Policies and Etiquette

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.

Policies and Etiquette

Postby Alex Frakt » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:14 am

Welcome to the Bogleheads forum. Anyone can read and search the forums, but you must be a registered member to post. By posting on this forum, you agree to observe the following guidelines. If you find them unduly onerous, please seek an alternative forum that better suits your needs.

If you have any problems registering, or problems with accessing the site or posting, please email: bhadmin@bogleheads.org.

GENERAL ETIQUETTE

Discussions should be conducted without fondness for dispute or desire for victory." - Ben Franklin

This is a moderated forum. We expect this forum to be a place where people can feel comfortable asking questions and where debates and discussions are conducted in civil tones. Respect your debating opponents. Debates are about issues, not people. If you disagree with an idea, go ahead and marshal all your forces against it. But do not confuse ideas with the person posting them; at all times we must conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to other posters. Attacks on individuals, insults, name calling, trolling, baiting or other attempts to sow dissension are not acceptable. If you feel that someone has attacked you or otherwise violated the policies of this forum, do not respond in kind. Instead, contact a Moderator or Site Administrator by PM or by clicking the report button and ask them to review the problem posts.

Please remember that any poster can edit their own posts after submitting then, so comments made in haste can be rephrased. If you saw red and realized later that you should have counted to ten before posting, consider rephrasing before battle is joined.

We also require that you be considerate of our readers and:
  • use meaningful titles on new topics
  • refrain from posting naked links - all links should include an explanation or excerpt unless its meaning is clear from the context
  • avoid profanities, obscenities, lewd and otherwise offensive words and remarks
  • avoid posting in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS or otherwise using distracting formatting
Moderators may edit titles, reformat or even delete posts that do not follow these guidelines.

ACCEPTABLE TOPICS AND SUBFORUM GUIDELINES

This is an investing and personal finance forum. We also maintain a subforum that allow our members to discuss consumer goods and services and recreational activities. Anything else is considered "Off Topic" and is not acceptable on this forum.

The following guidelines are meant to help you get your post into the correct subforum and clarify the allowable topics. Please note that moderators may move posts without notice if they feel it was placed in the wrong forum.

Investing - Help with Personal Investments

This subforum is for all questions about your (or your friend's or family's) actual investments or investment planning. This includes retirement plan accounts, taxable accounts and tax issues related to buying and selling stocks. If you have a question about what to buy, what to hold, what to sell or how to set up an asset allocation plan, ask it here.

Investing - Theory, News & General

If it's investment related and it doesn't fall into the above category it goes here. Examples of acceptable topics include news about new fund offerings, pointers to academic papers about investing issues, questions about the proper role of a particular asset class in a portfolio, or questions about Vanguard policies.

Personal Finance

This subforum is for personal financial issues that don't involve investments. Examples of acceptable topics are:

- insurance
- employment issues
- credit card and credit rating issues
- mortgage and loan issues
- legal issues that have a financial component like wills and pre-nuptial agreements

Note that topics must be directly connected to your (or your friend's or family's) financial life. General comments or complaints about these topics will be locked or removed.

Personal Consumer Issues

This subforum is focused on making informed decisions about consumer goods and services (other than investing or financial).

Acceptable topics include:

- consumer goods and services (e.g., dress shirts, laptops, software)
- home maintenance
- vehicle purchases and maintenance
- leisure and recreational activities: travel, sports, entertainment

Note that topics must be directly connected to your (or your friend's or family's) life as a consumer. General comments or complaints about these topics will be locked or removed.

Note that this subforum has a much lower threshold for locking or removing posts than the financial and investing subforums. In general, controversial, offensive, pointless, divisive or mean-spirited posts or topics may be locked, edited or deleted (with or without notice) at the discretion of the moderating staff even if they do not otherwise violate forum policies.

Forum Issues and Administration

Technical questions about the forum and forum policies go here.

UNACCEPTABLE TOPICS

Politics and Religion

In order to avoid the inevitable frictions that arise from these topics, political or religious posts and comments are prohibited. The only exceptions to this rule are:
  • Common religious expressions such as sending your prayers to an ailing member.
  • Usage of factual and non-derogatory political labels when necessary to the discussion at hand.
  • Discussions about enacted laws or regulations that affect the individual investor. Note that discussions of proposed laws or regulations are prohibited.
  • Proposed regulations that are directly related to investing may be discussed if and when they are published for public comments.
Non-actionable (Trolling) Topics

If readers can't do anything with the content of a topic other than argue about it, it does not belong here. Examples include:
  • US or world economic, political, tax, health care and climate policies
  • conspiracy theories of any type including oil price manipulation
  • discussions of the crimes, shortcomings or stupidity of other people, whether they be political figures, celebrities, CEOs, Fed chairmen, subprime mortgage borrowers, lottery winners, federal "bailout" recipients, poor people, rich people, etc. Of course, you are welcome to talk about the stupid financial things you have done.
Medical Issues

Questions on medical issues are beyond the scope of the forum. If you are looking for medical information online, I suggest you start with the Medical Library Association's User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web which, in addition to providing guidance on evaluating health information, includes lists of their top recommended sites in the following categories: consumer health, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. They also provide a larger, but less frequently updated, list called Top 100 List: Health Websites You Can Trust.

OTHER MEMBER POLICIES

Serious Violations

Certain violations, in particular posting or linking to spam, abusive, illegal, or obscene material, will result in removal of a message and may lead to an immediate and permanent ban of the user responsible.

No Solicitation or Link Farming

Please do not solicit business or website traffic on this forum. A discreet link to your personal website or blog in your profile is allowed. The moderators and administrators reserve the right to determine unilaterally what constitutes solicitation, to remove such material, and to ban a repeat offender if necessary.

Usernames (accounts)

Usernames must not violate any of the forum policies, be profane, rude, or otherwise inappropriate, nor may you use a real person's name other than your own. Please do not sign up for more than one account (username). If there is a problem with your account, please contact a site admin via PM or send an e-mail to bhadmin@bogleheads.org. If we discover that one person is using multiple accounts, the least active account(s) will be deactivated. Use of multiple accounts to circumvent forum policies, including suspensions or bans, will be considered a serious violation.

We do understand that there are certain situations in which holding multiple accounts is reasonable. If you feel you have a compelling reason for maintaining multiple accounts, please send a request with an explanation to a moderator or site admin.

Profile Information

Avatars - Avatars may be deleted by a moderator or site admin at any time if it results in multiple complaints from your fellow members, if it duplicates an existing member's avatar, or if it includes any of the following:
  • animations
  • ads or commercial messages
  • misleading photos
  • offensive or disturbing images
Signatures, Location, Website, etc. - To keep the forums readable and the signal to noise ratio high, all profile information, including Signatures and Locations must be free of commercial messages, non-controversial, short, and normal text only (no external links, no images, no line breaks, and no distracting formatting). Locations must be physical locations such as city, state, country or region. The Website field may only be used for your blog or other personal website.

Quoting outside material
The forum is not a clipping service. Please keep copyright restrictions in mind and reproduce only materials that qualify under fair use and limit your quotation to the minimum necessary to make your point. When possible, provide links to the original so that those interested can read an excerpt in context.

ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES

Moderation Procedure

If Moderators are forced to step in, in most cases, they will do so through a Private Message or by a request on the thread in question. When posters are asked to back off, it is expected that they will. Often, the only way to defuse a situation is to have all participants cease and desist and move on. Failure to follow these policies or Moderator warnings may result in postings being edited or deleted, or referral to the Advisory Board for consideration of a suspension or ban.

Locked Topics

Moderators or site admins may lock a topic (set it so no more replies may be added) when a violation of posting policy has occurred. Occasionally, even if there are no overt violations of posting policy, a topic (or thread) will reach a point where the information content of the discussion has been essentially exhausted and further replies are much more likely to cause distress to the community than add anything of value.

Topics are locked to give everyone a chance to cool down. Thus if a topic is locked, please do not start up another thread to continue the discussion, at least right away. Such follow-on threads may be deleted without warning.

Member Rights in a Dispute

If a member has a post edited or removed, or has a topic locked and feels that he or she did not in fact violate any of the forum's policies, the member has the right to have the dispute heard by the Advisory Board. In such cases, the member should send a Private Message to any forum officer or an email to bhadmin@bogleheads.org. That officer will forward the message, verbatim, to the Advisory Board for due consideration. A decision will be rendered within 48 hours, and will be conveyed via PM from a forum officer who was not involved in the initial dispute. Please be aware that moderator decisions will not be overturned lightly.

Notifying the Advisory Board via PM or e-mail is the only acceptable outlet for complaints regarding Moderator action. Members do not have the right to take their appeal to the rest of the forum or to complain publicly about Moderator actions. Follow-up topics complaining of alleged ill-treatment by Moderators by the original poster, or any other member, will be deleted and may result in further administrative action. If you see such a post, please do not respond. Even if you support the Moderator's action, your post will be deleted with the rest.

Moderator responsibilities in disputes

Moderators should not moderate a thread in which s/he has been a participant. Whenever s/he is involved, moderation of the thread will be passed to another moderator.

For reference, a record will be kept of the original of all items edited or deleted by a moderator. (Periodic housekeeping, such as moving threads to a more appropriate forum or deleting duplicate posts, spam and porn may not be recorded.) Moderations and deletions must be clearly indicated in the text. All changes are to be signed in a way which allows site management to identify the moderator responsible.

If a member has a post edited or removed and wants to contest it, use a Private Message to another Moderator or a Site Administrator. Consider this fair warning: the moderators have been appointed because we have confidence in their judgment so the burden of proof is on the one making the appeal.

If a Moderator feels that a member is ignoring his/her actions or that additional steps short of banning a poster is necessary, s/he must refer the situation to either a Site Administrator (via the Moderator's private forum) or the Advisory Board for further action. The referring Moderator may not take action once a matter has been referred; another Moderator or Site Administrator will be assigned to deal with it.

All cases in which a Moderator or Site Administrator believes that a ban is warranted shall be referred to the Advisory Panel for review and a decision.

The sole exception to this policy is for Serious Violations (the posting of spam, illegal, obscene, or abusive material), in which case action shall be taken immediately and the details reported to the Moderator's private forum.

GOVERNANCE

Advisory Board

The governing body of this forum is the Advisory Board, which will advise the site owners on policy issues and is responsible for all major disciplinary actions such as banning members (other than spammers) and for review of disputes over moderator actions. The Advisory Board may take any actions the members feel are necessary for the good working of this forum. A private subforum has been provided for the exclusive use of the Advisory Board to facilitate such discussions.

The Advisory Board includes site officers - Site Admins, Moderators and Wiki Admins - and at least two regular members of the community who are selected by general agreement of the existing board. Moderators shall not make up a majority of the Advisory Board.

COPYRIGHT POLICY

This forum makes no claim to the ownership of original materials in posts or replies submitted by our members: ownership solely resides with the original author. However to ensure the smooth functioning of the forum, by submitting a post or reply to this forum you agree to grant certain rights to the forum and to other forum members. Furthermore you agree that in any case where original ownership rights conflicts with the granted rights, the granted right shall take precedence. The specific rights retained and granted by original authors are listed below.

Definitions
  • The term “forum” refers to any web forum located on bogleheads.org or its predecessors or descendants.
  • The term "author" refers to any person who submits a post to the forum.
  • The term “in good standing” refers to forum members who have not had their accounts terminated nor are under a current suspension for violations of forum policies.
Rights Retained by Authors
  • Post authors (regardless of standing) retain the exclusive right to republish their original material in any medium or website outside the forum except where this right is limited by fair use and any applicable laws. In other words, no one can sell or reuse your words outside the forum without your express permission, but you can sell or reuse them without ours.
  • Post authors in good standing retain the right to edit, modify or delete the contents of their posts as long as the forum remains fully operational (i.e., as long as the forum is accepting new posts).
Rights Granted by Authors
  • Post authors grant the right for their work to be displayed on the forum without compensation.
  • Post authors grant other forum members in good standing the right to quote all or part of their posts in other posts on the forum (and post authors understand that although they may later edit their own posts, such edits will have no effect on quoted extracts made by other forum members).
  • Post authors grant forum officers the right to edit or delete or insert comments in post contents (including post titles) that the forum officers have determined are in violation of forum policies.
  • Post authors grant forum officers the right to edit post titles for clarity and readability.
  • Post authors grant forum officers and technical personnel the right to make as many non-public copies of their posts as necessary for maintenance or other functions necessary for the operation of the forum.
  • Post authors grant forum technical personnel the right to convert references to products, services or businesses into affiliate or otherwise compensated text links where such conversion does not alter the author's intended meaning.
Changes to this Copyright Policy

The terms of this copyright policy may only be changed after 30 days notice is given in the form of a post on the Forum Issues and Administration subforum. Such post will include both the original and revised language and an explanation of the reason for the change.

PRIVACY POLICY

Your Information

Personal Information - You do not have to disclose any personal information in order to view this site. However, if you wish to register for the forum, you will be required to provide a valid e-mail address. If you wish to donate through PayPal to support this site or to purchase any products or services from the site (if we ever offer any), you will have to provide personal information as required to complete the transaction. We will only use your personal information to respond to your requests (including automated e-mails when you request to follow threads or be notified of private messages), fulfill your purchases, or for administrative tasks when we are unable to contact you through a forum private message.

Log File Information - When you browse our site our web server automatically collects basic information provided by your web browser including pages requested, internet protocol (IP) addresses, type of browser, referring and exit pages and search query (if referred by a search engine). The raw data is stored in text files on the server known as log files. The log files are only available to the system administrators and are only used for administrative tasks, such as performance tuning or fixing bugs. However, aggregated demographic information which contains no personally identifiable information may be made available to interested parties (including the site membership) at the discretion of the site owners.

IP Address Information in Forum Posts - Forum Moderators and Site Administrators may view the IP address from which a suspect post was made to help determine if a poster is a likely spammer or is violating forum policies such as maintaining multiple accounts. IP address information can not be used to individually identify someone.

Private Messages - Forum officers may not directly view Private Messages. However, if a forum officer receives a specific complaint about the abuse of the Private Message system, the officer may request that a system administrator review the alleged abuser's Private Message information directly from the forum database. If the complaint appears to be valid, the text of any offensive PMs will be forwarded to the private moderator's forum for further action.

Release of Information

We will not sell your information to anyone. We will not release any of your information to third parties except as noted under Your Information or in the following circumstances:

1. In response to a valid court order or other compulsory request from law enforcement.
2. With the written permission of the affected user.
3. Where a banned user returns to the forum and continues to violate forum policies, after a final warning to the registered e-mail address, data may be released to anyone who can help stop the ex-member from harrassing us, including, but not limited to: Internet Service Providers, law enforcement officials, legal counsel, and employers.
4. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Bogleheads.org site, its users or the public.

Cookies

Browsing the forum may cause the forum software to create one or more cookies, which are small text files that are downloaded to your web browser's temporary files. Cookies do not include personally identifiable information. The cookies are used to allow you to log on automatically if desired, allow the web server to verify your user id so you can move from page to page without re-logging in, and to store which topics you have recently browsed so you have the option of viewing only new posts. If you refuse our site's cookies, you will still be able to view pages, but may not be able to post or use other membership functions.

Scope - this policy applies to the entire Bogleheads site, except for the wiki, which is governed by its own privacy policy.

Changes to this Privacy Policy

The terms of this Privacy policy may only be changed after 14 days notice is given in the form of a post on the Forum Issues and Administration subforum. Such post will include both the original and revised language and an explanation of the reason for the change.

Edit History - Created 3/4/2007 by Phoenix. Major revisions 3/16/07, 4/1/07, 6/4/07, 10/1/07, 9/25/08, 3/10/09. Copyright policy added 2/23/2009. Privacy Policy added 1/30/2010. Reorganized with minor edits (no policy changes) 5/27/10 and 11/10/10. All revisions by site admin Alex Frakt
Alex Frakt
Founder
 
Posts: 9383
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:06 pm
Location: Chicago

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