Finance forum posting etiquette

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Any thoughts?

ive already voiced my opinion but ill reiterate. i think before asking a question, people should do a search and read up on ALL the posts. more likely than not unless its something brand new, its been discussed.

1. it inflates the existing thread (length/quality/etc...)
2. it encourages more lazy questions
3. those of us who has answered it for the 1000th time doesnt want to answer the 1001st time.

i know i sound harsh/cranky... thats because i am. i was once nice and answered as many questions as i could (once i learned it - i learned it by reading not asking) but after a few dozen repeats...

another food for thought:
have you noticed that the more senior members who lead the threads in its early days completely stopped posting (or almost)? do we want to to encourage the disinterest of older members who made most of the contributions over the new people who 'thread crap' (rehashing questions that has been debated to death w/out bring up new angles) and make it not worth while for senior members to contribute?

if someone new to the thread really DID do a search and couldnt find the answer, how about saying what information they found that was close to what theyre looking for, but not quite... and describe the not quite part. theres a challenge to prove that newbies actually do read past threads!

Also, I think that anyone who didn't attend Harvard Law School or Wharton MBA should be prohibited from participating in the finance forum.

Sure, but then nobody would understand it... <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

what made you ask tooshy?

Here are some off-the-top thoughts:

-As others have mentioned, DO NOT simply ask a question on a subject without checking the rest of the thread. Yes, some of them are long, but 5 minutes of skimming won't hurt. Change your FW settings to 100 posts per page instead of the default 20, that helps make it go faster.

-When asking for advice, please give as much specific information about your circumstances as possible in the initial post.

-When making a non-obvious claim about how something works, please explain what your source was so that others can judge its credibility for themselves.

-Please either do not edit/delete your explanatory posts, or explain how they have been edited. Several good threads here were all but ruined by people removing their input.

-Please do not condem other members for mistakes or foolish decisions they have made in the past. It serves no purpose, and discourages others from volunteering their info/experiences/advice.


-Before starting a new thread on a subject, make sure that there isn't another current one you can bump. We have too many subjects spanning multiple threads because someone didn't take the time to check for this.

-Attack arguments, not people. And no personal insults please.

well put DH. i actually dont care about the rest (except maybe referrals)... just tired of reading the same stuff over and over again.

in reference to thread deletions (i disagree somewhat)... i dont blame notafool at all. im almost about to do the same - heck, they arent being read anyways! im sure no one misses them except one or two of us nostalgic fools. yes, it is very shameful... we lost a lot of gems especially in the savings bond thread.

DaveHanson, I asked because I made comments in the AMEX Cash Rebate Card FAQ and Strategy thread, which MarkM said was unrelated. He felt that my comments about Fleet cc card and savings bond timing was unrelated to the topic of the thread. Instead of continuing our discussion in that thread, I thought it better to discuss it here.

MarkM, I mentioned Fleet cc card use and savings bond timing as suggestions of how I would use the AMEX card. Although my comments were specifically about what I would do, I still thought it might be of some general benefit to others who read it. I personally like to read what others plan to do in their own particular situations to compare with my situation.

The rules of the 5% AMEX rebate card is so difficult to understand, for that reason, we should try to keep all the discussions on topic, otherwise the topic will become extremely lengthy. I understand your point, and will comply from here on.

However, there is a need to discuss ancillary topics and that is what I am interested in as well. Individuals who want to discuss their own situations can start their own ancillary threads instead of piling on the AMEX Cash Rebate Card FAQ and Strategy thread. People who have Q & A unrelated to or not enhancing to the discussion, or who are lost, should ask for help in their own thread. Some people do not mind spoon feeding others. So instead of bumping the AMEX 5% thread to discuss anything and everything about the AMEX card, those who cannot keep up the pace should start their own thread.

I agree that it would be courteous as a general rule to read all the posts in a thread before commenting in that thread. Again, if someone doesn't want to do that but needs individual advice, maybe it wouldn't be wrong for them to just start their own thread. Yes, it may encourage people to be lazy, but can we expect everyone to be as knowledgeable and smart as others?

<< Individuals who want to discuss their own situations can start their own ancillary threads instead of piling on the AMEX Cash Rebate Card FAQ and Strategy thread>>

the problem is... everyone is asking the same question!!! and they have been answered over and over again.

im totally not against new questions. note the word new.

<<Some people do not mind spoon feeding others.>>

but to the rest of us, we mind. unless a new thread is created and question is CLEARLY stated in the topic so we can avoid them. if that is the case, newbies wont want to start new threads or will purposely bump them because most people dont want to answer them. what is their solution? post in threads that people do read, aka the main threads. our problem now comes back to where we started.

the easiest solution for all is.. dont post new threads... READ THE EXISTING ONES!!! i mean most of us do that already, why cant the other half comply? how hard is it to really read? you might learn something else in addition to what youre looking for.

edit: ok enough rant. i think im now repeating over and over again <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0> ive made my point. unless there is something else worth mentioning, im sitting this thread out. im following the example of other senior member by contributing only when theres something new and interesting.

Yes, people should read more and post less. But this is not a scholarly forum at a University either. You're going to have all levels of abilities especially at Fat Wallet forums where you also have hot deals, coupons and off topics that are less structured and where people may not have finance backgrounds.

I agree with most of the comments here...but I'd like to add one corollary. Anyone who posts without having read "West's Business Law: Alternate Edition" will be drawn and quartered.

tooshy said:

<< Any thoughts? >>


I think the problem with telling people to search is that most members here (and most everywhere) do not know how to correctly post a subject. For example, I deal on eBay alot and say I was selling a Ford Mustang.

Good: 2001 Yellow Ford Mustang
Bad: `01 Bell Peppper Hot Yeelow 6 Stanger Banger

You want to maximize hits whether you want people to buy your product or find your thread. With smart searching comes smart posting. I am able to find most things on google that I am looking for. I know, many of you think "big deal" but I have had situations where a friend or co-worker will say they searched for very similar terms yet yielded completely opposite results. The key is in being smart in how you search.

If I need an answer to a question, it is not my job to figure out if the OP might Mastercard when he posts Yellow+Orange CC. The time it takes me to post every variation or slang (some of which might not even be fully developed or widespread yet) is much more than posting a new subject.

Think about this the next time you post.


true. but i think your comment is more for hot deals than the finance forums. i think we are pretty good/on target in our titles to help others in their search.

whats MOST annoying (90% of the time) is the answer is in the SAME thread. most of the crappy posts fall in this category. go read the amex rebate thread if you dont believe me.

what's the best card for cash rebate?

Well, I think the Finance forum runs better than most. But good point - it has become diluted and less organized. Personally, I haven't been posting as much here because of the concussion I got a month ago. I am still gettting searing migraines (which I never had before in my life...)

did that old lady in your building hit you over the head with her purse?

Another point when you say that the answer is in the same thread, are threds that span 10+ pages. I personally don't have a problem answering a question if it will take me 20 seconds versus someone taking 20 mins to read through each page. It's more efficient.

How about for the people who answer the questions putting a disclaimer:

Double check what I say here cause your situation maybe different than mine!

Good comments above....

I think the main reason the finance forum has seemed to "degenerate" a bit is that is has changed somewhat from the older posts which discussed little-known and lucrative financial deals to simply people posting financial/legal problems and asking for assistance...

while there is knowledge to be gained by reading others' problems and the possible solutions , the fact that there are so FEW financial deals

#1 being posted and

#2 which are even out there

have made the Finance forum somewhat less valuable (for me at least)

Good discussion. I think part of mshen11's reluctance to answer a simple question (that only takes 20 seconds to answer instead of having the person spend 20 minutes looking for the answer) is that it encourages others who are new to do the same since it begins to look like the "way things are done in FW Finance."

Finance is a large topic and I think SIS is right about the flavor of the threads changing over time. Without reading posts here for a few weeks, I think it would be awefully difficult to know what the appropriate protocol is here. For some time I have wondered if we might be better off with a "read this before posting thread" that is pinned at the top.

One thing that I have noticed is that many don't even bother to read the first post in a thread (at least not carefully). It appears that they just go to the last page of the thread only.

I'd like to see the following of posters:

1. Search for relavent threads first.
2. Read them to see if the question has been addressed.
3a. If not, post related questions in an existing thread instead of creating a new one.
3b. If yes, post related questions in an existing thread and indicate how the related answers fail to address specific aspects of your question.
4. Follow DH's advice when composing a post.

More rambling... at times I wonder if we wouldn't be better off having more off-site webpages to address certain popular topics. For example, DH's bond investing page helps to summarize key points for those new to investing in savings bonds. I have received a number of "Thank you PMs" for directing people to my Rewards CC summary page. Even though the discussions here contain all of the information on those pages, and much more, the information is more easily accessible to newbies.

taylor said:

<< Without reading posts here for a few weeks, I think it would be awefully difficult to know what the appropriate protocol is here. For some time I have wondered if we might be better off with a "read this before posting thread" that is pinned at the top. >>


All your comments in this post reflect my mindset, so I will not simply recycle what you have already stated well. I would like to offer a big 'ditto' though in regard to the idea of a 'read this first' post or even posts (as creditnet has). I think this would be of tremendous benefit to new members and also serve to better organize the forum.

Question is though, who would have the time or interest in preparing such a thing?


<<I think this would be of tremendous benefit to new members and also serve to better organize the forum>>

personally i think its a waste of time that might only benefit like 0.01% of the new memebers. i mean look at hot deals forum. they have sticky threads AND post warnings. how many 'NOT HOT' reply posts do you see? how many reject threads do you see moved to deal dicussion? at least half dozen a day. this is WITH bold warnings before someone posts!

I'm a newbie, and I like the helpful "sticky" threads at the top of the forums. Thanks to everyone who has worked on the great ones that are already out there!

I plan to read quietly and gather a feel for the community expectations before starting any of my own threads. But I think that many people would not make that time investment, especially someone new who is eager about his question or topic. A readily visible "setting expectations" thread might forestall at least some unwanted threads/posts. Can you imagine what Hot Deals would be like without the warnings? * shudders *

it's very simple to see what happened: this has turned from a "finance" forum to a "financial" forum.

mshen11 said: [Q}personally i think its a waste of time that might only benefit like 0.01% of the new memebers. i mean look at hot deals forum. they have sticky threads AND post warnings. how many 'NOT HOT' reply posts do you see? how many reject threads do you see moved to deal dicussion? at least half dozen a day. this is WITH bold warnings before someone posts! >>

Those other forums really seem to attract a different type of poster with a different agenda. I check out deals occassionally and have even posted on hot deals and deal discussion. Those are 'quick and dirty' posts that seem to be written/read rapidly. I really liken our forum more to creditnet. There's a great deal of good discource here on the finance forum that to my way of thinking is pretty thoughtful and sincere. I think that a few FAQ posts, even if they are only read by a few, would really help. I'm a relative newbie myself and I would have found something like that invaluable.

My 2 cents.


When I started checking this forum regularly, very few people posted here, and posts were on very specific financial topics. Nowadays, it's mostly "help me" posts.

Regardless, I would like to see better thread titles.

I would also like the initial poster to do some research on his own, instead of asking basic questions. He or she should at least make an effort to see what and forum search yields.

Lastly, it would be great if people who reply actually read the previous posts.

That said, in the end this is entertainment for most of us and most people don't want to put in much effort <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> As long as it doesn't get too bad, it's OK with me. You guys should see some of the other financial forums. They are a bloody mess.


Newly regitered but been lurking about 1 1/2 yrs.
I would like to say I miss the long time sr members posts! That was the best thing about this board because it was a stimualting intellectual discussion. Not attacks on other members or just posting to up yourself to sr membership.

I have no answers to the etiquette question except what has already been written.

I still love the board but I miss the way it used to be.

I guess i just wanted to give some encourgement to the members that have been around for so long and made this board into the ultimate fiance board on the net!

Take heart and know that I and alot of us have learned alot from all of you! And PLEASE don't give up on us!!!!!!!

i think a FAQ "sticky" post which covered most of the common topics we discuss here would be good if it includes links to specific discussions and prior posts on the topics....hopefully this would reduce the need for the increasing number of "help me" posts and clean up this forum a bit...

a quick list of topics off the top of my head:
BANKS (policies, checking savings CD and money market deals)
collection agencies
CREDIT CARDS a large category (best rates, rewards, BT offers, disputing charges)
credit score
interest rates (not individual banks, but discussions of indicies and trends)
REAL ESTATE a large category (investing, buying/selling, mortgages/home equity, appraisals, landlord/tenant)
RETIREMENT (ira 401k etc)
savings bonds

if this is of interest to the moderators, i would be willing to help create it...please email me at

shouldnt the 'help me' posts be in deal discussion? i mean people looking for help ARE looking for deals (on ccs, attorneys, etc...)

'deal dicussion' is already a pseudo name for 'hot deals reject', maybe it should just be a general 'help me' thread.

i would very much like to see one or two quality post than 100 repeats.

thanks SIS for volunteering. i hope it works but i have doubts...
make sure the first section is 'etiquette'!

I got up early this morning and since interest in this thread appears to be waning, I thought I'd take a stab at An Unofficial Guide to Maximizing the Usefulness of FW Finance. It is based off of the comments in this thread (some of which I copied nearly word-for-word). I have not created links to existing threads as SIS suggested. SIS (or anyone else), if you want to help me with that, I'd be happy to put it in. (You should be able to find my email address here.)

I'll ask the mods about making it a sticky post, otherwise, I intend to bump it periodically.

I'm eager to get your feedback on what could be improved.

since this thread started, we have seen just how dramatically FW Finance has changed....

I agree that users coming here and reading for the first time automatically assume asking financial questions IS THE PURPOSE of this forum, simply because they see so many "?" posts and then post their own questions....

at this point, i dont think theres any way to change this forum back to the postings of financial deals and strategies absent splitting the forum in 2 -

One forum for financial questions/discussions (the way this forum is now) and

One tightly-regulated forum restricted to posting of financial Hot Deals and strategies, and nothing else....

the FAQ we are creating may help a few people find old discussions on topics they are interested in, but I dont think we are going to see the # of questions go down because of it...


Not sure I follow, but did we come to a conclusion?

What are the choices mentioned so far?

1) Split forum into two: general Q&A<-->hot deals and strategies
2) Leave forum as one, but organize Q&A into topics
3) No change. The forum's usefulness is dependent on the initiative of every poster to contribute where relevant.
4) Any others?

How can we best use the rating system as a tool to positively shape the direction of this forum? Maybe we should discuss guidelines for constructive rating so we can profitably use this tool ~ thanks FW!!

I dont think anyone came to a conclusion....I bumped Tims thread on improving the forum and suggested we put the idea of splitting the forum to a vote...whichever way readers prefer would determine the course to take....

Good initiative, SIS. On behalf of everyone I speak....Much thanks to you and to the other quality leaders for taking charge <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

I would prefer one forum. Once the filtering technology matures, perhaps there will be check boxes for the original post. I forsee:

Hot financial strategy and/or deal
Financial question

as 2 potential topic dividers. I'm sure there are more. Those who wish could then filter based on what they want to read or not read. And it would be good if the server remembered people's preferences.

that would be great if we could filter posts by type within the forum itself

Crazytree said:

<< it's very simple to see what happened: this has turned from a "finance" forum to a "financial" forum. >>

Well, when the forum description for the Finance section reads "Discussion of Financial related subjects", what were they expecting.

If things are to change, there needs to be a CLEAR definition. This may have been done to some extent, but that message might not be delivered consistently, other than in the etiquette and sticky threads.

CT and AKA are both right, and it goes even further. "Big ticket", whether financial or not, also gets posted here.


[here we go again]

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