Announcement: Introducing The Bogleheads Wiki

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Barry Barnitz
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Announcement: Introducing The Bogleheads Wiki

Post by Barry Barnitz » Wed May 21, 2008 12:05 am

We are pleased to announce the inception of a new feature to the diehards.org. platform of services to the Bogleheads community, namely the creation of The Bogleheads Wiki. For those of you unfamiliar with a wiki, here is a definition:
A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.

The Bogleheads Wik
i can be read by anyone; however writing and editing functions will be restricted to the members of the Bogleheads Forum. Wiki articles, known as pages, can be created by writers, known as editors. Once created, pages can be edited by anyone with editor privileges. Thus a wiki is very much a collaborative enterprise. We are hopeful that the wiki will become a valuable reference page for both forum members as well as the reading public.

As many of you know, a small group of forum members established an experimental test wiki three weeks ago. The participants felt that the experiment was quite successful and proposed that the forum administrators create and adopt the wiki as a forum owned and operated venture. The Bogleheads Wiki is the result of this proposal. Over the past week, the experimental wiki’ers have been in the process of transferring pages from the experimental wiki to the forum wiki. This process is nearly complete, and it is thus that we can present this beta version of the wiki for the forum community.

The Bogleheads Wiki

We welcome comments. You can navigate the wiki by selecting a Topic link and checking the active pages within the Topic; You can get back to the Main Page by either selecting the Main Page option in the Navigation sidebox, or by clicking The Bogleheads insignia header in the top left corner. Here is an index of all current pages, some of which are as yet uncreated (i.e. not yet written) pages:

Index to All Pages

We will be adding new editors soon. A forum member desiring to become a wiki editor should send the request in a PM to Ken Schwartz who will pass it on to the Wiki Administrators for review. Acceptance will be granted to those applicants who have consistently demonstrated an ability and interest in explaining Boglehead investment concepts.

You don't need to be an editor to make contributions to the wiki. If you are a forum member and have a suggestion for a wiki topic or even a draft for an entire page, you can send it via PM to Barry Barnitz or post it on the Suggestions for the Wiki sticky in the Reference Library.

We are hoping for broad participation from forum members. Wide-ranging investment expertise is not required. If you have reasonable knowledge of one particular investing area, you can write new pages or improve existing ones pertaining to that subject. If you have good English or MediaWiki skills, you can edit lots of pages to make them better. Give wiki writing a try! Your material doesn't have to be perfect, since there are other folks who will come along and work to improve it.
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zhiwiller
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Post by zhiwiller » Wed May 21, 2008 11:01 am

I love the idea of a Wiki, fantastic!

But I think the bottleneck of having to apply to be an editor and be approved will relegate it to being unused. If I just want to clean up a page or add a little something new I learned about a topic, I'm not going to go to the effort of signing up and being scrutinized. I make little edits on Wikipedia often when I see the need. I probably wouldn't if they needed to be approved. I think their model where it is easy to roll back any poor edits and having admins who can lock pages if need be is a proven model. The strength of wikis is having the broadest participation possible.

Just my two cents on the issue. I think it can be a great resource if we open it up.

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Post by CyberBob » Wed May 21, 2008 11:09 am

As Zack mentioned; The strength of wikis is having the broadest participation possible.

Suggestions shouldn't be taken for a wiki because a wiki is a collaborative effort and the people should just be able to do it themselves. If it's not open, it's not a wiki, it's just a website run by an editor. Barry does an absolutely excellent job with the Reference Library, but if the wiki isn't opened, isn't it just going to be a carbon-copy of the Reference Library?
A wiki, by definition, is collaborative, free, and open. If not completely open, then at least all of the Bogleheads Forum logins should automatically be registered at the wiki.

If it's closed due to a concern about some moron defacing it, don't be alarmed. I run several wiki's and have found that the more people you have editing, the less likely you are to have those problems, as people edit out the obvious spam and whatnot almost immediately.
The opposite is problematic. The more closed you make the wiki, the less relevant it becomes due to there being fewer contributors and eventually, fewer ideas and articles.

Bob

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Post by Alex Frakt » Wed May 21, 2008 11:53 am

The Bogleheads wiki has a slightly different mission than most wikis that make it appropriate to be a little restrictive on selecting editors. The main thing is that it is meant to serve as a complement to the forum, not to be an end point in itself. We all know that many financial questions and all portfolio questions depend on a wide variety of factors that must be reviewed to produce a satisfactory answer. The wiki can help people frame their questions and serve as a resource in answering those questions, but the questions should be asked here. In other words, the wiki can be seen as an extension to (and perhaps eventual replacement for) the reference library. Wiki just happens to be a tool that is much better suited for displaying and updating reference information.

Furthermore, most of the content of the wiki is and will be completely factual. But there are some key issues where the wiki is going to support the investing philosophy of building an asset allocation plan and implementing it using low-cost, primarily passively managed, mutual funds (including ETFs). We will try and explicitly acknowledge this where it comes up, but we are not interested in providing a level playing field for market timers, technical analysts, newsletter hawks, or even fundamental analysts. There are thousands of places where someone interested can find info on these strategies, but very few where they can find info on ours. We don't want the wiki to turn into a wrestling match between Bogleheads and refugees from some "Hot Funds" forum nor do we want to water it down with typical wikiese like "All of the following are investment approaches that have many adherents."

We hope that allowing people to offer suggestions in the Reference Library forum will alleviate some of the problems of not allowing causal edits. Also, it's not that onerous a process to become an editor. A simple PM that you want to do it is all that's required, applicants will be approved unless there is some specific reason for not doing so.

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hollowcave2
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impressive

Post by hollowcave2 » Wed May 21, 2008 3:45 pm

Wow! I am very impressed! Thanks for creating the Wiki!!

Steve

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Rager1
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Post by Rager1 » Wed May 21, 2008 8:52 pm

Thanks to everyone behind the scenes that made this Wiki possible.

I am also impressed!

Ed

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Post by NAVigator » Wed May 21, 2008 9:38 pm

What a great way to summarize and organize the wealth of information from the contributors to the forum. Alex, thanks for the explanation about moderating the contributors which makes sense to me. I look forward to seeing the facts and valuable information flow into the new wiki.

Jerry
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grayfox
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Post by grayfox » Thu May 22, 2008 12:03 am

Barry Barnitz wrote:Quote:
A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.


The Bogleheads Wiki can be read by anyone; however writing and editing functions will be restricted to the members of the Bogleheads Forum. Wiki articles, known as pages, can be created by writers, known as editors. Once created, pages can be edited by anyone with editor privileges. Thus a wiki is very much a collaborative enterprise. We are hopeful that the wiki will become a valuable reference page for both forum members as well as the reading public.
Well by the definition you quoted, it sounds like it is not really a wiki, then.

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Post by rwwoods » Thu May 22, 2008 7:37 am

Please add a link from the forum to the Wiki.
"I'm not so much concerned about the return on my money as the return of my money" - Will Rogers

stan1
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Post by stan1 » Thu May 22, 2008 8:11 am

I guess we'll have to see how areas Bogleheads don't agree on are handled as the website/wiki gets flehsed out.

Examples:
TSM vs. S&D, value or small value in taxable, mutual funds vs. ETFs

I hope we can keep to the principle of neutrality when reasonable people can disagree -- I don't always see that in postings on these topics. We usually end up with the poster's personal preferences (which are entirely valid, but may not be the only answer).

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Post by Zook13 » Thu May 22, 2008 9:15 am

This is a fantastic resource...

From looking it over, it is very well laid out and put together...

:D

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Post by sewall » Thu May 22, 2008 9:52 am

I think a wiki is a great idea. Having participated in others I know that wiki debates are common and various wikis have different editorial policies according to the needs/desires of the community that uses them. For this wiki I wonder if a split structure with two classes of pages might make sense: one that requires editorial review and another class that is more open.

Another issue: my access to the wiki is exceedingly slow. All other sites I tend to visit are loading at there normal (fast) rate. But the wiki is a snail. If this is a common experience it will really limit its use and utility.

Finally, I'm not finding much content there yet. I wonder if the announcement was premature. It is a bit frustrating to click and wait wait wait (see previous point) only to find a content-less outline.

Just my $0.02 . I do think it has great potential.

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Post by Alex Frakt » Thu May 22, 2008 11:53 am

stan1 wrote:I guess we'll have to see how areas Bogleheads don't agree on are handled as the website/wiki gets flehsed out.

Examples:
TSM vs. S&D, value or small value in taxable, mutual funds vs. ETFs
These are good examples of issues where reasonable Bogleheads may differ and, since they come up so often, would be perfect candidates for full elucidation on the wiki. If you want to write about them, PM Barry. So far we have a 100% acceptance rate for editors.

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Post by xenial » Thu May 22, 2008 11:55 am

We haven't exactly been overrun with wiki editor applications so far. I have two comments:

1. We expect to accept the vast majority of applicants. Acceptance is the default action. The sorts of things in one's forum history which could lead to rejection are
a) Rudeness, obvious attempts to provoke others to rudeness, or serious conflicts with moderators
b) Very poor understanding of basic investing concepts
c) An investing philosophy at odds with mainstream Bogleheads, e.g., the US economy is about to collapse, inflation is 25%, and the only appropriate investments are gold and foreign currencies
d) An utter inability to use the English language

2. It is not at all necessary to include biographical information or writing samples in your request to become a wiki editor. Just send me a PM stating that you want to be an editor. The Wiki Admins can look up your posting history. As long as the kinds of stuff mentioned in #1 don't apply to you, there isn't likely to be a problem.

This wiki will be what the Bogleheads community makes of it. You can contribute by writing new pages, or just by editing existing ones. I very much hope that a large number of Bogleheads will choose to help out.

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Post by etc06 » Thu May 22, 2008 12:00 pm

I agree with zhiwiller and cyberbob.

I really don't see what the issue would be with having an open wiki, as citations are usually needed for most claims. Check out wikipedia.com to see what I mean.

In my opinion, having a limited access wiki seems controlling, fearful, and implies a hidden agenda.

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Post by Alex Frakt » Thu May 22, 2008 12:03 pm

For this:
sewall wrote:[M]y access to the wiki is exceedingly slow. All other sites I tend to visit are loading at there normal (fast) rate. But the wiki is a snail. If this is a common experience it will really limit its use and utility.

Finally, I'm not finding much content there yet. I wonder if the announcement was premature. It is a bit frustrating to click and wait wait wait (see previous point) only to find a content-less outline.
and this:
rwwoods wrote:Please add a link from the forum to the Wiki.
The explanation is this:
Barry Barnitz wrote:This process is nearly complete, and it is thus that we can present this beta version of the wiki for the forum community.
It's a beta test folks, give us a chance to work out the bugs before we add obvious links. And please keep reporting problems. I've noted the speed issue and we'll see what we can do. Just a note, it's not a server or network issue. Both the forum and the wiki are on the same physical server, so any speed difference is due to the underlying software.

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Post by goggles » Thu May 22, 2008 1:27 pm

A question for Alex, Phoenix, and other wiki participants:

Have you considered issues of liability? I looked at the wiki pages, and they seem to constitute investment advice in a more explicit way than the replies people give to forum questions. If I edit the wiki and somebody loses their shirt as a result of what I said, can you or I be sued?

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Post by Alex Frakt » Thu May 22, 2008 3:01 pm

goggles wrote:A question for Alex, Phoenix, and other wiki participants:

Have you considered issues of liability? I looked at the wiki pages, and they seem to constitute investment advice in a more explicit way than the replies people give to forum questions. If I edit the wiki and somebody loses their shirt as a result of what I said, can you or I be sued?
Excellent point. We should probably add a standard disclaimer in the footer.

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Post by xenial » Thu May 22, 2008 3:10 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:We should probably add a standard disclaimer in the footer.
There already is a Disclaimers link in the footer. The text may indeed require beefing up.

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Post by Alex Frakt » Thu May 22, 2008 5:46 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
goggles wrote:A question for Alex, Phoenix, and other wiki participants:

Have you considered issues of liability? I looked at the wiki pages, and they seem to constitute investment advice in a more explicit way than the replies people give to forum questions. If I edit the wiki and somebody loses their shirt as a result of what I said, can you or I be sued?
Excellent point. We should probably add a standard disclaimer in the footer.
The footer now includes the following:
No guarantees are made as to the accuracy of the information on this site or the appropriateness
of any advice to your particular situation. Click for complete Disclaimer.
The Disclaimer itself now includes two additional paragraphs that I wrote based on text from Vanguard's Terms of Use and the disclaimers from other investing wikis.
The Materials on this Site - including, but not limited to: commentary, data, images, and links - are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only. Although the Site may provide data, information, and content relating to investment approaches, you should not construe any such information or other content available through this Site as legal or tax advice or investing advice that is specific to your situation. You alone will bear the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any Materials on this Site before making any decisions based on such Materials. In exchange for using such Materials, you agree not to hold the owners of and contributors to the Site liable for any possible claim for damages arising from any decision you make based on the Materials or links made available to you through this Site.

Note that this Site is not uniformly peer reviewed; while editors may correct errors, they have no legal duty to do so and thus all information read here is without any implied warranty of fitness for any purpose or use whatsoever. None of the authors, contributors, sponsors, administrators, sysops, or anyone else connected with the site in any way whatsoever can be responsible for the appearance of inaccurate information or for your use of the information contained in or linked from these web pages. Whatever their individual credentials may be, the owners of and contributors to this Site are not acting in the capacity of professional financial advisors or any other professional or licensed investment, legal, tax, or financial capacity with regards to any Materials posted on the Site. Finally (you knew this was coming): Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Post by sscritic » Fri May 23, 2008 11:36 pm

Are there two wikis? I have seen references to
diehards.org/wiki
and
bogleheadswiki.pbwiki.com

Also, while I understand that editing is restricted to registered editors, why are there restrictions on the discussion page or comment section? I believe that discussion should be open to all, as long as none of the discussion can become an edit (without a registered editor who decides to take action based on the discussion).

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Post by xenial » Fri May 23, 2008 11:50 pm

sscritic wrote:Are there two wikis? I have seen references to
diehards.org/wiki
and
bogleheadswiki.pbwiki.com
I guess that's kind of confusing. The permanent Bogleheads Wiki is at http://diehards.org/wiki . The URL http://bogleheadswiki.pbwiki.com refers to an obsolete experimental wiki which was used for proof of concept.

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Post by Peter Foley » Sat May 24, 2008 8:55 am

Some suggestions for additional topics if not covered elsewhere:

Social Security (When to take SS, SS taxation, etc)
Withdrawal strategies and tax implications for retirees
Long Term Care Insurance


This is an excellent idea, by the way. Thanks for your efforts.

Peter

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Post by Alex Frakt » Sat May 24, 2008 11:54 am

sscritic wrote:Also, while I understand that editing is restricted to registered editors, why are there restrictions on the discussion page or comment section? I believe that discussion should be open to all, as long as none of the discussion can become an edit (without a registered editor who decides to take action based on the discussion).
Great idea, but looking over the mediawiki permissions help it does not appear there is any built in way to do this. I've done some further research and there have been discussions on various mediawiki listservs of programming hacks to allow this. I'll try to get something working, but I'm far from an object-oriented PHP guru so no guarantees. If if anyone knows an easy way to implement allowing anonymous users to make edits in the talk namespace, let me know by PM or posting here.

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Post by retiredjg » Sun May 25, 2008 11:15 am

Two different posts I've read have directed me to a subject in the Wiki. So far, I find it very helpful and very professional.

I found a couple of little glitches in one. Should I direct that info to an admin person (if so, which one) or to the author?

Thanks for a job well done. jg

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Post by xenial » Sun May 25, 2008 11:55 am

retiredjg wrote:I found a couple of little glitches in one. Should I direct that info to an admin person (if so, which one) or to the author?
The best way to provide your input is to become a wiki editor. You can initiate this painless process just by requesting it in a PM to me; nothing else is required. An alternative is to post your suggestions on this thread.

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Post by retiredjg » Sun May 25, 2008 12:31 pm

Hi Ken. Don't wish to be an editor. I'm too new. The glitches I was referring to are technical. I'll just pass it on to the author and let him take care of it. Thanks!

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Post by mickeyd » Sun May 25, 2008 12:39 pm

Awesome Barry. You have once again amazed me with your creativity and communications skills. :wink:
Part-Owner of Texas | | “The CMH-the Cost Matters Hypothesis -is all that is needed to explain why indexing must and will work… Yes, it is that simple.” John C. Bogle

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Post by xenial » Wed May 28, 2008 11:04 pm

This is a brazen bump. We're making remarkable progress on the Bogleheads Wiki, despite having relatively few active contributors. If you're interested in joining us, please send me a PM.

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Post by cannedham » Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:09 am

Here are a set of changes that I think should be made to Beginner topics (you may either win or lose readers on this link):
1. Change title from "Beginner topics" to "Introduction". You probably want most users to start reading here. Most investors who likely need investment help may not think of themselves as beginners.
2. Put Vanguard FAQ at the bottom of beginner topics. Having it at the top makes it a little too much of an advertisement.
3. Beginner topics should start out with an introductory paragraph on what these different instruments do for you as an investor. They should not start out with a more formal definition of what is a stock, bond, etc., but they should include the content.
4. All branches should include a link to the next branch. If there are no more children links at this depth, then there should be a link back to the parent branch. Not sure if you can do this or not.

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Post by xenial » Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:21 pm

cannedham wrote:1. Change title from "Beginner topics" to "Introduction". You probably want most users to start reading here. Most investors who likely need investment help may not think of themselves as beginners.
You have a good point. We certainly don't intend to insult anyone. The problem with "Introduction" is that it suggests a wiki overview, which these subjects do not really provide. I implemented "Introductory Topics."
cannedham wrote:2. Put Vanguard FAQ at the bottom of beginner topics. Having it at the top makes it a little too much of an advertisement.
Done.
cannedham wrote:3. Beginner topics should start out with an introductory paragraph on what these different instruments do for you as an investor. They should not start out with a more formal definition of what is a stock, bond, etc., but they should include the content.
You have a fine idea here, but it's nontrivial to implement, especially considering some of the relevant pages haven't even been created yet. You're a wiki member. Feel free to write/edit, and make these articles better.
cannedham wrote:4. All branches should include a link to the next branch. If there are no more children links at this depth, then there should be a link back to the parent branch. Not sure if you can do this or not.
I see the appeal of this approach, but it's not terribly wiki-friendly. New topics will frequently be added and deleted. The linked list scheme you're suggesting won't be particularly easy to maintain.

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