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Why can't GameStop split their stocks?

This is an example why I use SE about 10 times less than 5 years ago. I basically realized there are people who just talk and answer questions and for whatever reason, they just don't get it. That means a lot of answers that are out there are wrong or partly wrong and users have to decipher what is what.

I have people commenting on my understanding of exchanges and company listings when I might be one of a handful of people in the US that has expertise in exchange networks, rules, and trading. I have seen everything and written every rule imaginable for all US exchanges... especially NYSE.

So when a high rep member of the site comes on trying to diss my comments and discount them when I am the expert. Yea makes me laugh but signals the issue with SE. Most sites are a matter or gaining popular opinion, not having the right answer. Please tell me that I am wrong.

A better example is this meta question. Let's replay this in order.

  1. User argues with me and has no idea what they are talking about but badgers me to provide links. I honestly could but for someone acting like that - absolutely not.

  2. Another user hits me on the question and on this meta question. Provides this link - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02920618 - to disprove my argument - let me get the quote right or I will be disparaged more...

"Stock will go up way higher than market average when announced. Stock will go up way higher than market average when implemented."

  1. If you bother reading link it says higher rates of return until 11 months and then lower average after that.

  2. Please comment on the ridiculous timeframe that the study was done in the link - we are discussing modern trading and the guy going off on me supplies a link from the mid 90s. What? What? Not one user calls him out.

  3. He has the most upvoted answer on my meta. That's all I can say for this site. A guy that has a link in his comments that HE THINKS refutes my initial answer but actually is a source for my answer (a really really bad source) is the most upvoted meta answer.

  4. I should accept it. His answer is EXACTLY why I wrote this.

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  • 3
    Do you have a question, or did you just want to vent?
    – JohnFx Mod
    Feb 3 at 2:54
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    Even for fixing code I wouldn't trust SE that much. Copying code from Stack Overflow? You might paste security vulnerabilities, too Feb 7 at 22:39
  • 1
    As to the edits on your question - I have been asking, as have other users from the beginning, for you to cite your own evidence for your points. Remember - the key element of your answer that I presented in Meta as to why your answer likely got downvoted, is that you stated, without evidence, that a stock split will perform significantly better than the market average. The tone with which you reply to others who question your answer is not helping you to convince anyone of the truth to your claims; a softer tone would likely help your message to be received, if you actually defend it. Feb 15 at 18:09
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A technically correct answer that answers at a level above the asker's head, implying something different than the 'practicable solution', is not a great answer. An answer containing some technically correct statements but incorrect or opinionated conclusions that will be the focus of a naive reader, is even worse.

The flood of GME questions coming in seem to be largely coming from those who prior to last week had never heard of a 'short', and may have only basic understanding (if that) of investing in general. That warrants 2 things for a good answer, in my opinion:

(1) Inserting caution to the reader where risk exists or is implied by either the question or your answer itself; and

(2) Keeping things less technical unless needed.

Your answer, in my opinion [though I hadn't seen it before you asked this on Meta], was not great. In particular, a broad sweeping statement like this is relatively foolhardy, as the finite conclusion given:

"Stock splits have two basic effects on market: Stock will go up way higher than market average when announced. Stock will go up way higher than market average when implemented."

I don't even care about whether you could show evidence of this being on average the case historically [though you gave no such evidence nor even referred to its existence, assuming that your not even stated and definitely not provable to the reader expertise should attract the reverence of belief] [and, keeping in mind correlation vs causation, and stock split announcements occurring alongside other stated plans from management etc.].

The fact that you use definitive clauses with no caveat makes it a bad answer, plain and simple.

It is true that SE is less good on technical areas where accuracy is hard to self-identify, because the crowd-sourcing vote system might sway a less informed user to upvote something incorrect. But that isn't what's going on here.

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  • I could cite everything I said but there is no way I am going to spend time going through that process for a flawed system. That is the essence of this meta question. Why would someone like me - been in direct feed algo for 15 years - spend time arguing with people questioning my knowledge when I write papers on the topic. The comments were basically - you don't know what you are talking about, it is this... yet no one refuted anything I said with NYSE info or historical analysis of splits. So user comes to site and sees generally poor answer... my point.
    – blankip
    Feb 2 at 18:45
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    @blankip Your conclusion that I quoted "Stock price will go up" is, apart from being definitive, pointedly false. Why shouldn't someone "question your knowledge" if the knowledge you display is provably wrong? Show me proof that (a) stock splits always lead to price increases; (b) this effect is unrelated to coinciding news about the company driving it to change its share pricing policy in the first place; and (c) that goes beyond the natural growth in overall economies for competing shares; and I'll eat my words. Feb 2 at 18:51
  • And that is why SO and mathematics and code base sites work... You put a wrong answer in and either it is completely refuted and thrown out or it doesn't "work". Here is there is a wrong answer... that is a matter of opinion and it will rank the highest. I honestly do not trust any answer on opinion SE sites - like getting info from the sfgate website or any other bot driven site. I don't answer many questions on here and answering something this basic - to me - and being called out by a top member... well its a joke.
    – blankip
    Feb 2 at 18:52
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    @blankip Show any proof that your conclusion is even generally correct, let alone always correct, let alone not based on overall economic growth and coincidental news. Failure to be believed because you don't prove your controversial statements has nothing to do with whether your expertise exists or is trusted. Feb 2 at 18:53
  • I don't think you read my answer - "Stock splits have two basic effects on market: Stock will go up way higher than market average when announced. Stock will go up way higher than market average when implemented." Do I need to cite twenty places on this. You can find this yourself... refute it.
    – blankip
    Feb 2 at 18:54
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    @blankip It is on the person who makes the claim to prove it, but because this was on the first page of a google search, here you go [I didn't go past the abstract, and it's from 26 years ago, but whatever]: link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02920618" Note the importance of investor expectations, the indeterminate time period of impact on average, and this important line to the actual question at hand: "The cross-sectional results indicate that firms with higher earnings-growth rates exhibit higher CARs, and firms with higher share prices just before the split exhibit lower CRRs." Feb 2 at 18:59
  • Apart from your statement being given as a definitive for the particular stock [I admit you are walking away from this statement now so perhaps that is merely my interpretation of your wording, but again, when answering to naive users, handwaving important caveats is exactly the problem], note that GME has had losses the last 2 years. In which case, impact would be expected to be the reverse of what you've said, on average, per their hypothesis. Feb 2 at 19:01
  • did you read the link you added or did you skim it? Did you read it and compare it to what I said? Literally textbook example of why I wrote the meta question.
    – blankip
    Feb 4 at 7:08
  • @blankip Still waiting on you to teach me proof that a stock that splits [in particular, an unprofitable company at all time stock highs, which is the question asked by the OP] will "significantly outperform the market average" [digression - 'outperforming the market average' does not mean 'on average, outperforming the market', when used in the singular about a particular stock]. In the abstract [I'm not going to read an econ paper if you refuse to even outline your points or source anything], they state the impact of stock splitting has other correlating factors, and best applies to... Feb 4 at 14:10
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    ... well performing companies not at stock highs. Condescension is not as good of a teacher as you seem to believe. Explain your points if you want someone to understand them. Merely stating, after the fact, that you have expertise is not the same thing as making that expertise evident through clarity in an answer. Feb 4 at 14:11
  • I can't really argue with you anymore. You literally cannot read the link with enough intelligence to understand that it supports my argument. If you think I am wrong at all and I will post our entire conversation on the main site and let the users figure out who does or doesn't know what they are talking about. Deal?
    – blankip
    Feb 13 at 21:50
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    @blankip That would be great; I think from the first comments on your answer, there have been requests for you to support your claims, so I think a question / answer combo that does exactly that would be well-received. You might want to avoid insulting your audience when you do so, but hey, let's call that a personal style choice. Feb 15 at 18:02
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Sorry, but there's a lot to unpack here.

One issue is comments. The Intent and Purpose of Comments made my view pretty clear. Simply put, most issues arise from comments as opposed to the actually Q or A. (Again, in my opinion) comments should auto-evaporate in X days, say 3. If in that time, a comment thread runs 10+, it should auto-move to a room.

The other issue is that technically, wrong answers should be voted down, not flagged, not deleted. I've seen factually incorrect answers get voted up, and I've used my own answer to counter it, only to be told that I was simply offering my own 'opinion.' I thought I was pretty clear in my own mind the distinction between opinion and fact.

I acknowledge that your issue may have occurred anyway, but the current news event regarding one stock has spawned a flood of questions, many of which I'd declare 'bad'.

In the end I can't say that you're wrong. I'd prefer that for fact-seeking questions we eliminate factually incorrect answers. Of course, not every question can or should be fact-based. Advice often depends on risk tolerance, which isn't always definable with any precision.

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  • You are exactly right. But its why I have a hard time with this site and many others that are "opinion voted". I like this concept but come here and hear some ridiculous answers with tons of upvotes and it turns me off. Then I come back in a month and there are a few good answers and I like it... but then I write this meta - and someone answers that is completely confused and they keep ragging me. I can provide an answer not an education. But the answers other than yours... kind of proves my point.
    – blankip
    Feb 5 at 7:48
  • @blankip I think what we should keep in mind is that a high amount of upvotes only mean that "a majority found this answer helpful", but that does not mean it is correct either. I remember coming across some "low voted answers" that went on detailed explanations, making it clear why it is probably more accurate than the other answers (and why the others were probably inaccurate), in layman's terms so that someone as clueless as I am was able to understand it. After that, what the reader wants to believe is up to them. In the end, you did your part. Understanding is up to them.
    – Clockwork
    Feb 5 at 10:48
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    @blankip Just a small question out of curiosity: when you say "I can provide an answer not an education.", does it mean your answer is only understandable by people who are in the field? Or even a random person reading it without having the slightest idea of how it work would still be able to understand?
    – Clockwork
    Feb 5 at 10:50
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    @Clockwork - this comment was not meant to disparage the "normal" users on the site. I am an expert on a very very small fraction of questions and if someone asks me to clarify something - sure why not? But when someone comes in on a topic I am THE expert in and says "wrong show me sources" - ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY HAVE NO SOURCES... jesus like I would spend 10 seconds doing something for someone like that. I mean a guy wrote an answer and provided a link in the meta that supports my answer and his ignorance on the topic is so high he doesn't understand.
    – blankip
    Feb 13 at 5:04
  • @blankip Being an expert on something doesn't mean there is no value in citing evidence for your arguments. Rather, it should hopefully mean that you are also that much better able to present such evidence in a convincing way. An Appeal to Authority, when presented as an alternative to evidence, is just a logical fallacy. Feb 15 at 18:04
  • And once again, comments have gone off into the land of unkindness. I am driving right now so I can’t do it, later tonight I may delete this whole comment thread I don’t remember when it got nasty Jul 19 at 19:14
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As the person who wrote the answer that had a comment war that I didn't participate in, I do have a comment, which I will put as an answer.

It appeared that your comments were about a different question. Your comments on both the original question and on my answer were based on a general question about splits. The question was about this specific case that was in the news. You own answer later admitted that in this specific case the impact wouldn't be what the person writing the question thought would happen.

The comment war was 100% unrelated to the original question.

My suggestion is that you remove your comments, because they have served their purpose. It caused you to write enough words via comments that the only thing left to do was write your own answer.

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  • I think the essence of your answer is wrong, although I respect the answer I disagree. Now someone else coming in and attacking my knowledge when I am the guy a big bank will help explain NYSE practices/trading/algos (look at my answer history) is laughable - seriously a joke. And the erroneous upvotes on that person's comments because they don't understand is the point of my question. Really nothing to do with your answer which I don't agree with but without context it is a simple explanation.
    – blankip
    Feb 2 at 18:42
  • @blankip You are complaining about downvotes and counter-arguments on the basis of who you are, rather than by providing your own substantive arguments that defend your position. If your goal is to educate, you might consider revising your tactics on how to best convey the material you feel so strongly about. When I asked you for proof of your claim [which likely is a big part of why you got downvoted initially], you implied that it wasn't worth your time, and asked me to provide the defense instead. I did, and you did not respond. Feb 3 at 19:48
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    If I am wrong, please show me how, I earnestly am on this site to learn [both through explaining what I do know, and reading answers I am less familiar with]. Feb 3 at 19:49
  • Funny how this site works... nothing said to bacon. #1 never complained about downvotes. Never revised my argument. He puts a ridiculous link and no one calls him out on it... Bravo.
    – blankip
    Feb 4 at 7:44
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I agree with the sentiment of your question and it was a contributing factor for me to take break from contributing here at all. After reading the other answers, I 100% simply agree with JTP and you can probably just skip my answer.

I've complained about commenters and commenting on this site before and agree that it's a monstrous flaw to the design of this site, particularly for topics like this where very few of the answers have a citeable factual answer like, "that goes on line 5 of IRS schedule C." or whatever. In the case of code, while there can be opinions about mechanisms, the answer either achieves a repeatable result or it doesn't. I wouldn't blame you for no longer contributing; I know I've found myself abandoning half written answers because it's not worth the all the caveats to avoid the inevitable comment battle, that will still happen anyway.

Ultimately, people are free to disagree, but the issue, as far as I can tell, is this system is intended to be well considered answers written in response to well considered questions, not a discussion. There are a lot of discussion boards, this isn't one. If a person disagrees with an answer their recourse is to vote the answer down, not write a disagreeing or disparaging comment and request supporting documentation (not simply out of genuine interest, but as some quasi-substantiation of their disagreement) . This is further compounded by the fact that, again, by nature of the topic almost all of the questions will have at least partially opinionated answers.

I'd argue that almost all of the questions regarding GameStop over the last couple weeks are not well considered and, I'd go a step farther and assert that most of the people asking the question don't actually care what the answer is and probably barely even care about the question they've asked. It would be interesting to know how many question askers even check back after a day or week. I'm a little surprised there haven't been questions asking about suing Citadel for "being in bed with Robinhood" or some other outrageous claim/situation.

With all of that said, the answer you wrote there has very little to do with the question asked regardless of whether or not there is data to support that split companies tend to outperform the market after the split. The person asking the question has the obvious misconception that changing the number of shares outstanding doesn't change anything else and would have some immediate impact on the short sellers (to this end why wouldn't every company just reverse-split every time a single share is shorted to squeeze them out).

I agree completely that the system is flawed and I still contribute here, though much much less than before, because I think it helps my writing and I haven't found a better outlet for that practice.

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I will post an answer to my own question. Because 90% of the people that post a lot of answers on sites like this think they know way way more than they do. There is no way you can believe them and this might as well be a 1990s forum.

Example:
A user cited this https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02920618 to refute what I had in my answer.

  1. The results of the analysis suggest that the cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) are positive and statistically significant through the eleventh month after a stock split.

Wait... Did my answer say Stock will go up way higher than market average when implemented. Oh man I must of really meant a year later when I said that. Oh no I didn't for those that can read English. Glad I caught that. Thank you for the cited article!

  1. This indicates that initially the signaling effects dominate, but

later the consequences of investors' downward revisions of previous expectations and the increase in percentage transaction cost dominate.

Wait did I say .. Stock will go up way higher than market average when announced. For those that don't understand market talk - signaling can be used for market announcement! There we go.

So not only in the question did I get ridiculous feedback from a high rep user but also get hammered in meta by another user that can't even understand their own link. And don't say "its one person", because he had comments clearly flawed and seriously delusional that were upvoted.

So yea there are huge flaws in the voting model here. You can downvote because you don't like me or the tone of my answer, but I am right.

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    I did not follow what was going on, and I don't know anything about investing, but I still wanted to let you know my impression upon reading this thread. I don't know you, the only thing I know about you is the fact that you mentioned being knowledgeable in the subject (not questioning it, I believe you). The way you repeatedly say that you are right and the others are wrong, while also saying "there is no way I am going to spend time going through that process for a flawed system", doesn't help. Lot of people who are behaving like wannabe have a behaviour like that (not saying you are one)
    – Clockwork
    Feb 4 at 13:42
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    I think what I'm trying to say is: people are less likely to listen if they are under the impression you are not as knowledgeable as you say you are (again, I am not questioning it, I am merely pointing out that people might have that impression).
    – Clockwork
    Feb 4 at 13:45
  • @blankip You continue to post to the group at large [though Meta.SE is not widely read], rather than actually rebut my arguments to me directly. A couple of things: "statistically significant" <> "significant". It means that it indicates something broader than noise due to, for example, random sampling error. If a tadpole hatched under a full moon has a 0.5% higher chance of being male, that is not a 'significant difference', though it may be 'statistically significant'. Further, you are using the phrase "higher returns than the market average" to mean "higher, on average, than market return". Feb 4 at 19:13
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    Again, I will point out that you have yet to prove your claim, although the link I provided on a 5 minute search and read of the abstract indicates that the difference exists when the company is performing well, and not at a stock peak, both of which are elements not true for GME, which the asker was posting about. Rail against the system all you want but this isn't how to teach. Show someone why what you are saying is correct, so they can be better informed. Merely stating facts and expecting to be believed does nothing to educate except to pass on rote learning, benefiting no one. Feb 4 at 19:16
  • @Grade'Eh'Bacon - your link - YOUR LINK - YOUR LINK - covers everything I said. Although it is a ridiculously old study, these things have not really changed. I don't get how you don't read the link you provided and say "man I was wrong". I do get it actually - why the meta question exists.
    – blankip
    Feb 4 at 19:18
  • @blankip I've referred to this many times, but please disprove this critical element of what I have provided [yes, 'my link', because you refuse to cite your claims]: "The cross-sectional results indicate that firms with higher earnings-growth rates exhibit higher CARs, and firms with higher share prices just before the split exhibit lower CRRs." GME is at an all-time high stock price [hitting $300/share at the time of the question, from a 52 week average of something like $10], and had losses the past 2 years. So your answer, provided in reference to that situation, was implicitly incorrect. Feb 4 at 19:20
  • @Grade'Eh'Bacon - It says after ELEVEN MONTHS. Holy cow how do you not get that? How do you fail to quote that? This argument is ridiculous.
    – blankip
    Feb 4 at 19:25
  • @Grade'Eh'Bacon - and to go back to Finance 101 if there is a marker for the general market that signifies an increased rate of return, there will for sure be a period after of a lower rate of return in the "short long-term". If not we would be saying that a stock that splits outperforms market rate forever. It doesn't. It is short term which is what my answer says.
    – blankip
    Feb 4 at 19:27
  • @Grade'Eh'Bacon - if stock splits were not an indicator of market variance then the SEC wouldn't make the split announcement information in consideration of "highly sensitive insider information".
    – blankip
    Feb 4 at 19:29
  • @blankip "Through the 11 months" does not mean "after 11 months", it means "from now until the next 11 months". Wording matters. Especially when forming answers for non-technical users, such as the one who asked the question you responded to. Feb 4 at 19:53
  • @Grade'Eh'Bacon - When you provide a link that supports my answer it is not my job to educate you on why it does. Yes you don't understand and yes it is comical that you provided an answer - again upvoted - that shows a real lack of understanding. My job is to provide an answer. If you don't like it downvote it. But arguing on your "knowledge" when you are wrong makes no sense. You look really bad. I could go into every single point of how wrong you are - but that would be violating the SE be nice policy. Yes you are that ignorant on the topic - no definitive clause!
    – blankip
    Feb 5 at 7:51
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    There's a way to present one's facts (or evidence to support a position that's not quite 'fact') and still do it kindly. To be candid - I have no dog in this particular hunt, but I share the frustration in the issue of factually incorrect answers posted. My own crusade over the years is in the Cash vs Credit Card issue. And the nature of the studies presented as proof that card users spend more money that cash buyers. Feb 5 at 11:28
  • @JTP-ApologisetoMonica Sounds interesting. May I ask you where to find such a study? I'm curious as to what would drive people into behaving that way.
    – Clockwork
    Feb 5 at 11:52
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    Sure, welcome to Do people tend to spend less when using cash than credit cards? - my answer there links to so-called studies. The punchline for me? One - no experiment with cash vs a gift card can assume to scale up to a $50K-$100K/yr budget, Two - no study properly separated card users who pay in full ve those who have a balance running month to month, interest accruing. Feb 5 at 12:06
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    @blankip "it is not my job to educate you" - I mean this sincerely: then why are you on this site? It is not your job, but surely the entire point of stackexchange is to connect those wanting to learn, with those wanting to educate? You are still refusing to elaborate at all on your points, demanding to be taken at your word, instead. In this Meta post, you state: "That means a lot of answers that are out there are wrong or partly wrong and users have to decipher what is what." Surely forcing users to research on their own whether an answer right, is what you are fighting against? Feb 5 at 13:33

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