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Subject:  Re: Unmarked the Board Date:  11/15/2002  11:02 AM
Author:  hocus Number:  44640 of 89731

I unmarked it months ago not out of any desire to stop improving Fooldom (quite the contrary, of course, as any business owner knows), but because a particularly prolonged period of preoccupation with things trivial became a timesink that seriously took away from my own efforts to improve the Fool.

I'd like to make a little plea here on behalf of community members who have relied on other Motley Fool boards to enhance their understanding of how to invest and handle their finances. The problem being referred to here does not apply only at this board, it applies at lots of others too. My personal concern is over the Retire Early board, which has been reduced to a place for the airing of political spats instead of the place to discuss realistic strategies for achieving financial independence that it once was and that many members of the community that congregates there would someday like it to again become.

Motley Fool's discussion boards are the best on the internet, in my opinion. I've looked for alternatives, and none measure up. But discussion boards are a new communications medium, and I don't think that anyone yet has figured out the formula for making this excting new medium as powerfully useful and popular as I believe it one day will become. I hope that there are ongoing discussions going on at TMF as to how to enhance the board discussions, not just though technical innovations but through effective board administration policies too. These boards offer incredible potential for helping middle-class people to share experiences with each other and thereby to learn about subjects of mutual concern, but much of that potential is being wasted.

A fundamental problem is the one you refer to above. People only have so much time, and it takes a lot of time to get to the valuable pieces of information posted on the boards everyday. I don't believe that the boards will reach their potential until there are ways to quickly access the best material. I believe that is going to mean in some cases limiting the abilities of some posters to conduct off-topic discussions or to post personal attacks or to disrupt conversations of peopl