The first thing every member should keep in mind is that Bullish Cross is private publication and a private club. And as with most private institutions, there are limitations to free speech. Even in the public realm, the First Amendment to the Constitution doesn't grant pure, unfettered and unadulterated free speech to everyone. Instead, the First Amendment has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court as having inherent limitations to speech which is found to be obscene, offensive or harmful. On top of that, even in the public realm speech is limited to the appropriate time, place and manner principle.
Like in the public realm, every private entity has its own set of rules, guidelines and limitations on the types of speech that are permissible and/or appropriate within its walls. This is no different with Bullish Cross.
Don't come in with assumptions and preconceived notions about what the comment section is and what it is not. About what types of speech that is permissible and the types of speech that is not permissible.
When Bullish Cross 2.0 launched a year ago, more than half of our current members subscribed within two months of going live. Those members have developed very close relationships which has turned Bullish Cross into a closely knit community of active, informed and advanced investors. We seek to protect that community by making sure newer members don't simply come in and insult or clash with older members who have been here for almost a year now.
Becoming a Bullish Cross member, does not give anyone the right to insult or to make comments which serve to provoke other members into confrontation. When we recently decided to re-open the publication to new members after closing our doors for three months, we were going to completely disallow all comments from new members in an effort to maintain the integrity of that tightly knit community.
Instead, we decided to grant probationary status to new members to give an opportunity for those who are respectful to become a part of the Bullish Cross community. No point in allowing a few bad Apples ruin it for everyone. And it is always those few bad Apples who tend to make things excessively difficult for everyone else.
The BC Comment Rules and Guidelines is broken down into three section. Section I covers strictly enforced rules which if not strictly observed will lead to a temporary or permanently revocation of commenting privileges. Section II covers the guidelines to asking the right types of questions. Not following the guidelines, won't get you banned. But it will result in a waste of your time as you will not get a response from us. Finally, section III outlines what it means to have probationary commenting status which is granted to all new members.
I. The Rules to the BC Live Comment Section
The following Rules to the BC Comment Section is listed in order of importance, but it is by no means exhaustive. The next section covers guidelines which are different than rules. Not following the rules will get you banned. Not following the guidelines will simply lead to you not getting a response. The rules are more important than the guidelines We will add more rules and guidelines as they become apparent. In the meantime, use common sense if an obvious rule isn't stated. 'What would a reasonable person do under the circumstances' is a stated rule which covers a broad range of potentially unaddressed issues.
1. Don't be high maintenance!
The most important rule of all is don't be high maintenance. And that is not limited to the comment section either. Don't' be high maintenance in general as Bullish Cross member.
Bullish Cross has nearly 600 members. We will probably be adding a few hundred more in the coming year. Most of these members log-on to Bullish Cross, know how to get along with people, don't ask a lot of dumb questions, make good decisions based on our commentary and go on with life not being a living pain in the ass to those around them.
Then there are those two or three people in the classroom who constantly have their hands raised (Hermione Granger) anytime the teacher asks a question, stands around the professor after class is over and schedules 25 after-hours appointments with the professor.. By themselves, they can cause more trouble than 300 people. They are a constant drain on the system and quite frankly just aren't worth the time. If we get a total of 30 questions from 600 subscribers in a day and 15 are from one person, that person is obviously "high maintenance."
We will not stand for that type of nonsense. The quickest and easiest way to lose commenting privileges is being high maintenance. We have a tremendous amount of work to be done and can't be bogged down by two or three members. It is always much easier to cut those members loose, than to address their "special" needs to the detriment of the entire publication.
Read the commentary. If you don't understand something, ask your fellow members. Try to refrain from e-mailing Bullish Cross with comments or concerns directly. Especially when those questions can easily be answered by any of our 600 other members. We simply just do not have the hours of the day to offer personalized service to each member of the publication. There are a lot of very informed people here who fortunately for us, like to help. I wish we could do more, but we simply can't. We just don't have the time to handle high maintenance people. That's why it is our #1 rule.
Always remember that we have 600 other people to attend to as well as other businesses to run. It's easy to lose sight of that by thinking that we have more 24 hours in a day. I assure you that we don't. We are bound by the same laws of physics as everyone else.
2. Don't constantly criticize our commentary!
There are some people who all they do is constantly criticize every single thing we publish. Despite what some members might think, that is not something that we condone in the comment section. Bullish Cross Comment Section is not a "public forum" where people can publish every opposing viewpoint to Bullish Cross. That is what the public realm is for. That is why Seeking Alpha, Fortune, Barrons, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC exist. It is a forum for people to offer up opposing viewpoints and ideas or to voice every idiotic opinion that enters their mind. Bullish Cross is not a publication that facilitates that type of discourse.
Don't forget that we're not hosting a public forum here. We're publishing our thoughts on the financial markets. Mostly everyone who subscribes to Bullish Cross is here to get our ideas on the market. That is why they are here. Don't' lose sight of that. You can just as easily subscribe to hundreds of other newsletters and public on-line news sources like CNBC to get opposing opinions and viewpoints on the market. Bullish Cross isn't the time, place or manner in which to publish counter views. The comment section in BC Live exists so that our members have a place to seek clarification and further insight into our viewpoint. It is also there so that our members have a place to socialize.
We're not saying that opposing viewpoints are inherently obscene, harmful or offensive or that one shouldn't be well acquainted with a variety of different opinions about the market when arriving at their own decisions. Instead, we are merely pointing out that Bullish Cross isn't the time, place or manner for offering up such opposing viewpoints as it becomes extremely disruptive.
Instead, Bullish Cross is where we offer up our viewpoint on the markets. It is expected that when members post comments, questions or concerns that it focuses on our viewpoint. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the BC Comment Section is a public forum. Because it's not. It exists to further facilitate our conclusions and viewpoints on the market.
You can then take that viewpoint and choose to accept it or you can simply choose to ignore it. You can take that viewpoint and compare it to opposite viewpoints elsewhere. But the Bullish Cross Live Comment Section is not a public forum for that type of debate.
That type of debate is mostly very disruptive to not only our ends but to the ends of other members. No one is forcing you to listen to anything we have to say. But we don't have to endorse every asinine idea published by every person who decides they want to publish a viewpoint at Seeking Alpha. If that's what you want, then read and publish your comments at Seeking Alpha.
If you feel that we're idiots, then register a domain, launch your own newsletter and publish all of your opposing viewpoints there. After all, that is what the public realm is there for right? Now we are in complete support of people publishing their criticisms and opposing viewpoints in the Bullish Cross Financial Forum. That is an open and public Forum. Just not in the comment section of BC Live or any other BC Article.
3. Don't Publishing Outside Editorial Links
Related to Rule #2, is refraining from publishing links to outside opinions. Notice this is different than linking to news. Linking to news reports is perfectly fine. But please refrain from publishing a link to someone else's opinion on the financial markets. Especially when that opinion is published at Myspace of the Investing world -- Seeking Alpha.
One of the most annoying types of comments that we have repeatedly dealt with last year is one where a member posts a link to some no-name writer at Seeking Alpha who may arrive at a different conclusion than that of Bullish Cross. Then the member ask us to comment or make an opinion on the matter. This type of comment is not only annoying -- and often times insulting -- but it is extremely disruptive.
I cannot be put in a position where I have to defend our viewpoints against every inexperienced investor and/or financial writer who decides he/she wants to publish his/her garbage at Seeking Alpha. We're not going to comment on it, so don't ask.
The reason that linking to a poorly written article by an inexperienced outside writer could be very insulting is due to the fact that when you link to such an article, you make the assumption that we are not aware of the arguments being made or the analysis advanced. If it is important, than we would have mentioned it. Plan and simple. If not, then we wouldn't have mentioned it.
So please refrain from stating the opinions, contributions or conclusions made by other editorial writers. You can do that in the forums, but please refrain from doing that in BC Live. Don't forget that most financial writers aren't investors. And most writers at Seeking Alpha are inexperienced investors. There are a handful of good writers here and there. But most are pretty much useless when it comes to investing.
4. Don't Use Bullish Cross to Advertise and/or Market for Other Newsletters, Funds, Investors or Groups in the Comment Section
This should be self-explanatory. Don't publish the commentary, opinions, conclusions or summaries of other newsletters. It's unfair to them, and unfair to us. The Bullish Cross newsletter is not a place to endorse other newsletters/funds/investors/forums/groups. If we want to endorse another newsletter,then we will endorse them.
5. Don't Publish Multi-Paragraph Dissertations in the Comment Section
Another very annoying type of comment is those multi-paragraph (or multi-page at times) comment from someone who feels a needs to publish a dissertation about their opinions on the market or the direction of Apple. You are totally welcome to do that, but use the Forums. The BC Live Comment section isn't the place for it. Keep your comments succinct.
6. Don't Unnecessarily Address Comments "To Andy"
There are a large number of people who do an excellent job answering questions. Not every question needs to be addressed to Andy. In fact, there's only so many questions that Andy could answer. If you do feel that you need to address directly to Andy in the comment section, then make sure the comment is very succinct, straight forward and non-complex. Complex questions are automatically dismissed due to time constraints. The questions that will usually be answered are those that are very short and to the point. They are questions that ask a single question and require a single simple answer. Complex answers require too much time making it impossible to answer. This is more of a guidelines than a rule. But doing this repetitively will lead to a 'high maintenance' issue.
7. Don't Re-Publish the Same Type of Comment Over and Over and Over Again. We get the point!
Sometimes we will get people who post a commenting indicating how Apple will never see a correction, how the stock is going straight to $1000 a share and how anyone who says otherwise is an idiot. Then they will publish substantially the same comment 15 times a day. That's the surest way to get banned. Once or twice is enough. We don't need to see it 15 times a day.
8. Don't Be Disrespectful
If you repeatedly show a significant lack of respect for other members or for Bullish Cross through condescending comments or the like, expect a very quick and permanent ban. Again, it's much easier to not have to deal with these type of people.
9. Do Not Publish, Distribute or Post our Commentary
Please avoid publishing our commentary in public. This should go without saying. If it is discovered, you will get a permanent ban not only from commenting, but from the publication as a whole.
10. Reasonable Person Standard
The rules above are by no means exhausted. If we didn't state a rule here and an issue becomes apparent, then we will update the list. Until that time, use the reasonable person standard. What would a reasonable person do under the circumstances. The reasonable person standard applies. This is an actual rule and can be grounds for a ban.
II. Guidelines on Asking Questions
Bullish Cross gets inundated with a lot of repetitive questions. It is very important that you adhere to the following rules when asking questions. Otherwise you'll just end up wasting a lot time and effort, and you will also be very disappointed. Below are a list of the top most common mistake people have made when asking questions. Try to avoid falling victim here.
1. E-mail Questions:
At the top of the list of inappropriate conduct is e-mailing Bullish Cross investment or even research related questions. This will be a huge waste of your time. We are not your financial advisor and cannot privately answer questions relating to investments. In fact, just so that we do not even create the appearance of being a private investment advisor, we'll reject even purely research questions. For example, if you email us and ask what Apple's current P/E ratio is, though this is widely available information, we will simply decline to answer the e-mail. E-mails are reserved only for administrative inquiries. Otherwise, post your questions to Bullish Cross live. In fact, non-administrative questions, will just be ignored. So what's the point right? Post it in BC Live.
2. Should I buy now?
Obviously, we cannot answer this question, so it's a waste of time to post it. Please don't ask that question. Bullish Cross should be but just one set of data used in an overall decision making process. It shouldn't be the end all and be all to decision making. Moreover, we run models for a reason. So that we don't have to answer this same question for 600 different people which would be impossible.
3. I sold my Apple based on your advice, when I should I get back in?
There is no better way to cause a high level of stress to a financial journalist than the combination of these statement. I've probably received this a few hundred times now. And it's even worse when our commentary is highly misinterpreted in such a way that even if we had made a buy or sell recommendation, it wouldn't have been the recommendation interpreted by the reader.
For example, we explained why hedging was a good strategy on the morning after Apple's earnings report given the past history of Apple sell-off in the weeks following its results. I can only imagine how many people interpreted the post-earnings research data as being a recommendation to sell everything and go short. Even when we say that hedging is the best way to approaching the situation and even give a detailed hedging strategy which ended up being very profitable, I still received lots of comments from people saying they sold per our so-called "advice" or "recommendation" that we never gave in the first place.
4. Don't use terms such as "advice" & "recommendation?"
This is the surest way to get no response at all. Please avoid saying things like "what do you recommend?" "What do you advise." Once you use the "A" word or "R" word, don't expect a response from us. So don't use either term.
5. I just joined yesterday, and I've read nothing at all. Can you please repeat everything you've written over the past 2-months for me personally since you have unlimited time to cater to each person who doesn't spend 5 minutes catching up with material?
Please avoid asking a question that has probably been answered. For example, asking us what my earnings expectations are is kind of a stupid question. This is a site focused on Apple Investment Research. It's OBVIOUS that we're going to have that information contained on the site. So why ask that question at all? It just serves to waste everyone's time. Click on the "Apple" link and you will find that the information is contained there.
6. What call-spread should I buy?
Don't ask this question. We've laid out what we think are the best call-spreads. So why ask what is already contained in the publication?
7. What do you think of the $580 - $600 call spread? I'm thinking buying it?
Well if we didn't write on the issue, then obviously we don't really have an opinion one way or the other. Try to use the tools that we are laying out as a way to come to an answer. In fact, believe it or not, there's already enough data to be able to answer that question.
At this point, we can't sit there and answer the infinitely many different permutations of investment strategies that can be used to capitalize on a particular situation. Instead, what we've done is laid out a framework such that it would make the answering of that question very easy to a broad . Instead of answering the infinitely many different questions that can be asked, the framework can answer it for us. Learn the framework, and you get your answer.
III. Probationary Status
Newly admitted Bullish Cross members start-off with a 6-month probationary status. They are allowed to comment, but their comments are viewed under a microscope. New members are far more likely to be banned than older members. It is better for new members to "fly under the radar" than to make a lot of noise.
You should always remember that Bullish Cross has 600 members and we cannot afford to be put in a position to exhausted resources having to constantly moderate, ban and un-ban certain users. It just wastes our time and we gain nothing further out of it.
In an ideal world, each member costs the same amount of resource to maintain and that's what we will strive to achieve. Obviously, it is impossible to reach such a place. But it it gets a whole lot easier when 5-6 people use up 80% of the resources. We just cut those people and move on.
It's very important to understand that Bullish Cross rarely puts anyone on temporary or permanent ban. Only two people have ever been permanently banned from posting out of the 600+ members. Only seven have had a temporary ban and that was a very quick and easy fix. That's only 1% of all users. And that's pretty much how things work in any forum.
Trolls tend to only make up 1% of the population. Oftentimes it's even less than that. These rules act more as a deterrent than anything else. The only thing stopping our comment section from turning into Yahoo Finance are the rules. Otherwise, it would quickly become an unusable forum and an unfriendly environment.
Stick to these rules above, avoid harassment, be respectful and everything will be fine.