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My viewpoint on CAPS:

I see it from several perspectives - as a contest, educational tool for the investor, and a chance to hold me to a bit of accountability as a freelancer writer for the Fool.

a) I like games, and I especially love games with stocks - I was a dedicated player on the HSX for many years, and was even #1 for a time. I 'graduated' to the stock market, and have been investing ever since. CAPS has a similar kind of addictiveness of HSX, and brings out the competitive spirit. You're darn right I want to beat Russell, and I think since we are in beta, it is useful to figure out ways to beat him in case it exposes shortcomings in the game - hence the recent thread. As a game, CAPS is a total blast.

b) As an educational tool - Ralph brings up similar sentiments, and I completely agree. The potential here is vast - as a stock picking system, as stock picker identifier, as well as perhaps an excellent source of DD once more people sign up and start doing intelligent pitches. The potential to cover the long tail (uncovered companies) via collective intelligence has amazing potential, and can really break the mold. As more players join CAPS, we will be able to see how it functions as a stock picker, or maybe even a contrarian indicator.

As an investor, my port functions as a watch list, as I review many companies weekly, and often dismiss them for one reason or another, and never look at them again. Well, now I can pick them for underperform, leave a note to myself via a pitch on my initial sentiments, and forget about it until six months later, when it blows up or skyrockets.
I can then review my initial thesis, and know exactly what to focus on when I review the company again, rather than re-start everything from scratch. I can also enter all of the companies that I really like and think will outperform the market, but not my current holdings, and can monitor in real time if I made the right decision.

Furthermore, by scanning other people's portfolios, I can identify many new companies that might be worthy of due diligence, simply because we may share the same sentiment on DRYS (fascinating bunch of people btw). It's like Amazon's recommendation feature for stocks - brilliant for an investor like me.

c) As a writer for the Fool - I've found many more new companies, all with interesting stories that can be told. When writing articles, I can check for opposing points of view to see potential weaknesses in any of my arguments, or support to buttress them. I can also hold myself accountable for my analysis when I write on a company - picking it as underperform or outperform in CAPS, which I've done with TOPP, LM, ENER and many other solar/ethanol companies and DRYS to mention a few.

All in all, it's much more than a contest, and pure bragging rights. I wouldn't view that one thread as indicative of how CAPS is seen by many. I guess I may be considered 'hardcore', but all the hours I've spent wondering around CAPS so far has been worth it - my personal return on investment has been several fold.

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