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TheStreet Open House

For Risky Stocks, 'Right' and 'Wrong' Are Relative

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Being right and being wrong are relative terms for investors. You wouldn't know that from the comments on my articles, but it's true.

When I worked in talk radio, we kept this statistic in mind: Less than 1% of our audience actually called into the show. As both a host and listener, this data has allowed me to keep my sanity. If every whacked-out "first-time caller, long-time listener" was somehow representative of the wider audience, I would have checked into Bellevue.

Same goes for comments here. Based on the numbers I have seen, far less than 1% of the readership comments on the typical stock market/business-related article. I know that most of TheStreet's audience are bright, articulate folks. I wish more of them wrote comments.

In any event, I write my articles for that larger audience we rarely hear from. They, as well as the excellent "diamond-in-the-rough" commenters, keep me going.

That said, there's a recurring theme in the comments' sections of articles: An obsession with being right or wrong. Because it repeats, I have to think that a meaningful portion of the larger audience shares the obsession.

I guess that's a stock market thing, a sports thing and, as such, a guy thing.

In relation to the stock market, I refer to being right or wrong as "a fleeting proposition," for several reasons.

First, on the most practical level, an Apple (AAPL) bear, at the moment, is "right." If what most of the world thinks will happen actually happens and Apple blows the doors off of its holiday quarter, they'll be, suddenly, "wrong."

Today, I am so dead "wrong" on Zynga (ZNGA) that I had people on Twitter offering me free shots. Even though the late Elliott Smith might have been correct when he wrote -- Whiskey works better than beer -- I would prefer several bottles of Molson to help take away my pain.

The AAPL and ZNGA examples also help illustrate several key points.

Consider finance and investment articles and discussions an exchange of ideas and perspectives, not stock picks or a macho battle over who is "right or wrong." It's pretty imprecise, anyhow, to assign the same stock selection to such a diverse group of people.

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