Monday, October 20, 2008

How Not to Write a Comment

It may or may not be a surprise to readers that not all comments submitted to us in response to our posts get published.

Some we delete. You never see them.

This was not always the case. Early on, the “Google Blogger” tool was very primitive, and whatever comments were submitted got posted. We had to go back and delete the offensive stuff after it was up and readable.

Over time, Google has vastly improved Google Blogger—particularly its ability to weed out spam comments—and now allows us to preview all comments before we decide whether or not to publish them or reject them.

We reject about one in five.

We do not, however, reject any for content, no matter how critical they may be of what we write, so long as they relate to what we have written. Comments do get submitted that are actually an attempt to sell a product, or market a service, and these constitute about half the “comments” we reject.

The other half of the comments we reject use what we have long called “Yahoo message-board language” to make their point.

What follows is an excellent example, just posted on Horse Out of the Barn; Feds on the Case!:

well danielle, pretty soon mr. matthews is going to have to rename his blog kaput because *** in this country is about to hit the fan.

word on the street is that unemployment is in a pretty ridiculous state right now. which is fine while everyone is capable of collecting it. but how long does that last? under four months or so? wait and see what happens to our stock market once nine million plus americans can't stimulate our economy…

There was more, but you get the drift. It was deleted summarily.

As always, informed observations and opinions are more than welcomed here at NotMakingThisUp—they are encouraged.

The rest of them, please stick with Yahoo.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2008 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews.
Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice. It should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. Nor are these comments meant to be a solicitation of business in any way: such inquiries will not be responded to. This content is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


Anonymous said...

Jeff - what's your take on Warren B. talking about his PA? I get nervous when someone is talking about their PA, it implies they are underwater and need more buyers to bolster this position.

Jeff Matthews said...

Buffett's methodology couldn't be further from this kind of short-term mindset.

Buffett has already put much of Berkshire's cash to work via GE, Goldman and Constellation, and so he is now buying stocks for himself, after holding only U.S. Treasuries--correctly, as it turned out.

And he's simply telling the world that he has been buying U.S. stocks.

Certainly Buffett's words of support for the U.S. stock market don't hurt his existing investments for Berkshire, nor do they hurt the most recent investments Berkshire made.

Yet Buffett's article mentioned no particular stocks, which other high-profile investors often do. (I recall Bill Miller in an interview once saying he thought Kodak was worth a much higher price than it was trading at, for example. It has been a disaster.)

This is because Buffett could not care less--literally--if the stocks he has purchased go up or down in the next six months.

Buffett has a minimum 5 year time horizon in mind. What you and I and Cramer do with the stock market today, tomorrow and next week is meaningless to him.

There's a new book out that might give more insight on this, and it's the one not called "The Snowball"!



PhillipCharles said...


Because you filter out the 'riff-raff' is the reason that I am a devoted reader of your blog. Keep up the good work...

Regarding the Buffet op-ed, it is easy to read those views with a sense of cynicism but knowing his Columbia background and the methodologies and philosophies that one learns there, it is obvious that he is sincere and there truly are long-term horizons at work in his words.


Anton said...


I guess comments trying to sell a product make it in when its you're own- or did I mis-read that one about a book? BTW- as an old time reader of the blog, recently noticed a change from "I" to "we" at the JMINMTU, you added staff or just a case of Royal hubris?

Mel Gilligan said...

Actually, Snowball is far superior to your insipid piece of trash.
Save the trees. Keep your "insight" on your blog.

The Inscrutable Chicken said...

Hey Mel Gilligan,
you really believe Sell-side analysis is better than Buy-side? How quaint...

Len said...

Wow, "insipid piece of trash."
Mel, lighten up! This is not Yahoo.

Dan E said...

Hey Jeff,
As someone who's looked at Buffett a fair amount, what are your thoughts on the odds that 1) Warren is offered Treasury Secretary, and 2) he accepts.
And if that does happen, is there a huge Berkshire sell off?
Kudos on the blog and book,

Jeff Matthews said...


I'd say the odds he gets asked are 1% under Obama, 50% under McCain (McCain mentioned Buffett as his treasury secretary pick).

And I'd say the odds he accepts are zero in either case.

Warren Buffett is Berkshire Hathaway, period-end-of-story. I doubt he has any desire to abandon what he has built over 43 years in order to take a political role.

He is, however, a self-described "political animal," and in this year's annual meeting movie he was cast as Treasury Secretary (as well as Fed Chairman and Commerce Secretary) in an imaginary Charlie Munger Presidency.

And I have no doubt he would relish a behind-the-scenes role in an Obama administration. He is generally the smartest guy in the room, on most any subject.

But to deal with the Chuck Schumers of the world and battle the kind of day-to-day political nonsense a Treasury Secretary deals with, and give up control of Berkshire before his last breath?

I doubt it.


javasoy said...


To your point about Buffett, he's been hunting for elephant for a long while. He got his shot and he's firing away the bullets as fast as he can now. The difference between him and the rest of us is, he saves his bullets for the best shots.

russell1200 said...