Free Article

Book: Kane Trading on: Advanced Fibonacci Trading Concepts
Kane Trading on:
'Forum People'

Warning: this article is scathing and abrasive. Do not read this unless you enjoy that style of writing.
This article has been a long time coming. It’s a combination of me venting my frustrations over a venue that could be used for such good and it’s not, and my desire to educate people and help them avoid pitfalls on their journey. As the warning above indicates, I will pull no punches. I guess I unconsciously waited until after I closed KT down to publish my thoughts. Expect me to be brutally honest. What follows will be a mish-mash of thoughts and experiences I have had over the many years interacting and following various forums. It will in no way be exhaustive, just the opposite, it will barely scratch the surface.
I will start out the article on a positive note. I ran a free private forum for KT book buyers and mentorship students for a good part of the life of the KT project. I personally did over 33,000 posts. In all those years and all that posting, by me and the members, take a guess at how many negative posts and conflicts we had in that forum. A lot of people, a lot of posts, a lot of years, there had to have been quite a few, right? Nope, not a single one. Zero, zip, nada. Proof positive it can be done. Many people all working together for a common goal.
I have also been to many forums for things not related to trading, from roofing to plumbing to open source software, and so on. Although I have seen a few people get a little frustrated as posters or in trying to answer a post, overall I’d say 99% drama free, with whatever drama you might see very minimal, and the level of effort to be helpful just great. I have figured out how to solve various issues, more times than I can count, by the care and generosity of people in those forums. It can be done.
Enough of the positive, let’s move on the trading forums. My experience, over more than two decades, is about the extreme opposite of the above. I have never seen such nasty, vile people as I have encountered on various trading forums. That being said, I have been on forums as the owner of Kane Trading, not ‘just another trader’. There are certain people, I have found, that take it unto themselves, sort of like a life mission, to destroy all ‘vendors’ they encounter.
I have made endless posts under such circumstances, providing what I think was very valuable information that was hard won by experience, trying to help struggling new traders. I have referenced all my free material on my website, stating explicitly that they in no way need to sign up for anything, buy anything, just go and use the resources, like the hundreds of free commentary and articles, and if it helps, great. That’s what the free material is there for.
Now, wouldn’t you think the overall reception would be gratitude? Nope, it was full on attack mode, destroy the ‘vendor’ at all costs. All vendors are bad, period, end of story. Everything about trading on the Internet, in forums, should be free. I will use a political analogy here, at the risk of drawing lots of hate mail. NOTE: I am not taking any side here at all with this political analogy; I’m just making a point via analogy.
When it comes to Trump, there is a saying those on the left frequently follow: ‘Orange man bad’. So if one says how about how he did this or that, the reply is ‘Orange man bad’. But, but, he accomplished this really good thing… ‘Orange man bad’. How about…‘Orange man bad’. But…‘Orange man bad’. One can’t even start to say what he did and it’s ‘Orange man bad’. Note, once again, I am not saying I am for or against him, I am simply stating that I have seen these conversations take place and I noticed that it didn’t matter what the person said, they weren’t even allowed to make a point and ‘Orange man bad’ was the answer.
Now, when it comes to forums and these self-appointed vendor destroyers, their point is ‘Vendor man bad’, no matter what. How about all those thousands of posts I have made with very good, solid info, asking nothing in return? All that value contributed for free? ‘Vendor man bad’, got to get rid of him. How about when I… ‘Vendor man bad’. But how about all the…‘Vendor man bad’. One guy actually said, and I quote, “I’ll be godda**ed if I buy Jim’s books and make him rich”.
Okay, now seriously, let’s talk about that. It took me like three years full time to write the books. It nearly killed me, given I was also doing the market full time, plus all the duties of KT as it was developing during the three years, plus all other responsibilities I have. This is a very niche market. On the website, as most of you know, I told it like it is. I discussed hard work and years of it. I discussed no guarantees about success. I discussed realistic expectations. I often commented that maybe I better tone it down or else I won’t have any sales. I just wanted to be honest, and offer a service/product I thought was of value, for those that really felt this approach was for them, and I might be able to contribute to them taking another step towards their goals.
Let’s look at the mentorship page, for example. I revised that over the years, with the latest iteration being the harshest, the most realistic. They have an old saying for racing dirt bikes: ‘You don’t know how fast you can go until you fall down’. Well, I found out how harsh you can be with that mentorship page. You know how many students I got after that latest revision, the one you see now when you click on the link above? Zero. Not a single one. I have gone out of my way to make sure only people that are serious buy my products. I mention in one of my FAQ’s about this. Click on the link here and read that.
The gist of that is I don’t, and never have, mentored someone because they just emailed me and set it up. You follow the process, read all the free commentary and articles, if you just can’t get enough and love the approach, buy the books. Read them two or three times, highlighting things and writing all your questions in the margins. I recommended the phone support option with the books. Talk to me, ask questions. If you still find this is the approach that sings to you, then let’s talk about mentoring. I was never looking for clients; I was trying to talk people out of it if I didn’t think the fit was really good.
Now, seriously, is that what a ‘vendor’ does? How many books do you think I sold? Whatever you think it was I can guarantee you it was a lot less than one-tenth that amount. When I sold a set of books I went through every page of every book by hand to make sure they were all there and in proper order. Why did I do that? Because when I was buying books all the time I bought one of those like $300 books, only to find pages missing, pages out of order, and so on. Contact with the seller/author resulted in zero. When I started selling books I didn’t want any clients to experience that.
You have any idea how long it takes to do over 2,000 pages for a book set? Pack them up, go to the post office and wait forty-five minutes in line (after a forty-five minute drive one way)? How about doing all the free articles, maintaining the website, and answering untold numbers of emails. In the early days the amount of email I used to get was just off the hook, and I answered them all. Not to mention there are printing costs, which are not small, and I stayed with my printer from my previous state, so there was very costly shipping involved.
I once remarked to a very well known author of trading books that I hung out with that at best I am making minimum wage doing the books, and that’s best case scenario. He told me to never, ever mention that out loud. I asked why, since if that was the truth, why hide it? He said it would make me look bad (and maybe him by association?). I guess I see his point, in that image is everything to most people in such a business, but for me, it held no sway.
Now, my question to the reader is, would that ‘forum person’, the resident guard dog to make sure the world of trading forums is free of all vendors and only filled with information that is free, have made me ‘rich’ by buying my books? Too funny. My interest has always been my own trading. The KT project started under very interesting circumstances, but that’s a story for another time, and to tell it I have to mention specific details involving another book writer, and to do that I’d have to get permission, and that may not be something he’d want fully discussed. Suffice it to say the fact that the business became successful and ran for so many years was never what I had planned on. It was always about the trading.
Anyway, let’s get back to these forum monsters. Here’s one I used to hear all the time. Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach. Okay, that looks right on first glance. Except that if you have at least half of a functioning brain stem and use it for more than two seconds on this statement you will start to question its validity. Being a mathematician at heart I know very unequivocally that it only takes one counter-example to disprove something. Not indicate it might not be true, but prove it unequivocally. No number of examples supporting something can prove it, only suggest it may be likely true, but one counter-example is 100% conclusive.
Here’s an example. All leaves are green. I bring you twelve million leaves (all collected in mid-summer) and they are all green. I guess that’s ‘proof’ all leaves are green, right? Nope. Now fall hits and I bring you one single yellow leaf. Guess what? All leaves are not green. Proof positive the statement is false. End of story. 100% unequivocally not a true statement. Now let’s look at the teaching statement.
I could use specific names here, but I’ll do this generically. I’ll leave it to the reader to look up specific examples if they feel the need. They abound. How many boxers, football players, basketball players, tennis players, and now that the sport is maturing, MMA fighters, are now ‘retired’ and teach/coach? You think that number is zero? Or are you (Mr. Forum Monster) seriously saying that this doesn’t apply because they can no longer do it, or they would be doing it?
Okay, first off do you really think that’s a valid argument? Someone who is maybe a three or four time world champion and is one year into retirement can’t do it anymore? Alright, then I challenge you to step into the octagon with one of those guys a year after they retire and tell them personally that they only teach because they can’t do it. Then come and tell me how that worked out for you. Or tell me the name of the nearest hospital to said octagon beforehand so I can meet you there and you can tell me from the ICU. All it takes is one counter-example to prove the statement wrong.
Now, how about that some people just like to teach? You seriously think every single teacher out there is a wannabe who couldn’t make it? How about when I taught math? I did that because I wouldn’t be able to make it as a mathematician? I taught because I couldn’t do mathematics? Okay, I need a minute; I’m on the floor laughing. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t even bother to address a statement like that. I personally know of several professional mathematicians who do some tutoring on the side. I guess they teach because they couldn’t get work as a real professional mathematician. No, wait…
See how ridiculous and asinine that statement actually is? Okay, let’s continue to beat this dead horse some more. Let’s look at something that even experienced traders seem to be bothered by. How about great, and I mean great, coaches that ‘can’t do’. Some football coaches are world famous, truly beloved by many, and they never stepped on the field in their life in uniform. Same with some boxing coaches. Look it up.
From my point of view I will accept training from anyone who can help me improve. I’m thinking of some tennis coaches that are highly sought out and have never played tennis. Imagine if a top pro went to meet one of these famous coaches and then passed on them ‘because they can’t do it’. Another example is female gymnastics. I doubt many of those super world-famous older overweight Russian coaches can actually ‘do’. Still, they are the best of the best at teaching.
The point is, the statement is false and has been proven false, and it’s immaterial anyway, since there are endless examples of fantastic coaching being done by those who have never done it themselves. What I am saying is why is anyone wasting their time and energy rambling on endlessly about such things? Well, in my experience in the goal of trying to destroy all vendors (remember: ‘Vendor man bad’), anything and everything, including the kitchen sink, will be thrown at the ‘vendor’. Kind of like many political arguments I see nowadays, proof or even evidence is not needed, just relentless accusations. It’s hard to defend against accusations. In the meantime, it will make people question, and that can be enough to start the destruction process.
This now dovetails into another of my gripes against these people that really should get a real life, and that is the idea of ‘proving’ something about one’s trading. This is so fraught with pitfalls that it is a bottomless rabbit hole you can easily fall into. I will tell this story because it’s just so ridiculous that I think it should be told. It’s a very common forum game. I can see, on the surface, why some of the vendor destroyers may go down this route, but upon further inspection it just makes no sense.
The topic is ‘providing statements’. See, no matter what a ‘non-vendor’ posts he or she is never asked to prove the merit of it by posting their brokerage statements. But once a ‘vendor’ is targeted, they must now provide statements or else ‘They are just another scammer’ and nothing they say is to be believed. But here’s the context of this. Someone posts a question about say an issue they are having with entering a trade. Several people comment with some suggestions, and so does a ‘vendor’. The vendor’s post looks the same as the others, except his name is recognizable as a ‘known vendor’. In other words, maybe he wrote a book.
He gets mobbed, led by the chief bully who has appointed himself as the guard dog for the forum. Soon it devolves into the old schoolyard scene where two people are ringed by a crowd yelling ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ Here the mob screams ‘Prove it! Prove It! Post statements!’ The point is that your advice is of no value for someone to experiment with unless you prove your own financial success as a trader. No one else is required to do this except the ‘vendor’.
Now, if someone goes to a forum to hawk their products and they make outrageous claims, well, I can understand why they might ask to see some statements. But that was never the case in the examples I am discussing. So, once I was so frustrated by the lack of any logic to this I decided to go down that route. But I opened a discussion first asking for some assurances ahead of time before the statements were posted. See, there is a lot of downside to posting statements of any kind, and so in order to make the reward/risk worthwhile I needed some assurances. What followed was the biggest farce I have witnessed in my lifetime. I’ll chronicle an abbreviated version, as best as I can remember it.
My first question is will you accept a statement with my broker’s name, my address, and account number blotted out? No way, no how am I going to post the name of my broker in a post every hacker in the world can read, given I am posting as Jim from Kane Trading. Not hard to figure out who I am. My point is there is no point to post it unless I had a firm commitment that I wouldn’t get a reply that says without that info it’s not valid.
I got a reply all right, not answering the question but just attacks like ‘See, he won’t do it, he’s waffling all over the place’. I then posted that I am not willing to reveal the exact entry time, exit time, and prices since I don’t want anyone reverse engineering my trades (I once spent an entire month reverse engineering a posted list of trades, and I was able to figure out what he was doing). Same type of replies, but nothing to assure me so I might be able to post what was asked for. Realizing they were purposefully not answering my questions I continued.
I next pointed out that do they realize that anyone can easily take their statements into something like Photoshop™ and change anything they want. Any statement posted is not worth the digital ink it was posted with, so will they accept a statement as valid if posted? More replies and attacks about how fake I am and how all I do is talk but no statements are being posted. Interesting, huh? I can see it now, if a statement was posted you know with 100% certainty these are the very objections that would be raised. Yet they wouldn’t even discuss it.
So, I went to the next step. I asked if audited statements would be what would really be desired. No serious replies, just the same nonsense about me being all talk but no statements are posted, exactly as they expected from a liar like me. So, I actually called an auditing company. I also asked the same question of my broker, a name everyone reading this would recognize.
I asked if I paid for an audit and then posted that audit online, would they accept calls from random forum readers asking to verify the details. I asked this because if I posted an audited statement and a letter from the audit company, you know the first reply would be ‘it’s fake’. The better the results, the more aggressively they would dispute it. And faking is not hard to do. I recall a major fund that turned out to be a scam. They were audited regularly and they posted the audits for all the clients to see. A famous auditing place, too. The only problem was the statements and the audit results were all fake. The auditing company had never heard of them.
Continuing on, I thought the audit company (a fairly well-known name) was about to hang up on me, as there was just silence. Finally I said ‘Are you still there’, and he basically said something like ‘Are you serious?’ He didn’t laugh at me, he was more like angry that I was wasting his time. He said they don’t do anything like that, and wouldn’t be involved in anything like that. I pushed a bit more, so I would have my facts for my posts, and he said if they would even do it, they’d have to bill me just like an attorney, in quarter hour increments, at some ridiculous rate like $400/hr, for every call that comes in (so like $100 per call). I’d have to sign all these waivers, I’d have to have an account with them and something the equivalent of a retainer, and so on. But even at that, they said they wouldn’t do it.
When I called my broker he said ‘Are you fu**ing kidding me?’ They don’t mince words, and they hate when you waste their time. He said ‘Why in God’s name would you want us to tell people calling in any details about your account? Our security protocols would never allow anything like that.’ I apologized before he hung up on me. I was seriously worried he was about to close my account because I must be too stupid for them to take the risk letting me trade. Lesson learned.
I posted the gist of this, and the replies were the same: ‘See, like I said, he’s a big phony and I knew he’d never post them’. So far not one single reply addressing any of the questions I had. Every reply I got was just a personal attack on me, and nothing facilitating getting done what they wanted. I also discussed another issue that might come up for many people they are trying to goad into posting statements. Many successful traders are not trading their own private account, but in some entity structure, usually involving others. Let’s look briefly at that.
I brought his up, saying that I asked if posting results would be okay, and here’s what I was told. Compliance said ‘Hell, no, no way, no how. You do that, you’re out. I won’t even waste my time explaining all the reasons why you can’t do that.’ The manager of the operation said ‘This is proprietary work and there is no justifiable reason to show what is being done to our competitors. You do a bonehead move like that and you’re out.’ So, I asked, how does someone working in an entity, like the vast majority of successful traders are, go about overcoming this and being able to post statements?
Did I get any intelligent replies? How about a few ‘I see you point, Jim, that would be hard to do’ type posts, and then some constructive suggestions? Nope, just a lot of silence or attack posts saying the same old ‘all excuses, no statements’ drivel. By now you’ve long since quit reading this or you are just shaking your head saying why did he even bother with these total losers. I bothered because I wanted to make a difference, and teach new traders (and maybe some old ones) that using the criteria of whether or not someone posts statements to judge the potential value of a technique offered in a forum will limit you by excluding something that might be of value.
I think everything should be tested and explored, no matter if it comes from a fool or a sage, to paraphrase from Dream On by Aerosmith. Never accept a technique because someone posted statements to prove how great they trade, nor reject a technique because someone wouldn’t post statements. Ignore the reputation or experience of the person offering the technique, instead do your own due diligence and make your own informed decision. Consider everything, and test everything fully. That’s what sim trading is for.
So, do I see any real value in trading ‘forums’? In truth, no. The concept has potential, and forums in general have been great for me on many topics. But the horror of trading forums is another matter entirely. And as always, it’s usually just a few bullies that destroy it for everyone. To paint every single person who is a ‘vendor’ with the same brush is the same as painting everyone of a certain color or creed the same. We all know how wrong that is. It’s no different to do this with all ‘vendors’ that participate at forums.
And how did all this forum nonsense end? Well, the aforementioned self-appointed forum watchdog crossed the line into libel, and I brought that up. The result? I got kicked off the forum. The henchman got to stay. But it was one of the biggest blessings in disguise I ever received. That completed my education in ‘trading forums’. I have not been back to one since then, not that one, not any other one. I read none of them, and I make no contributions to any of them. I think that’s a big loss for many of the readers, but the forum owners could care less, and not one single person contacted me and mentioned anything about me being gone, or the value of the endless long, detailed posts I provided for free for no other reason than to try to help some people out. At least by leaving it didn’t lead to any more book sales that would make me rich. You know what a travesty that would have been.
Let’s move on to another thing that I don’t like about forums. People go and scan in author’s books, page by page, and turn them into a .pdf. Then they post them on forums for all to download for free. Not only is that a major felony that can lead to jail time and huge fines (DMCA violations), it’s totally dishonest. Yet in forums people are cheered, they are heroes, when they post someone’s poached work. Sometimes a poster will ask if anyone has a specific work, and it will get posted. The requester is usually ecstatic and profusely thanks the provider for the download. This is outright stealing, and it is cheered on in pretty much every forum I can think of. These are just not the kind of people I want to spend time with. Like I said, the philosophy of the forums is ‘everything should be free’. Even if it has to be stolen to be ‘free’.
Of the traders I have worked with or known who were money managers or just very serious traders none went to forums. They all told me very early on not to waste my time. But they had no goals to try to teach anyone, or interact with anyone. They also had lives outside of trading where they could have a lot of interaction. I wanted to share some of my work in a venue where people could ask questions and I could try to assist them. In the grander scheme of things I am glad I did all that because I learned a lot, and all of that, good and bad, is a part of who I am, who I have become. But knowing what I know now about how ‘vendors’ are treated, I’m not sure, at that time, if I would have done any posting. Probably not.
I want all this to be a cautionary tale for new traders (or even experienced traders) who are reading my site, getting a different perspective on trading and trading related issues. Be very wary of forums. Sure, you are not a ‘vendor’ and won’t have the same issues that I had, but look at some of these people. You are walking into a snake pit barefoot and I just don’t see the trade-off as being worth it. You have to make that decision for yourself. I guess that’s why some upper nineties percent of people are ‘lurkers’, only reading and not posting. It’s just too bad; it doesn’t have to be like this. My private forum was living proof of that. Thanks for reading, and good luck in your endeavors.
  NOTE: Reading this page or any page on the Kane Trading website, or utilizing this website and any material
  contained herein in any way, shall constitute an acknowledgement that you have read, understood and agreed
  to all the disclaimers, terms & conditions, and policies of this site
This website is best viewed with MSIE 6.0, text size set to medium, and screen resolution set to 1024 by 768.
Copyright © 2003-2021Kane Trading. All rights reserved.