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No. of Recommendations: 5
A response to some of the comments made by EliasFardo (whose opinion, by and large, I respect)

1) we do the work

It's true that the work on these boards is done largely by the posters. However, we also receive the benefit of that work. I get paid for my contributions by you, eurotrash, UsuallyReasonbl and others. And besides, is it really work?

2) we transfer copyright to The Fool

I didn't realize this. Bummer.

3) we pay hard cash for the privilege?

It is clear that there is a cost associated with providing us with this forum. There are no free lunches. And as much as people will claim that it's only a matter of adding more server and storage capacity, and that it doesn't cost much in the new age of technology, that's really not true. The Fool pays to host, monitor, backup and insure these boards and there are probably more costs than I've listed that we don't think about but are necessary so that we can share information.

So what will be the effects? I'm curious to find out. It's already elicited a lot of discussion, much of it touching on topics more interesting than a cost-benefit analysis, such as the ones you have suggested here. Will users begin to adopt a sense of entitlement? Will there be a class stratification between the 'elites' and all the paying customers?

I will say that I don't see the boards becoming more homogeneous, other than maybe cutting down on a great deal of the noise by those who don't bother to think before they type. The only requirement for entry is money not political affiliation, and all sorts of opinionated people can come up with $29.95 I'm sure.

As for what about this change will improve the boards, well, I'd say that if it enables the boards to stick around, that's an improvement. I don't know if that's the situation, but given the situation over the last 1-2 years, it wouldn't surprise me. I'm not thrilled about paying for online content, and other than the Wall Street Journal I've never done so before, but if I were to measure even the limited amount of time I spend here by the proposed cost, the conclusion I come to is that it's not a bad deal.

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