Suspended Asshats & Anonymous Cowards

As noted Monday, I am tolerating no crap while on vacay. A few people have already been suspended from commenting, due to their multiple, off topic, flame-baiting posts.

But this one takes the cake:

One un-named frequent and occasionally obnoxious commenter refuses to use a real email address. After getting suspended from commenting for the week, I get this "XXXXXXXXX XXX sent you a Yahoo! story" — a clever way (I guess) to email something to me yet maintain anonymity and not reveal an actual email address.

—– Original Message —–
From: XXXXXXXXX XXX
Date: Monday, July 2, 2007 9:50 pm
Subject: Yahoo! Finance Story – Stocks Rally As Bond Yields Dip: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance
To: thebigpicture@optonline.net

>
> XXXXXXXXX XXX has sent you a news article
> ————————————————————
> Personal message:
>
> You ass. You sunked to a new low by blocking my account. Do you
> block anyone that has a different opinion than yours? You want
> everyone to think like you and post comments that favor your
> commentary/opinion? This is like a blind lead the blind theory.
>
> Good luck to you and your clients (they really need it). I was
> right before. A better name for your blog would be "Wrong
> picture", not "Big Picture".
>
> XX


Here’s my response — it bounced, thanks to the fake email address. However, since I hate to waste a good piece of writing, here it is for your holiday reading pleasure:

1.  This isn’t YOUR account, this is MY HOUSE.  I am stunned you fail to understand that.

2.  TBP is the result of 1000s of hours of work. It is MY platform, not yours. I get almost a million page views a month based on my vision, writing, efforts, etc. and because of the community I have encouraged and helped to shape. You don’t get access to those eyeballs ’cause you feel like it — you get access, at least at my site, by following my rules.

3. You come into my house, ignore my rules, refuse to play nice, talk shit, start flame wars, post off topic news items, create your own agenda. Unacceptable. Hence, you lose posting privileges. That’s not very complex, yet it seems to elude you. 

4.  As I have said repeatedly, I encourage a variety of views — Bullish, Bearish, in between. I allow more than most bloggers — many of whom do not even allow comments.

What I want most of all is intelligent discourse. I prefer thoughtful, well written views, referencing other information that perhaps has been missed. I want it to be relevant and timely. But most of all, I want it be on the actual subject matter we are discussing.

What I will not tolerate are asshats that think TBP is THEIR OWN PRIVATE FORUM. Its not.

5.  I don’t have time this week to ride herd on random off topic posts. Your posting privileges may be restored when I get back from the beach (Key word: May)


I actually wrote this:  Let me know if you want this exchange posted at TBP . . . I think its instructive, but I’d rather not post a private email w/o permission . . .

~~~

I’ve had it with anonymous nitwits.

I may eventually move TBP to my own domain, and get the tools to require a real email address prior to posting comments . . .

NEW RULE: If you use a fake email address, you are entitled to no courtesy at all. GYOFB!

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. SINGER commented on Jul 4

    tftsghob… (the f**king tool should get his own blog)…

  2. Ken commented on Jul 4

    I’m not a commenter per say but I would just like you to know I really enjoy your blog. Don’t be discouraged over someone who’s not worth it. As they say all people make other people happy. Some by coming others by leaving.

  3. Sherman McCoy commented on Jul 4

    You want me to whack him for ‘ya, B.???

  4. Aaron commented on Jul 4

    If you end up hosting your own… check out the moderation system of slashdot.org. I don’t know if you have enough traffic for that kind of system (slashdot is huge – different crowd), but letting the community filter the comments can work very well.

  5. Rob Dawg commented on Jul 4

    Mr. Barry. Sir. Feel free to use the terms anonopussy, anonotard and anonotroll as distilled by my readers (of a small unimportant to the BP blog). In exchange may I link your reply as a FAQ example of ‘net decorum?

  6. shauncy commented on Jul 4

    You’re right about this blog being your house, but you still get your calls wrong as often as a monkey does – even with your being a “contrarian”. I don’t understand why you insist on making predictions or assume that linking to any information is giving investors an edge. Clearly neither are helpful.

    Readers should understand that you’re the equivalent of Jimmy the Greek for the world of investments. You provide fun color commentary for betting but nothing that provides an edge.

  7. jzimring commented on Jul 4

    what I do not understand is that you post a very bearish site. You undermine every positive gov statistic. Just so I am clear, do you post reflect your sentiment or where you think the market should be heading?

  8. samuel commented on Jul 4

    I’m amazed at how much work you put into the site while still holding down a full time job.

    Many people on the net are crazies and will sabotage anything just for the sake of ruining other people’s work.

  9. Ray commented on Jul 4

    Amen Brother!! Block him forever!

  10. Si commented on Jul 4

    I wouldn’t say this is a very bearish site at all. I’d call it real world stuff. Theres plenty of places to go for the full bullish word. The whole bloody mainstream media seems set up in that camp.

  11. fiat lux commented on Jul 4

    **** the trolls. “Free speech” does not mean that people have the right to say whatever they want on someone else’s site.

  12. The Financial Philosopher commented on Jul 4

    Barry fits my definition of a “financial philosopher:” He thinks critically for the sake of analyzing problems and he questions everything — even himself. Critical thinking allows for original thought — something lacking in the world of business and financial markets today. Why do you think so many people visit the site?

    Also, I’ve found that reading the comments on TBP on a regular basis provides more education than any of my years in my MBA program. Many commentators disagree with Barry in an intelligent, thoughtful delivery. The reason there are so many comments (good and bad) is because of what philosophers do best: promote critical thinking in others…

    Unfortunately, a “fool” will surface even, and especially, among intelligence. As Shakespeare once wrote, “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool…”

  13. PN commented on Jul 4

    I guess it is a sign of our times that civility is a controversial topic. Sadly so.

  14. alexd commented on Jul 4

    Shauncy,

    You want an edge? Bet hard when you are right and cut your losses asap when you are wrong. Avoid Martingale approaches.

    Not to give you too much crap. I just do not know if it is fair to expect anyone to give us an edge for free, esp. if we are not personal friends with the person who might have the knowledge. Most of the time we are lucky if we can exchange our pov.

    If I find something that makes me think or inquire, I figure I am getting my money’s worth.

    Ok here is your edge: Remember the old movie the graduate? When Dustin Hoffman is told that “Plastics” were the wave of the future? Same thing. (reference to a tortise).
    Any way uranium, water, fertilizer. Short term maybe, long term def.

    And if you doubt me just remember this: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die…

    At least until the market opens.

    Be well.

  15. Jonathan Almy commented on Jul 4

    I agree with the above post. Personally, I never used this website to obtain an edge. Instead, I visited this page merely to obtain general knowledge about the economy, the market, or whatever Barry thought was interesting at the time. In general, I think it’s important to gain another perspective on current market events or what books are “worth perusing” whether or not I agreed because it helps the reader remain open minded.

  16. Stuart commented on Jul 4

    Pow. Well, that wasn’t very nice to treat LK that way afterall he probably didn’t mean it….though he probably deserved it. LOL.

  17. Observer commented on Jul 5

    I have been reading this blog for a few years now, never posted anything until today. I read this blog just to see what the bears think…

    It appears that as the market gets more and more bullish, Barry gets more and more defensive, insecure, and irritated with the folks not sharing his point of view.

    There were quite a few very strong and well constructed arguments posted here by others, supported with the factual evidence and contradicting Barry’s point of view. It appears that Barry cannot take any constructive criticism. He is always right (I feel sorry for his wife). He often retaliates in a defensive manner against his critics by deleting the posts; thus, maintaining the chronic bearishness of this blog.

    ~~~

    BR: You are correct about my irritation levels — but it has nothing to do with the market. As time has gone on, the blog’s traffic has picked up — from 5000 hits a month to nearly 1m.

    Traffic like that attracts spammers and trolls. (95% of the admin crap I do is spammer related). I am spending more and more time dealing with the incessant flow of Splogs and Spam and less time researching and writing. It is increasingly frustrating.

    The ironic thing (to me anyway) is that back in late 2002/early 2003, all I heard was “Perma-bull”. No one wanted to touch the long tech/ telecom recs I was making, the PMs and brokers I was working with were all incredulous that anyone wanted to buy anything. Even as late as 2005, the many bullish calls on K&C were ignored.

  18. Vic commented on Jul 5

    – BR

    Just a quick note to say ‘Barry you rock’. Regardless of whether your comments are right, wrong or indifferent I find your analysis and insight invaluable and always worth the read. To those who don’t like your posts well they can take a flying leap.

    All the best,

    VV

  19. Jonas commented on Jul 5

    You realize that in posting this you only encourage the behavior and you show the world you’re on the mat and the count is at 8 – grow some skin.

    ~~~

    BR: I hope that is not the perception — instead, I am redoubling my efforts to root out spammers, trills and asshats . . .

  20. Marc commented on Jul 5

    Why do you even bother responding to the guy?

    You realize that he stole your time. The time it took you to write him back and the energy spent in being pissed off. I think he won this round.

    Peace,
    Marc

  21. RG commented on Jul 5

    Barry —

    You are a class act. Many of your loyal readers understand that it takes tons of time to generate the content for this blog. Most of us are grateful that you do so for no charge. Don’t let the bozos get you down.

    Keep up the great work!

    RG

  22. Kris Tuttle commented on Jul 5

    I think a community-based ranking system for comments would be very helpful and keep the best posts at the top while moving others down or completely off. Everyone has a vested interest in improving the quality of our online experience and guys like slashdot, zefrank, and craigslist have used this method with some success.

  23. Idaho_Spud commented on Jul 5

    Dam Barry, you might have just IP *banned* a major permabull such as Cramer or even Kudlow. Next thing you know, you will be telling people to Cheney themselves.

    As to the question of whether Mr. Market somehow reflects financial fundamentals, we only need look back to Naz 2000-2001. The market merely reflects the delusion that the majority currently shares. Rock on bro!

  24. Uli commented on Jul 5

    I have seen this email before, on a totally unrelated website. Except for the two lines where it is personalized, it is exactly the same. I think some dumbasses out there get their kicks on trying to piss people off. Sort of like flaming random sites. If you actually get pissed or respond, you are giving a moron what he is looking for.

  25. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jul 5

    I don’t have a problem with permas like Larry or Jim.

    That is their viewpoint, and its backed by history — markets go up more than they go down, and if you have to adopt a perma-viewpoint, the bullish one is more lucrative — both in terms of fees, and in terms of being correct, at least ijn 4 out of 5 years.

    The key is having something intelligent to say . . .

  26. Bill commented on Jul 5

    Actually you were pretty civil to the asshat who bashed you and your site . My hats off to you for your patience Barry !! Great blog , very helpful , Thank you for your hard work . It does not go unnoticed – Best regards – Bill K.

  27. Winston Munn commented on Jul 5

    I find the “cheeleading” mentality a bore and applaud the host for barring such commentary.

    There is certainly nothing wrong with opposing viewpoints – the puffer fish have an interesting position that globalization will extend the puffer fish market further than history suggests, while the boomslangs help point out the contradictory nature of the data and the risk that imposes for a boomslang correction.

    To expect more from a blog than meaningful discourse is to misunderstand the nature of the blog – it’s not a chat room; it’s not a free financial advice service; and it is especially not a place to rehash and cheer on mainstream financial headlines.

    If all you want is positive spin, I suggest burymyheadinthesand.com or everything’scominguproses.org.

    Party on, Ben.
    Party on, Hank.
    Shwiiiiiinnngg.

  28. Philippe commented on Jul 5

    This post is very up todate with the markets as “junks” no matter which ones are made more pricey.

    LBO Debt Alarms Fidelity, Lehman, TIAA-CREF Managers (Update1)

    By Cecile Gutscher and Caroline Salas

    July 5 (Bloomberg) — The world’s biggest bondholders have had their fill of leveraged buyouts, convinced that increasing mortgage delinquencies will drag down the U.S. economy and drive debt-laden companies into default.

    TIAA-CREF, which oversees $414 billion in retirement funds for teachers and college professors, is boycotting some debt offerings used to finance LBOs. Fidelity International, a unit of the world’s largest mutual fund company, and Lehman Brothers Asset Management LLC, the money-management arm of the third- biggest bond underwriter, say they’re avoiding debt from buyouts.

    Investors are getting skittish just as private-equity firms led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Blackstone Group Inc. prepare to sell $300 billion of bonds and loans to finance LBOs, according to Bear Stearns Cos. In the past two weeks alone, more than a dozen companies were forced to postpone or restructure debt sales.

    “There are some very scary analogies between high yield and the mortgage market,” said Kevin Lorenz, a managing director who oversees $2.5 billion of high-yield assets at TIAA- CREF in New York. “You cannot do fundamental analysis and believe that those are creditworthy companies

  29. tuolome commented on Jul 5

    I don’t get the point of the “Barry’s a bear” bullshit complaints. Barry’s not a “bear” — he’s more of a reasonable skeptic. That has a long and honorable tradition (think Hume), and it’s probably not a bad approach when dealing with, for example, government statistics, especially with the current regime. Also, this site has never struck me as being about the market per se. Rather, there is more emphasis on understanding underlying economic issues that may affect the market. Perhaps it’s news to some of the complainers, but there is more to the economy than the equity markets.

  30. Kp commented on Jul 5

    Things grow with symmetry which means more good, bad, and in between. If it feels like you having to babysit more than you used to well ofcourse you are. This blog is like everything else, it will grow out of your(or any one person’s) control. I would start thinking of the next step. One which will shift the day to day management to someone else. I realize you are just starting to monetize the blog, and maybe you were a little late doing so. You could have been acquiring some capital to put to work at making the blog run itself or paying for someone or something that could. You want relief that’s what I would focus on.

    Having said all that, I echo the other grateful comments about your efforts at trying to keep the place respectable. You have done a fine job.

  31. Doug commented on Jul 5

    Asshat! I love that.

  32. WhyIComeHere commented on Jul 5

    That guy was a total flamer. By the way, did I mention that I only read this blog because of the cute picture of the dog rolling over on the right-hand column?

    ;-p

  33. JWC commented on Jul 5

    I read this blog every day. I don’t comment often, since much of this is way over my head. But I have learned a lot just by coming here. And I appreciate the fact that the comments are pretty much free of trolls and nastyness.

    Thanks for a great place to come and learn Barry.

  34. fat mary commented on Jul 5

    BR,

    the reason some of us use false e-mail addresses is because we dont want them lifted only to find tons of unwanted spam in our boxes the next morning. what to do about this?

    ~~~

    BR: I am the only one with access to the email addresses. They are hidden . . .

  35. ECONOMISTA NON GRATA commented on Jul 5

    My rules are very much like yours, people can do whatever they like so long as they dont do it on my couch.

  36. wunsacon commented on Jul 5

    fat mary,

    In another post, Barry indicated he now hides email addresses from your post. He retains it, however, in case he wants to ping you.

  37. John F. commented on Jul 5

    No shoes, no shirt, no service…no shit. Some people really need it spelled out for them. The standards implicitly set by the political blogs are so low as to make many of them unreadable; thank you for trying to raise the bar.

  38. L’Emmerdeur commented on Jul 5

    You could switch to invite-only comments. Essentially, only those invited to comment may do so.

    Better yet, remove comments altogether. I’ve found the opinions of the hoi poloi (myself included) are mostly derivative and generic in nature.

  39. Robert commented on Jul 5

    Yep. The people attacking you for whatever reason are either trolls or… trolls. This is a blog, not a frickin public debate. Barry can post whatever the hell he wants because, as he said, this is HIS HOUSE. I don’t pay for this service in any way, nor does anyone else here. If you don’t like it, LEAVE.

    For the record Barry, since someone pointed me to your blog a few months ago, I have read it every day. I am a new investor, been in the game for almost a year now, and I appreciate any insight I can get (especially when it’s free). I have learned quite a bit from reading your blog, and it was particularly nice when you confirmed a few of my suspicions (govt’s inflation numbers are wrong, housing is nowhere near a bottom). Even if I don’t agree with your views, however, they provide a counterpoint to mine, and if nothing else, they give me something to think about. Those who are criticizing you, for whatever reason, would do well to remember that critical thinking is a skill no investor or trader can truly be successful without, and thinking critically works best when you analyze all available information. The more information you critically analyze, the more successful you will be. Barry’s blog is just another source of information – If you don’t like what he has to say after critical analysis, toss it out. If he continues to post things which you do not agree with, or that are useless to you, then leave. Such is the way these things work.

    Keep up the good work Barry – Most of us truly appreciate it.

  40. abe commented on Jul 5

    B, I never use a traceable email, I never flame either. If people visit a site they find absurd and preposterous, look/move away. John F has it exactly right. Along the same lines, has anyone ever done a study regarding financial sites/comments? The Yahoo message boards were a wonderful study; they went from occasionally insightful to flamewars in 6 months. Money brings out the worst in some, particularly those that don’t have and cannot understand the underlying thoughts. Clearly it is an issue for you. Why not start banning IP’s?

  41. Todd Mentch commented on Jul 5

    BR,

    I would put my vote STRONGLY behind the idea of requiring registration for comments. Also, is there a way to ban an IP address? That might be a useful tool for you.

    Have a great vacay,

    Todd

  42. Stuart commented on Jul 5

    Barry, what was it that got you to start a blogsite anyways? Something you heard or read, or perhaps content that you were not seeing presented elsewhere. Just curiouos.

    thanks.

    ~~~
    BR: It was really this that started it:
    http://www.geocities.com/ritholtz/bpr.html

    Eventually, I moved to typepad . . .

  43. Sajal D commented on Jul 5

    Barry,

    By posting this, you just gave this guy wayy too much importance. Great blog btw.. been a consistent reader since April 2006.

  44. me commented on Jul 5

    ” You undermine every positive gov statistic.”

    Only when they undermine themselves, like “core inflation”. I guess I really didn’t pay 3 bucks a gallon today because gas isn’t core.

    You may chose to believe government statistics but I agree with Jim Rogers who says they are all lies.

    So BR is skeptical, like many of us.

  45. Stuart commented on Jul 5

    “Amongst all the other madness this week, I get an urgent email on Friday from Weblogger’s CTO, a very nice guy named Erin. They wanted to know “who I was, and why was my site stressing their servers?” We exchange emails and telephone calls. I explain what happened and why. These guys are just unbelievable, totally supportive. Again, its “don’t worry about the bandwidth, whatever you need, oh-my-god-we had no idea.” I put their logo and link on the page — it’s all their artwork and design.”

    Barry, I get it. Well this is something good out of something so horrible. Good job.

  46. jules commented on Jul 5

    MS is not a character that is willing to have a non confrontational discussion that differs from his own. I suggest not engaging, or inviting snipes from it.

    I wonder if Ginger feels the same way.

  47. jules commented on Jul 5

    I’m personally grateful for Barry’s efforts on this site. I may not always agree with what he opines, but always respect the points he makes. I’m a better PM for reading TBP.

    I love his music posts!

  48. m3 commented on Jul 6

    kudos!

    i’m actually surprised by your restraint towards these guys…

    and i don’t agree that this is a “bearish” site… that’s bs.

    that’s like complaining about the evening news just covering bad news, and not covering stories about flowers and puppies and candy and babies and sunshine and crap.

  49. NJ commented on Jul 6

    Although I’ve never commented, this site is a stop in my (semi)daily routine. The author – I guess I can call him Barry, although we’ve never met – does a great job and needs to disregard this garbage.

    Furthermore, the internet is an information source and not a final answer. Use this site, read others, mix it all together, and come up with your own opinion.

    Once you have that – well, go write your own blog. Then you won’t blow a gasket when someone doesn’t post your opinion on their blog.

Read this next.

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