Banned For Life From Bogleheads Forum

I’ve been a Bogleheads.org forum member for over two years – that is until this past Monday. I got a notice saying I’ve been banned for life. Labeled as an outcast. Oooh, threatening stuff, but annoying nonetheless as I’ve been a member for quite a while. While they stated they’ve contacted me before for many previous violations, the only one I’m aware of was a signature issue which had this site URL. I willfully complied to that change.

Over the years I have posted almost 250 comments and made reference to links on my site approximately twenty times without issue.. until now. I’m now labeled as a “spammer”.

For those who don’t know what a Boglehead is – it is someone that follows Jack Bogle’s investment philosophy. Jack was the founder of Vanguard and certainly has revolutionized investing in many ways. That so much I agree with. His low cost investments and using indexing to follow the market makes sense. However, investing is much more than just those two factors, and the Bogleheads forum pretty much pigeonholes themselves into one viewpoint for investing. As if that’s the only way towards the goal of financial freedom. Save your money and invest passively is their mantra. I don’t disagree completely with their viewpoint; that’s not to say it’s perfect, nor the only way. I personally believe active investing – owning a business is one of the other legs of a good investment strategy. Real estate is the third leg in an investment stool.

However, most of my beef comes from the moderators. The Bogleheads forum is far from perfect. Some issues I’ve seen:

  • Lack of trust from any investment professional – As if all investment professionals are in the same boat, especially fee only advisors. Almost all professional advisors are chased off the forum. The ones they allow to stay must bow to the Boglehead philosophy. They have issues with even then the ones that stay.
  • Do it yourself for everything – Many in the forum do their own taxes, which to me speaks volumes. Not only does this give me an idea of their net worth, but it also states most are wage earners and have simple taxes. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but that advice doesn’t make sense for most business owners or individuals who invest outside of the stock market.
  • Politics cannot be discussed – While I agree politics should not be discussed outside of economics and tax policies, avoiding this topic outright is a big mistake. Regardless of your viewpoint, we currently have some very big issues that face our country and it’s directly related to our politics. Logically, as government plays more of a role in the GDP of our country, how can we not then talk about politics? If you think politics does not affect investing, then I have a bridge to sell you.
  • Anti-commercialism rant – Only Vanguard is the savior to investors. Most of the other financial services firms are money sucking scum. Caveat emptor should apply to all investing. No one cares more about your money than you do. The goal is you should educate yourself about investing, and make sure you understand what is in it for the financial company. After all they are providing a service and shouldn’t be expected to work for free. Just understand what you are paying for and how much you are paying for that service. Without question, there are financial firms that offer the same service at a cheaper price. Though from their viewpoint, this then excludes investing with companies like Lending Club, because it’s outside of their framework.
  • Opposing viewpoints are shunned upon – Perhaps this is the most damning issue. This isn’t the first time someone has been banned. In Rob Bennett’s case he was banned for no known listed forum policy. Except his viewpoint was different from other Bogleheads and a “threat”.

Of course I’m overgeneralizing about the forum. There’s a considerable amount of members, and not all think the same way. It’s mostly of a few long term senior members who 100% embrace the Boglehead gospel and teaching it to beginner investor disciples. Anything outside of the Boglehead gospel is considered sacrilegious.

While I don’t agree completely with the Boglehead philosophy – I added value by posting comments on their forum. Anytime I saw something that I could state a different viewpoint or reviewed a product that individuals asked about, I made a comment. My legit product reviews seemed to be a sore point with them.

Here’s the suspension E-mail I got:

Sir,

Your bogleheads.org account has been permanently banned from this forum due to multiple violations of forum policy (http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=405) regarding commercial solicitation.

The latest violations were for multiple commercial promotions in “Anyone using Quicken 2013?”

“Also for those who are interested, I have a contest and giving away copies of the product.” and “I like personally TradeKing the best for your purpose” (TradeKing is one of your sponsors.)

Replacement of your commercial website in your user profile (Mar 24, 2012), after removal by the moderators, also violates forum policy. Inserting your website name in your signature is an attempt to bypass the moderator’s decisions.

As a result, the Advisory Board has decided to permanently ban your account from this forum. All links to your website have been removed.

— Forum Administration

Here are the vague terms I violated:

No Solicitation or Link Farming

Please do not solicit business or website traffic on this forum. A discreet link to your personal website or blog in your profile is allowed. The moderators and administrators reserve the right to determine unilaterally what constitutes solicitation, to remove such material, and to ban a repeat offender if necessary.

Their terms are very subjective. How convenient. The issue is what exactly am I soliciting? Investor Junkie is NOT a broker/dealer or a financial advisor. While Investor Junkie is a commercial site – we have an independent viewpoint towards investing.

In addition, my Quicken review link was relevant and directly related to the topic. A forum member asked a question about the latest version of Quicken, and I had just reviewed it. Mind you, I’m a 20 year user of their product. So I have some experience with the product and its history. Believe it or not Boglehead forum moderators, I use the product daily.

A response from the moderators also stated I was doing it for SEO reasons. Without going into the technical details, that is pretty easy to fix on their end. It’s possible to make outbound URL links worthless to the search engines. So for them to claim this reason is a copout. In addition, there are cases in which companies fake reviews and make comments on blogs and forums as it appears it some legitimate user. So any outbound link can be considered suspect. While I did get some traffic from a URL post, it was very fleeting and just a small amount of my total traffic. So I certainly wasn’t doing it for the traffic either.

I am sensitive to the fact that forums, and blogs for that matter, don’t want to see just a link to another site. I also added other comments/insight to my posts that in fact wasn’t mentioned in my review.

So what is considered acceptable by them? Damned if I know. Copy my entire 1,400+ word review on their site? That logically doesn’t make sense. What about when I create my video review of Quicken?

The purpose of Investor Junkie is to give in-depth reviews of products – positive and negative aspects. I’m not some shill of their product. The product giveaway for Quicken is coming out of my own company’s pocket, and as a way to give back to my readers. I know many like free giveaways; Quicken is a desired application and this is why I mentioned it. Intuit is NOT sponsoring it.

Furthermore, while TradeKing is an affiliate, they are NOT a sponsor. There is a big difference. I won’t go into the details, but an affiliate only gets paid if someone signs up. A sponsor pays you for either writing something good about them, or for an ad placement. We don’t do sponsored posts written by the company or by us. In addition, my TradeKing mention had no link to my site. Again, it was directly related to someone asking a question.

TradeKing has not paid Investor Junkie to say what is said on our site. We are free to state anything we want. If an affiliate has that mandate, they will not be an affiliate of ours. Second, I personally have an account with real money at TradeKing, and most of the other products we review here. So the review is an actual review of someone who uses their service. This is much more in depth of a review than many magazines and almost all blogs.

Lastly, let me try to understand what they are saying with their final issue. So my forum signature can’t have my web site URL – fine I changed this when they asked me to. But now they are stating I can’t even have my web site name in the signature???

Is a link to my site a little self serving? Sure, Investor Junkie is a commercial site.  Many hours of work go into a review, especially for the videos we are starting to produce. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work. In the same notion Bogleheads claim it takes a lot of money and time to manage their forum. So instead in their case they ask for donations and for visitors to click on affiliate links. So it’s ok for them to generate income for their effort, while any value we add by commenting or a legit review I mention isn’t? How self serving of them.

The goal of this site is to be transparent and objective, while still generating income for the site. The income for this site then helps aid in hiring writers, doing video presentations, buying the equipment to do these presentations, and eventually create a podcast. There can be a happy medium when a commercial entity generates income, without selling yourself to the devil. After all, the all mighty Vanguard has been able to do this.

Yet based upon my experience of the Bogleheads forum, they like to play favorites. There are many other personal finance blogs in which they allow links to their site without issue. So it seems to be there is some bias in their decision. Perhaps it’s because I am not a true Boglehead fan and the others are. Whatever the reason, I have requested they remove all my content, not just my links if they have an issue with me being a “spammer”.

Based upon being banned, their restrictive policies, and their lack of viewpoints against anything other than “The Boglehead way” has inspired me to create a forum of my own.

Believe it or not, like the Boglehead site, my ultimate goal is to help educate people to become better investors. Boglehead investing isn’t necessarily bad, but isn’t the only way to invest, and it has its own flaws and limitations.

Comments

  1. Wayne says:

    I find that most forums become insufferable pools of group think. It may be a problem with the medium itself. But the Bogleheads forum does seem worse than most, and I never joined. I’ll be interested to see what kind of forum you get going.

    • Larry Ludwig says:

      Hi Wayne,

      If you have any specific ideas on the forum… I’m open to suggestions.

      • Wayne says:

        I tried it once and got deluged in spam. So I guess my advice is think about spam from day 1. I never got farther than that – my traffic wasn’t (and probably still isn’t) sufficient to build a community.

  2. Financial Samurai says:

    That’s rough that you are banned for LIFE. Maybe a quarter or until you make ends, but for life after posting 250 times seems excessive.

    You are welcome to post investing topics on the Yakezie Personal Finance Forum rather than try and reinvent the wheel. Just share the affiliate income with me OK? :)

    Sam

  3. eemusings says:

    I’ve never been on the Bogleheads site and in fact have never really participated in any message boards (more of a lurker – especially the MSN money boards back in the day). Boards tend to foster small and often narrow-minded communities that don’t look kindly on outsiders, from my observations. Cliques dead? Nah.

  4. Rob Bennett says:

    Larry:

    This is Rob Bennett. I am mentioned in the article up above. I went way beyond just being banned! They actually formed the Bogleheads Forum for the purpose of escaping me! That’s so. They used to meet at the Morningstar.com site. I am the person who discovered the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies. They didn’t like me because of that and tried to drive me off the site. I refused to leave (there were a good number who wanted me to stay as well as a much larger number that wanted me gone). They demanded that Morningstar ban me but Morningstar refused. So they ended up forming the new site and asking everybody to switch over.

    I am sorry about your ban. I wish you luck with the forum you plan to start. I will certainly check it out.

    The issue of cliques is a big deal. Forums have huge potential. This is especially true of the Bogleheads Forum because most of the principles they discuss are solid, research-based stuff. Also, they get a number of big names to post there. People need a place where they can talk things over and learn. But the whole thing is ruined when one group silences opposing viewpoints. Learning comes to a stop once honest posting is prohibited.

    I’m glad to see you wrote this up. People need to know what the story is. I am also glad to see that you are planning to start a new forum. That’s a constructive way to respond to this.

    Take care.

    Rob

  5. Evan says:

    Did you just like the people there? I can’t imagine you learning anything from a forum like that

    • Financial Samurai says:

      I think it goes back to the issue of purpose. A lot of forums are abused due to including too many affiliate links and spammy posts. I deal w/ this a lot on the Yakezie public forums as well. It gets really annoying and time consuming for administrators.

      • Larry Ludwig says:

        Sam,

        Those issues can be managed away actually pretty easily. Most spam are automated bots anyways.

      • Larry Ludwig says:

        Sam,

        If you are implying it did to for affiliate links, then why would I be so annoyed? There are plenty of other ways to “spam” with little effort than spending many hours reading and posting to a forum.

        While I don’t know the exact dollar amount off-hand (without spending hours doing the research), I know it wasn’t much. Probably 1-2% of this blog’s income came from people clicking on links from their site. Trust me when I say this – it wasn’t a significant source by any means.

    • Larry Ludwig says:

      Yes actually I did get something out of it there are some very interesting conversations there, and I also contributed as well.

      • Financial Samurai says:

        Larry, it’s not you, it’s them. Many forums have a strict no affiliate rule because once it starts it goes crazy.

        • Larry Ludwig says:

          Sounds like when I was dating.. LOL Well in their case their terms are vague and they are selective.

    • Rob Bennett says:

      Did you just like the people there? I can’t imagine you learning anything from a forum like that

      I wasn’t sure if this question was directed to me or to Larry. I’ll answer for me.

      There are lots of super people at Bogleheads. I made lots of good friends there and I learned a lot from a good number of kind and smart and generous people.

      I’ll give you one example. I met Wade Pfau as a result of my posting there. Wade has a doctorate in Economics from Princeton. Wade liked my stuff and contacted me by e-mail to learn more about Valuation-Informed Indexing. We communicated for 16 months by e-mail and he ended up publishing research on VII that I believe will some day win him a Nobel Prize. His research shows that investors who make the switch from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing thereby reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent (while also dramatically increasing their long-term returns). That’s huge.

      I obviously don’t think as highly of the people who banned me. But even those people are smart and hard-working and generally good people, in my assessment. I believe that are mistaken in their investing strategies. And I believe that I helped them out by pointing out where I thought they were wrong (as they helped me out by pointing out where they thought I was wrong).

      I think we all should be learning from each other. I think that going to a board just to have people tell you you are 100 percent right all the time is stupid and a waste of time. The majority of the Bogleheads forum agrees. That’s why they have published rules prohibiting the tactics that are used to silence those who find merit in the research showing that Buy-and-Hold never works in the long term.

      The problem is that those who are open to hearing different views are less intense than the abusive Buy-and-Holders. The Buy-and-Holders are desperate to keep people from learning about the research. The Valuation-Informed Indexers love hearing about the research and see merit in it but are not nearly as strong in their beliefs and do not comprise anything close to a majority of the board community.

      The community there is amazing. The “leaders” leave a whole big bunch to be desired. A good number of the “leaders” are blowhards trying to make a quick buck promoting Get Rich Quick investing advice. The ones pushing GRQ stuff HATE to be challenged in any way. I think it’s a disgrace.

      Rob

  6. Harry @ PF Pro says:

    Wow that’s pretty lame. I like the BH forum but yea I have found their are some stubborn a-holes over there. They kind of remind me of the old people at my work who are unwilling to embrace change and new ideas/ new ways of doing things. I hope I never become someone like that. Either way, I’d just create a new username haha and get back on there. Artist formerly known as..

    • Larry Ludwig says:

      I’ve thought about that, but eh why waste my time or worry about walking on eggshells. I have more productive use of my time than having to worry about getting banned for something else. They can take their forum and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  7. Andy says:

    I started the thread that you posted to, resulting in your banning. I just want you to know that I did follow your link and found your review of Quicken 2013 useful, so thank you for posting it. I am sorry you have been banned.

  8. Hogie Reston says:

    It’s pretty simple to me — follow the forum’s TOS, and there is no issue.

    If you don’t like the TOS, then simply don’t participate.

    The person recommending you just use a new ID and try to sneak back in (to likely do the same behaviors that led you to the initial banning) is exactly why private forum owners and mods have to be such PITA — just like in other areas of life, 1% of people who refuse to play by the rules louse it up for the other 99%.

    Call it ‘groupthink” over there if you like, but you might ask yourself why it is that tightly moderated forums like BH are popular and why those ‘upstart’ forums who claim they are gonna do it differently fade to obscurity.

    If you really have a compelling message, then saying it on your own forum ought to be enough to get the spark going.

    Then when you are mega popular YOU can be the one who has to deal with those few folks who just won’t follow the rules, and make it tough on everyone else.

    • Larry Ludwig says:

      Hogie,

      As someone who’s been online for many years (in some cases online longer than people have been alive), I have some idea on how to participate in a forum, but also what’s required to moderate as well.

      There are many ways to make the issues described by them as non-issues. So while it IS their own forum and can moderate it as they wish, just don’t give me excuses that in reality are not problems. If I known what I know now, I wouldn’t have wasted my time on their forum. Certainly not posting.

      In addition, vague terms equals vague results. Their reasons for suspension is subjective, not objective. Not only shown in my case, but also Rob’s. I could easily define specific terms to meet their requirements to ensure it’s fair and objective. Their terms are subjective and biased.

  9. Hogie Reston says:

    Ah….

    Interesting that such a free thinker as yourself is moderating comments priorto allowing them to appear….

    LOL

    • Larry Ludwig says:

      Hogie,

      You must be approved upon the first post. This is to block automated spam that passes through first level filtering. If you are a real person, and on-topic you’ll get approved.

  10. Hogie Reston says:

    You said: “Their reasons for suspension is subjective, not objective. Not only shown in my case, but also Rob’s.”

    You cannot be serious, right? I can agree that you might have stepped afoul of some subtle and open to interpretation rules on BH, and therefore a little discussion via PM would have cleared it right up. You seem a reasonable person, and it seems a shame that did not occur. I myself have innocently run afoul of their rather draconian policies myself and had posts removed or a warning issued, much to my surprise and chagrin, but since each instance was something that I considered an individual misunderstanding, I did not even fight them, just moved on to the next item of interest.

    As to Mr. Bennett, however, that is a horse of a different color. I suggest you take a look at his long internet history, including having been banned at not one board, or two, but banned at more boards than you have fingers and toes together.

    It seems to me that much negative interaction is not a misunderstanding; that is a person deliberately trying to be an irritant, rather trying to get a legitimate message across.

    The history of trolling is only incrementally shorter than the history of the internet itself.

    Finally, thanks for clarifying your policy on moderation — seems quite reasonable.

      • Rob Bennett says:

        Larry, you should be honored you are mentioned in the same sentence w/ Rob B!

        Yikes!

        I don’t know about that but I certainly am grateful for your kindness in saying so, Sam.

        I saw you at one of the sessions of the Financial Bloggers Conference in Denver but was not able to get close enough to say “hi!”. Next year I will make sure that we get a chance to talk things over in person a bit!

        Rob

    • Rob Bennett says:

      As to Mr. Bennett, however, that is a horse of a different color. I suggest you take a look at his long internet history, including having been banned at not one board, or two, but banned at more boards than you have fingers and toes together. It seems to me that much negative interaction is not a misunderstanding; that is a person deliberately trying to be an irritant, rather trying to get a legitimate message across.

      Hogie is right about the number of bans. I’ve been banned at at least 15 different places. It’s hard to give a precise count. There are some places at which I was banned and then invited back and even given management responsibilities and then banned again. Is that one ban or two? I’ve given thought to writing to the good people at the Guinness Book of World Records and seeing if I can get the prize for “Most Times Banned from an Internet Forum Without Ever Once Violating a Posting Rule.”

      I’ve NEVER violated a rule. The idea is unthinkable to me. I LOVE the Bogleheads Forum. Not one of the “leaders” there who banned me possesses even a fraction of the love for that community that I possess. I was banned because my stuff is backed by research and so it is hard to refute by people who CLAIM to favor research-based strategies. The reality is that the pre-1981 research really did support Buy-and-Hold and that the research of the last 30 years does not and that the Buy-and-Holders get very upset when this is pointed out. It’s purely an emotional thing. But it is an INTENSE feeling held by a large number of Buy-and-Holders, that much is certainly fair to say. A good number of the people who banned me wrote me e-mails apologizing for doing so and telling me that they thought my work in this field is of huge importance.

      Hogie is 100 percent wrong in saying that I am not trying to make a legitimate point. The 30 years of research is 100 percent legitimate and important. He is not entirely wrong in saying that I am an irritant. Lots of people have invested their retirement money pursuant to Buy-and-Hold principles and it hurts them to learn that this was a mistake. I don’t say it to hurt them. My view is that it hurts them a lot less to learn about their mistake before they lose most of their retirement money than it does to learn about if after they are busted.

      I DO irritate Buy-and-Holders. But I like them and respect them and feel gratitude for all I have learned from them. I feel that in the circumstances which apply today it is my JOB to irritate those following Buy-and-Hold strategies. I am a journalist by training and over 30 years of life experience. Did Woodward and Bernstein not irritate a lot of people when they reported on the Watergate scandal? That’s the job of a journalist. We don’t say its sunny outside just because people want it to be sunny. We tell people the realities (at least that’s what we SHOULD be doing, in my assessment).

      Rob

      • Larry Ludwig says:

        Rob,
        Sam and Hogie might be more familiar with your backstory than I, but I can say from what I’ve seen people often claim you are let me put it in a nice way.. abrasive. While I have no issue with your viewpoint, I think many object to the methodology of how you do it.

        I certainly think all aspects of investing must be questioned. Investing, just like economics, is far from a science. What was accepted truths with investing 20-30 years ago has certainly changed from today. So any of the “accepted truths” of today must certainly researched more.

        In addition, as I stated in this post, there are certainly multiple ways to achieve the ultimate objective – financial freedom. Some methods might be better than others, or better suited to the individual’s expertise (or lack thereof). One size certainly does not fit all when it comes to investing.

        This doesn’t mean I poo-poo the Bogleheads philosophy either. I look at it as one reasonable outcome to achieve the results desired. This is unlike Boglehead administrators who treat it as the only way, and every other solution is 100% wrong.

        • Hogie Reston says:

          Awesome and thoughtful reply, Larry!

          The one thing I would challenge you to do, however, is to try to substantiate that Bogleheads really are as close-minded as you clearly now believe them to be regarding other’s approaches to getting to investing success.

          I mention doing this exercise strictly for your own edification, and not to continue a debate here publicly. My interest is in ensuring you have an accurate perception, not in arguing endlessly about your current impression of the people at some other forum.

          To be absolutely clear: Yes, as already stated, I do agree their editorial policies are stiff, unyielding, harshly and rapidly enforced and therefore cause some (many?) posters to chafe. I cannot, however, argue that it would be wise to change those policies, given their abundant (enormous?) success using the current editorial paradigm.

          Where I see things differently from you is that many who chose to take other approaches seem to immediately paint Bogleheads as absolutists. But what I *ACTUALLY* see myself is the use of phrases like “Many roads to Dublin” and “Whatever works for you”, even while admittedly often leavening those statements with companion statements like “While *you* may be able to time the market, I found I could not.” or “If your risk tolerance and talent lets you be successful picking individual stocks, fantastic — but my own experience has been that buy and hold works for me just as it has for the broader averages — as a terrible and a disappointing investing system…. but the best among other alternatives it has been tested against!”

          In other words, most threads there are actually about someone trying to ‘beat the system’ and get a better risk/reward than B&H has been proven to provide. And most people there admit to some sort of ’tilting’ or customization of a purely B&H approach. But to my knowledge, not a single person has presented a successful case for a ‘scheme’ that beats B&H on those metrics.

          (And yes Mr. Bennett, that very much and emphatically includes you.)

      • Hogie Reston says:

        Purposely going out of your way to post off topic and annoying material specifically designed to irritate and annoy other members, even after being repeatedly asked to stop, is a violation of the terms of service on the places you’ve been banned. In other words, contrary to your claims, you certainly HAVE violated the rules.

  11. Roger @ The Chicago Financial Planner says:

    I’ve never participated in the Bogleheads forum or any other forum for that matter. From your post and all of the discussion, I frankly don’t understand why you’d want to waste your time. From what I’ve read here this group strikes me as a bunch of smug, self-rightous church lady sewing circle types. Nothing against church ladies or sewing circles, but these are not the folks I would want to “hang out” with.

  12. Rob Bennett says:

    I can say from what I’ve seen people often claim you are let me put it in a nice way.. abrasive. While I have no issue with your viewpoint, I think many object to the methodology of how you do it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Larry. There are lots of people who say that. Even people who support me say that. I’ll try to explain what I think is really going on.

    I believe in 90 percent of what the Buy-and-Holders believe. There is only one point of disagreement. I say that valuations have to be taken into consideration in all calculations. They say that they should never be considered. If valuations were a small factor, this would not be a big deal. But the valuations effect is so big that whether you take them into consideration or not makes a HUGE difference.

    I am 100 percent polite and warm and kind in my interactions with Buy-and-Holders. Always. No exceptions. The thing that is “abrasive” is that I say “Well, you got the numbers wildly wrong in that retirement study and the error is going to cause millions of people to suffer failed retirements.” It hurts people’s feelings for me to say that. But, if it is true that valuations matter, what I am saying is so. There’s no soft way of making the point. If you believe that valuations matter, you are either “abrasive” or dishonest. There are no other options.

    I think the answer is for people to accept that there are two models and not be so defensive. We all need to acknowledge that the other guy is a friend and someone why is trying his best to help. I accept that there are lots of good and smart people who really believe in Buy-and-Hold. They have a right to believe what they believe. But if I were to say that I believe in Buy-and-Hold, it would be dishonest. There never should have been even a tiny bit of pressure applied to me to persuade me to post dishonestly. My right (and the right of all Valuation-Informed Indexers) to post honestly should be respected.

    The Buy-and-Holders were the top dogs for a number of years. They are not accustomed to being challenged. They have to accept that those days are over. People learn new things over time and we move on to new and better ideas.

    I say all the time how much I like and respect the Buy-and-Holders. It’s a rare event when one of them says that about me or about any of the Valuation-Informed Indexers. I have had Buy-and-Holders threaten to kill my wife and children. Never have I made any such threats in return. So who is truly the “abrasive” one?

    People need to hear both sides to be able to make informed decisions of their own. As of today, the Valuation-Informed Indexers need to stand up for themselves to even be able to speak (as evidenced by the 15 bans!). I am 100 percent happy always to praise the Buy-and-Holders for their many legitimate insights and I always am sure to do so. I am NOT willing to say that I agree with them. I shouldn’t be pressured to do so. And my unwillingness to do so should not be perceived as “abrasive.” My view is that it is the abusive tactics of the Buy-and-Hold dogmatics that are truly “abrasive.”

    Rob

  13. chris says:

    I’ve also been on the BH forum for the past 2 1/2 years. I’ve noticed that if you bring up anything outside of Vanguard, such as DFA, you are quickly labeled as someone trying to sell on the forum. Additionally, far too many people worship Bogle. They don’t have a mind of their own. They do whatever Bogle does and will throw you to the wolves if you deviate. A few individuals, such as Taylor Larimore and Abuss are little John Bogle lap dogs following him around. It’s quite annoying. What also irritates me is whenever a new member asks questions, a typical reply is very snarky. The Bogle followers will give them the ‘norm’ for a portfolio and that’s it. Anything different is the plague. There are a few Financial Advisors that are regulars such as Swedroe and Ferri, but anyone else who even mentions, for example, DFA are harassed with the “are you an advisor trying to sell us products.” I don’t read the BH forum as much as I used to.
    I have added some Permanent Portfolio products to my personal portfolio so I really enjoy http://www.crawlingroad.com. You should see some of the snarky replies to this type of portfolio over at BH’s. Very annoying.

  14. chris says:

    Oh, by the way, don’t be shocked if one of the BH moderators post in this thread. I’m sure they will accuse you of many things and indicate your blog about them is completely wrong. Just wanted to prepare you.

    • Larry Ludwig says:

      Thanks for your comments. Oh I’m expecting them to comment. Which is fine by me. I think the summary of the BH forum is accurate. Regarding this site I try to be as transparent as possible. I don’t try to mask anything related to it.

      I don’t censor unless you are trolling, or attacking me or someone else directly, but not based upon merit. This just confirms more and more there is a need being unfulfilled and a new forum is needed.

  15. Harry says:

    Sorry to hear the mishap. Sometimes it’s hard to understand intentions. There are tons of avenues for expression and interaction with other people. I’m sure you will find other places.

    Investing involves uncertainty. Some risks are worth taking. Some are not. It’s impossible to be absolutely sure one way is always better than another. Even within the Bogleheads group, there is endless argument about which is “right” as evidenced by “The Final, Definitive Thread on Value”:

    http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=96441

    So you wonder why your viewpoints are shunned upon?

      • chris says:

        What’s the difference with this blog and the other blogs always mentioned on BH’s? In fact, some of these blogs are usually brought up by forum administrators. The hypocrisy…

  16. Rob Bennett says:

    And yes Mr. Bennett, that very much and emphatically includes you.

    Thanks for including me, Hogie. The questions we are discussing here are of huge importance. I am confident we agree on that. The points made in your first comment are obviously sincere and intelligent. So I see considerable value in that comment and want to respond to it. I don’t see the point made in the second comment (that I posted off-topic — something I would never do in a million years) as being quite so obviously sincere. My take is that it is the product of cognitive dissonance. You believe it because you must believe it to maintain confidence in Buy-and-Hold. And so you have been able to persuade yourself that you really do believe it. Humans do this kind of thing ALL THE TIME in areas other than investing. I wish that we all could accept that it is likely that they do it in the investing realm as well.

    You don’t say what it is that you believe that I ever said that is “off topic.” I can come up with only one guess — the majority of the board believes in Buy-and-Hold and I say that Buy-and-Hold doesn’t work. Is that it? My view is that Bogle himself doesn’t hold as a primary belief a belief in Buy-and-Hold. Bogle’s primary belief is that investing strategies should be rooted in the academic research. This belief led him to a belief in Buy-and-Hold because once upon a time the academic research really did support Buy-and-Hold. Now that the research supports Valuation-Informed Indexing (call it Buy-and-Hold 2.0 if that makes it easier to accept), Bogle should be disowning Buy-and-Hold and shifting to support of VII instead.

    And he would! If only he would tolerate discussion of the research findings that show him to have been wrong in his early beliefs! My aim is to make him aware of how he got on the wrong track (and of course to make all other Buy-and-Holders aware of the same). How do I do that without describing what the research shows? I MUST do that to achieve my goals. And yet it is precisely my descriptions of what the academic research of the past 30 years shows that causes the Buy-and-Hold dogmatics to lose their cools and to dismiss me as “off-topic” and “abrasive” and worse. Do you see the problem I face?

    I noted up above that I formed my friendships with Academic Researcher Wade Pfau as a result of my postings at the Bogleheads Forum. Wade found VII exciting and wanted to learn more about it for the purpose of doing research. He found that VII checks out in every possible way. He was so excited about his findings that he expressed a belief that he might win a Nobel prize in Economics as a result of it (I am personally convinced that he will). He told me that he was amazed that no earlier researcher had looked into the things he looked into. He marveled at his finding that we know today (by examining the data that our mutual friend John Bogle has been advising us for years to study for guidance) what we need to know to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent! While greatly diminishing risk!

    Here’s a link to an article at my site that tells the Wade Pfau story:

    http://arichlife.passionsaving.com/the-buy-and-hold-crisis/academic-researcher-silenced-by-threats-to-get-him-fired-from-his-job-after-showing-dangers-of-buy-and-hold-investing-strategies/

    I find it more than a little hard to believe that you could read that article and read Wade’s research (a link is provided in the article to the underlying research) and conclude that the work Rob Bennett did at the Bogleheads Forum was “off-topic” to the purpose that John Bogle intended to pursue when he began his career, Hogie.

    It may be that those findings upset Bogle today, now that he has spent 30 years telling people a very different story. It hurts him because he wanted to do good work and because he is human and made a mistake and that mistake hurt millions of people who Bogle intended to help. But who is Bogle’s real friend — the people who continue the cover-up and thereby aid him in causing even more financial losses for the people he intended to help or the guy who has worked unceasingly for 10 years and without receiving a dime in compensation to get Bogle and all his followers back on the track that he and they had intended to pursue going back to the first day — using research and data to learn WHAT REALLY WORKS IN THE LONG RUN.

    I am not an off-topic poster, Hogie. I’m not anything close. You’ve got the wrong guy re that one.

    And I ain’t anti-John Bogle either. I rate John Bogle as the second most important investing analyst in history (I rank only Robert Shiller higher). The only way it could be “off-topic” for me to try to help my friend Jack Bogle learn about the mistakes he has made and to get on the right track is if Bogle was a 100 percent corrupt individual going back to the first day and never even intended to help a single middle-class investor but just to get rich himself exploiting their weaknesses. I don’t believe that for two seconds and I am 100 percent confident that you don’t believe that for two seconds either.

    So our only difference of opinion is whether Bogle was wrong in saying that it is not necessary for investors to practice long-term timing. Wade’s research shows that he was very. very. very wrong. There would be no problem here if you had any confidence that Wade messed up. If you thought Wade had messed up, you could hold a view different than mine and we could still be friends. The problem is that somewhere in your consciousness you entertain at least a small belief that perhaps Wade (And Rob! And the hundreds of our fellow Bogleheads who have written warm and enthusiastic endorsements of my work!) is on the right track. I have a funny feeling that, once you work up the courage to give those thoughts the serious consideration they merit, we are going to be working together to discover some very exciting truths about how stock investing actually works in the real world.

    I wish you all good things, Hogie. It would make me feel greatly encouraged if you could say in your next comment here that you feel the same way about me and about the hundreds of our fellow Bogleheads who have said that they found great value in my thousands of “off-topic” posts at the Bogleheads forum. Take care, man.

    Rob

  17. Hogie Reston says:

    No, Mr. Bennett, I am not going to continue to ‘feed the troll” by playing your semantical games.
    Anyone wanting to know about you need only do an internet search for your name and the word “banned”.

    I feel I have already spoken my piece here, to Chris, Larry, Harry, etc and others here who are legitimately attempting to understand and to be understood with respect to investing ideas, and not just usurp the internet as a self-promotional spamming tool.

  18. Rob Bennett says:

    [i]Anyone wanting to know about you need only do an internet search for your name and the word “banned”.[/i]

    Okay, Hogie.

    If people want to know whether I have been banned at lots of places, they don’t have to enter a search in Google to find out. I am saying here that all that you say about me being banned at lots of places is 100 percent true. Fair enough?

    I would only add that, if people want to know both sides of the story, they will also take a look at the 100-plus enthusiastic endorsements of my work that appear at the “People Are Talking” section of my site (it runs down the left-hand side of the home page of my blog — links are included), A number of those endorsements came in e-mails sent to me by the site administrators who banned me but also were kind enough to let me know that they thought that my work had great value and that it hurt them to ban me but that the Buy-and-Holders were so insistent that they felt that they would lose their sites if they didn’t do so. There is something about that reality that is mighty, mighty odd and I think that we will all learn a lot about how investing really works in the long run when we collectively begin making an effort to understand better what is really going on here.

    I certainly wish you the best of luck in whatever investing strategies you elect to pursue, my new friend.

    Rob

  19. JLP says:

    I’m very late to this conversation, but I never understood why the Bogleheads forum wouldn’t allow URLs in signatures. Part of the reason to participate in such forums is to network with other people.

    I do think linking to your own work within a post is crossing a line. But, that’s just my opinion.

  20. Fred says:

    They should more properly be known as Boggleheads in my book. Insufferable snobs who are just self-appointed experts and little more. Easy to check out how Latimore’s carefully chosen portfolio has fared over the past few years! I was guilty of pointing out how Malkiel’s advice had changed after he became a director at Vanguard (before that bond funds were for dummies). Also Jack Bogle’s “stay the course” comments in the autumn of 1999 were recalled. Oh no, casting aspersions on their gods!
    Screw them, the only sad thing is how many people they have managed to mislead, who now no doubt have strong regrets. (The S&P 500 fund {VFINX} is STILL below where it was in March of 2000 if adjusted for inflation.) Going on 14 years!

  21. Rob Bennett says:

    Fred:
    I agree 100 percent re the “leaders” of the Bogleheads Forum. I think there are a lot of wonderful, smart, generous-spirited people there, however. They feel that they need to keep their mouths shut and that’s a drag because the board can never achieve its potential without their frank contributions.

    Please don’t tell anyone but I plan to take that board over in future days, probably after the next price crash. I believe that with honest leadership that board can be an amazing resource for millions of middle-class investors. This new communications medium is still in its early days and we have not learned how to use it yet. There will come a day when discussion boards will be run not to enrich a few big shots but to bring learning experiences to the communities that build them and the communities that listen in.

    My best wishes to you.

    Rob

    • Sensible Investor says:

      Rob, rather than try and take over the Bogleheads board I think you should try and start your own board.
      Also, if you started to post all of your financial success stories more than complaining about the Buy & Hodlers you might win some converts. You’ve been able to beat those with the standard Boglehead portfolios over the past 10-15 years, right???

  22. Rob Bennett says:

    I’m not persuaded, Sensible.
    There were hundreds of people who expressed a desire that honest posting be permitted at Bogleheads when I was there. Those are the true heroes of the community. I want to hear more from them. We all lose when those people are afraid to give voice to their sincere view.

    That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter, in any event.

    My best wishes to you, Sensible.

  23. Bogle Me says:

    I got banned a couple of months ago for daring to challenge the DFA advisors that apparently finance the site. Wear it as a badge of honor.

  24. dasher says:

    I told that list-nazi broad techgeek or whatever name she goes by to terminate my account after the hack job she did of my posts that defended my character from liberal assaults by many of the members. There is a lot of good information in that forum but their is a mob mentality there that savages anyone who disagrees with their rather blatant social liberal agenda and their selective idolatry of Bogle. For instance is you read Common Sense on Mutual Funds Bogle makes a great case for owning individual stocks in a tax efficient manner as an alternative to mutual funds. Tyr mentioning that n that forum and you are savaged. Now and then I read info there, but it is far from an unbiased forum. It seems they have a lot of socially impaired losers hanging out in that forum have such a pathetic life they respond to any post in minutes of posting and between posts count their money. I always grew up with the idea that wealth in and of itself is something that brings stability to your life and allows you to freely pursue you interests and passions. It seems for many of those trolling that forum that they are possessed by their wealth or acquiring wealth to the exclusion of actual living a full and rewarding life.

    By the way I agree with the sentiment you expressed on business ownership and real estate.

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