Friday, May 03, 2013

Self selection

I stopped visiting's forum for stock investors, and it isn't because I am no longer interested investing.

Over the years, there is a general decline in the quality of the comments made in the forum. It doesn't matter that many of these are simply efforts to cheer a stock rally. If that makes an investor in the red feel better, I cannot fault them. However, many of the comments are tasteless, or even lewd. Then there are the inevitable doomsday soothsayers, who are probably don't even own stocks, since they delight in prophesying stock market crashes. And last of all, petty keyboard wars frequently erupt, with childish barbs that fill up the spaces meant for stock analysis.

I can't help attributing this degeneration to the fact that the platform is free, since the free forums have gone down the same route. Anyone can go in to post whatever they like, and if they get banned, they simply create a new avatar. In comparison, the quality of the discussion at another paid forum is far more thoughtful. People post only when they have meaningful comments to make, and don't give silly answers to my questions.

When free platforms are abused in this manner, it only drives the serious investors into gated communities, where people do not misbehave under the cloak of anonymity. Then these free forums would be abandoned by investors who may have genuinely useful advice to give, and whose loss is it?

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