Help:Getting started

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This short Guide for contributors explains the basics of editing the wiki.

Becoming a contributor

If you would like to edit the wiki and are a member of the Bogleheads® forum, please login to the forum and send a private message to the wiki administrator requesting access, and you will quickly be made an editor.

Getting started

It's very easy to edit the contents of a wiki. It only takes a few clicks.

  1. Click the "Edit" button at the top of the page. This will bring you to a new page with a text box containing the editable text of the current page.
  2. Make changes to the text. When you have finished editing, you should write a short edit summary in the small field below the edit-box. To see how the page looks with your edits, press the "Show preview" button. To see the differences between the page with your edits and the previous version of the page, press the "Show changes" button.
  3. If you're satisfied with what you see, be bold and press the "Publish changes" button. Your changes will immediately be visible to all Bogleheads wiki users.

Simple as that!

Consult the User's Guide for detailed information on using the wiki software. Basic help can be found in Help:Editing. Until you are comfortable with the markup language, use the Sandbox to test your edits. Please be advised that not all MediaWiki features are enabled in theBogleheads wiki. Try things out on the Scratch Pad before committing them to a reference page.

Editing rules, editing conventions, and formatting

The number one rule of wiki editing, is to be bold. Dive in and make changes. Other people can correct mistakes later, so have confidence, and give it a try! There can be all kinds of editing conventions, rules, and philosophy governing the editing of wiki pages, but the be bold rule overrides these!

Remember – you can't break the Bogleheads wiki; all edits can be reversed, fixed or improved later. The Bogleheads wiki is allowed to be imperfect. So go ahead, edit an article and help improve the wiki. The Bogleheads wiki is not finished. Not even close. In fact, we're barely getting started.

In general try to write clearly and concisely and make sure you are always aiming to do something which improves the wiki contents. An edit might be to contribute whole paragraphs or pages full of information, or it could be as simple as fixing a typo or spelling mistake.

Please remember to never use the pronoun "I", and to use gender-neutral pronouns when referring to generic persons, for example, "the investor receives their dividends ..." rather than "the investor receives his dividends ...". Also, please try to avoid using words or phrases that other cultures may find impolite or offensive, for example "crusade" (use "campaign" instead).

Style guidelines

A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting of a document. The Wikipedia Manual of Style is a style guide for Wikipedia articles that encourages editors to follow consistent usage and formatting. Use this guide for reference.

The following sections are extracts of key elements that should be followed on the Bogleheads wiki.

Article titles

  • Use "sentence case", not "title case"; that is, the initial letter of a title is capitalized (except in rare cases, such as eBay). Otherwise, capital letters are used only where they would be used in a normal sentence (Funding of UNESCO projects, not Funding of UNESCO Projects).

Article titles should not be acronyms, they should be fully expanded. To handle the case where users may search using the acronym, create a redirect, an alternative title to the article. Redirects help to organize a wiki by making articles findable under different names. See Wikipedia:Redirect for guidelines and a more detailed explanation.


A redirect is a page created so that navigation to a given title will take the reader directly to a different page. A redirect is created using the syntax:

#REDIRECT [[target]]

where Target is the name of the target page. Example:

Section organization

An article should begin with an introductory lead (or lede) section, which does not contain section headings (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section). The remainder is divided into sections, each with a section heading (see below) that can be nested in a hierarchy. If there are at least four section headings in the article, a navigable table of contents is generated automatically and displayed between the lead and the first heading.

Section headings

Headings are produced by typing multiple equal signs. A primary section heading is written ==Title==, a subsection below it is written ===Title===, and so on (a maximum of five levels is possible). Spaces between the equal signs and the heading text are optional, and will not affect the way the heading is displayed. The heading must be typed on a separate line. Include one blank line above the heading, and optionally one blank line below it, for readability in the edit window. (Only two or more consecutive blank lines will add more white space in the public appearance of the page.)

The provisions in Article titles (above) generally apply to section headings as well (for example, headings are in sentence case, not title case).

Creating a new page

From the search page

Login to your wiki account. If you search for a page that doesn't exist (using the search box and “Go” button on the left of the page) then you will be provided with a link to create the new page.

Therefore, simply type in the name of the page you want to create in the search box. If you want to create a draft page under your user account, use User:your_username/name_of_page.

Hit return (or click on the magnifying glass). You will be presented with:

There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, search the related logs, or edit this page.

Click on the "Create" tab which now appears in the upper right corner. Type in your content, hit "Publish changes". You have now created the page.

Using wikilinks

For an existing page sentence, Where are the customers' yachts?, you may decide to that yachts should have its own page. You would enclose yachts with [[]] thus [[yachts]] and the sentence would look like Where are the customers' yachts? The red highlighting will disappear as soon as you click on yachts, add text to the new page, and save it.

Format for new page

{{Under construction}} should be on the first line of a new page, and should remain until the page is ready for viewing. {{Under construction}} can be replaced with {{Expand}} once the page is ready for viewing but could benefit from additional contributions. After the page text, add any ==Notes== and ==See also== sections. The page should end with ==External links==. If references are included, they should precede external links. Use ==References==; on the next line type in the text {{Reflist}}. Finally, any relevant [[Category:xxx]] tags should be added.

The format for most new pages (and all of those with references) should therefore be:

{{Under construction}}

   Text goes here

<references group="note"/>

==See also==
*[[Link here]]


==External links==
*[External link here]


An example is Risk and return: an introduction.

Editing an existing page

Extensive help on editing a page can be found here.

A note regarding good practice: When you edit a page, enter a short comment about the change you have made. If you are inclined to forget, the software can remind you. Click on "my preferences", choose the Editing tab, and check the Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary option. Another Editing preference that you might find use is Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes.

Deleting existing pages

Pages which have a valid reason for deletion can only be deleted by a wiki admin. If you would like a page to be deleted, please put the {{Delete}} template at the top of the page and provide a reason in the page's Discussion (Talk) page.

Deleting a page must be done with caution, as not only can other pages link to that page, but external sites as well. If the page has been superseded by a different page, consider a redirect instead of deletion.

Citing sources

You should cite sources for the information you contribute. A "References" section can be added by placing References section at the end of the page. If any websites would be of particular interest to a reader of an article, they should be listed and linked to in an "External links" section, and books of particular interest should be listed in a "Further reading" section, but only if they were not used as sources for the article. Citations help readers verify what you have written and find more information.

The purpose of citing sources is:

  • To ensure that the content of articles can be checked by any reader or editor.
  • To show that your edit is not original research and to reduce editorial disputes.
  • To avoid claims of plagiarism and copying.
  • To help users find additional information on the topic.
  • To ensure that material about living persons complies with biography policy.
  • To improve the credibility of the Bogleheads wiki.

Warning: getting the citation format correct may prove particularly troublesome for new editors. However the edit button will make this easier for you. Simply highlight the text you wish to have footnoted and click the toolbar reference button. A dialogue box will appear and will format the note automatically.

A raw url link should not be used: <ref></ref>. Instead the reference should include author [if known], reference title, publication, and date. The general form is in the order Author-Link-Title-Date, in the following format:

<ref>Author, [ Title], date.</ref>

For example,

<ref>Wikipedia, [ "Breaking the buck"], viewed February 16, 2009.</ref>.


  1. Wikipedia, "Breaking the buck", viewed February 16, 2009.

The {{cite web}} template can also be used as a convenient way to format references. It is particularly useful where there are multiple attributes to include, because its parameters can be given in any order. For example,

<ref>{{cite web| author=Wikipedia| url=| title=Breaking the buck| accessdate=February 16, 2009}}</ref>
<ref>{{cite web|url=| title=Why Americans Should Never Own Shares in a Non-US Mutual Fund (PFIC)| last=Kuenzi| first=David| date=2016|| publisher= Thun Financial Advisors| accessdate=December 30, 2016}}</ref>


  1. Wikipedia. "Breaking the buck". Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  2. Kuenzi, David (2016). "Why Americans Should Never Own Shares in a Non-US Mutual Fund (PFIC)". Thun Financial Advisors. Retrieved December 30, 2016.

Note that use of the <ref> tags means the effects of the content between tags may not be evident when previewing changes, since that content will either be at the end of the article (if the separate "References" section has been added) or not visible (if the <references/> command has been forgotten). Editors should view the "References" section specifically to cross-check the format. Each link should be clicked on to ensure it is correct.

Excerpts from specific Bogleheads Forum posts are allowed, but the citation must include the author's posting ID, a link to the post cited, and the date the post was made. If the excerpt is unmodified, it should be in block quotes. If it is modified, the citation should include an indication that there have been modifications. Use the template {{forum post}} for a standardized appearance.

Where the topic as a whole is cited as a general reference, citation should be of the form <ref>{{forum post|t=6211|title=Financial Planning}}, viewed Feb. 17, 2009</ref>. This gives:[1]

  1. Bogleheads® forum topic: Financial Planning, viewed Feb. 17, 2009

Additional referencing options are illustrated at Help:citing references.

Bogleheads is a registered service mark

The name Bogleheads is a registered service mark[1] and by convention the first use in any article should include the ® service mark, i.e. Bogleheads®. In wiki syntax, this is Bogleheads&reg;

Renaming articles

If you find an article that you believe is misnamed, please do not copy and paste the contents of the old article into a new article — among other things, it separates the previous contributions from their edit history (which we need to keep track of for copyright reasons). The preferred method is to move the page to the new name. If it is your first move, please read the warnings on the move page carefully, as there are a number of issues to consider before moving a page. For more information, see How to rename (move) a page.

Overwriting existing articles

If you are working on a draft article under your username and you wish to overwrite the "live" page with the updated content, please contact a wiki admin by posting in the page's "Discussion" tab (Talk page) or requesting assistance in the wiki editor's private forum.

A wiki admin will move the draft page onto the "live" page thereby preserving the page's edit history. An admin is needed because the move needs the target page to be deleted during the process. The deleted page's edits are then restored after the move. An example is shown in Revision history of "Medicare" for 7 April 2022 ("admin move - delete target page, restore deleted edit history").

Editing conventions on talk pages

  • Always sign your name after your comments. Use the four tildes “~~~~” wiki syntax (or the signature button in the toolbar above the editing textbox).
  • Start a new discussion with a ==level 2 heading== at the bottom of the page (or use the “+” tab)
  • Indent replies with colons (:) at the beginning of the line.

Guidelines for the non-US wiki pages

There are a few additional things to consider when editing pages that are intended specifically for non-US investors. For details, see Help:Non-US wiki guidelines.



Templates are Wiki tools that allow pre-formatted entries to be made. Templates are included in a page by inserting the name of the template between double curly brackets. The content of the template will then be inserted at that point. A list of available templates is available here. Before you create a new template, check to see if there is an existing template that would serve your needs. For assistance in creating templates, see Creating, editing and using templates.

External tools

HTML tools

wikitext allows a number of HTML elements that are useful in writing an article.

Editorial policy

The Bogleheads wiki's editorial policy is loosely based on Wikipedia's Editorial Policy. The germane pieces are reproduced here. Note that there are no guidelines on what subjects to include or exclude. We hope that common sense prevails.