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   PastimesSilicon Investor vs. Raging Bull Message Boards

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To: Gary1046 who wrote (28)7/31/1998 1:43:00 PM
From: Jenna
   of 46
Raging Bull ... I think they attempt to be everything to everyone and I reserve judgment on them so far.

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To: Seth L. who wrote (29)7/31/1998 3:45:00 PM
From: L. Michael
   of 46
just an update.....

5 still suspended with no reason given.....$700.00 in SI's bank account for what?.....I'd like to make that much for providing nothing.

Welcome back sethy!!

Keep the five alive.

So for discussion.....

Raging Bull is a new system so we will see how it develops. Yes I agree they don't have the volume of posts SI has...not only that, but it will take quite sometime to get it to that level.

in my opinion RB has shown poise by not getting involved in suspensions of people based on what link they post, or what competition they mention. I doubt highly that if a popular thread at raging bull like pnlk or ftel decided to link to SI or mention SI, or even said bad things about raging bull that they would be suspended.

Even if they did it is free.

By posting vague rules, and acting on childish impulse by mass suspensions fired at the FTEL thread last week, and then not justifying those moves to those who were suspended, or to the many who asked why, SI showed that the biggest isn't always the best.

You folks judge.... but for my friends who are not alowed to post here ( maybe forever) Martin, Elk, Ray, Mark, Brett, and Sethy (wow isn't he lucky now that he is back to a thread which he helped build here and die), I have to say this is most unfair.

I feel you all may be reading about this story somewhere soon!!!

L. Michael

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To: CatLady who wrote (16)7/31/1998 3:53:00 PM
From: Seth L.
   of 46
Cat lady sorry for the delay in responding but I was banned for some unknown reason.
You said I have seen SI remove the offending posts, as well as suspend the poster. That makes judging the merit of the suspension, after the fact, by outsiders, impossible.

I have no way of knowing for certain if this applies to the two you
cite, but chances are the posts that got them suspended aren't on-line any more.

Good assumption and I admit that you are probably right. My position in regards to the 2 mentioned Martin Smith & Ray Burke is that these 2 above all have held high the quality of their contributions and in no way in my memory ever said a cross word to anyone (Even Valuespec). I believe that in the dialogue with VS Martin kept his very English gentleman demeanor and tried to correct the basher. As for ray all he ever did was expand the knowledge 10 fold to every reader by doing incredible research and sharing it unselfishly. In case you are wondering I have been a fan of these 2 for going on 2 years and I think it is a major injustice that these 2 have lost their ability to participate here. SI should wake up to the fact that there is competition out there, and to take this stand will only strengthen the competition.
I am sorry it has to come to this soap opera but being that there are people who are hiding behind the 1st amendment and have attacked public companies using the protective smoke screen that "this is just my opinion and I hope I am wrong yada yada" or some other cute way to defray their obvious slander attempts, sickens me.

Nuff said

Free the exciled 5


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To: Seth L. who wrote (32)8/3/1998 3:54:00 PM
From: L. Michael
   of 46
just an update.....those who are suspended have still not been told why or for how long.

Silicon Injustice.



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To: L. Michael who wrote (33)8/3/1998 10:07:00 PM
From: Seth L.
   of 46
agreed ! free them free them they have done nothing to si that si can not take responsibility for , for not listening to the customers


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To: Seth L. who wrote (34)8/10/1998 11:34:00 PM
From: Mitch Aunger
   of 46
edit sorry.

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To: L. Michael who wrote (33)8/18/1998 12:27:00 PM
From: L. Michael
   of 46
Oh I'm sorry, i didn't know it was a rebellion.....

These days, the Franklin Telecom thread on the Silicon Investor financial message boards is a bit

On July 24, Silicon Investor ( suspended five of the thread's regular
participants, charging that the group was plotting a "group rebellion" against the bulletin-board

Terry Widner of Louisville, Ky., who goes by the screen name of Jack Sman, is one of the regulars
left on the thread these days, but he says the place just isn't the same anymore.

"This thread is essentially dead," says Mr. Widner. "It's a shame, because this used to be a great
thread. It offered a lot of constructive information."

As individual investors flock to Internet stock-discussion forums, censorship has become a
troublesome issue for those who operate on-line message boards and chat rooms. Webmasters
spend hours reading through e-mail complaints from board participants, reviewing questionable
posts and taking action against those who have broken their rules. And software developers are
coming up with ever more intricate means of allowing board participants to self-monitor their

The way Web site operators respond to the rowdy and raucous masses that populate their forums
reveals a lot about how they view their roles as overseers, and shows much about where they
stand on the perennial American debate over free speech.

For its part, Silicon Investor says it does not actively patrol its boards, but will investigate
complaints from board participants and delete posts or ban people it deems to have run afoul of its
rules -- most often for the use of foul language, personal attacks, spamming, solicitation or hyping
a stock.

The controversy surrounding Franklin Telecom, a Westlake Village, Calif., producer of Internet
telephony products and services, arose over posts made on a thread devoted to the company by
ValueSpec, a board participant who refuses to reveal his or her identity, but who frequently posts
negative comments about the company. Franklin Telecom is a developer of Internet telephony
technology. Many posters, including Mr. Widner, consider ValueSpec's posts "antagonistic."

"I question ValueSpec's motives for posting since he or she claims to have no position in the
stock," says Mr. Widner.

Board participants bombarded Silicon Investor with requests to censor ValueSpec or allow them to
tune him out. Instead, Silicon Investor co-founder Jeff Dryer decided it was the complainers who
should go.

"We feel that ValueSpec posts his opposing viewpoints in a fair way. It is often the pro-FTEL
participants who submit messages that are considered personal attacks," says Mr. Dryer.

Over at the Raging Bull ( financial site, where the five former SI members now
congregate to discuss the stock, founder Bill Martin believes it is his site's responsibility to provide
board members with tools to self-censor the boards. Raging Bull offers a feature that allows a user
to block out posts made by board participants whose language or views that user finds

The feature has been a powerful draw. David Neece of Porterville, Calif., known by his screen
name Orangegrower, was won over by it because it allows him to weed out posts by the
naysayers, hypsters and impostors he says often populate the boards. "A lot of us were fed up with
the idiots on the Yahoo! [Finance] board. We pushed for an 'ignore' feature, but they wouldn't do
anything," says Mr. Neece.

Mr. Martin of Raging Bull believes that his site's "ignore" feature is not so much a tool of censorship
but a technology that heightens the civility of his boards. "We've found that very few people use the
ignore feature, but it does act as a deterrent," says Mr. Martin.

Raging Bull also has programmed a unique feature into its message boards that cuts down on the
use of foul language. Common swear words or vulgar expressions typed into a post appear on
screen only as a series of pound (###) signs.

Perhaps the most monitored of the bulletin-board communities are those of the Motley Fool
( It plucks posters from its boards to join its staff as paid moderators of board

David Forrest, head of Motley Fool's discussion forums, doesn't view the role of the moderators as
one of censorship.

"Nobody likes a Big Brother watching over them," says Mr. Forrest. "The primary reason for their
presence is to engage users and make sure they're enjoying their on-line experience."

Nevertheless, the moderators are watchdogs. Motley Fool offers a "Fool Alert" key that allows
board participants to praise or complain about fellow participants, and the moderators do warn
offenders and remove people from their boards.

And, Mr. Forrest says Motley Fool is working on a feature similar to Raging Bull's "ignore"
technology that it calls a "kill file." The site used to offer this feature, but it slowed down response
times, he says. By reinstating the feature, Mr. Forrest says Motley Fool will be giving users the
same option that television viewers have to surf past objectionable material with a remote control.

At the other end of the spectrum, Yahoo Finance! ( takes an extreme hands-off
approach. Not surprisingly, the boards have gained a reputation as an on-line Wild West. But Mike
Riley, producer of Yahoo Finance, believes his laissez-faire approach has the weight of Internet law
behind it.

"The courts have come down on the side of the Internet as a marketplace of ideas, rather than a
medium that needs to be heavily policed," he says.

Last year, when the Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act, a provision of
the 1996 Telecommunications Act that made it a crime to transmit indecent material to minors, it
left one crucial section intact: on-line publishers of information provided by a third party cannot be
held liable for the content they transmit.

"The real weight of this ruling is that the Internet was granted the highest level of First Amendment
protection," says Nicole Wong, an attorney of Internet law for Hosie, Wes, Sacks and Brelsford, a
San Francisco law firm. "It affirmed that it is not possible to edit the Internet and that to require that
would break down the Internet."

Ms. Wong believes the court ruling was on target, but thinks legal protections will not prove to be
the best way to regulate financial message boards.

"Any legal or policy solutions will be outpaced by technology," she says. "Operators of on-line sites
will figure out what the market wants in a way that law can't answer as efficiently."

Intertwined with the censorship debate, many believe, is the issue of on-line anonymity. That
anonymity creates an environment in which people can create and spread rumors with no
substance and do a lot of damage in the process, charges Tyler Thatcher, manager of investor
relations at Iomega Corp., the Roy, Utah, maker of data-storage and backup devices for personal

"Iomega is a poster child for this debate," Mr. Thatcher says. "Our stock was discovered in 1994 by
the retail investor just as the bulletin boards were beginning to proliferate. We were a small
company going through a period of tremendous growth, and a lot of the stock's volatility was due to
the message boards."

While Mr. Thatcher says Iomega is far less affected by on-line chat today, he does occasionally
ask board operators to delete fake press releases that find their way onto the boards, or to remove
posts of people posing as company employees claiming to have inside knowledge.

In the end, however, board participants themselves will probably dictate how the issue of
censorship plays out. Silicon Investor acknowledges that user pressure like that coming from the
Franklin Telecom thread could force it to change its stance on the ignore feature, at the least.

"We don't agree with it -- we think it just lets people create their own utopias. But if demand for it
grows greater, we'll have to consider it," says Silicon Investor Webmaster Jill McKinney.

Paranoid delusional SI. need to mellow out dude!

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To: L. Michael who wrote ()10/3/1998 5:54:00 PM
From: Urlman
   of 46

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To: Seth L. who wrote (34)2/22/1999 10:02:00 AM
From: Harold
   of 46
Could you or someone else give me the directions to find the "raging Bull message boards"
Thank you.

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To: Harold who wrote (38)2/22/1999 12:40:00 PM
From: Seth L.
   of 46
This is the FTEL board

You can go from there Good Luck


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