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Viewing it as a contest is not necessarily a bad thing. Those people that view it that way generally enjoy contests, and will spend more time and have more fun with CAPS because of that. As long as the rules of the game encourage learning (from participants as well as those trying to learn from the general results) this is good. That is why discussions regarding how things are scored are important, even to those that don't care too much about "winning". A good scoring system allows more competitive people to be hooked and spend lots of time / research on stocks, the result of which can then be leveraged for the greater good.

Already things are working pretty well on that front I think. For example, there is a big benefit to ranking a lot of stocks, and I have found myself adding more than I would normally to improve my score by looking at other people's picks and explanations, and adding ones I agree with. This seems to me to be a good thing. I have been exposed to a broader range of stocks and ideas than my normal industry focuses, a couple people are reading and commenting on my explanations (fun/educational for me and them) and the group ratings benefit (hopefully) from my choices. The more stocks I rate, the more group knowledge regardless of whether I stole an idea or not. Ohh, and I am having fun and paying more attention to stocks than I have for a long time.

Of course, picking CAPS stocks is not the same as designing a portfolio, just as picking a fantasy basketball team is not the same as picking a good Olympic basketball team. But playing fantasy basketball has improved my knowledge of the game, the players, and my enjoyment of watching games. And in picking an Olympic team, looking at the top fantasy picks is not a bad place to start. The better the scoring system the better that works (there are some very interesting ones out there related to how the team does with the player playing instead of just looking at individual stats).

I see CAPS as playing the same role: provide entertainment, encourage people to learn about stocks, and provide information that is useful for portfolio allocation.

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