Apparently the software used by spambots is improving. About a dozen managed to make anonymous posts on Sunday night. While Chip cleared them out, she reports that they began arriving at the rate of one every two or three minutes. Unless we can figure out a better security arrangement, we'll have to disable the anonymous posting with a captcha code option.
For what comfort it offers, registering is quick and painless. At base, either Chip or I need to be convinced that there's a human (and we're even pretty flexible about that) rather than a spambot requesting access. Depending on the time that the registration request comes in, the turnaround is between one hour (my check-in interval most days) and twelve hours.
e.g. search for Skeeter.
What is Off-Topic? What is an area that is not directly related to funds; but may be Off-Topic, yet may be of great value in protecting one's assets?
Do you consider events related to the Euro problems or actions of the Fed. or Treasury to not have an impact upon our investments?
What about discussions regarding the possible changes coming to tax policies upon capital gains and dividends? Would this not affect your portfolio; or at least your portfolio positioning? Do you think if this noted area of taxation does change for the worse; that this may impact equity market selling at the end of 2012?
Has there been any subject matter in Off-Topic from which you have benefited from the information?
The "ignore" the Off-Topic" is always a choice, eh?
I would like to know the answers.
David Snowball can run his site as he pleases, but I think that we should return to the Fundarm roots and only have one forum category. I may be the minority here, but I must express my view on this issue.
I have posted some time under the handle Skeeter and used this handle over at fund alarm. I chose it because it was the name of a dearly loved departed family pet.
Moving on … Someone booted one of my post to the front of the message board that was deep down in the stack with some words that were not so kind. They in effect said … They were tired of losing customers and if I wanted to remain vertical and not be put horizontal I needed to watch myself.
For information purposes … I am not a financial advisor, financial planner etc. My profession is that of an administrator. I earned a BA in Economics.
If indeed the person that made the comment is a financial planner … and, he is losing clients because of post that appear on this board … Well, perhaps it is more because of the advice he has rendered and not from the post that appear on the board.
From my perspective, this site is all about helping other fellow investors down the path of investing. I write for my past experience and thoughts I have on various subjects. My comments are not ment to be financial advice for others to follow ... It is about what I am doing that others might find interest in. And, I enjoy being a small part of the board.
Due to the nature of the beast ... I felt a comment from me was both justified and warranted.
Remembering all that, thinking that some "off-topic" posts here are of interest to MF investors (economic trends & indicators, individual stocks people are looking at, etc.), and knowing that I don't have to look at any of the off-topic stuff if I don't want to, I'd be in favor of leaving this board as is.
To get more in line with "respectable percentages of off-topic posts" to Fund Discussions posts would be to purge off-Topic discussion's that have not been commented upon within the last six months. Although probably not very significant it could possibly speed database lookups. Also, users who haven't logged in for over a year when the time comes could also be purged.
Seems to me that 35% is a pretty respectable minority, and it's interesting that some mindsets evidently feel that minorities have no business posting here. Attitudes like that sometimes make me wonder what country I'm in.
Take care- OJ
At the same time, both my own sense of things and the research literature I follow suggest that healthy communities - whether online or in an academic department - aren't "all business, all the time." Whether on matters that are peripheral (oh, say, internal politics in the Euro-zone) or irrelevant (the prospect that Facebook is spying on us all) to fund investing, sometimes it's good and important to kvetch with folks you've come to trust and respect. It's not merely harmless, but essential to the process of building and sustaining a community.
In general, if folks come to talk about fund investing and stay to swap book recommendations, that seems entirely reasonable. Heck, if I had a way to arrange it, I'd have coffee waiting for you when you arrived.
I think I'll go hunt for nasty-grams.
Getting back to the idea of what the forum offers, if 35% of the board is "off-topic", then obviously there's been effort and thought offered in that section and enough interest in what people are saying that it continues to be a large part of the content. I'm not sure what taking away 35% of the content accomplishes and that's 35% less content for new visitors to browse through. There's value there to new members. Furthermore, it's easily navigated - you don't want to look at off-topic, you don't have to, so not sure why it's even an issue.
As for comments on things like Facebook and google privacy issues, I actually find that a lot of people here have useful insights.
This board is also - aside from a few comments like the one I got on an article I posted the other day and some of the political debates that never really go anywhere but cause tension - a lot calmer. I think as the months go by, the board has settled in and I think the discussion continues to improve both in terms of mutual funds and otherwise.
Roy ruthlessly and idiosyncratically moderated the old FundAlarm board, sometimes deleting entire long threads that he felt had gone too far off the rails. It added a certain frisson to any borderline posting -- would it survive? This was part of the charm of the FundAlarm board (as was the aging off of not so very old messages). You never stepped into the same river twice on that board. Still, I suspect it was very labor-intensive, and I viewed it as an expression of Roy's personality. David's personality is different, and the somewhat less ruthless approach seems in keeping.
For myself, I prefer having an off-topic area which is (usually) easy enough to ignore, and to which it is easy to move (rather than delete) threads in the mutual fund discussion area that really don't belong.
"To sleep, perchance to Dream of MFO; Ay, there's the rub." The title is "Anonymous posting has been disabled".
The thread got hijacked to the worthiness of an off-topic discussion era and off-topic discussions in general.
Since, as noted, some people ignore off-topic and technical discussion topics, it is important that word gets out that "anonymous postings are now disabled" and since that is important to the few resistant anonymous posters they need to know what happened and David has kindly provided the "why" in the most widely read category because of its import. Seems to me the wisest choice by David as usual.
"David's personality is different, and the somewhat less ruthless approach seems in keeping."
Me thinks David is full of "ruth", not an ounce of unnecessary "ruthlessness".
And I'm glad Skeeter is now posting it is now easier to search for his valuable posts form now on in via @CecilJK, at least after he starts a new discussion.
With respect to the privacy issue, I agree with you on that also.
To reinforce your point to perhaps hypothetical anonymous-or-bust hold-outs: It is easy enough to accomplish almost the same degree of protection by creating a new gmail account with an email address like [email protected]. If you set up email forwarding from that account to one of your "real accounts", you can even still get convenient notifications from the site. Then the privacy issue is really limited to the linkage of your indirect email address to your direct one in the gmail account system, and you get more functionality, too.
This indirect approach won't satisfy the rigorously anonymous user who only posts via three layers of proxy servers in different countries to keep your true IP address out of the web logs of MFO, but it really ought to satisfy the "casually anonymous" user who is just trying to protect against accidental disclosure onto the Internet of an everyday email address by a well-intentioned site with a small support team.
The anonymous-or-bust user still could just take the approach of not using notifications, and leaving the [email protected] account out on an island, unlinked to anything else that could be related to him/her.