A New Board is Born
by Moe Chernick (email@example.com)
EL SEGUNDO, CA (July 27, 1999) -- Some 30,000 messages ago, a Foolish Workshop message board was born on the Fool website. In its early days, it was a very gentle place. In those days, it was actually the Rodney Dangerfield of boards. In the 10 to 15 posts a day, such topics as whether or not to buy Philip Morris (NYSE: MO) topped the chart.
It was a board for those poor lesser souls who did not have AOL. In those days, even Workshop founder Robert Sheard would not let himself be seen on the website board. He would happily appear on the AOL board. He would even answer your e-mail. But be seen on the website Foolish Workshop board? Never.
Then something strange happened. It started with the departure of Mr. Sheard and accelerated with the arrival of board participant Sparfarkle. The website Workshop board slowly transformed from an outcast board to a board where brilliant new ideas were being formed almost every day. The contributions were enormous: Spark 5, PEG 5, RS-IBD as a monthly Screen of Screens, and Plowback. All of these screens (except Plowback) and many more came from the work of readers contributing to the Workshop board -- not from the staff, although Robert Sheard developed Plowback and the first version of Keystone before he left.
The Web Workshop board has grown and grown and grown. It is the little sister to nobody.
Of course all good comes with a little bad, and such is the case with this board. While its contributions to the Motley Fool in general and the Workshop area in particular have been invaluable, the board no longer serves the interests of the main group it was intended to serve -- new people who want to learn about the Workshop.
A new person going to the Workshop board this morning would have had to read thousands of messages to catch up with all of the various ideas that are being currently discussed. For many a newcomer the Workshop board had become a very intimidating place. To fix these problems, the current Web Workshop board was renamed "Mechanical Investing" and a new Web Foolish Workshop board has been created -- a board devoted to newcomers and those with a more casual interest in the Workshop, with the newly ordained TMF Elan (Elan Caspi) as its leader. For those attached to the old board, it will still be there, right where your bookmarks have it listed. For those newer people, frustrated by the lack of a board to ask your own questions and discuss your own issues, you now have a home, a place where you can figure out what's going on without feeling like you were just set down in the middle of Ulan Bator without a guide.
Will this someday lead to a battle of the boards? Most psychologists will tell you yes. Only time will tell, but there isn't a better man alive to handle the task of preventing a war and hosting the new board than TMF Elan. TMF Elan was one of the most knowledgeable and likable people on the old board, respected by the regulars while being kind and patient with the "newbies." His knowledge and mediation skills are sure to make the new board a place where people can ask their questions and get quality answers while the old board continues to drum out new ideas and backtest some of the older ones.
Congratulation to TMF Elan and to all our Workshop participants. Everybody now has a board they can call home.