So I started some dialog with a blogger that was promoting moving averages over buy and hold. Now some interesting points came up in this debate, and I am curious to see how other system developers view this. Assume you only use a long MA crossover over the long run (assume it is the most optimal) and it does not beat buy and hold gain over the same period; one would think that an objective result has been established. However, the blogger asserted that you have to include gains on cash during the neutral periods. Well, that brought up some peripheral points such as: ok, but what about capital gains for short term trades vs. buy and hold, commission, slippage, etc-- is it objective to use avg. 3mo tbill as the equivalent gain during that period, and how do you account then for early exits, etc.. The point being that adding these other parameters add some subjectivity to the results. So the question to system product developers is how do you quantify the comparison objectively, given that each result is different, depending on whether or not you include extraneous subjective measures like tax differences and cash rtn during neutral periods? And how do standard trading tools account for this? To my knowledge, most off the shelf products do not, therefore, according to the cash on neutral periods; they are being inaccurate. I don't want to spark a debate here about buy and hold vs. MA crossover systems, rather, the question here is how do you make the results from a systems backtest analysis as objective as possible, and what is the proper way to compare given the above issues? It might seem like a trivial issue, but I think it has a lot of relevance when comparing systems and making assertions about them. Thks.