Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for one of my columns at the Value Walk site:
I’ve noticed that the more evasive you want to be, the more words you type. I imagine that behavior leads to bans.
My policy of responding to a high percentage of Goon posts had indeed contributed to the bannings, in my assessment, Dan.
Please know that I do NOT respond to all Goon posts. I ignore those that contain zero useful content, just pure abusiveness. Those people can see through. So I don’t see any need to type words of my own in those cases.
However, a frequent Goon trick is to mix up a high percentage of garbage with a small amount of real stuff. For example, they might write a post saying “is this a conspiracy?” That’s a legitimate question. Lots of people are stumped by that one. If there really is 35 years of peer-reviewed research showing that valuations affect long-term returns, how is it that Buy-and-Hold still exists? Non-Goons have that question in their minds. So we need to answer it. I try to do so even when it is clear that the person asking the question has no good intent.
We need to call the Goons out on their b.s. Ignoring them does NOT do the trick. Their aim is to disrupt conversations. The ugly stuff drives people away. Most people just cannot stand all the ugliness. When people leave boards because of their nastiness and the conversations stop, that’s a win for the Goons. They are happy with that result. All the rest of us miss out on great learning experiences. But the Goons get what they want when we ignore them.
So I try not to do that except in the most extreme cases (when there is zero content). Those of us who write about research-based strategies have every right in the world to share our thoughts at every discussion board and blog on the internet. I always follow the rules. I know from interactions with many thousands of people that there is HUGE interest in Valuation-Informed Indexing. But the new ideas won’t spread until some of us work up the courage to stand up to you Goons. So I make a sincere effort to do that.
I don’t want anyone to be afraid to post honestly. Each time one of us works up the courage to do so, it makes all the others thinking about it feel more confident about doing so. We all need to stick up for each other. That’s how the good guys prevail in the end and how the bad guys get sent down. Today, those who post honestly are quiet and timid and the gooniest among us are loud and bold. We need to flip that to learn what we all need to learn about how stock investing works in the real world.
Get Rich Quick/Buy-and-Hold strategies don’t just destroy our investment portfolios. They rot out our souls.
That’s my sincere take re these terribly important matters, in any event.
My best and warmest wishes to you and yours.