No. of Recommendations: 5
I have mixed feelings about the plan to charge board users to access the
posts. I have gained much from the Fool site, including the Boards. A
lot of my education has come from fellow posters, and a lot has come
from the articles prepared from Fool staffers.

If I knew that I would still get the same amount of education from my
fellow posters, I would not have a second thought and would gladly pony
up $30.00 per year. While 1000 free memberships are being given out to
frequent posters and those who make substantial contributions to the
knowledge base, I can't help but feel that a lot of smart people that I
would learn from may be put off by the fee. That concerns me a lot. I
am afraid that we will lose a lot of potential information and insight
due to the loss of Community members that do not want to pay for the
privilege of putting their two cents in.

For example, not that I've been a particularly prolific poster, but
there have been times where I have taken the time to report on an annual
meeting or a conference call. Some of these posts can take an hour or
two to prepare. The cost to me (aside from my time) has been zero. Now
I will be paying my own money to share my insight or experience. I
don't mind sharing that information with the Fool Community, but it's
tough to digest the thought of having to pay to contribute. It will be
well worth it, though, if I will still be able to learn from others just
as much as in the past.

I certainly hope the free memberships being given out include enough
people that will cover the Boards I am interested in. I think a lot of
the Stock Boards that only have occasional (but still valuable)
participation will fall by the wayside. That's not good!

The content from the rest of the Fool site is extremely valuable. The
articles, features, Fool School, quotes, Ports, etc. to me would be well
worth paying for. They are a great alternative to the mainstream
financial press that has little interest in understanding or having
their readers understand serious issues related to company ownership. I
know I would benefit from that content. I'd rather pay for that
content, and keep the Boards free.

It is a question mark to me at this point as to whether I will benefit
as much as I have in the past if a lot of the intellectual capital feels
like it's being chased out of Fooldom. I love the Fool, but I am very
worried about this move.

I guess I can look at it this way: If I decide to sign up before Feb 14, I will be spending $15.00 per year (for the first two years) to access the boards while I decide if I'm getting my money's worth. But I hope that the Chief Fools will realize that the success of this change rests on whether the quality and quantity of information is sufficient to allow some decent interaction.

I want the Fool to survive, and I hope this works, but I will be
wrestling with this question for the next two weeks.


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