The AAII Discussion Boards were created to allow our members to interact with each other. The boards are a place where like-minded individual investors can discuss investment ideas or ask questions.
Though the discussion boards have been around for a number of years, many members are unaware of their existence. Joining the boards is simple and discussions are grouped by topic for easy navigation.
To access the discussion boards, click “Discuss” at the home page of AAII.com. First-time users are brought to a screen to register for the discussion boards. The discussion boards are powered by a third-party tool, so using your regular AAII login information will not grant you access to the discussion boards.
All you need to input is your first and last name, email address, a password of your choice and the answer to a security question. Other information asked for can be provided, but it isn’t required.
Along the left-hand side of the discussion boards you will see a list of categories and sub-topics that have previously been created or commented on (Figure 1). For example, below the Portfolios category, you see two different titles: Stock Screens and Model Portfolios. Clicking Stock Screens shows a list of topic titles, also called conversation threads. These are presented in chronological order, with the most recent topic titles at the top. To the right of each topic title you will see the number of replies, who originated it, and when the last post was made to the thread. Users can search through different discussion topics to answer questions that may help other fellow investors or post questions of their own. In addition to discussions about our stock screens and model portfolios, there are also categories addressing AAII products Computerized Investing and Stock Investor Pro, and categories focused on a broad subject such as investing basics, funds/ETFs and more.
To create a new topic in a particular category, simply click “add new topic,” which is found on the right side of the screen above the most recent topic. This is an opportunity for you to ask a question that you haven’t seen addressed on the boards or insert a new topic for discussion. To search on keywords that may have been mentioned in other topics or comments, you can use the tool called Search the Forums, found at the bottom left.
When you see a discussion that you are interested in, you can “subscribe” to it in order to follow new posts. To subscribe to a topic, click on Topic Tools above the first comment on the upper right-hand side of the screen. Then choose “subscribe to this topic.” When you subscribe to a list, you will be notified by email when a reply is posted. The Topic Tools also allow you to email, bookmark and print a topic. If you wish to mark a discussion as a “favorite,” click “bookmark this topic,” and it will be added to your list of favorites. Subscribing to a topic and bookmarking a topic also add the topic to your “dashboard,” which is explained below.
Your dashboard is a place that organizes your participation in the discussion boards. It allows you to view statistics on your activity, see your latest posts and searches, and keep track of discussions that you have subscribed to or bookmarked.
The dashboard can be accessed from a link located below the AAII Discussion Boards heading; it’s the fourth choice in the row of links on the right side (Figure 2). The default page shown is Management, the first tab on the left side of the dashboard. If you have subscribed to any discussions, the management page lists your subscriptions. Bookmarked topics are also shown under Favorites on the management page of your dashboard. If there is a specific keyword that interests you and you want to be notified when it is mentioned on a discussion board, add the keyword under the section titled Keyword Watches on the management page. Finally, if you encounter a commenter you find unhelpful, you can add the name to a list under Ignored Users on your management page.
Another tab on the dashboard is Hot Topics, which lists topics that many users have commented on recently. This feature is useful because you can easily see what other members find interesting or which discussions are seeing the most traffic. The tab called Your Latest Posts takes you to a page that allows you to easily see what you’ve commented on, or topics you’ve recently started, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding it on the boards. Clicking on Latest Category Posts takes you to a page where you can monitor a select category. Choose a category and number of messages from the drop-down lists and click submit. A list of the recent topics in that category is returned for easy reviewing.
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In August 2013, Z. Joe Lan, CFA, wrote “The Top Comprehensive Websites of 2013.” He focuses on the best all-around investing websites that offer the features and functions used most frequently by individual investors and that are essential to any website that wants to be a one-stop shop. The sites compared are Morningstar.com, Yahoo! Finance, and MarketWatch.com.
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