No. of Recommendations: 4
Let me see. People are talking about all the things they have learned, the community, the prices of other products that they buy and similar things.

Interesting.

The knowledge: There is nothing that I have found at the Fool that I haven't found other places on the web in terms of knowledge. For that matter, everything that I find here and use I verify somewhere else (at least one location if not two) before I do use it/believe it.

The people: Certainly this is probably the best chance that TMF has for keeping their audience. However, the big question is whether or not people will just go to another location. For example, I already know multiple boards that have groups set up on Yahoo. So, I can still write notes to everyone that I know at a different location. I guess that isn't a reason to stay either.

The cost: It costs money to put up message boards. Well, of course it does. The fact that TMF can't sell enough ads to support message boards is surprising. I'm assuming that costs have gotten out of control. It seems like you can dump most of the messages that are older than a certain date (reduces storage cost), cut out people intensive activites (monitoring boards), cut out improvements (TMF shouldn't be in the business of reinventing message board technology, or am I not allowed to say that on the Improve the Fool board).

Other products: I pay that much for my ISP for a month or for cable or heck, I don't pay that much for my newspaper. Well, if we are going to compare products, why don't we compare products that are more similar. Other message boards. I don't pay for any of the other message boards that I go to.

See you guys over on Yahoo. :)

justpatrick
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No. of Recommendations: 3
The cost: It costs money to put up message boards. Well, of course it does. The fact that TMF can't sell enough ads to support message boards is surprising. I'm assuming that costs have gotten out of control. It seems like you can dump most of the messages that are older than a certain date (reduces storage cost), cut out people intensive activites (monitoring boards), cut out improvements (TMF shouldn't be in the business of reinventing message board technology, or am I not allowed to say that on the Improve the Fool board).

Lets see. Say TMF have 10 million messages stored, and they average 1000 bytes each. That is 10,000,000,000 bytes; 10 gigabytes. If they had only one server, that would fit on a 10 Gbyte 10,000 rpm hard drive that you can get for about $250. You would probably need as much space for the index into the database, so either a $300 hard drive, or two $250 hard drives. Not a major expense. They would no doubt require more than one server, though to meet the throughput desires of the community.

Other products: I pay that much for my ISP for a month or for cable or heck, I don't pay that much for my newspaper. Well, if we are going to compare products, why don't we compare products that are more similar.

Well, IBD costs $1.00/day if you get it on your newsstand. A yearly subscription will save you some, but I doubt it will get down to $0.04/day. My ISP costs me about $300/year, but I get additional service from them that most users probably do not require; their basic rate is about $160/year for an annual subscription.
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The fact that TMF can't sell enough ads to support message boards is surprising.

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No. of Recommendations: 1
Sorry for that last post -- I'm now officially annoyed that my TAB key has been hijacked. But that might just be my web browser.

The fact that TMF can't sell enough ads to support message boards is surprising.

Why is this surprising? Ads are intolerable. I would say that I would pay $30/yr just to have an ad-free service, but that (perversely) only seems to encourage their spread.

cut out improvements (TMF shouldn't be in the business of reinventing message board technology, or am I not allowed to say that on the Improve the Fool board).

Well, I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a good web-based message board technology, so I'm happy that someone is at least trying to improve it.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Jumping into the middle here...

Usenet is free. Since everybody is already paying an ISP and most ISPs offer broad access to many newsgroups, and since new newsgroups can be set up with varying degrees of difficulty (hard in the "misc" hierarchy, easier in the "alt" hierarchy), everything that goes on in TMF could take place in Usenet.

I've been using these boards and putting up with the ads because the navigation is easier than a newsreader. But not by all that much. And Google allows searches of archived Usenet messages just like this board does.

I haven't used Usenet for investment discussion but I have used it for other, serious topics and it can be a heck of a resource. And NOBODY owns it. Now, if you want something closely resembling the policing involved in this system, you might want moderated newsgroups, and I have never explored what is involved in setting one up. But anyway, the question came up so there's an answer: Usenet is free and it's not Yahoo.

Before leaving the point, let me say that I like this system -- but it has limitations. I don't want it to change but its hold on me is tenuous. As has been noted, one has to double-check much of what one reads here, and the best of what one finds comes from a relatively small number of contributors. I believe that it is a delicate balance that keeps such folks hanging around, and I don't know why the owners felt they should tinker with it at a time like this.

Just a comment. Hope I'm not repeating something that was just said -- this board moves fast. :-)
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No. of Recommendations: 16
Here is yet another opinion, but this time from a slightly different perspective. I have read through a good majority of these posts just wanting to check people's different opinions (which is one of the great things about this board) and a lot of the people writing have a lot of posts and experience behind their usernames. As you may (or may not) notice on mine - no stars, no anything. This is actually my very first post.

Now, I have been lurking for a little bit just doing some learning. I received the TMF (is that redundant?) Investor's Guide as a Christmas gift, and it really opened my eyes to a whole new world. And while it did open my eyes, I realize that there is a lot to see and learn in this world - which is where this board and internet site come in. I am just out of college, and make good money so that the thirty dollars doesn't bother me too much. I will admit this though - when I first read the announcement the first phrase to pop in my head was "Wow, that sucks!" But then I started thinking of things in terms of value - what will that thirty dollars get me?

Not everyone will be able to answer that question the same. Heck, maybe not anyone. But I know what it means for me. Like I mentioned, I have a lot to learn, and this is one of the primary places to do it (again for me...) Learning is an iterative process - you learn by reading, by asking questions, by doing, and by asking questions. After following some of the discussions here, there are some people that flat out know their "stuff," or have great ideas to look at, or anyone of an infinite array of possibilities. Now, it comes down to the question are they going to stay around? I truly hope so - because again hopefully they see the value in this. That is the risky part of this - but there is risk in anything we do. Life is one big risk, filled with a bunch of smaller ones. There are ways that this risk can be minimized however, on all ends. If you have a friend that is valuable to the boards and is "on the fence" about this - try to convince them to stay. As "paying" members, we have the responsibility to bring in and keep quality people. I did the whole fraternity thing (there was a post earlier with this same analogy) and quality people bring in quality people. If you want to step back from that though - people bring in people (what's quality to you is different from what is quality to me.) In this case, the key is to bring in different opinions - because hey, that is what makes this place valuable. On the other end of things (i.e. the board managers etc.) they HAVE to listen to some of the suggestions that have been made and be willing to ADAPT and EVOLVE quickly. There have been some really good ideas made in these posts - and they really need to be thought about. Doing these kinds of things will keep people and attract new...which benefits everyone (as an example - I'm not a huge fan of how the board is layed out in terms of displaying messages. I think the forums at Anandtech, for example, are extremely well done and very "user-friendly.")

Another side for me though is the ability to contribute, which is something I plan on doing more and more of as time progresses. I want to become one of the "irreplaceable" members by teaching and helping with the things that I have/ will have learned. We truly get what we put in to it. Creating value for someone else? Great! But it will also create value for me (they say to show you learned something, teach someone else...) Plus, it gives the ability to forge new friendships with fellow Fools. Added bonus.

So right now I am learning heavily towards "sign me up!" (I have until the 14th, and who knows what may happen between now and then). But I look at it in terms of what I have to lose/what do I have to gain - 30 dollars to lose, an infinite amount to gain (but only if I try to achieve it.) I'll take that chance. Hopefully you will too. Geesh, I should be paid for this :) There is a financial commercial that says "The biggest risk is not taking one at all."

Delsphynx
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Usenet is free. Since everybody is already paying an ISP and most ISPs offer broad access to many newsgroups, and since new newsgroups can be set up with varying degrees of difficulty (hard in the "misc" hierarchy, easier in the "alt" hierarchy), everything that goes on in TMF could take place in Usenet.

I like the way UseNet works, and think it slightly better than the Motley Fool method especially for threads. You cannot recommend posts.

However, when I last looked at misc.invest.stocks, or whichever ones I looked at, they were completely useless because the signal to noise ratio was so low.
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I like the way UseNet works, and think it slightly better than the Motley Fool method especially for threads. You cannot recommend posts.

However, when I last looked at misc.invest.stocks, or whichever ones I looked at, they were completely useless because the signal to noise ratio was so low.


Not surprising. Being a free service, and having competition for users from TMF and Yahoo, Usenet has probably had a shortage of guiding hands to create an elaborate hierarchy of stock-specific groups, much less to find moderators for a few key investment groups.

But all those things can be created. Usenet is user-powered and always evolving. A group I used to participate in was very active, very focused (pretty much as focused as most stock boards here) and it had been established by votes cast by users already on another newsgroup higher up in the hierarchy (think of it as an outline or tree structure).

I don't know what groups are there now, but you could have misc.invest, then below that, misc.invest.bonds, misc.invest.mutualfunds and of course misc.invest.stocks -- below which would be company-specific groups. In the "misc" hierarchy it is somewhat harder to get groups started specifically to keep things from getting crazy. But in others (like the alt hierarchy) people start up newsgroups pretty readily.

Anyway, if this site did not offer this service, and Yahoo didn't offer an alternative, I would be over on Usenet, and so would half the people here, I suspect. Usenet is still an excellent information source in some content areas, and you just learn to filter out noise. A moderated newsgroup takes care of that, but I don't know how they are established.

In my experience, people on Usenet groups are just as nice, just as friendly, and just as helpful as anybody I've "met" here. And the sense of community builds very rapidly. It is an online thing, not specific to this site. Those who cite TMF as being unique in that "community" concept evidently aren't aware that it goes back a long time and has many parallels.
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