No. of Recommendations: 3
If this was a free service, there would be no point in complaining, since obviously the Fool can run their boards however they want.

On the other hand, with the election getting closer, so many boards are becoming infiltrated with so much political spam. I pay for the service to discuss and listen to people talk about whatever issue is supposedly covered by the board. If it's the Retire Early board, I want to learn about retiring early. If it's the live below your means board, I want to learn about it.

If there are a few posts mixed in off topic, then fine, we can ignore them. However, this is not a chatting community about whatever people feel like. It's a financial resource. I've heard the explanation that "People on the board like the off topic posts". That's nice, but people should not be able to "claim" boards on a paid service. If they want to chat with their friends, they should get their e-mail addresses, or perhaps make a new board called "Nokia Off Topic" or something like that.

It's frustrating to know that until the election takes place, these off topic posts will get worse and worse, and the value of my subscription is lowered as well. I think the Fool really needs to crack down on the Off Topic posts, or at the least require off topic posts to have OT (or off topic) in front of them to signify that the post is off topic. When there are hundreds of posts every day and over half are useless, it is a large waste of my time.
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No. of Recommendations: 10
However, this is not a chatting community about whatever people feel like. It's a financial resource.

Ceberon,

Thanks for posting your thoughts on the subject. While many people use the boards strictly for utilitarian purposes, there is a definite social element involved. In many ways, it's the glue that holds people together here. Where a clear majority of a board's members prefer to remain strictly on topic, we have assisted in that preference.

Rather than one large community, the Fool community is made up of thousands of micro-communities, with varying preferences and 'local' standards. What works in one place may be inappropriate for another. It's fair to say that on some boards, there wouldn't be much (if any) activity were it not for discussion of a broad range of subjects.

I've heard the explanation that "People on the board like the off topic posts". That's nice, but people should not be able to "claim" boards on a paid service. If they want to chat with their friends, they should get their e-mail addresses, or perhaps make a new board called "Nokia Off Topic" or something like that.

What you suggest is often done, especially where a significant number of people object to social interaction on a utilitarian board. On the Retire Early Home Page, it's evident that most of the participants like it the way it is. The board was member-created, and they are using it to suit their own purposes. Demanding that they stay on topic would create a lot of acrimony, and be akin to herding cats.

You might try the following boards for more focused retirement discussion:

FIRE Wannabees:
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=116370

Retire Well on Less:
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=116435

Retirement Investing:
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=100154

Again, thank you for your thoughts on this subject.

Richard
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No. of Recommendations: 1
It's good to know that the Retire Early board was a member created board. That makes things a bit different. Of course if someone makes their own board they can do what they want, I just didn't want the political stuff to spread to all the boards. As long as these other boards stay focused, everything's fine with me.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Why shouldn't TMF change the name of a that evolves to an off-topic social/political board?
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No. of Recommendations: 2
What TMF seems to do a lot of the time is to let a problem go unsolved if fixing it would cause more trouble in their opinion than leaving it unfixed. Like Twitty says, if most of a board's posters like a board the way it is, strictly enforcing rules such as OT only whizzes more people off than the OT posts do. They are also extremely lax about other rules on boards where they are commonly broken, with PA being the most glaring example. The uncivil and tasteless posts over there are a disease, but it ain't worth your time FAing them because they'd pull 100+ posts a day off that board if they pulled all uncivil and tasteless posts there, so they just let that board go hog wild. I only FA stuff I'm sure they'll pull, and only a small fraction of that. I don't waste my or their time with a post I know they won't pull, even if it is a violation. That board is a real mess.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
What TMF seems to do a lot of the time is to let a problem go unsolved if fixing it would cause more trouble in their opinion than leaving it unfixed

If the majority wants it that way, then it isn't a problem and there is nothing to fix.
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No. of Recommendations: 8
While many people use the boards strictly for utilitarian purposes, there is a definite social element involved

I'm not sure it is appropriate to say that the widespread discussion of politics is "social". Rather, I think, it reflects everyones' understanding that this election is unlike any other. This election, I think, is the only one in my lifetime that really matters. The debate is acrimonious, intense, and pervasive because I think we all realize that we are at a major crossroads, and what we do two weeks from now will set the direction of this country for the next 50 years at least.

The last time the country faced a choice even barely resembling this, it was 1932.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
the Fool community is made up of thousands of micro-communities

Dozens, OK. Hundreds, maybe.

But thousands? Pure hyperbole.

(Unless you count ghost towns and deserted villages as functioning "micro-communities." The "Top Boards" page won't let me search any deeper than the top 99 boards, but I suspect there aren't more than a few hundred (not thousands) of boards that get more than a post or two per week.)
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No. of Recommendations: 1
I'm not sure it is appropriate to say that the widespread discussion of politics is "social". Rather, I think, it reflects everyones' understanding that this election is unlike any other.

On the REHP, one of the OP's gripe sites, politics is a constant and not simply because of this election. It is also in general not OT to retirement. What could affect your retirement more than changes in Soc sec or taxation? How about nationalizing health care? Not at all unrelated to an early retirement.

IP,
not contesting that there is a lot of non-investing related topics, but since retiring is about life after work, what could actually be considered OT?
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No. of Recommendations: 4
I pay for the service to discuss and listen to people talk about whatever issue is supposedly covered by the board. If it's the Retire Early board, I want to learn about retiring early. If it's the live below your means board, I want to learn about it.



Perhaps you should try posting ON topic posts to stimulate the conversation on those boards. The truth is, those boards have been around for years and we have pretty much said everything there is to say about those topics. If you want the info, start at post 1 and start reading. The info is there, and there are quite a few new people who do just that, although it usually takes them the better part of a year to catch up. If you don't have the time or are not interested in read the back posts, post a question that you are wanting help with to stimulate new conversation. There are probably other new people out there with the same question as you.

I don't think you will ever get anywhere with censorship, postpulling, or complaining. I have seen all 3 in action and all they do is stimulate MORE off topic conversation complaining about the removal of the previous posts and how unjust it is. It is just not worth it.


RJ


PS, I am still waiting for an email TMF response on specifically why my post was pulled on LBYM yesterday.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Rather, I think, it reflects everyones' understanding that this election is unlike any other. This election, I think, is the only one in my lifetime that really matters.

Pardon me if my memory is wrong, but it seems like I've heard a line like this every four years since I first voted some 40-50 years ago.


The last time the country faced a choice even barely resembling this, it was 1932.

Well, maybe so. I wasn't around then.

Although there have been a few others in which I've wondered why they were on the ballot.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Pardon me if my memory is wrong, but it seems like I've heard a line like this every four years since I first voted some 40-50 years ago.

Chalk it up to youthful lack of perspective, maybe. I started paying attention to politics when Nixon was President. This seems to me to be the most important election I've ever witnessed. The current Administration makes Nixon et al. look like amateurs.
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