It's not often that friendly acquaintances begin with obscenity-strewn email messages, but such are the circumstances of my association with a reader I call Fishmarket. (That's not his real handle, but it will do, and you'll see why.)

After my article earlier this week on IPIX (NASDAQ:IPIX), Fishmarket was one of dozens of stock jocks with a bad case of the angries. How dare I savage this stock, they asked, though I used nothing more deceitful than the facts, and pretty obvious ones (big losses, huge insider sales, etc.).

I challenged every one of these unhappy campers to come up with a few solid reasons to invest in this company and told them I would try to get it published right in this space. I was not surprised that none of them -- not even the one who purported to be a representative of IPIX itself -- took me up on it. Sure, a few babbled back with vague promises about the huge market for security in an uncertain world -- the same bogus platitudes that pepper the company's latest press release.

But while no one could come up with any numbers, Fishmarket, to his credit, at least told me the truth about his interest in the stock.

"This is a trading sardine, not an eating sardine," he wrote.

I love that line. (Apparently, it features in Seth Klarman's Margin of Safety, a value-investing tome.) And though he's bombarded me with filthy insults, I suspect Fishmarket is an OK guy -- the kind of guy you'd be really psyched to see on Friday at happy hour. But here's the problem: Guys like him are ready to skin as many of us as they have to in order to shave their points and make their daily bread. There's no malice in it. This is just business.

But when the chart goes stale, they're only too happy to leave behind bag-holders such as DoeEyedNewby (not his real name either), a young investor who told me that he lost more than $10,000 after he was convinced by the IPIX hype to buy in near $20 a share a few months back.

Fishmarket has no need for the Fool or me. But to DoeEyedNewby, I say, "Welcome." Here's a reminder of what the Fool is all about.

It's about taking control of your financial destiny by learning to enjoy investing. It's about questioning conventional wisdom, especially when other people start trying to shout you down. It's about realizing that the next big thing might not be next, big, or even much of a thing. It's about wondering whether Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) is really worth the price of entry, or XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR), for that matter. It's about learning whether to hold sluggard stocks such as Marvel Enterprises (NYSE:MVL) because the underlying business is still very profitable. It's about acquiring the analytical tools to figure out whether a recent loser such as Winn-Dixie (NYSE:WIN) might turn into a value and asset play, even though Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is banging down the door.

The Motley Fool is about finding the right sardine -- an eating sardine -- and learning how to find more of them. Sure, you'll find a few stinkers along the way, as we all do, but we try to make it fun to do the fishing, so you'll come back to the docks for more.

If you want some stock ideas up front and will take your learning on the side, check out the Fool's market-beating newsletters. If you don't like these sardines, you can toss them back for a full refund. Try getting that deal from those traders out there.

Seth Jayson transformed from a penniless student into a cigar-smoking plutocrat, all thanks to the Fool. He owns shares of Marvel Enterprises, but has no position in any other company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.