Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
All I can say is the moderators of Bogleheads are slightly demented in their views. As noted by the author they allow personal to vile attacks against those who question orthodoxy and will not allow even the slightest retaliation. I was victimized by one of the many pets of the moderators and banned because I privately chided the moderator for selectively editing my posts and while allowing her pet’s direct personal attacks to remain. That got me permanently banned.
There is a lot of useful information in that forum. However understand that there is an almost religious fervor that courses through that forum. It really is disturbing.
You stated things well, Izod.
I like it that you said: “There is a lot of useful information in that forum.” That is true. And it is important to point that out. Complaints about the Bogleheads Forum often leave the impression that it is the entire community that is lacking. No! The majority of community members at the site are wonderful; they are smart and good and generous people. The entire community should not be blamed for the actions of a few. There were a number of surveys taken during the time I posted there and a number of posters famous for posting honestly on the peer-reviewed research in this field were shown to be among the most popular posters at the site. I was Public Enemy #1 to the “leaders” of the site from the first day I posted there but there were many community members who directed very kind words to me in gratitude for my efforts to turn things around.
Yes, the moderators are demented. To suggest that they are only “slightly demented” is to be exceedingly charitable. You are to be applauded for your kindness but people listening in need to know the full realities. The moderators at the Bogleheads Forum are not slightly demented, they are 100 percent demented. There was a poster there who summed things up well with the statement that: “There are a bunch of trolls running around calling everyone else trolls!”
People who care about stock investing should want to figure out what is causing this problem. It is an exceedingly odd phenomenon. The strategy promoted at the board is Buy-and-Hold. Buy-and-Hold is marketed as a research-based strategy. The benefit of following a research-based strategy is that doing so helps investors avoid making emotional decisions. For those following research-based strategies, investing is pretty much a mathematical puzzle. Math is not known as an emotional subject. So what the heck is going on here?
I never went to investing school and I never managed a big fund. But I am the world’s leading expert on this one! I am the person who discovered the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies. I reported what I knew on the morning of May 13, 2002. The reaction of a guy (John Greaney) who had prepared one of the Old School studies was to threaten to kill my wife and children if I continued to “cross” him by posting honestly on SWRs. 200 of my fellow community members (most of these people had become friends with me over the course of my three years of posting at the board) endorsed this guy’s death threats. They didn’t say that I was wrong and publications like The Wall Street Journal have confirmed in the days since that I was right. They just couldn’t bear to hear me report accurately and honestly what the historical data tells us about SWRs.
People are following a research-based strategy and they don’t want to know what the last 33 years (it was only 21 years at that time) of research says? That doesn’t make sense.
It doesn’t make LOGICAL sense. It DOES make EMOTIONAL sense.
The mistake that the Buy-and-Holders made was to ignore valuations. Both overvaluation and undervaluation are caused by investor emotion (the rational thing would be for investors to set stock prices properly). The research of the past 33 years shows that investor emotion is about 80 percent of the story. Get that one right and you cannot lose in the long term. Get that one wrong and you cannot win in the long term.
The Buy-and-Holders got that one wrong. So they cannot win in the long term (according to the last 33 years of research). How do you think that makes them feel?
IT MAKES THEM FEEL AWFUL.
That’s why you see what you see at that board, Izod. The Buy-and-Holders are HURTING.
The best thing for them to do would be to acknowledge their mistake. But the bigger a mistake it is that is made, the harder it is to acknowledge. The Buy-and-Hold Mistake is the biggest mistake ever made in the history of personal finance. There are now millions of middle-class people who are in the process of experiencing failed retirements because of this mistake. The Buy-and-Hold Mistake was the primary cause of the economic crisis, which caused millions to lose their jobs. The Buy-and-Holders have hurt their friends and neighbors and co-workers and fellow community members in very serious ways. They are feeling a burning shame over their mistake. How would you feel in those circumstances?
What makes things worse is that most of us who are aware of the mistake are afraid to speak out about it. Robert Shiller knows. He tells some of what he knows but he keeps a lot of what he knows buttoned up because he knows how much it upsets the Buy-and-Holders for anyone to tell the plain, honest truth about what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research teaches us about how stock investing works in the real world. It’s the same with Bill Berntein. It’s the same with Larry Swedroe. It’s the same with Scott Burns. It’s the same with Todd Tresidder. It’s the same with Wade Pfau. Its the same with Jack Bogle. It’s the same with Mike Piper. And on and on and on and on and on.
The mistake is so big that hardly anyone dares to point it out and demand that it be corrected. You have heard of companies that are too big to fail? The mistake made by the Buy-and-Holders is The Mistake Too Big to Correct.
So the suffering continues.
The millions of middle-class investors being tricked by the Buy-and-Holders suffer. And the Buy-and-Holders themselves suffer. And of course all the people who work in this field and who would like to be doing productive and meaningful and honest and important work suffer. Bloggers suffer. Academic researchers suffer. Journalists suffer. Economists suffer. Investment advisors suffer. It’s too, too sad.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts re our friends at the Bogleheads Forum. I have hopes that all of this is going to swing in a better direction following the next price crash. I intend to take over ownership of the Bogleheads Forum as part of the litigation settlement. You will receive a warm welcome when you return to the forum that improperly banned you in its dark days, Izod. Hang in there, my new friend!