Bogleheads® wiki history

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

I figure I'd better record our origins before they slip from my feeble memory. This task would be much better performed by Barry Barnitz, but I suspect he's too modest to do so.

Preceding the current effort was an experimental wiki, which utilized a free version of the commercial Peanut Butter Wiki (PBwiki) platform. Barry initiated the test wiki on April 9, 2008. He chose PBwiki because it's gratis, doesn't require server access, and isn't filled with advertisements. No personal website is required at all, since PBwiki does the actual hosting.

Barry first mentioned the experimental wiki quite casually in a Bogleheads Forum conversation: "Implicit guarantee" of MM funds and Vanguard. I was intrigued by the idea, so I took it upon myself to give the wiki some visibility: Wiki?. I assumed the concept had been approved by the forum's powers-that-be, since Barry is a member of the Advisory Panel. I soon discovered it was a product of Barry's own initiative, and we were going to need to ask for official acceptance before the wiki could become part of the Bogleheads website.

Six of us contributed significantly to the test wiki: Barry, mikenz, PiperWarrior, simba, David Grabiner, and myself. We collaborated well and made a lot of progress over a short time period, behaving nothing like the Neanderthals we undoubtedly are in real life. To facilitate communication, Barry established The Bogleheads Wiki Forum on tangler.com, a provider of no-cost discussion forums unaffiliated with PBwiki. For completeness of the historical record, I'll note we also used a second "private" Tangler board, named The Bogleheads Wiki Administration Forum, in order to hold discussions we didn't want the whole world to see. Only a relatively few folks have privileges to read that forum.

Barry started writing Proposal For The Creation of a Forum Wiki on April 24, 2008. A few members of the experimental wiki team made contributions, and Barry submitted it to the forum leadership on May 1, 2008. In the proposal, we argued the permanent wiki should employ freeware residing at the then diehards.org rather than PBwiki because

  • The Bogleheads Wiki will likely outgrow the limitations imposed by the vendor's free software version.
  • The vendor can decide at any time to charge for the currently free product.
  • The vendor's website may disappear, e.g., if the company goes bankrupt.
  • The vendor might add advertising to hosted Wikis.

Alex Frakt indicated his willingness on May 6, 2008 to host the wiki at diehards.org (bogleheads.org). He and Larry Auton chose the widely used open source MediaWiki platform, and due to their hard work the new Bogleheads Wiki was up and running May 13, 2008.

Our initial task was migration of content from the experimental wiki, a chore which was completed May 19. Since the permanent wiki's inception, an expanded team has been writing new material at a good clip. CyberBob and tfb have been particularly productive, and Bob's technical expertise has been invaluable in enabling the group to exploit MediaWiki's many capabilities.

Main page evolution

The first main page:

The Wiki Main Page on May 19, 2008
Main Page, May 19, 2008.png

Direct link: Main Page revision 13:52, 19 May 2008

The version prior to implementing a portal design:

The Wiki Main Page on Jan 11, 2009
Main Page, Jan 11, 2009.png

Direct link: Main Page revision 16:58, 11 January 2009

The version prior to matching the forum's prosilver style:

The Wiki Main Page on Feb 03, 2012
Main Page, Feb 03, 2012.png

Direct link: Main Page revision 07:42, 3 February 2012