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Discuss > How-To Guide
How-To Guide
Welcome to the Discuss area of Morningstar.com! Based on your feedback, we have introduced a number of new features that are designed to improve your experience and encourage the growth of our community. We invite you to take a video tour of the new Discuss and learn about all of the new features and enhancements outlined in the guide below.



Topics
Overview
Navigate Discuss
Starting a New Conversation
Reply to a Post
Rate a Post
Assign Topics to a Post
Flag a Post
Create a Profile
Create a Blog
Search Discuss
Subscribe to RSS Feeds
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Overview
The Discuss community of users contributes posts to more than 20 different forums and a range of blogs. The forums follow particular topics, including investment strategies and theories, the markets, and individual funds. You may think of forums as open discussion groups, where any community member is free to post or reply to existing posts.

Blogs, on the other hand, are more like personal investing journals, where you can share your investing ideas, strategies, and philosophies with the rest of the Discuss community. Only you (and those you authorize) can post to your blog, but other community members may reply to your posts. You can edit your blog entries for up to three months, so you have an opportunity to really flesh out your thoughts. You can also invite other users to become co-authors of your blog and set up a small community of authors around a particular topic.

Navigate Discuss
Upon entering the Discuss area, you'll notice five tabs: All Posts, Forums, Blogs, Topics, and Profile.

The All Posts tab aggregates posts from all areas of the Discuss center, allowing you to view the latest activity from all forums and blogs.

Under the Forums tab, you'll see a list of the most recent posts from all of the forums. To see all the posts from a particular forum, click on the forum name. Clicking on the post subject line will show you that post and all of its replies.

Under the Blogs tab, you'll see a list of the most recent posts from all of the blogs. To see all the posts from a particular blog, click on the blog name. Clicking on the post subject line will show you that post and all of its replies.

Under the All Posts, Forums, and Blogs tabs, "Most Recent" is the default sorting option and shows you all posts ever written in chronological order. You can also click to see those posts that have received the "Most Replies," to see the "Highest Rated" posts over all time, or to see the "Highest Rated Last 30 Days," which displays the top-rated posts from the last month. Clicking the "Highest Rated" sorting option under the All Posts tab will display the highest rated posts from all of Discuss. Think of this highest rated list as a "Best of Discuss" feature that is continually being updated based on your votes. (To learn more about ratings, see the Rate a Post section of this guide.)

Under the Topics tab, you'll see an index of all topics covered in the forum and blog posts. Topics are basically keywords or tags that are associated with each post by Discuss members. You may click to read all posts related to whichever topics interest you. (To learn more, see the Assign Topics to a Post section of this guide.)

Start a New Forum Conversation
Once you are viewing a forum, you can start a new conversation thread by clicking the "Write a New Post" button. Concise arguments, questions, and a good title go a long way toward promoting your conversation. Provide your reader with vital information such as stock and fund names and ticker symbols. Better yet, include links to any related Morningstar Quicktake Reports, articles, Web sites or other Discuss conversations that are referenced in your post.

If you are contributing to a forum for the first time, please read the forum description to make sure your post is pertinent to the topic and adheres to Morningstar's Terms of Use. For the benefit of all forum contributors and readers, Morningstar reserves the right to move any off-topic posts to a more appropriate forum or to delete the post altogether without warning.

Reply to a Post
Replies are listed in chronological order under each post, with the oldest reply listed first. After you've read a post, you can reply to it; add the author, post or forum to the list of favorites in your profile; set your account to ignore an author; or flag an offending post. To reply to a post, click Reply or Quote if you'd like to include a portion of the post you are replying to. Users have the ability to edit their posts for approximately 24 hours.

Rate a Post
A rating appears in a blue box to the right of each post and reflect the merits of that post based on the votes of the Discuss community. If you find a post useful, helpful, or informative, click the up arrow in the rating box to vote the post up. If you feel a post isn't useful to the community, vote it down. The number in the rating box accounts for everyone's vote and shows a net value of all votes; for example, if 12 people vote up and 2 vote down, the rating will be 10. Those posts with a high rating will be featured throughout the site while posts with low ratings will be removed from the site.

Assign Topics to a Post
You can assign topics to any post you write. For example, if you write a post about the Dow's latest gyrations, you might assign the topic "Dow." Later, other Discuss community members will be able to click on the Dow topic from the Topics tab and see your post as well as any other posts that have "Dow" as a topic. Other Discuss members can also edit the topics on your posts if they feel there is another related topic. In the example above, another member might add "volatility" as a topic keyword on your post.

Flag a Post
If you think any part of a post is in any way inappropriate or violates the Terms of Use, do not respond within the Discuss area. Instead, let us know by clicking the "Flag" button. If we determine that the message violates our Terms of Use, then we will take action.

Create a Profile
The Discuss area maintains a profile for each user, allowing you to keep track of your favorite areas, ignored users, personal settings, etc. Click the Profile tab to access your Discuss profile. By default, your profile is blank, but you can use this area to share information about your investment philosophy, occupation, and that sort of thing. Other members of the Discuss community will see this information, in addition to your recent posts and any favorites you've shared, when they click on your name in your post listings. Likewise, you can access other community members' profiles by clicking their names in their post listings.

Create a Blog
To create a blog, click on the blog link within your profile. On this page you can input the name of your blog, a short blog description, and an author bio. You can also add co-authors to your blog by entering their names separated by a semi-colon, like so: M*_Darrin; M*_Casey. Your co-authors will be able to add new threads to your blog.

Search Discuss
At the top of each page you'll find a search window that allows you to search by keyword or post number. There's also an advanced search that allows you to search by author, topics, conversation number, date range, and more.

Subscribe to RSS Feeds
Real Simple Syndication (RSS) allows you to receive forum and blog updates directly to a news reader of your choice. (Common readers include My Yahoo! and Google Reader.) An RSS feed is similar to an e-mail subscription. With an e-mail subscription, updates are sent to your e-mail address. With an RSS feed, every time a new post is published in a forum or blog you've subscribed to, a link to the post (including the post subject and summary) is added to your reader. You can click that link to read the full post on Morningstar.com.

RSS feeds are free and are available for forums and blogs. To subscribe, click the Favorites button on any post within the Forum or blog of your choice. Then click "Get an RSS Feed" and paste the RSS URL into the appropriate section of your RSS reader.

Contact Us
If you have any comments or suggestions, we encourage you to post a message in the Morningstar.com forum. A Morningstar representative will review these posts and respond to your questions.

Disclaimer
The Discuss area of Morningstar.com is offered for entertainment purposes only. Morningstar expressly disclaims any responsibility for the content or accuracy of any information posted to this area, and for any trading, investment, or other decisions made on the basis of this information.

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