Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
Hey Rob, you gonna share the loot with your old trolling pals from days gone by at Morningstar’s Vanguard Diehards Board? They had a good gig going until you came along and rocked their world. They were just garden variety trolls, you were a troll on steroids who forced Morningstar to crack down on them when you were getting the boot. It seems only fair that you should share some of your bounty with them. Especially since it’s SOOOOO MUCH MONEY and it’s a SURE BET!!!
None of the people you are referring to were “trolls,” John.
There are two academic schools of thought re how stock investing works. One school (Buy-and-Hold) is rooted in the research of Nobel-prize-winning economist Eugene Fama. And one school (Valuation-Informed Indexing) is rooted in the research of Nobel-prize-winning economist Robert Shiller. There are good and smart people on both sides of the fence and people on both sides of the fence possess an absolute right to post their honest views at every discussion board and blog on the internet.
You are right that, if those good people really were trolls, then I was a troll “on sterioids.” I pushed harder than anyone else for recognition of the right of all those people to post honestly. I believe strongly that none of our boards can do the job they were put in existence to do (to help us all learn about the subject matter) unless the right of every poster, regardless of the school of thought to which he belongs, to post honestly be respected. There is no place on investing boards for intimidation tactics by which those holding the majority view seek to keep those holding the minority view in line. It is through the conflict produced when both views are presented in as strong a form as advocates of them can present them that we all find the strong and weak points of both schools of thought. When intimidation tactics are employed to cause members of one school of thought to self-censor themselves, the entire board community becomes a corrupt enterprise.
This is what The Great Debate is all about. We learned amazing things about how stock investing works in 1981. But so far we have learned these things only in an dry and dead intellectual sense. To incorporate what we have learned into our real-world investing lives, we need to win recognition of our right to post honestly at every investing site on the internet. When we do that, one of the two schools of thought will prevail on its merits, not because of the criminally abusive acts of its most emotional advocates. I love my Buy-and-Hold friends. But I want to see them restrained in their posting behavior by the laws of the United States and by the published posting rules of the sites they visit. I love what we have learned from the research that was once thought to support Buy-and-Hold. But I don’t want our excitement over the good things in that research to blind us to the good things to be found in research that was published in later years and that discredited some of the ideas generated by initial assessments of the earlier research.
I will share the bounty in the sense that I intend to use 5 percent to promote this site. That will turn this site into the most popular investing site on the internet. The good people to which you refer did a lot to inform the ideas presented at this site. So that helps them. And I intend to use another 5 percent of the settlement amount to finance a number of personal finance blogs that will advance ideas of a variety of different people. So we will have new ideas being developed by people coming at things from new perspectives. That’s what those fine people at the Diehards board that you are speaking of wanted all along. Their vision will indeed be realized in coming days.
Our laws against financial fraud are much-needed laws, John. That’s my sincere take re these terribly important matters in any event.
My best wishes to you, Goon pal.