Bogleheads® Wiki 2010 annual report

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In a departure from the wiki's policy of neutrality, this content presents the personal viewpoint of User:LadyGeek.

May 13, 2010 marks the second anniversary of the launching of The Bogleheads Wiki. The wiki was publicly announced on May 21, 2008. Our Wiki statistics page provides us with the following numerical snapshot of our wiki project (as of May 9, 2010):


Statistics Most Viewed Pages Most Viewed Pages (cont'd)
  • Content Pages: 483
  • Views: 1,401,496
  • Edits: 18,628
  • Views per Edit: 75.24
  • Average Page Edits: 12.83
  • Registered Editors: 113


Personal Reflections

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to all of the following:

  • To Alex Frakt and Larry Auton, for providing the server, software, and the never ending wiki maintenance;
  • To Barry Barnitz for allowing me the freedom to help improve the wiki from the technical side, for providing guidance and oversight on my continual quest to learn investing;
  • To Cyberbob for advice on wiki programming, suggesting the main page color scheme, and all things technical;
  • And to all those who contributed to the Wiki --LadyGeek 01:06, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

The Year in Review

The theme for this year was information integration. As the wiki content was increasing, it was becoming more difficult to find related articles. Several changes were implemented to solve this problem.

The 2 year wiki experiment was declared a success and the wiki is now recognized as part of the forum.

The Bogleheads' Financial Start-Up Kits

Although the wiki's main page was updated in FY2009,[1] novice investors had a daunting task to find entry-level tutorials rather than deep-dive into technical theory. The articles were there, but guidance was needed to locate this information.

New investors often feel overwhelmed when dealing with complex investments. To help solve this problem, companies often supply introductory material in the form of a "welcome package". These packages contain everything a new investor needs to know: an introduction to the contents, how to obtain help, and detailed examples.

Why not the same for the wiki? Enter the Bogleheads' Financial Start-Up Kits. All a new investor needs to do is click on the large text at the top of the main page and start reading.[2] Tutorial articles were selected to help guide users in a logical learning sequence that follows the Bogleheads' investing philosophy. Start-Up kits focus on:

Wiki Main Page Layout

Over the course of the year, the wiki editing team got things rolling to make the wiki more "user-friendly". As they say, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." Presenting a clear, easy-to-understand main page is key to helping readers use the wiki and, more importantly, continue to use the wiki as a valuable resource.

The timeline shows a continual evolution over the year, culminating with a layout that was coordinated with the forum's main page update. The result is a seamless integration between the wiki and forum sites. The wiki's sidebar (located on the left side of the page) was also updated to be more user friendly and integrate with the forum.[3]

An Experiment in Video

One of the wiki editors, Stickman, went so far as to develop a set of online videos describing the Bogleheads Investment Philosophy. This remains a work-in-progress.

Article Sidebars

One of the major features of a wiki is to link information. Located on the right side of the page, sidebars (such as the one shown here) were implemented as way to link (group) similar articles to help readers find information. This was a major wiki upgrade project. (The sidebar concept is used on Wikipedia.)

Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning

The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning was published in October 2009, resulting in much forum discussion. Like many books, it contained errors which escaped the editor's eye and ended up in the publication. An errata sheet was needed. Additionally, considerable debate ensued in the forums, which required the chapter editors to either concur with or refute forum member's opinions.

The Guide to Retirement Planning - Post Feedback Here forum thread was started to capture the discussions, but why not use the wiki? The wiki layout, as well as it's editing features, are optimal to manage both the errata and ensuing debates regarding the book's contents.

Like Wikipedia, every article (wiki page) contains both the content itself as well as a secondary "discussion" page[4] to contain debates about the page's content. The result was to have the errata on the page itself, while the discussion page contained the debates.

The Bogleheads' View

November 25, 2009[5] marked the introduction of The Bogleheads' View series appearing in Forbes magazine online. A wiki page was created to maintain an archive of article links (the articles themselves belong to Forbes).

Wiki Editing Toolbar

Although never seen by anyone except the wiki editors, the wiki's editing toolbar was given a facelift to look and act like the toolbar in Microsoft Word. Many potential editors were discouraged from contributing because the wiki was perceived to be difficult to edit. The updated toolbar gives a familiar environment to ease the transition. (All you really need to do is enter the content. If there are any problems, let someone more experienced deal with the formatting. Content is more important than formatting.)

Appendix

Bhwikilogo.jpg
Wiki Timeline
  • June 11, 2009: The Bogleheads' Financial Start-Up Kits are launched.
  • June 24, 2009: Main page layout updated - combined wiki activity into one Welcome box
  • July 1, 2009: Experimental videos are introduced (still in development).
  • October 4, 2009: The wiki is used to maintain corrections and comments for the Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning.
  • October 31, 2009: The Tango color scheme is incorporated into the Main page layout.
  • November 25, 2009: The wiki is used to archive links to the The Bogleheads' View articles on Forbes.
  • December 17, 2009: Introduction of article sidebars (right side of page) which allowed easy grouping of similar pages.
  • January 6, 2010: The wiki editing toolbar was updated to look like MS Word.
  • January 9, 2010: Update of the main page and sidebar (left side of page) layouts, coordinated with the updated forum home page.


The table below provides cumulative annual statistics for The Bogleheads Wiki, derived during the annual May anniversary week of the wiki's founding.

Cumulative Annual Statistics
2009 2008
Content Pages 483 377
Views 1,401,496 490,687
Edits 18,628 13,016
Views per Edit 75.24 37.70
Average Page Edits 12.83 11.06
Registered Editors 113 87

References

  1. From May 2009 to May 2010
  2. New to investing or not sure where to start? See our Bogleheads Financial Start-Up Kits
  3. The wiki sidebar (left side) is actually part of the wiki software (MediaWiki) and is maintained by the wiki administrators.
  4. Look at the tabs at the top of the page. Click on "discussion" to see the Talk page. Click on "page" to get the main article content. This is exactly how Wikipedia works- it's the same software.
  5. Publication date is November 27, 2009, but it showed up online 2 days early.