One of my goals on this site is to foster literate, respectful and informed discussion on trading. There’s a lot of reasons for this. First off, it’s somewhat draining providing info in a vacuum without learning new things myself. Second, in order to be a good trader you’re almost certainly going to need perspectives other than mine.
Part of the problem is that the most popular trading forum (elite trader) and the most popular blog (zero hedge) are cesspools. I have never seen so many people so unhappy about something they’re doing voluntarily. If you don’t like trading and think the market is out to screw you, PLEASE QUIT. Don’t bitch about it on the internet. The people with the opposite side of your losing trades don’t want to hear it.
There was a time when I thought this problem would be easy to solve. I originally installed forum software on ORF with the intention of moderating the unpleasantness away and hopefully leaving behind good discussion. If you were here for the early days of the site, you know what a disaster that was. First off, spammers seem to target the popular forum software installs aggressively. I deleted 20 spam for every real post easily. Second, the forum software didn’t exactly make the war on spam easy. Third, there weren’t many if any good posts from readers. I don’t blame y’all – I don’t think it was a good setup, and I eventually deleted the forums and replaced them with wordpress comments. That’s been better, and I think we now have an effective discussion venue. We just need to use it.
Meanwhile, if I can’t bring the discussion here I guess I better go find it. So I decided to pinch my nose and sift through the rest of the trading blogsphere to try to find some gems. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Mostly I found blogs that were:
- Probably written by people who can’t trade.
- A weird combination between Libertarianism and suicidal tendencies (aka, zero hedge lite)
- Transparent feeders/SEO for scammy looking trading courses or investment advisers.
- Commercial blogs with no way to comment (not much discussion there)
- Masterbatory journals of what person X traded on day Y without any explanation of why or how. Bonus points for a totally unlabeled chart with at least 25 lines & indicators on it.
- So buried in ads as to be unreadable.
But in among the crap I actually found two blogs worth reading. Very worth reading. Neither is, as far as I can tell, central to the trading blogsphere. But both were literate, informative, and lacked the painful negativity. Bravo. You both get the not-very-coveted ORF You Don’t Suck 2012 award. Without further ado:
Runner Up: Tyler’s Trading
Tyler’s an options trader, and he seems to be a well versed one. Both wining blogs were selected mostly on the basis of what wasn’t wrong with them, but in some sense that’s unfair. This blog is actively good. Options aren’t something I’ve written about a lot, and they’re not something I trade. But the mechanics of volatility and the trading complex that has built up around the VIX are worth understanding no matter what you trade. I haven’t read very deeply here yet, but you can be sure I’m going to as time allows. Thus far I’ve learned something every article, and that’s worth my (and your) time.
I may have developed some sort of trader man-crush here. Ernie is a “quant” type trader and his site is incredible. There are three or four very interesting strategies discussed on the first page with excellent details, sources, backtest data, and great comments from Ernie. A couple of them are new to me. There are also 10s of comments on most posts – in other words there is actual discussion there! You can bet that three months from now I will have read every post on this site and that I will be far more knowledgeable as a result.
Still on the Range
There were also a few blogs and one forum I looked at and had mixed thoughts. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t 100% good. These are people I’m going to keep reading, but that I can’t unequivocally recommend. I’ll try in each case to tell you what I thought was good and bad.
Option Alpha: Another option oriented blog. The good part is that they seem to have solid if somewhat non-technical articles. The downside is that they’re selling an options course and trading alerts that raises my scamdar. If you just read the blog and leave your credit card at home, you should be OK.
Traders Laboratory: A forum that seems to have a much better atmosphere than elite trader. I haven’t read too many threads, but the ones I did read weren’t horrible. As with all forums, the info is only as good as any given poster. Probably worth your time.
Kevin’s Market Blog: This one looks pretty good and almost got an award. It could easily be a future winner. My concern here is that the strategies being discussed are in the “drawing lines on charts” school, which makes me deeply suspicious. The good part is that Kevin seems to have at least a reasonable level of skepticism about his own ideas. But it would be nice to see some effort put into determining if what he’s trying to do actually works.
Seeking Alpha: As mega-sites go, this one is clearly far superior to zero hedge. The focus seems to be more on investing than trading, but there are some articles that veer from pure investment into speculating based on fundamentals. Since they accept contributed articles, the quality varies widely. But the good ones are worth your time.
I’m quite certain I didn’t find every good blog in my hunt. There’s probably lots more out there. I’d love to have readers chime in with what they read so that next year’s roundup can be a lot bigger.