Please read BEFORE posting: A Guide to Maximizing the Usefulness of FW Finance

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This now merged to: Finance Forum: Topic Links ~ How to Search ~ Q & A ~ more! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

This thread was composed by Taylor <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

Welcome to FW. This thread is a response to initial discussions that took place in tooshy's original Finance forum posting etiquette thread. If you are new to FW Finance, we would request that you read this before posting. FW Finance began as a discussion area for little-known and lucrative financial deals. Since its beginnings it has broadened its scope some. This thread was created to help you make the most of this forum. Included here are tips on how to make FW Finance as useful as possible for you and others.

Specific Tips

  1. Be prepared to be referred here:
    If another poster suggest that you take a look at this thread, don't take it personally. That suggestion is likely done to help you and other members make FW Finance the best finance forum it can be.
  2. Learn to search:
    One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself is become familiar with the search tools available. There is a lot of good (and some not so good) information posted here already. If you get good at searching you will likely be able to find the answer to your question(s) immediately and not have to wait for someone to post an answer.
  3. Use other search tools:
    FW Finance is not the only destination with useful information. You owe it to yourself to see what kind of information you get when searching with google or other search engines.
  4. Read relevant threads before posting:
    Do not simply ask a question on a topic without checking the rest of the thread(s) first. Yes, some of them are long, but spending a few minutes skimming won't hurt. Changing your FW settings to view a larger number of post per page (default is 20) may help make skimming a large thread go faster. Note: you'll need to be logged in as a FW member to do this.
  5. Post closely related questions/advice in existing thread:
    If the topic on which you have a question/advice has been discussed, post your question in that thread instead of creating a new one. We have too many subjects spanning multiple threads because others didn't bother to check for relevant threads before posting.
  6. Explain how previous discussions fail to address your question(s):
    When posting a question related to a previous discussion, be sure to explain how the previous discussion fails to address your specific circumstances. This will make it easier for others to provide relevant responses.
  7. Create new thread for topics that are new:
    In the unlikely event that you have a question/advice on a topic that has not been discussed, create a new thread. Be sure to choose your subject line carefully. It will make it easier for others to find your thread when searching.
  8. Give as much specific information about your circumstances as possible when seeking advice:
    Providing all relevant information in the initial post makes it easier for others here to give meaningful and relevant advice.
  9. Explain your source when making a non-obvious claim:
    When making a non-obvious claim about how something works, please provide details on how you verified this claim so that others can judge its credibility for themselves.
  10. Don't condemn others:
    Condemning others for mistakes or foolish decisions they have made in the past serves no useful purpose and discourages others from volunteering their information, experience, and advice. Please don't do it.
  11. Verify advice before acting:
    Much of the information contained here is sound. However, before making any decisions that may have a significant impact on you or other, you should verify that the advice is indeed accurate and that it fits your personal circumstances.
  12. Edit posts sparingly:
    Several good threads here have become hard to follow as a result of major edits and removals by posters here. If you do find the need to edit a post, please do not modify the content of the post without an explanation. Without an explanation, it may be difficult for future readers to follow the responses to your post in the thread.
  13. No trolling for referrals
  14. Attack arguments, not people
  15. Smile while composing your posts

Links to threads on particular topics

Still needs to be done.

Credit for this post belongs to many FW members who contributed their ideas. In particular, I've borrowed many of the ideas here from: DaveHanson, mshen11, SUCKISSTAPLES, sygyzy, Witold and zender. Suggestions on how to improve this post are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Finance Forum FAQs
(Courtesy of SIS)

Attorneys / legal issues
Banking- Best checking, savings and money market deals
Banking- ATM / Other Service Fees
business (startup, business structure, etc).
Car Insurance
Car Shopping & Financing
Collection Agencies / Disputing Debts
CREDIT CARDS - A LARGE CATEGORY (best rates, rewards, BT offers - may be good to split it if necessary)
credit score
credit report
Credit Unions


insurance (auto home life health)
INSURANCE (free credit card coverage - lost luggage, auto rental...)

PAYPAL and other Online Payment Services


Savings Bonds
tax issues
Warehouse Club (Costco, Sam's Club) Services

Please feel free to PM any suggestions or additions to this list. (Thanks Taylor for suggesting the FAQ here)

Right on guys <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> It's about time Finance got a FAQ (kind of anyway). I appreciate the direction offered and pledge to stick to it as best I can. If I stray from the above outline, feel free to put me back in my place (softly please <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0>.

Thanks again.


P.S. I use the term "guys" to refer to any group of people, whether they be male, female, or mixed. No offense intended <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

-- Begin 9-30-2003 edit --
Interesting and useful thread on Financial Myths and Urban Ledgends
-- End 9-30-2003 edit --

-- Begin 4-17-2003 edit --
Links to posts with FAQ in the subject:
The Fatwallet Finance Forum FAQ
FAQ for All Online Banking, Checking, Saving, and Money Market, Interest Rates!
FAQ- Consolidated HELOC ( Home Equity Line of Credit ) and BEST HELOC DEALS
Credit Card FAQ
The Legal / Lawyer / Attorney FAQ
FAQs re Bank ATM fees and service fees
Savings Bonds as an investment FAQ
An AMEXrpess Cash Rebate Card FAQ and Strategy Thread
(added rpess to AMEX to prevent FW's auto-link "feature" from messing up the link)
-- End 4-17-2003 edit --

Since I have lost control of the original posting (FatWallette now owns it) I am posting this message here as placeholder so that I can come back and fill in additional tips (and perhaps the missing set of topical links to threads) and still be towards the top of the thread without bothering the moderator.



here is a suggestion. when someone starts the quality posts like the savings bond, amex, etc... we start off the title with 'Strategy: American Express Rebate....' and 'Strategy: savings bond'. i would be satisfied with something like that - providing people dont interject in the thread and ask meaningless questions.

we really need a 'ignore thread feature' for personal use - as it has been suggested.

I'm not sure what happened to the original reply I made to this thread this AM--here it is again below. I don't know if FatWallette or anyone else can modify it (is there a way taylor can retain control of this sticky thread, just so he doesn't have to contact mods every time a modification is due?)

taylor, thanks for a very solid, much needed thread! I think this should definitely be make sticky.

I might even strengthen the title--something like "Rules of the Road & Getting the Most from FW Finance." That would reflect the sentiment that people who don't follow these guidelines don't have basis for complaint if their requests for help are not addressed in depth.

It might make sense to have the "specific topics" post be in a different sticky thread. That way as both grew, neither would become unmanageably large. Also, marquee member SUCKISSTAPLES has volunteered already for this task, and would do an excellent job with it. It would also reduce the maintenance burden on both of you to split it.

I think your content is great. No objections I can think of...

You might consider adding something like, "Please credit those who help you. Many posters here give hours of their time trying to help fellow members with financial issues. By crediting posts and posters, you not only encourage this selfless, forum-enhancing behavior, but you give us all valuable feedback on which advice was most helpful, and which questions still remain."

Also, "Please share your expertise! This forum includes lawyers, bankers, real estate investors and brokers, professors, and IT workers, as well as many other professionals and informed amateurs. Their willingness to offer their unique expertise to the forum is what makes it so valuable. Your thoughtful input is welcome whether you're a longtime member or a brand new poster."

Both of these offerings are probably wordy and could be cleaned up a little bit, but hopefully the idea is clear.

we should hash out the FAQ *THEN* submit it to the mods. this is a start

I've heard that you can make big $$$ buying foreclosed property at auction. How can I get started doing this?

(Just kidding!!)<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

I though that the most frequently asked question was what is the best cash-rebate card? How come I can't find the answer to that in the FAQ? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> May be we should include a "Table of Contents" with links to some of the more popular threads here.

we need a voting function that locks a thread because it is a repeat or a stupid question.

Taylor, thank you! I think it is a terrific post and would not alter the content you've added so far in anyway. I like Dave Hanson's idea about a 'please share your expertise' very much and think that would be a solid addition. I've also had the thought frequently that we need to somehow convey that we are all really just contributors here and for the most part our advice and ideas should be taken as just that, advice and ideas from a fellow FW poster. I sometimes get the idea from posts that people are accepting certain assertions at face value and without additional verification or research on their own.

I know that some of our posters, who I believe for the most part are legal professionals, have taken the tact of adding verbage to their own posts to the tune that it's not paid advice, given without recourse, etc.

I fear that I'm rambling. To close this, your tip regarding making use of research outside of FW is right in line with what I'm trying to convey. I just think maybe something additonal that is a bit stronger and more pointed might be in order and I only wish I were feeling eloquent enough this morning to take a stab at it myself.

Anybody else think this might be useful or if it's even necessary?


pofig37 said:

<< I though that the most frequently asked question was what is the best cash-rebate card? How come I can't find the answer to that in the FAQ? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> May be we should include a "Table of Contents" with links to some of the more popular threads here. >>

+1, can some of the posters who compile these threads (or some who have them bookmarked) start compiling a list? for e.g. SIS, DaveHanson, taylor -- I know you three had several strategy threads that continue to be used and useful. Having a list of threads like this would be a lot easier than trying to search through archived messages for them.

Since there seem to be a lot of young folks using FW, it might be worthwhile to include something along the lines of the following in your "please read"

"Readers should be warned that posters may have an unstated personal financial interest in the opinions they provide. These interests may not be consistent with yours."

I know this is obvious to most anyone who's been around the block a few times, but may be worthwhile for the fw crowd especially given FW's newfound visibility.

Rest of "read me" is outstanding.

I like the part about attacking ideas, not people. Bravo!

I like the part about attacking ideas, not people. Bravo!

I was out of the country (and away from internet access) for a couple of months. Has it (the incredible rudeness) gotten really bad in this forum over the past 4 months or is it just me?

Tonight, I read 5 threads in the Finance Forum and @ 10 - 20% of all the posts were just plain mean. I even canceled my replies on two of the posts cause I didn't feel like putting up with the (almost guaranteed) a-hole responses by one or two of the members. I wonder how many other Finance "regulars" are deciding against posting for this same reason.

It seems that the more attitude we get in this forum, the less helpful it will be. Any thoughts on what can be done to change the current trend here?

I agree that there seem to be more attacks. There are a few individuals here that IMO say things that don't make a lot of sense, but I know that if I respond, I'll probably be attacked. In these cases, I just PM the OP and ignore the "wacky" poster.

I personally believe that the best way to deal with these posts are to ignore them. If someone attacks you, please do your best not to respond. A few threads have been ruined by two or three posters posting attacks back and forth.

im not sure which 'rudeness' you are referring to. if you are specifically pointing to mine, i apologize - i have scaled back of late. but i have to add that my 'rudeness' is prompted by specific well known reasons.

what we really need is a personal ignore function on certain threads.

Can we do anything to cut down on the number of stupid tax question threads? Things will only get worse as we move closer to April.

taylor (or another designee) needs to be given editorial control over this post. It's been static and (I fear) largely ignored for weeks.

I've just seen what I think is the forth "which credit card gives the best cash back" post in as many weeks. It would be nice to see these posts locked, so that well-intentioned newbies don't encourage this behavior by bumping them, making the forum even more disorganized. Edit: even as I composed this, the offending thread was locked. Thank you! Ironically, readers were redirected to another recent repost, rather than the original thread on this subject--but two cheers for whoever got going in the right direction on this!

This suggests another rule: post all threads started to ask a question with a question mark at the end. It is an irritation and waste of time to click on "best cash-back rewards card," on the reasonable assumption that the poster is bringing new information on this subject. 4 times out of 5, it's just asking the same question that's been asked dozens of times.

ive already given up. not to sound elitist, but im starting to form a habit where i respond 99% only to establish members and 1% of the time to newbies with genuinely good posts.

i wish there was an ignore thread feature.

mshen & DH, have you looked at Their system seems quite good. The control of specific threads by owners with updating and locking the old thread is especially a good idea.

Perhaps we can establish a "pegged" thread (kept at the top of the thread list) that lists the most asked questions (how do I start a corp., the best credit card, how to buy a foreclosed property, etc.) along with the respective threads covering these topics. Kind of a FAQ of the Finance forum.

Anyone have a Dell coupon code? j/k.

slappycakes said:

<< Perhaps we can establish a "pegged" thread (kept at the top of the thread list) that lists the most asked questions (how do I start a corp., the best credit card, how to buy a foreclosed property, etc.) along with the respective threads covering these topics. Kind of a FAQ of the Finance forum. >>

Great post, slappycakes. This is actually more of what I envisioned when we originally began discussing this subject.


ok lets get this forum organized!

i think a FAQ "sticky" post which lists many common topics we discuss here would be that it can be short and sweet so that PEOPLE READ IT, it can simply include a list of main topics, with links to specific discussions and prior posts on the topics....I have created a "trial FAQ topic" on HELOCs....

Someone who knows how to link posts should create this FAQ (yes i know I should learn as Im sure its easy, maybe someday!)

hopefully this can reduce the need for the increasing number of "help me" posts and clean up this forum a bit...when users create a new post, the "compose" page should instruct users to CHECK THE FAQ to see if there is already a post on the subject...

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

each of these main topics should have links to thread discussions under them (simply use the title of the original thread as the link) do we get someone to start this? send request to Fatwallette?

Isn't this thread supposed to stick at the top?

it sticks at the top on my screen....

just to keep everyone updated, i did contact fatwallette and volunteered to create FAQ topics, or an entire FAQ poat with links to FAQ topics above, but received no response...since ther appears to be no movement to help organize this forum at this time, creating FAQ pages which get buried are useless...

if someone else wants to try to work with FW to help revitalize and organize this forum, please do it stands, this forum is going downhill and getting unruly...


I'd be willing to work with you if you would like. I know how to do the linking, but recently have not had the time to commit to scanning through the threads to find the good ones and organize them. If you'd like to do some of that, I'd be happy to take what you have and create the appropriate links.

I don't think we should wait for FW mods to give us the go-ahead... I think we just need to do it. Once it's done, we can then lobby FW to make it sticky. (That's how this thread was born.)

I agree taylor--if we build it, she will likely sticky. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

Hopefully I can devote some time this weekend to helping. Once we get it going, it shouldn't be too hard to maintain--a periodic update is all that would be needed.

One option would be to follow the DVDtalk model for sharing the work on FAQ threads and have a thread that one person starts, covering one chunk of FAQs, and a second post that someone else adds, covering another chunk of important information. For instance, SIS might handle a investment property/home equity FAQ, markber from MSN a bank/bankrate FAQ, and I might do a credit/credit scoring FAQ...if we kept the topics well organized and managable, the FAQ need not be overwhelming. Perhaps as proposed this is too fragmented...any thoughts?

SIS, while I think I "get" it, I'd be curious to hear more about your "unruly" comment--is this mainly folks who post duplicative threads and then complain when their questions aren't answered?

here is a conversation with 'NU2004':

I have read many of your posts recently, and you really come off like a prick. Not everyone who frequents this forum is financially savy, so maybe you should lay off and cut people some slack, rather than try to come across as a big shot on the forum

thats not my intent. if you read ALL the posts, you would know all of the ones ive commented on have been repeated many times.

let me ask you this: why is it all the members that have been on the forums a while are agreeing with me?

i dont claim to be 'savy', i give and take from this forum like everyone, but there are quite a few that just want to take... no spoonfed. the answers are already out there.

sorry you feel this way. why dont you address it in the forums instead of PM?

The reason that some people agree with you is that they are the same elitists that you are, and they feel important on FatWallet. I sent you a PM rather than start a discussion because such a discussion would denegrate into newer members bitching about a lack of help, and old-timers bitching about all the new people here.
If you are unhappy with a post from a new member, just ignore it and move on

ok SIS (i think) brought out a new suggestion. why not split the forums (just like there is a hot deal and a deal discussion forum)... one would be financial help and another financial strategies (someone can come up with better names). frankly i tire of this as w/ the rest of 'us elitists'... i tire of ignoring 90% of the threads (after i have to flip through to find out they are repeats.

mshen11 said:

<< ... why not split the forums (just like there is a hot deal and a deal discussion forum)... one would be financial help and another financial strategies (someone can come up with better names). frankly i tire of this as w/ the rest of 'us elitists'... i tire of ignoring 90% of the threads (after i have to flip through to find out they are repeats. >>

I think this is a decent suggestion. I've gotten to the point that I'm tired as well. It just takes too much energy to flip through all these re-hashed posts. Just this morning I see new ones for best cash back credit card and bond information. Newbies would probably be better off with a separate forum for those 'how to' and 'please tell me everything about' inquiries that keep coming up.


Taylor, you did a great job with this this point, i have no probs with doing FAQs on: attornies/legal issues, collection agencies,HELOCS/HELs, insurance (auto home life health), REAL ESTATE (investing, buying/selling, appraisals, landlord/tenant), warranties.....

question is, should i just mail you links on existing disuccssions on those topics, or create a FAQ page for each topic (as i did with HELOCS)...for each main topic, i believe thre may be 5=6 exisitng discussion threads we may want to reference........many of you saw my "trial" FAQ page on Helocs...that is the format I was thinking general, informative FAQ thread for each main topic, with links to other threads discussing particular issues on that topic, directing users to post followups to those specific categories in the approprate existing threads...

the list of main FAQ topics (similar to the list I posted above) could be in a 2nd sticky, or simply on the first post of this thread, so readers can easily access FAQ this way, the FAQ thread of a particular topic would not primarily be a discussion thread, more of an info thread...specific discussions would be continued in existing threads, although general questions on the topic which do not have specific discussion could be addressed there as well....sound good?

If we put the word "FAQ" in the title of these main topic threads, people can also easily search for the word "FAQ" and bring up a list of topics and easily find comprehensive posts on the various subjects...but thats just my only concern with a group effort producing this is that each person (obviously has) a diffrent idea of how it should be done, and i wouldnt sit here for a second trying to pretend my idea is what everyone likes..

i too think the idea of a "finance question" forum would help segrregate the questions from the "deals/strategies" posts, but the # of forums are limited, and its probably best to have just one forum so that everyone comes here to read it...theres good info in replies to finance questions as well..

OR SHOULD THIS FORUM CHANGE TO BECOME A FINANCIAL "HOT DEALS" FORUM...(ie no posting of questions, just posting of deals/strategies?)


i disagree. the newbies will never learn. i think we've tried hard to ask them to follow guidelines but failed. if they dont act, we should. we should separate the forum and even not make it one of the top 6 categories (tab above)...

i almost get the feeling that the less people who know about it... the better. if we separate, then there are no excuses for anyone not to follow the rules.

i want to say not all newbies are like this. one i can think of is tooshy. she is a great example of someone new, picked up the rhythm of the forum and integrated herself. and i recall butting heads with her a few times [no offense intended there tooshy] <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> now that shes integrated, im curious to hear her thoughts - if it has changed.

is there a way to incorporate the posting rules in the 1st post in this thread as text when someone opens the " New post" page? If there is a CLEAR AND OBVIOUS requirement that all Finance postings follow this format OR ELSE THEY WILL BE LOCKED, members will be better equipped to respond to them, AND we would cut down on "junk posts" , which are usually posted without relevant info and just repeat the same questions...

Heres what it says when you go to post in Hot Deals...
STOP! You are about to post in the HOT DEALS category.
This category is ONLY for posting of great deals.
Do NOT post questions.
Do NOT post requests.
DO check to see if the offer has already been posted.

THANK YOU for your cooperation!

I think this category needs a similar warning

I think this would let everyone participate, both old and new members, but in a structured way which would benefit all of us...the readers AND the people wanting answers to their questions...

This forum is losing its usefulness fast. It was good while it lasted.

i think before the relative new people start complaining, they should think for a moment.

the senior members built this forum - if they get bored like the previous poster, who will be left carry this place?

and it seems like most of the senior folks here are in agreement to say the finance forum is 'deviating' - call them eltists or whatever else you want, but you would not otherwise enjoy the posts and benefits they bring w/out them.

just food for thought...

Since this guy is stuck to the top, I wanted to thank whoever recommended creditnet. While my credit isn't all that bad, the referral allowed me to learn about how credit works. It was most useful information. Also, I got a good laugh at some of the posters there who seem straight off Jerry Springer (one person claims a credit card company killed their dog, another wants to use her handicapped daughters disability to pay for a 25% APR autoloan on some ridiculous car).

Be advised that regardless of the forum, creating places for "them" to post instead of the forum you like does not work. I've watched failed attempts at such on usenet for the last decade.

How I see it is there are certain posting ethos in every fora that you find. It took me about a month of reading to tune into the posting ethos here. I'm sure I made mistakes.

Anyway, my opinion is you have to educate the users in order to make this a helpful place. My vote would be to add several moderators from the existing user population and ruthlessly lock BS and/or repetitive threads.

I'm sort of upset that it looks like only 2 users with thread rating capability read this forum.

jerseyjohn said:

<< I'm sort of upset that it looks like only 2 users with thread rating capability read this forum. >>

I'm doing my part by rating the threads. I hope that would help a little.

I agree with jerseyjohn, why not get some of the elder members here mod status? SIS, DH, taylor, etc would make good starts (not to leave out the rest of you)...

the in-progress FAQ thread can be found HERE

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