Have you ever checked out our amazing discussion board community? If not, you owe it to yourself to at least explore it a little. Permit me to offer a few reasons why.
Breadth of content
Click over to our main page for our board community for a minute, and you'll see what I mean by breadth. It's hard to convey the true scope without filling this entire article with board names. I have, in the past, listed lots of investing and non-investing boards in the community itself, to help members discover new and interesting nooks and crannies. Check out those lists, if you'd like. You may have to sign up for a free 30-day trial of our board community, but that's really a good thing to do, as you may stumble upon many wonderful people and places there. The trial is painless and won't lock you in for the rest of your life. You may also stumble upon some terrific companies and stocks in which to invest. I'm far from the only Fool who has discovered some great investments on our boards.
Here's a list of just a few of our boards, just to wet your whistle:
- Investing Beginners
- Retirement Investing
- Dividend Growth Investing
- The Foolish Collective
- Peter Lynch Investing
- Mutual Funds
- Tax Strategies
- Reading Financial Statements
- Terms, Definitions, & Jargon
- Turnarounds/Value Investing
- My Dumbest Investment
- Discount Brokers
- Bonds & Fixed Income Investments
Note that we also have individual boards for hundreds, if not thousands, of companies. So if you're interested in Microsoft or Starbucks or eBay or Disney, for example, you can pop into a board where that company is the main topic.
Here are a few of our hundreds of non-investing boards:
- Great Movies
- Eclectic Library
- Help with this STUPID computer!
- Ask The Headhunter
- Best Travel Spots/Tips
- Quitting Smoking
- Living Below Your Means
- Humor and Urban Legends
- Building/Maintaining a Home
- Gardening and Landscaping
- Consumer Credit/Credit Cards
- Self-Employed Fools
- Pet Lovers
At first glance, it might seem undesirable to have controls on discussion boards. I think the ones we have make sense, though, and help prevent our community from lapsing into the chaos you'll find on some other boards. Here are some of the controls we have in place.
We don't maintain discussion boards for penny stocks, because of the potential for manipulation there. (I'm referring to practices such as "pumping and dumping," where a dastardly sort might rave about a small company, drive up its share price, and then quickly sell before the stock crashes, wiping out many people.)
On each post, there's a "Report this Post" link, where readers can flag for us any offensive posts. We'll review the matter and remove the post if that's called for. We aim for our community to be a friendly and respectful one, and we remove problematic posts.
We like to have controls in our readers' hands, too, which is why you can request new boards at any time. If you can't find a board for iguana breeding, you can ask that one be opened. You can designate lots of boards as your "Favorites," and we'll park links to just those boards on your "My Fool" page. You can designate many Fools as "Favorite Fools," too, and can even place those who annoy you in a "penalty box," so you won't even see their posts.
If your curiosity is growing, we've got answers to frequent questions about our boards.
Bells and whistles
We keep improving our boards, too. You can sort your boards' messages in chronological order or by discussion topic. You can see who loves you -- who has designated you as a Favorite Fool. You can create polls easily, to collect opinions from board denizens on all kinds of topics. You can earn "Lucky Charms" through the quality and/or quantity of your own posts. You can track replies to your posts and mark posts that you want to reply to later. These are just a few of many features.
But let's face it -- all this remarkable structure would be rather meaningless if our board community was populated mostly by tumbleweeds, drifting quietly through dusty cyberspace. It would be nearly as bad if we had lots of community members, but ones who were as smart as cabbages and as eloquent as barnyard animals. Fortunately, that's very far from the case.
Our community members are very diverse (dare I say motley?) and are generally very smart, opinionated, generous, and helpful. Several have been on Jeopardy! (and won!). Many are doctors, lawyers, and teachers.
One feature of our boards that I like a lot is that every community member can create a Profile (here's mine, as an example) and can conduct a self-interview (mine). I like them because they help me get to know the person behind the posts. (Here is a list of recently created or updated interviews.) They also often feature the poster's favorite websites and stocks that most interest him or her.
I thought it might be fun to poke through a bunch of interviews and find some interesting snippets. Here are just a few questions and answers I recently ran across:
The Fool : Given a second chance, what financial decision would you like to do over?
Knoxymama: When I was a youngster, I made A LOT OF MONEY. We're talking six figures at 20 years old. Armani and Gucci had great years those years. And I have little or nothing to show for it. Learned my lesson the hard way.
The Fool : What do you fear most?
MrCromulent: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. That and spiders.
The Fool : Your most heroic moment in life?
them : Being a single dad for many years.
The Fool : What's the best advice you've ever received?
ztsmart : "If you can live without her, let her go."
The Fool : What product would you like to see us offer at Fool Mart -- www.foolmart.com -- our online store?
The Fool : Your greatest fear?
fox1219: Becoming a Bag Lady. I never told this to anyone. Didn't want them to think I was nuts. Then Oprah had a program with top female executives making six & seven figure incomes, their FEAR, Becoming a Bag Lady. Sure made me feel better.
The Fool : What's your greatest athletic achievement?
bdluckyshot : I hit a hole-in-one in a golf tournament and won a car. That was four holes after I won a prize for the shortest drive on a hole.
The Fool : What technology do you wish the world had but doesn't yet?
Watashi13: Perfect synthetic food: a balanced healthy meal in any form at a reasonable price. What if lasagna and chocolate ice cream had the same nutritional value as broccoli and Grape Nuts? What if they could create prime rib from carrots?
The Fool : Make a confession.
SvenDelNorte: Swedish-Mexican food is not quite as good as it sounds.
The Fool : What's been your best investment to date, and how did you discover it?
dccats5: S&P Index fund. The Fool.
InCards: My best investment to date has been Cisco
UNLVRebels: My best investment to date was Red Envelope
The Fool : As a former child and possibly parent of one now, share your best advice about raising children.
85andbreezy: Hug them, read to them, tell them knock-knock jokes.
The Fool : Have you had a brush with fame, the proverbial "15 minutes"?
averagjoe : The first time I flew an airplane, I got airsick. I was sitting next to an attractive lady and I threw up on her fur coat. She was gracious and forgiving. After we landed, the stewardess told me it was Jane Russell.
The Fool : What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?
eduffy : TORNADO LIGHTS. Me and a friend were seeing a small part of the sky at the top of a tornado turn brilliant blue red and yellow and these colors would alternate in a circle slowly as the tornado spins. Later we found out the dust spins so fast in a tornado that it can produce static electricity and can cause the sky to glow in alternating colors.
The Fool : Tell us an amusing anecdote about your childhood.
MsVeeDub: I got to sing Christmas carols with Irving Berlin at the piano. He was really old, and I was really young, but I knew it was a cool thing I was doing.
The Fool : What, in your opinion, are some of life's big mysteries?
Raggmopp: Well, pretty clearly the thermos bottle. I mean it keeps hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold, right? How does it know?
See? Lots of interesting, amusing people. And many of them are more than happy to answer any questions you have -- our boards are full of questions and answers, along with stories, opinions, laughs, and more. Interact with them online and soon you'll find yourself with some new friends. Take advantage of a painless 30-day free trial of our entire discussion board community and see for yourself.
Selena Maranjian's favorite discussion boards include Book Club, Eclectic Library,andCard & Board Games. She owns shares of no companies mentioned in this article. For more about Selena, viewher bio and her profile. You might also be interested in these books she has written or co-written:The Motley Fool Money GuideandThe Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.