An investor forum is an online community where investors and people interested in investing can exchange advice, information, and ideas. Such forums may be hosted on websites for investment magazines and other financial publications, and they can also be standalone sites. Generally, people are required to register to join and in some cases, access may be limited to invited members only. In the case of a private investor forum, it is usually necessary to have a connection with a current member in order to enter.
Investor forums can provide a valuable source of information for people at all levels of the investment community, from people just starting to learn about investment research to advanced investors. The forum is typically organized into a number of subforums by category, allowing people to quickly locate topics of interest, and several people act as moderators to oversee discussion and address interpersonal issues and other problems as they arise.
To register for an investor forum, people usually need a username and email address. Other details may be required by some forums, and people can also fill out optional profiles with additional information about where they live and what they do for a living. Forums generally rank members by the amount of time they've spent in the community and the number of posts they have made, and in some cases, access to various areas may be limited to people of a certain rank or higher to create an incentive for being more active on the forum.
People in an investor forum may discuss investments, big news in the financial community, changing standards and practices in the investment industry, and related topics. It is not uncommon for members of online communities to become friendly over time, and people may also maintain an area for personal news and life events to allow users to connect with one another without distracting other members primarily interested in the business aspects of the investor forum.
A legal disclaimer warning users that the advice and information provided is as-is may be included in the forum's policies to make sure users understand that they use the information at their own risk. An investor forum may also specifically bar members from providing certain types of information in an effort to limit liability. Members can be banned for activities deemed ethically questionable, and moderators may also be allowed to ban members for antisocial behavior like harassing or trolling other users.