I get a lot of mail and PMs from you guys, and I know I'm not always as diligent about responding to them as you'd probably like me to be. Just know that if you send me something and I don't respond, it's because you're asking me something about which I have no background and, rather than waste your time with a non-answer, I just trust that you'll seek out a more appropriate source.
However, every so often I get something really off the wall. Now, I expect that because this is the Internet after all, so it's usually no big deal. But the other day I got an email from a WSO user that crossed the line, and I'm going to re-print it here in its entirety so you guys can see a good example of how not to approach a stranger on the Internet. I'm not going to name and shame, because that's really not my style - but you know who you are.
Without further ado:
I enjoy your posts very much. I need your advice on something. My friend is a trader at a prop firm in NYC, who is having trouble making his numbers. He has a family and is afraid of losing his job.
I know this sounds nasty, but he has a friend at the SEC who's rogue if you know what I mean. His friend said that if he gets inside info, he would do his best to hide it for him at the SEC (if he doesn't go too far like Raj Raj).
But he doesn't have any sources for getting this info. He doesn't know anyone in banking, and I told him that he isn't going to find someone who would immediately agree to share this kind of info with him. However his time at work is running out and he needs to get this "edge" fast or everything he worked for is in trouble.
How do traders do what he needs to do? What is the way traders used to do this? He wouldn't do this if he wasn't desperate. He's taking the risk that he gets caught and he says he's ok with that if his family has money.
Note that my email address is
REDACTED (NOT the one listed at the top) or you could just contact me through this site if you even want to give advice on this kind of thing.
Since I received this email a couple hours after posting my piece on Sergey Aleynikov being arrested again, I even half-suspected that its source might be an overzealous intern at the Manhattan DA's office trying to soft-solicit a felony and not realizing that this would be entrapment. Who knows? Maybe it is. (And in the off chance that it is, here's a nickel's worth of free advice, kid: If Cyrus Vance knew you did something like this, he'd sling your sorry ass so fast it would make your head spin, so quit trying to get cute.)
Far more likely, however, is that it came from one among us: a WSO user who isn't very bright. First of all, cold approaching me about committing a crime is going to piss me off; it speaks to your estimation of my intelligence or of my character, specifically my lack of either or both.
Second, an email like this implicates not only yourself, but your "buddy" (I'll bet he's stoked you're soliciting a felony from a stranger on the Internet on his behalf), and the allegedly bent SEC employee he supposedly has in his pocket. You, sir, are a fucktard.
Now I could use a little help from you guys, so the kid learns a lesson.
What would you say to someone who sent you an email like this out of the blue? What would you do with it (assuming you didn't have access to a 75,000 member forum where you could front-page his dumb ass)? What would you tell this guy so he didn't make the same mistake again?
Consider it a public service.
And keep the emails coming. You know I'll help if I can (and you're not retarded).