Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

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kevinlikeslearning
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Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by kevinlikeslearning » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:06 pm

Hi Bogleheads! I’m writing a book on community-building. It’s about how different communities online/off grow and develop. And I have a question for the group.

What helps make the culture of Bogleheads so helpful?

I’ve personally lurked on these forums for advice for a few years. I've always been impressed with how helpful people are. Thread after thread there are thoughtful, quick, personalized responses to finance questions.

Who made the culture that way and how did they do it? (Stories welcome!)

Would love to hear any of your thoughts/impressions. Thanks!

Elysium
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Elysium » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:12 pm

Taylor Larimore and Mel Lindauer.

ResearchMed
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:15 pm

The various administrators and moderators, who help keep everything/everyone polite.

Special mention and thanks to LadyGeek, definitely!! :happy
I can't imagine the amount of time she puts in behind the scenes.

RM
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Teague
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Teague » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:19 pm

Somewhere in here we need to acknowledge the unflagging and occasionally Solomon-like work of LadyGeek and the other moderators.

edit: I see RM beat me to it, so consider this a second vote for the mods.
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David Jay
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by David Jay » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:21 pm

I have always been inquisitive, but what I found at BH is a system that works for me but is also totally transferable. That keeps me around to help others. I think all natural teachers get great joy when "the lights come on".

Separately, the heavy moderation policy keeps the threads on the shared environment (finances), without the distraction of the many things that can divide us. I can tell (just from the language used) that we have a wide spectrum of politics represented here. If BH were to let that slip in, it would put a huge "dent" in our unity.
Last edited by David Jay on Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

warner25
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by warner25 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:24 pm

I do think that this forum is head-and-shoulders above any other community in which I've participated in 20 years on the web, in terms of civility and the quality of posts. Certainly the moderators and administrators do a nice job, but I think the explanation is more organic than that. We always point out that there's a strong selection bias here towards people with wealth and high income. I think that clearly extends to advanced education and professionalism learned in the white-collar workplace. I think this is more-or-less what you get with a crowd of intellectuals. If the topic primary topic of a forum were, say, first-person-shooter video games or college sports, there's no way you could build something like Bogleheads on that.

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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by triceratop » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:31 pm

David Jay wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:21 pm
I have always been inquisitive, but what I found at BH is a system that works for me but is also totally transferable. That keeps me around to help others. I think all natural teachers get great joy when "the lights come on".

Separately, the heavy moderation policy keeps the threads on the shared environment (finances), without the distraction of the many things that can divide us. I can tell (just from the language used) that we have a wide spectrum of politics represented here. If BH were to let that slip in, it would put a huge "dent" in our unity.
I think this is basically right. I've always enjoyed teaching, and being playful with presentation of how I see things as working and fitting together. I think one of the great joys of being an intellectual type person is the playfulness with which we can approach ideas and their relations, idiosyncracies. It's a delight. Bogleheads is just one dimension of this part of my life.

(I also take care to ensure that almost no one could guess my politics from my posts.)
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

kevinlikeslearning
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by kevinlikeslearning » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:34 pm

David Jay wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:21 pm
I have always been inquisitive, but what I found at BH is a system that works for me but is also totally transferable. That keeps me around to help others. I think all natural teachers get great joy when "the lights come on".
@David Jay, could you say a bit more about what you mean by "totally transferable." I think I know what you're getting at. Sounds like a great point—helpful info we can't help but share—would love a little more color!

Austintatious
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Austintatious » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:47 pm

Unless I'm way off base on this, Alex Frakt and Larry Auton are the owners of the site. If that's true, then they are ultimately responsible for how the site has been managed. And that management over time, in my humble opinion as a relative newcomer, has been the key to its remarkable success.

alex_686
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by alex_686 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:58 pm

Teague wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:19 pm
Somewhere in here we need to acknowledge the unflagging and occasionally Solomon-like work of LadyGeek and the other moderators.

edit: I see RM beat me to it, so consider this a second vote for the mods.
To extend on this, the moderators keep a tight leash on the community. It is a focused site and they have no qualms about editing posts, or closing and removing threads.

I go back and forth on this issue. I prefer the more freewheeling forums but this site has remarkably few trolls.

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whodidntante
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by whodidntante » Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:06 pm

I come from humble beginnings and I still have several acquaintances and a few family members whose finances are a trainwreck. I guess I post here in the hopes of helping someone be better prepared for expenses that life throws at us all. It's the antithesis is the high cost handholding culture of EJ/RJ/Merrill Lynch. I like helping those who want to make their own way.

Afty
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Afty » Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:24 pm

I think the clear and thoughtful policies, as well as the consistent enforcement by the mods, have been key. The "no politics" rule is IMO the best thing about this site.
Last edited by Afty on Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Fallible » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:11 pm

All of the above, but starting with Jack Bogle and adding the invaluable posts from BH financial pros such as Rick Ferri, Allan Roth, Larry Swedroe, Bill Bernstein and others, and forum pros Alex and Larry. The talent and teamwork throughout are first-rate.
Last edited by Fallible on Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Toons
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Toons » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:14 pm

Teague wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:19 pm
Somewhere in here we need to acknowledge the unflagging and occasionally Solomon-like work of LadyGeek and the other moderators.

edit: I see RM beat me to it, so consider this a second vote for the mods.

Ditto :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

TSR
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by TSR » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:21 pm

Moderators, definitely, and the no-politics vibe that they enforce. What a joy to go somewhere these days and not have everything reduced to politics. Of course that can feel artificial (certainly politics play an important role in finances), but it's such a brilliant policy for giving and getting advice. Thanks to everyone who helps with that.

reimann
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by reimann » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:23 pm

Lady Geek and other mods without a doubt. Without them many threads would dissolve into politics.

gailcox
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by gailcox » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:49 pm

It all started with Jack, then Taylor and Mel. The owners of the forum, Alex and Larry made the forum possible once we moved from the Morningstar site. Then how lucky were we to have LadyGeek's expertise. She keeps a close eye on things....the expert contributors, such as Rick Ferri, Bill Bernstein, Allan Roth, Larry Swedroe and many others I can't even name give their time and ideas willingly and without expectation of getting anything in return. Lots of members of the forum have their own expertise and they give their time and ideas, just to help others. It's an amazing community, one where newcomers are welcome and expected to ask the most basic of questions and the answers they are given are thoughtful, kind and easy to follow.

My story started with Taylor in 1999--or maybe it was 1998-- (who I 'saw' on the "diehards" board on Morningstar.) He kindly answered my questions and his advice got me started on the road to low cost investing and what I call the Bogle philosophy. Over the years I've been lucky to be included in the planning committee of our Bogleheads Conferences and have attended all the conferences except 2. The friendships I've made have been truly amazing, not just based on investing and money---we've learned of various challenges, celebrations etc. we've had over the years and have supported each other thru them. Just amazing!

This is a great post!

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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by xenial » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:52 pm

I think the range of allowable topics is critical to the health of the Bogleheads community, and I credit Alex Frakt for making smart choices. If Bogleheads could only discuss investing here, many of the great posters would likely get bored and drift way. The inclusion of personal finance and consumer issues subforums provides important variety.

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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by friar1610 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:36 pm

I hope this doesn't violate a BH policy by making negative comments about other sites... (If it does, feel free to delete it.)

I began my financial learning process about 20 years ago by finding John Greaney's (intercst's) Retire Early Home Page. The discussion portion soon migrated to The Motley Fool with a discussion board of the same name. For a while it was great with lots of discussion on the (mostly financial/investing) aspects of early retirement. As time went by, the discussions turned more political with one side of the political spectrum becoming particularly vocal and financial topics becoming the exception rather than the rule. Arguments between those for and against certain politicians/policies became much more common. After a while, another discussion board was started with the name of the other end of the political spectrum being incorporated into the board's name. That also shortly left financial discussions behind in favor of political rants. That's about the point when I gave up on TMF. I ran into Bogleheads through the Diehards discussion board on M*.

So what makes this board different from TMF and more of a community? In my opinion:
- a guiding philosophy, namely Bogleheadism
- even-handed moderation
- a good mix of participants. Some only seem to stay a short while to get their questions answered. But a remarkable number have been aboard for years providing sage, patient advice and counsel. Not only through posts but by taking the time to create the wiki, a magnificent, free source of knowledge available to anyone.
- the apparent lack of a profit motive (something of an irony for a financial site)
- the philosophy works if implemented properly
Friar1610

Piper59
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Piper59 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:41 pm

I would like to Thank All of You for what you've brought to me...Educating me everyday in Personal Finance and Other. The intellectual power and willingness to share, explore and constructively critique has been amazing.

metacritic
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by metacritic » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:45 pm

The aforementioned, for sure, plus Laura.

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Laura_Dogu
Teague wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:19 pm
Somewhere in here we need to acknowledge the unflagging and occasionally Solomon-like work of LadyGeek and the other moderators.

edit: I see RM beat me to it, so consider this a second vote for the mods.
Last edited by metacritic on Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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David Jay
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by David Jay » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:48 pm

kevinlikeslearning wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:34 pm
David Jay wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:21 pm
I have always been inquisitive, but what I found at BH is a system that works for me but is also totally transferable. That keeps me around to help others. I think all natural teachers get great joy when "the lights come on".
@David Jay, could you say a bit more about what you mean by "totally transferable." I think I know what you're getting at. Sounds like a great point—helpful info we can't help but share—would love a little more color!
The Boglehead philosophy can be implemented by anybody from a 23 year old working part time to an 80 year old who is looking to simplify his portfolio.

From someone with $1000 in their retirement portfolio (put it all in a Target Fund...) to someone with $10-15 Million.

You don't even have to be particularly clever, just willing. And the people here will walk you through it step-by-step if you are truly willing.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

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fortfun
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by fortfun » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:01 pm

Some very smart people seem to enjoy helping others with their finances/decisions, all with no financial incentive to do so. That's really what makes this forum so wonderful. Many people have helped me along; retiredjg, duckie, watty, ladygeek, sandtrap, (just to name a few). It really is quite amazing!

Hockey10
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Hockey10 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:07 pm

I am a relative newcomer here, so I can only speak to what I have seen in the past 2 years.

1. Strict rules on what you can't discuss here, specifically politics.
2. Moderators (especially Lady Geek) who enforce the rules.
3. Many people who seem to enjoy helping others.

Tribonian
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Tribonian » Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:15 pm

I found this site around a year ago. In addition to the observations already made, my speculation is that the cultural taboo on discussing personal finances and widespread financial illiteracy makes this site a particularly welcome haven.

As a side note, I frequent another forum with many trolls, ad hominem attacks and an inability to distinguish opinion from fact, etc. To my great satisfaction, when someone asked how to handle a potential $250K windfall, 4 or 5 commenters directed the OP to bogleheads.

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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by sport » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:00 pm

For the benefit of the "newcomers" in 2007 there was a poster by the name of "phoenix". He was instrumental in setting up the Bogleheads on their own web site which allowed the migration from Morningstar Vanguard Diehards. Although he does not seem to post any more, he was a major contributor towards getting the Bogleheads off on the right foot.

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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by arsenalfan » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:13 pm

Moderators.
Huge thank you, they quietly enforce decorum, policing the site and ajudicating "flagged" posts.
A lot of the personal finance is personal decisions, which can get quite heated - I come back to BH because it's enforced civility makes it much easier to keep an open mind to new ideas and perspectives.

Miriam2
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by Miriam2 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:41 pm

The History of the Bogleheads: www.bogleheads.org/wiki/The_Bogleheads%C2%AE

indexlover
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by indexlover » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:10 pm

One of the best aspects of BH forum is that folks are not judgmental.
“If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands-down choice should be Jack Bogle.” - Mr. Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway ’s 2016 annual report.

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Who/what made the helpful culture of Bogleheads?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:47 pm

providing in writing the forum rules. helpful reminders of, and enforcement of these rules as well:

rules

I think generally the community is made up of people who may have themselves been or seen others (friends/family) either be taken advantage of through high investment fees, general lack of understanding about investing, etc. that they want to help others avoid those mistakes if they are willing to learn from the wisdom and mistakes others before them have made.

I also think this community is adept at critiquing, problem solving, analyzing and playing devil's advocate when needed. You don't always get that with some groups. And that thoughtfulness and questioning helps contribute to the general body of knowledge. I'm always impressed when some members who clearly know more than most still admit to learning something new from someone else who contributed. That's refreshing and encourages us all to continue to learn.
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

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