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No. of Recommendations: 19
In the recent Maker column re: Nokia the Matt Richey said "But don't take my word for it. Seriously. For example, if you took Bill's word for it last Wednesday, you might've thought Nokia's flow ratio was just a so-so 1.85. Nope, it's actually 1.16. Did we catch you with that one? Watch out, we Fools are prone to a bit of trickery now and then."

Either there was a mistake, or they plain and simple LIED to all of us. Most publications post a retraction and admit a mistake, here it is referred to as "trickery" and they imply that it was just to get us to do our own research. If they intentionally reported the wrong Flow ratio then that's a lie and there's no disputing it.When one intentionally states something they know to be otherwise-that's a lie! I'm all for the tutorial approach but I also own up to my mistakes. But the only ones who know if it was purposeful misrepresentation of the facts or a mistake are the Maker Port columnists and I for one am calling them to come clean!
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I, too, noticed this and was disturbed by it. A simple "opps, we erred" would have satisfied me. The somewhat flip suggestion that the incorrect flow ratio was inserted as "trickery" doesn't cut it in responsible journalism. So, TMF, what was it? An honest mistake or a deliberate falshood?

I'm hoping for the former.

Robust
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I agree 100 % with the previous posts. I was disturbed as well when I read this last night. My impression was that it was a simple mistake that was compounded by the trivial and dispicable notion that we, the readers, didn't catch it. Shame on you Fools!

Paul
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After some consideration, I thought I would weigh in again on this issue.

1. The title of the thread is, IMHO, a little inflamatory. No offense, BigShoes. I view the Fool as having VAST CREDIBILITY as one of the few sources of objective and original thought on investing and personal finance.

2. I think BigShoe's original post is fundamentally valid. We need to know whether or not the mistatement of the flow ratio in TMF Otter's 1/26 piece was purposeful (as a literal reading of TMF Verve's 1/31 piece would indicate) or whether TMF Verve simply failed to fully consider the import of a few words at the end of an otherwise informative piece, fumbling the correction and causing confusion.

I would conclude by asking these questions:

Otter: Was your NOK flow ratio number a mistake or deliberate deception as suggested by Verve?

Verve: Did you literally mean what you wrote?

Answers in hand, I will Foolishly decide for myself whether or not the Fools credibility has suffered. I hope and suspect that I will be still be able to trust the Fool. Except on April 1st.

Robust
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TMFOtter posted an explanation on the Nokia Board: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1190244000774003&sort=id
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Robust wrote: In the recent Maker column re: Nokia the Matt Richey said "But don't take my word for it. Seriously. For example, if you took Bill's word for it last Wednesday, you might've thought Nokia's flow ratio was just a so-so 1.85. Nope, it's actually 1.16. Did we catch you with that one? Watch out, we Fools are prone to a bit of trickery now and then."

In my opinion, TMF continually maintains its credibility high above "conventional" media and analysts as it insists, "Don't take our word for it. Do your own due dilligence." You would never get a broker/analyst to advise you like this. What would happen to his commissions?

In my mind, the fact that The Fool, among others, makes mistakes is another reason to do your own dd before buying anything.

Just my $.02

Steve
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TMF Otter's explanation ends all debate. We accept the apologies. Let us move on. May I mention here that Nokia is already in my version (real money) of Makerport on the basis of all the analysis. I hope the RM portfolio managers are on the same wavelength.
Pado
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Steve,

The quote you attribute to me is atually from BigShoes at the beginning of this thread.

As to the Fool"s credibility, here's what I wrote in post #5391:

"The title of the thread is, IMHO, a little inflamatory. No offense, BigShoes. I view the Fool as having VAST CREDIBILITY as one of the few sources of objective and original thought on investing and personal finance."

I agree with you 100%.

As for making your own decisions based on your own research, here's something that I wrote in June on the Iomega board:

"...I and many others, I'm sure, have taken the lesson of the Fool to heart. We rely on our own research, gut feelings, and risk tolerance then make our own investment decisions. Thus we take responsibility for our own financial futures."

Again, I agree with you 100%.

What troubled me was that we were told by Verve that we were deliberately misled. I shook my head in disbelief and called upon Verve and Otter to respond to this.

Otter has indicated on the Nokia board that it was a mistake, pure and simple. Thank goodness. He's totally off the hook now as far as I'm concerned.

In light of Otter's response I assume that Verve simply fumbled the retraction/correction. I would, however, like to read his response.

Innocent until proven guilty.

Robust



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No. of Recommendations: 12
Dear BigShoes:

You'll find in today's RM (my weekly installment, and the first column I have written since last week) that I take full responsibility for the mistake. I have also already owned up to the fact that I goofed on the Nokia board.

My mistake was a clerical error, I used the reciprocal of the denominator by mistake. It was such a basic error that it took me some significant trial and error to recreate the data. Even in an exhaustive editorial process such as the one we have at the Fool, sometimes these things slip past.

Since this is the Internet and not print, when these things happen we have the option of doing one of two things: quietly going and correcting the original article in our archives, or pointing out the mistake in the current column. We find it much more honest to do the latter.

I did not know that there was an error until it was identified by Fools on the Nokia board, and we pointed out the mistake the first opportunity we had after that, in Matt's column.

Matt's explanation may not have been satisfactory to you, for which I personally apologize. However the central theme of the Motley Fool is and always has been that you should think for yourself and do your own research before you buy anything. Rather than try to pull a fast one on you, that is what he was trying to communicate.

If you have further comments on this feel free to email me directly at billm@fool.com. You will find this topic addressed fully in today's Rule Maker.

Thanks, Fool on!
Bill Mann

"Jim never vomits at home."
-Airplane
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No. of Recommendations: 27
Geez. I've been here awhile and I have to tell ya that some of these attitudes are amazing. The outrage and indignation shown by BigShoes and others tell me that they do not understand this site, nor have they read all of the objectives, philosophy and the "read this" type of caveats. If they did, understanding is lacking.

This is a group learning type of site, led by, more or less, the people with TMF in front of their handles. I looked, and I can't find the place where it says "Results Guaranteed".

Most publications charge money. Others have a certain angle or axe to grind. As far as I know, TMF does not employ journalists. They do not run a brokerage. They are not venture capitalists (in the commercial sense).

Many, many people come here expecting to be told what to buy, when to buy, when to sell, what to sell. That is not the purpose of this site or the boards. I have rarely seen, if ever, a TMF or any of the many leaders of the forums write "Buy This because...". All I've ever seen is "I (or We are) am buying this because...".

Every column I read, every one of the dozens of posts I read every day here, I read with a certain sense of skepticism. Don't read that as doubt. Read that as asking myself "Is this right?" or "Does this make sense?". If I find a mistake or I need additional clarification, I email the author or post a question or correction in the open as a contribution to the learning. I do not accuse a TMFer or any other poster of lying.

<clip>

In the recent Maker column re: Nokia the Matt Richey said "But don't take my word for it. Seriously. For example, if you took Bill's word for it last Wednesday, you might've thought Nokia's flow ratio was just a so-so 1.85. Nope, it's actually 1.16. Did we catch you with that one? Watch out, we Fools are prone to a bit of trickery now and then."

<clip>

What I got out of the last sentence above was that TMF screws up now and then. Deliberate mistakes are made, but they are usually explained in the same column. I also read this as a very, very polite way of saying "If you were caught with this mistake, you are not doing it yourself but lazily relying on others. You are not trying to learn, but to copy someone else's work."

What BigShoes and others need to do is to take out some damn paper and a pencil and do some analysis themselves. Then post it. Then these people can become contributors instead of complainers.


Floggercat
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Floggercat, It's not meant to be "attitude". I'm merely suggesting some accountibility. I agree that we should do our ownd homework, and in fact I do. But, the bottom line is the the Fool does employ journalists-whether by profession or dumb luck, those columnists by virtue of what they do are journalists and need to maintain an even higher standard than the traditional brokerage-type media because of the spotlight they're in. That's all I'm saying and their are others that agree.
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I know there are others that agree; I only referenced you by name because you happened to start this particular thread, but I don't mean you are the only one that feels that way sometimes.

You see, I don't look at this site as a financial journal, I look at it as a bunch of amateurs talking about businesses and investing. Granted, some of the TMFers are trained in finance, but I put the TMFers on an equal footing with those on my favorite fools list, like Mycroft. There are others I don't have on the list too.

I've read every book, including Dale Wettlaufer's book, and I've read almost everything here for over two years, so I feel I have a "sense" of the site. That's not to say everyone else is wrong, of course, but I've seen quite a few people get angry at TMF because of misconceptions.


<snip>
But, the bottom line is the the Fool does employ journalists-whether by profession or dumb luck, those columnists by virtue of what they do are journalists and need to maintain an even higher standard than the traditional brokerage-type media because of the spotlight they're in.
<snip>


I would argue then that the people who post here, you and me included, are also in that same spotlight. I've made posting mistakes, but I hope my mistakes don't provoke outrage and condemnation. While TMF leads, we also participate and answer questions for new visitors. Every column references the appropriate board for the reader to visit. We are the teachers, opinion writers and board monitors too.

Bottom line: Your concerns were legitimate. You flamed the writers and all of TMF. There was a better way.

Floggercat
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floggercat writes:

"I've read every book, including Dale Wettlaufer's book"

Dale wrote a book? What's it called and where can I find it?

Thanks


Gary
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I'm sorry. Dale left recently, and I mixed him up with Robert Sheard. Robert wrote the book, titled The Unemotional Investor. That's what I meant, not Dale Wettlaufer. My mistake (unintentional).

I'll just blame it on the 20 inches of snow we got last week.

Floggercat
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I'm sorry. Dale left recently, and I mixed him up with Robert Sheard. Robert wrote the book, titled The Unemotional Investor. That's what I meant, not Dale Wettlaufer. My mistake (unintentional).


Uh oh ... I guess floggercat just got added to the "losing all credibility" list. Sorry, I just couldn't let that one pass without comment.

Fool On!

the LanceMan
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I'm merely suggesting some accountibility. <<<

Accountability is gained by the interactive nature of this site. When a TMF journalist writes something that is inaccurate or voices an opinion we disagree with we can write our "letter to the editor" on the spot just as you have. WE are responsible for keeping the Fools honest Fools! I submit that this thread is evidence that its working.

-Mark
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Not to beat a dead horse or anything but the original criticism was not that a minor mistake was made in calculating a flowie. We all make mistakes. Big deal, no problem. The orginal point was the manner in which the "correction" was voiced. It was not the most up-front, honest way to handle it. I suspect all that read this board respect TMF, its writers, and what it stands for. All the more reason to point out something that doesn't have the appearance of the high standards we have come to expect from TMF.

Paul
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It is also interesting that the original message in this thread has 14 recommendations. I think this a good indication that a number of people feel that Big Shoes has a valid point. That number is certainly sufficient to place it in the top 25 posts in this community. However, this particular post is not currently listed in the TOP 25.

Although I think that the wording about losing credibility is a bit strong, I have to applaud Big Shoes for taking a stand and pointing this out to TMF

Paul
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To summarise:

1) TMF Verve has a weird sense of humour.
2) Bigshoes and the rest have had what is technically known as a sense of humour failure.

In future all the winers should remember that TMF Verve has a warped sense of humour and that they should pay attentiaion to the factual content of his utterences not to the nuances of opinion that go with it. Then we can all be happy.

DD
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Floggercat- your point about all of us being "journalist" by nature of are posts is a point well taken. Touche!
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Unfortunately those that would un-recommend it aren't able to, and have it show vs. the recomendations.

George

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