying. :)

Foolishly,

David
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