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2. Make Your Posts Informative

We have high standards in these discussion boards. The best way to start a discussion is to contribute to it. So if you want to start a new thread of discussion about a company, it helps if you have done a spot of research of your own.

We love messages that explain a company’s products or business, particularly when members are sharing their special expertise. And of course, some analysis and research is always a bonus, like earnings estimates, or analysis of the balance sheet. Always bear in mind that you are more likely to draw responses and additional help when you provide some information yourself.

Nobody likes a message if it:

  • offers little or no information
  • contains emotion at the expense of reason
  • hypes an investment opportunity
  • attacks or insults other people
  • is difficult to read

This one for example, manages to do all those things in just two lines:

   “AQZ!!! this Ones RED HOTTT!!!!!! BUy before monday!
   Will DOUBLE in 6 Mths!!!! anyone who disagrees is an idiot!!!”

The multiple exclamation marks, the use of just the ticker symbol (‘AQZ’), the complete lack of any financial information, the over-emphasized “hotness” of the stock, the terrible spelling and grammar, together with the insult to potential doubters, should all serve to make the thoughtful reader, whether a novice or advanced investor, deeply suspicious about the motives of anyone who posts such a message.

We are generous here at the Fool. We try to assume the best of everyone, and new members are given a certain amount of “benefit of the doubt”. However, a person posting in the style above would have used up a huge amount of that benefit.

You don’t always need write a lengthy message providing elaborate information about the company you want to ask about. We just want people to regard reading our discussion boards as time well-spent, and that means providing as much information as possible.

With that in mind, please don’t post just a link to something on another website – add some comments of your own to say what the link goes to, and why you think other people might find it worth reading.

Needless to say, each company discussion board is only for posts about that particular company – posts about other companies would be regarded as ‘off-topic‘. So, if you want to post about a different company, you should do so on the appropriate company board, on the “All UK Shares” discussion board, or on the appropriate sector discussion board.