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Scott -- great post! I agree.

Thank you, Bill and Tim, for your thoughtful and gracious responses to my original post in this thread. In a sense, I am sorry to have raised some of the points contained in that post, because on reflection (with the benefit of your responses), they were really not very fair, especially to Tim and Nate.

Bill, you did in fact “zero in on” a feeling that probably many subscribers have had – that there is more going on here than meets the eye. Rationally, this should not concern us; our focus should just be on the continued excellence of TMF output, however achieved. But one of the consequences of building an online community is that people actually find themselves caring about the community, because in some sense they belong to it. You were very clear, and very helpful, in explaining that in this case the strangeness of the communications process was driven by regulatory and legal requirements rather than fissures in the TMF community.

(The wandering old guy in me cannot help himself, but has to note here that “zero in on” is sort of a strange phrase; I presume it comes from the prosaic process of calibrating a scientific instrument, but cannot shake the thought that perhaps its origins lie with the kamikaze pilots of WW II!)

Bill’s references to the First Amendment reminded me of something else, which is probably the single TMF feature that I find most appealing: these boards are very much a “free speech zone.” The single best assurance that there is not something “rotten in Denmark” lies in the fact that Denmark is perfectly willing to let everyone unload on it publicly!

Tim, the picture you describe (of the reality of analyst’s duties and allocations within TMF) makes a lot more sense than the picture I was carrying around with me. Your explanation was very clear and very helpful – and very courteous, which is not always easy in such circumstances! -- and I appreciate it. I wonder if others found it as enlightening as did I; probably I am a bit less sophisticated in my understanding of these things than most of the denizens of these boards, but it honestly gave me a very different picture of the way that TMF conducts its business.

I am by no means convinced that Bill will be replaced seamlessly, but that is more a function of his unusual abilities than a comment on the new team; I *am* convinced -- subject to review of future performance :) -- that the new GG team is a TMF “A” team.

Although I hesitate to take up any more of readers’ time with my own personal decisions on subscribing – which is OT and a bit self-centered – since I brought it up in my original post I will just mention here that I have hit upon a brilliant solution to my logistical problem (you may recall that I subscribe to 5 TMF newsletters and just do not have the time to follow them all).

I have five children, ages 11 to 21, one for each service. I am going to assign each child a newsletter and provide guidance; the child will act as my own “research analyst” for that particular service. I do not have time for each TMF newsletter, but I *do* have time – I make time! -- for each child. So, I will sit down with each child and discuss his or her conclusions, and then will allocate a small amount each month to invest for that child, guided by his or her analysis. (Hopefully, these discussions will also help me make my own investment decisions.)

Rich

BITB
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