I disagree with your comments about Susan. In each investment, someone is buying and someone is selling, so they both can't be right. Of course, they may have different time horizons or the seller might be selling to buy something else with better risk reward ratio. In my opinion, these message boards serve best when they try to achieve several goals including: highlighting research or stories (pro and con) that are not easily found; explaining how the inner workings of securities markets can work ; explaining legal or accounting or economic concepts that effect stock prices and above all, challenging the different investment thesis that each one of us makes when we buy or sell a stock. It is in this last concept that Susan's comments are useful.
While there are many bashers and people who provide wrong information, which can be too bullish or bearish, these boards should not just be about congratulating one another for finding a good investment. It should be about identifying risks and times when an investor should be considering the when the trend or fundamentals have changed. This is the great weakness of the investment community in that they are too concerned with selling you the next investment and telling one to trust the management of portfolios to these "so-called" experts. My favorite example is the mutual fund manager Bill miller from Legg Mason and all the brokers at that firm who drank his kool aid because Miller had beaten the indices for several years in a row. Miller, despite all the research analysts at his disposal, had huge positions in Countrywide Mortgage and Freddie Mac and could not recognize the fraud and bubble conditions in the housing market. Miller lost 60 % of his fund's value, wiping out a decade of returns, then bounced when the Fed did QE 1 and 2' only to lose lose again. My point is not to pick on Miller although he certainly deserves this criticism. The point instead is to recognize that no stock goes up forever and no market goes up forever. There are times when we have great secular bull markets and times when the indices have been flat or lost money for decades. The best companies can lose their growth and have flat stock prices for years. It is very rare in my years of investing for the brokers and pundits to tell investors to get out of a particular investment because the industry is paid to sell stocks. Who remembers hearing to get out of the market prior to the dot.com explosion? Who remembers hearing that the market hit a top in 2008? Rarely does one hear anything but "buy and hold" and then when they do it is not to get into cash, but just to switch into a different stock sector (e.g., Cramer says there's always a bull market somewhere).
So while some people can have a different opinion and end up being wrong, it doesn't mean that their points should be feared or derided. One should use the points they make to challenge you own thesis. Sometimes others can see what you don't see or have a basis of knowledge that you don't have. No one bats 1000 all of the time, even Warren Buffet. Human nature being what it is, there will be those posters who can never admit when they are wrong because if they do, another poster will use that time to challenge their next opinion. But I believe none of us involved in investing were born with an innate sense of timing and investment acumen, otherwise you wouldn't be posting on a Yahoo message board and would instead be running your on hedge fund for real money. The point should be about learning so that you can have better investment returns.
mark...That was a nice long message and I agree with all of it....however, Susan is always giving other investors a hard time (on several different message boards) and she deserves to get teased back a bit...
I totally agree with your statement mark, that was extremely well thought out. Sometimes on message boards i do think everyone is just congratulating one another. However, if you look at her recent messages, you will see that she doesnt post anything other than bashing. She likes to just insult with no reason behind it.