Seeking Alpha needs to change its anonymous policy
Kimelman writes, “Even though Barron’s magazine and its Website would never allow a writer to pen a column without a real byline, I can understand why anonymity might be appropriate in certain instances on a site like Seeking Alpha. For example, why not limit the privilege to instances in which writers are potentially putting themselves or their careers in harm’s way by calling out wrongdoing?
“I contend that Seeking Alpha, given its large readership, could insist that many more writers use their real names and still attract plenty of copy.
“Seeking Alpha also faces another problem but one with no easy solution. It asks that all its writers list whether they are long or short the stocks they are writing about. But there is no way to enforce honest answers. Hoffman admits that his writers are simply on the honor system. Thus, one has to wonder whether the anonymous writer of a tough article on a company has a short position on the stock, even if he or she says he’s not invested.
“Then there’s the issue of the experience level of many of the writers. Many are college students and at-home investment hobbyists with limited academic qualifications. I wouldn’t suggest that a smart, serious college student or hobbyist isn’t capable of doing his homework on a stock. But good investment writing involves both analytical skills and writing ability. And people with limited experience are usually at a disadvantage.”
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