Horizontal vs Vertical Blogging
In the academic world, where much writing occurs in professional journals, there is a tradition of continuity. One is expected to acknowledge past research and scholarship in an area and situate one’s own thinking vis a vis past contributions. This creates a vertical dimension to professional dialogue: topics don’t mushroom horizontally unless they also connect to past work and further knowledge cumulatively…
…In the trading world, there are few examples of vertical integration. It is rare indeed for writers of blogs or articles to comment on each other’s work, let alone advance their thinking in a cumulative fashion. Topics and articles mushroom horizontally–more commentators, more topics bring more eyeballs to the site for advertising dollars–but the crucial conceptual integration of the material is missing.
Obviously there is huge benefit to horizontal dialogue: a lot of ideas get put on the table in a short span of time. But therein also lays the problem: those ideas are rarely collectively assessed, and debunked or expanded upon. In a horizontal dialogue, fact and nonsense take on equal weight.
So random thought for the day: should we the quant analysis blogosphere be taking a more vertical approach to blogging?
A rather large barrier to consider: repurcussions.
There’s a certain quid pro quo amongst us quant bloggers (and we’re a pretty small bunch). Our blogging success depends in large part on the others giving our work a thumbs up and driving eyeballs our way. That’s the people-power that makes this medium so powerful, but I think it also makes it dangerous to critique others’ work.
In the past, I’ve taken the very passive-aggressive anonymous approach to critiquing (examples here, here, and here), unless it was a mega-site I consider to be more about making money than sharing ideas (examples here and here).
But really (CXO Advisory’s excellent debunkings aside) how often do we the quant analysis blogosphere have the very open and accountable vertical dialogue Dr. Brett envisions?
So do we need to become more vertical?
Hell, I don’t know. These are all just random thoughts. But I’d like to hear my quantitative cohorts’ thoughts. Hey, maybe someone will write a follow on piece responding to my response to Dr. Brett. Wow, that would be so…vertical.
Filed under: Random Stuff | 14 Comments