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January 12, 1999

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Subject: Re: Crashes
Author: TMFBogey

Jean-David wrote:

I do not know what to do about this. As it is, I skip between 90% and 95% of the postings on the more active boards. I do not think this is satisfactory. Perhaps The Motley Fool should ration postings; e.g., permit users to post no more than 10 items per day on the entire site.

It's an interesting dynamic, no? When the Fool first launched message boards, there were 25-50 posts a day. Jean-David, you remember I know. Now there are several thousand. In the beginning, separating the wheat from the chaff wasn't a problem. You didn't really have to because it took such a short period of time to get through all of it. Now, it's a different story.

Through the past two years, we've tried to build functionality into thee boards that would allow you to have an easier time of it as the volume got heavier. These items include:

"Identify people who always post solid information and make them your 'Favorite Fools' by clicking the happy face next to their name."

1. Threading
2. Favorite Boards.
3. Favorite Fools, Penalty Box

In the next several months, we'll be taking these things to an even higher level. I won't elaborate here, but the whole notion of separating the wheat from the chaff may get much easier. We'll see.

For now, I strongly recommend a few things:

1. Use threaded mode and skip over threads whose subjects don't sound interesting to you.

2. Identify people who always post solid information and make them your "Favorite Fools" by clicking the happy face next to their name. At the very least, you can see their posts each day and know that you're going to be treated to some good, solid posting.

3. For people who are posting wasteful or frivilous information, put them in the Penalty Box by clicking the frown next to their name. From then on, you won't see their posts anymore. (You can always reverse this by clicking "Customize" on the boards and taking them out of the box.)

4. Finally, a somewhat off-the-beaten-path suggestion. Open an investment club folder If there are a group of people whose postings you find particularly useful and who share common interests with you, ask them if they'd like to post with you on a club message board.

"Like all communities, the larger they get, the more important it is for us, as 'citizens' of that community, to identify circles of friends."

Whether you start an honest-to-goodness club is irrelevant. Basically you're assembling a circle of friends who have common interests and whose posts you enjoy. In there, you can have conversations about all of the topics you enjoy. The one request we have is that if you do this, and someone comes into your club folder, please treat them with Foolish respect.

Like all communities, the larger they get, the more important it is for us, as "citizens" of that community, to identify circles of friends. It's impossible to know everyone and everything. So, we pick and choose those conversations and friends that most interest us.

Best to all,

Bogey


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