We've all been there. We hear that amazing growth story about the next Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), or McDonald's (NYSE:MCD). You can get in on the ground floor, baby! But you gotta do it now!

But how do you go about checking the story?

You can run the numbers, but numbers can fudge the truth. And they don't always tell the whole story. By the numbers, as people point out ad nauseam, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has almost never looked like a good buy. But it's just kept growing into its premium valuation.

So how do you know if you can believe what you see?

How about those Internet message boards? There's always a lot of enthusiasm -- just check the threads on Hansen Natural (NASDAQ:HANS), Bare Escentuals (NASDAQ:BARE), or Under Armour (NASDAQ:UARM). There are people with great arguments for both sides of the case.

The "pumpers" have growth and momentum on their side. The "bashers" try and point out the problems. But how do you know who to believe? How do you keep from getting jumped by those anonymous message-board heroes?

We've got your back.

At Motley Fool CAPS, our free stock-rating service, we have some of the usual -- strong opinions on stocks, from thousands of contributors (16,000, at last count).

But we've also got something no one else can offer you: a ranking system that keeps track of the people making the pitches. In other words, if the dude making the impassioned plea for Under Armour is a 99th-percentile player, you may feel pretty comfortable throwing your lot in with him.

On the other hand, if everyone touting that Vancouver penny-stock gold mine is a 20th-percentile scorer, you might want to do the opposite of whatever they say. In fact, early in its existence, CAPS has proven to be an excellent way to identify overpriced junk and even outright scams. Many of the top 10 players have a solid record of underperform calls and back up their opinions with research pulled straight from the filings.

(For a good time, read up on stocks like Conversion Solutions.)

It's natural to want a little backup when you're in the wilderness of Internet stock discussion. That's why I find it interesting that no one else out there has made it possible, let alone easy, for you to check on the people pontificating on the market. We also track Wall Street research firms, as well as people like Jim Cramer (who's currently in the bottom fifth of all players).

So come on over to CAPS. We've got your back.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had no positions in any company mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Dell is a recommendation of Motley Fool Inside Value and Stock Advisor. Starbucks is also a Stock Advisor pick. Under Armour is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Fool rules are here.