One of the Goons recently characterized Rob Arnott’s observation (directed at me) that “your stridency is unhelpful to your cause,” as “the understatment of the year.” He asked: “From how many sources have you heard some variation of this advice and have chosen to ignore it?” My response, initially set forth in the comments section of a blog entry from last week, is set forth below (my aim in posting the words as a separate blog entry is to highlight them so that they reach the attention of readers who do not review the comments section of the blog entries):
I’m not able to estimate the number, Trebor. It is a big number.
I’ll give you an example that I think makes the case in compelling fashion. John Walter Russell devoted eight years of his life to researching Valuation-Informed Indexing without receiving a dime of compensation in return. John was a personal friend and he thought this stuff was very important. He obviously possessed zero bias against me. Yet I recall a thread at the FIRE board at which he commented (this is a paraphrase): “The Goons like to hold up a red flag to Rob because they know he will never fail to charge.”
John was saying something along the same lines as Rob Arnott, no? John was my partner in the development of the calculators at this site. He was never once banned from a site and I was banned at 15 different places. That’s what Rob was getting at.
I’ll give one more example. Before I was banned from the Early Retirement Forum, there was a community debate on whether I should be banned or not. There was one fellow there who generally agreed with my thinking on investing issues and he made a case that I should not be banned. A post by me responding to a comment made by someone else followed his and, after he read it, he said something to the effect of: “I take it back.”
I get this reaction over and over and over again. Even the Goons say all the time “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” There was a fellow who used to post a lot of comments here — Arty. Arty loved my stuff. But, when I posted the articles about the Wade Pfau matter, Arty said that he was leaving and would not be back. And indeed he has not been back.
I do not agree with what Rob Arnott said. But I acknowledge that there are many people, including a good number of people who see value in my work in this area, who share his view of the matter. People make the general point made by Rob all the time. The majority of people who hear my case do NOT like the way I present it. This has been established beyond any reasonable doubt at this point, in my assessment.
Thanks for taking time out of your day to post this helpful question.