The past couple of months have seen little original posting on our part.  So we were gratified when a month old blog post of ours gets an interesting discussion going.  Interesting, in large part, because it is about this very blog.

(We apologize in advance for the intense navel-gazing this post represents.  Readers not particularly interested in the nuts and bolts of this blog should avert their eyes.)

Jeff Miller at A Dash of Insight got us thinking with his post on when and why the blogosphere can work.  While the blogosphere is a vastly entertaining (and informative) place there exists a constant need for fact-checking.  Jeff believes that errors by some bloggers pass unchecked often enough that we should be concerned.  In short,

For the moment, the blogosphere does not have the self-correcting mechanisms that are needed.

Why don’t we actively work that angle?  The easy answer is time.  There is barely enough time to do a daily linkfest, let alone investigate the contents of each and every post.  Adam Warner at the Daily Options Report weighs in on the self-correction debate and on the challenges of doing a linkfest,

Doing that is WAY tougher and more time consuming than it looks. Trust me, I have done it.

In fact, investment blogging in general is more difficult than it would appear. We have seen any number of blogs come onto the scene with a big splash, but soon fade thereafter.  When we first started this blog we intended to write way more about the investment issues of the day.  However, time and the fact that other people said what we wanted to say before us led us to focus on the linkfest.

Another distinction worth making is between the positive and normative blogospheres.  We must be careful distinguishing between fact and opinion.  There is plenty of room for both, especially fact, in the blogosphere, but but both can be useful.  Indeed, investors should actively seek out opinions that are decidedly opposed to their own.  That is in part, what our daily linkfests try to accomplish.

The nature of this linkfest is fodder for an (overly) complimentary post by Zero Beta.  In examining the nature of the the question arises is to what degree does the blogosphere need a “gatekeeper.”  We certainly don’t claim that mantle, but there is an ongoing need to sort through the threads that weave themselves through the markets each day.

A quandary arises.  If we prize independence from those self-selected gatekeepers, how can they make it worth their while?  While we enjoy (and appreciate) the many accolades we have received, they are to-date non-pecuniary.  In short,

You always learn less from those who are seeking to maximize profits, power, or fame than those who seek to grasp and share truth.

To date, Abnormal Returns has little more than the writings of an individual with a keen interest in the markets.  The linkfest is a compilation of items we find interesting and/or informative.  (Many of the new blogs we cite come to our attention via a quick note.)  By definition we cannot agree with all of the things we link to, but at least we can say they are worth a further look.

The paradox that rises between “purity” and “profit” leads to interesting questions about the future of this blog.  This blog has been to-date largely a labor of love with little tangible reward.  So the question for a future post is:  What is (or should be) the future of Abnormal Returns?

P.S.  Comments are open.