I own a stock picking group on Yahoo, check stock message boards periodically and am well aware of the recent online stock/investing message board explosion. What most moderated groups have in common is that they draw people seeking to escape the nastiness and/or moronic behavior on some of the non-moderated stock message boards for a nice comfortable place where they can talk to likeminded traders and learn from each other without being attacked or derided. But in stock trading, being nice can cost you money.
We are taught to be nice. When somebody expresses an idea, we show support even if the idea seems ridiculous or risky. But a stock picking board is not a therapy session or a support group: it’s supposed to be a place where you can sound off ideas before putting your money at risk. If you can’t get honest feedback, what good is a message board? You don’t have to be nasty when punching holes in other people’s ideas – professional courteously will do.
Fear of Criticism
Some people don’t post for fear of being ridiculed or looking stupid. But in stock trading, only one thing counts: making money. If your idea ends up losing you money, don’t you wish you could have sounded it off before putting your money at risk? People should not equate themselves with their ideas. Plenty of dumb ideas come from smart people and vice versa. Besides, if you can’t take anonymous criticism or negativity, how can you take heat from the market when you put your ideas to a real test? Do you want to feel good or do you want to make money? If somebody stops you from doing something foolish, don’t you think a little anonymous criticism is a small price to pay for saving that money? And if your idea ends up making you money, what do you care what other people thought?
I know a couple of traders who started out by making every mistake in the book, but they weren’t afraid to admit their blunders publicly. The “friendly” advice was almost unanimous: stop trading, it’s not for you. But they persevered and learned, and are now making a lot of money, confident of their knowledge and style.
Some people are reluctant to post negative information about a stock for fear of not being nice. But knowing about a negative development can either prevent you from a costly mistake or save you a lot of money by helping you get out on time. Let other people decide whether the negative information has merit – share it if you have it.