Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
“We need to overcome you Goons.”
That’s easy. Just delete 100% of the Goon comments (a small increase from your current 90+%.) Since you post nowhere else anymore, the Goons can no longer reach you. Problem solved. Then watch as your fans slowly crawl out from under their beds and start posting honestly here.
If you fail to take this simple step, one has to wonder what your goal for this site is. Or if you even have one.
One more thought that hit me when I read back your comment and the quote from me to which you were responding.
I favor banning Goons when they engage in insanely abusive behavior, as you know.
However, I don’t believe that we truly “overcome” you Goons by banning you.
I wrote to Motley Fool in June 2002 asking that they ban John Greaney. Had they done so, I would have gone before the community six months later and asked that he be reinstated. I believe that the community would have gone along with that. I also believe that Greaney would have posted in accord with the published rules of the site from that point forward.
We would have had the best of both worlds from that point forward. There wouldn’t be any more abusiveness, so all the community members who had doubts about Buy-and-Hold would have felt comfortable posting their sincere thoughts. But we also would have enjoyed the positive contributions of my good friend John Greaney and of all the many community members who felt a friendship for him. Pretty sweet deal, eh?
I do not support the abusive behavior of you Goons. It’s not a close call. I believe that every board and blog community should insist that you honor the published posting rules. And the laws of the United States too! I believe all that very strongly.
But I do NOT believe that you Goons are the sole source of our economic problems.
Goons show up at all sorts of internet sites. On non-investing sites, the problem is generally taken care of by enforcement of the published posting rules. That what I believed in the early days would happen in this case. I was shocked when Greaney threatened to kill my wife and children if I continued to “cross” him by posting honestly re safe withdrawal rates. But I was ever MORE shocked that Motley Fool did not ban him when they learned about the death threats.
Greaney’s behavior is a big problem. But, if anything, the owners of the Motley Fool site are guilty of WORSE behavior. Motley Fool has a responsibility to enforce its published rules in a reasonable way. When they don’t, they send a very, very bad signal both to you Goons and to the Normals who in ordinary circumstances are not willing to tolerate the behavior that you have employed to block people from learning about the implications of the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research in this field. You are guilty of financial fraud. But so is Motley Fool and all the other sites that have failed to take effective action to rein in your abusiveness. That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter, in any event.
My point here is that “overcoming” you Goons means doing more than simply banning you. You SHOULD be banned when you put forward death threats. Obviously. But there is Goonishness in a lot of comments advanced by people who never in a million years would advance death threats. Jack Bogle is being Goonish when he says that the most that anyone ever needs to lower his stock allocation is by 15 percentage points. Jack Bogle pulled that number out of his backside. I am sure. The peer-reviewed research says it is 60 percent. Jack is not even close. He hurts millions of people in very serious ways when he puts forward such insanely dangerous and irresponsible statements.
Greaney never would have advanced his death threats had Bogle behaved more responsibly. Greaney was embarrassed for people to see that he got all the numbers wildly wrong in his retirement study. It was Greaney’s embarrassment that caused everything to go off the rails. Greaney never would have made his mistake had people like Bogle been more forthright about the decades of peer-reviewed research showing that a Buy-and-Hold strategy can never work for even a single long-term investor.
Banning any one individual Goon or even all of those who have behaved in an insanely Goonish manner is not going to solve our problems. The ultimate goal is to overcome the Goonishness that resides within ALL of us. When we root out our Goonish desire to develop confidence in Get Rich Quick strategies, we reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent. Banning a small number of abusive posters from our sites is not going to get us where we want to go. We are going to have to acknowledge as a society that the reason why we have tolerated you Goons for so long is that you are using your abusive posting tactics to achieve goals that a lot of us want to see achieved.
Do you see?
You Goons are cartoon versions of the inner selves of MILLIONS of middle-class investors. We cannot have reasoned and productive and life-affirming discussions until we remove posters who are putting forward death threats. But that is only our FIRST step toward becoming far more effective investors, certainly not the last.
Jack Bogle is going to need to look inside and ask himself what sort of investment advisor he wants to be in the future. It’s the same with Bill Bernstein. And with Larry Swedroe. And with Carl Richards. And with Scott Burns,. And with Michael Kitces. And with Wade Pfau. And with Mike Piper. And with Todd Tresidder. And with Rob Bennett. And on and on and on and on and on.
I hope that makes some sense to you, Anonymous.
I wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors.