I will report in the next few blog entries on my correspondence between Jim Wiandt and Matthew Hougan of the www.IndexUniverse.com site (Jim is the publisher and Matt is the editor). This correspondence took place in January and February of 2008.
The background is that an article appeared at the site on the formation of www.Bogleheads.org forum. The article failed to mention the primary purpose of the formation of the forum. I had been posting honestly at the Vanguard Diehards forum (at www.Morningstar.com) on what the historical stock-return data says re safe withdrawal rates. Mel Lindauer (co-author of “The Bogleheads Guide to Investing”) had insisted that I be banned for doing so, but the site administrator at Morningstar.com refused to ban me for this “offense” and many community members continued to express great interest in learning more about the realities of safe withdrawal rates and other important investment-related topics. Finally, in exasperation, the Lindauerheads formed the new forum and banned me and several others who had a reputation for posting honestly on valuation-related topics from the new board. I pointed out this history in a post to the thread at the www.IndexUniverse.com site and a number of abusive posters jumped on the thread. Matt, who was working as site administrator, failed to take any action against the abusive posters but instead deleted a good number of the posts by me and other posters detailing what happened at the Vanguard Diehards forum.
Jim had expressed interest in learning more about the controversy in comments at his blog (he had compared me to Rob Arnott, another fellow causing “trouble” for the most dogmatic Buy-and-Holders). Set forth below is the text of my e-mail to Jim expressing a desire to write an article for his site, his response to me and my reply to that response (all three e-mails were sent on January 28, 2008). Later blog entries will set forth the texts of e-mails between Matt and me; after Jim saw expressed interest in my article, he directed me to Matt to work out publication details.
My name is Rob Bennett. I am the owner of the PassionSaving.com site. I am the person who discovered the analytical flaws in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies and who developed the Valuation-Informed Indexing approach to investing.
I posted comments on the article at your site entitled “Diehard II: Redboot,” describing it as “unfair to Bogle, to Morningstar, and to the thousands of fine people who built the Vanguard Diehards community and who intended it to be put to very different purposes than the purposes to which it today is being put.” If you have an interest in running a more balanced piece on what the “Bogleheads” board stands for and how it came to be, I would be happy to supply one. If you have questions about this matter, please feel free to contact me.
We welcome submissions from anyone. The caveat is that we have no desire to get in the middle of a personal feud. But if it’s good, and if it’s pertinent, we’ll run it.
Thanks for responding.
I’ll write something about Valuation-Informed Indexing (pure substance) and see how you like it.
I’ll aim to get that to you by the end of next week.