I know, this should not be said, I might have to pay for it, but here it is anyway.
In one swoop, Quantopian has not only anonymized, but also trivialized everyone participating in any of its contests.
Do you think any professional, except Quantopian's own, will consider the outcome of a simulated trading strategy when the author has for codename: Red Shark, Blue Snake, or Rosy-Turbo Jackass.
Seriously, would you have any kind of confidence in Scarlet Jackal, or, for that matter, Green Dik Dik proposing you to put your money at risk? Yes, I can see it: here is my esteemed trading program developer, Pink-Slip Buzzard. Let me tell you that once he has his claws on your money, he will take care of it as if it was already his own.
Just for fun, here is a readymade elevator pitch: Hi, I'm Pink Sarcastic Fringehead, and this is my associate, Dark “Vader” Croc. We are very honest somethings and want to manage your 100M fund. Our strategies are among the best on Quantopian's simulated contest 35. They bare our respective names. As you will notice, our results are much better than Purple Lumpsucker. Hope you will see the sincerity and integrity behind our proposal and let us manage your millions.
The option should have been: choose a pseudonym yourself, if you want one. That's it.
Otherwise, simply continue using your name.
We should have been provided with a choice.
I will have a hard time putting the word trust in the same sentence as one of those namesakes. I know I am going to discriminate.
If you are not proud of your work, or did shit, then please, do hide, I understand, no problem. Or ask Quantopian to remove your contest entry (which, as Quantopian, I would not do, but then again).
By anonymizing, Quantopian is also opening its doors wide open to all the bad stuff people can say on the net knowing that they have the cover of anonymity. I can not say bravo to that. Already anyone can make a fake account on a pseudonym and say whatever they want. It has been done before. It should be considered bad enough.
Let people stand behind what they say. Let them know we know who they are. And, let them know they have said it in an opened forum for all to see.
Quantopian is doing a disservice to itself and mostly to all its members. How seriously will anyone consider whatever is produced in those tests under those childish aliases? What kind of credibility will a Purple Orangutan or a Yellow Rat bring to a trading strategy? Even by association, Quantopian strategy developers might be ridiculed.
Also, this anonymity move makes it open grounds for anyone wanting to troll for whatever purpose they may have, good or bad. All they need is to open a fake account, and under anonymity do whatever they want, contact whom ever they want. And based on that, how can I trust anyone if I can not determine their true identity? Just as a due diligence process, I would have to discard whatever they have to say. And since I would not know who has a fake id, I would have to apply a simple rule: trust no one.
If anyone wants to gain anyone's trust, they should simply start with being honest. And it starts with no deceptions, no camouflage, no aliases.
There is some serious rethinking needed here.
A professional site would have started with no pseudonyms at all. Only real people with real identities. No fake ids. Period.
I have not participated in any contest, so I really don't care.
After all, it is Quantopian's website, it is their business, and they can do whatever they want.
But... and I think it is a serious but...
Quantopian has said the anonymity thing was to answer a request by several people. I have not seen a number anywhere, but I do not think it is many out of its 100,000+ members.
So, here is one of the group of “several other people” that do not like the fake stuff.
I am already losing interest in the forums I listen to, losing interest in answering to animals, losing confidence in their posts due to these fake identities. Why should I waste my time on anonymous people? What good does it serve? What kind of relationship or discussions can be established based on fake names?
It took months and months to identify who was brilliant in their approach, who had a keen understanding of what they did and where I respected their opinions and level of knowledge.
And now, Quantopian just threw all that away too. It simply cut the historical link, the memory link of who said what and how to trace it. How long will it take to forget who was who going forward?
Did I forget to say I think anonymizing is a bad move?
That is me again expressing a different point of view. My name is: Guy Fleury, I am a real person, it is not a fake name, and I stand behind what I say.
It should be my choice to be identified by my proper name, not Quantopian's.
At the same time, Quantopian is also telling me something I did not want to hear. I think we all rely on the notion that our programs are our own and that Quantopian will respect the fine line that represent seeing and not seeing our code.
It is a very flimsy line when those programs are simple text files that do not really reside on our machines, and where they have kept the ability to view this code, even if it is only on our request, they say. This alone undermines the trust needed on the integrity of our code and could render all contests a total waste of time since they can read the code. We really do need confidence in the integrity of what Quantopian says or has to say.
For “several people”, it might not be a problem, but I think Quantopian has nonetheless just taken the first steps in crossing a very thin line.
This also makes the line murky on the program ownership thingy. Try to explain to a judge that your program is registered under a Rosy-Turbo Jackass. How would you justify your claim? It is hard enough to have your program on someone else's machine. A computer glitch and it is gone.
My advice: keep a copy on your machine of any program you think might have value. Anything you cloned was given away free and is public domain.
My thanks to all who do share their programs and notebooks. They are great learning tools, some are real hidden gems in the rough.