Help:Getting started

From Bogleheads

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.

Introduction to editing

There are two different editors available. The WikiEditor (also known as the Source Editor), and the VisualEditor.

To choose which one to use you will need to log in to your finiki account, go to preferences (top right) -> editing tab, uncheck Temporarily disable the visual editor while it is in beta, optionally change Editing mode to Show me both editor tabs, and save your preferences.

The following introduction (links take you to Wikipedia articles) shows the main differences between the choice of editors.

The wiki markup source editor shows the underlying page source code. It works like a plain text file, indicating links and other items using simple code like this: [[Earth]]. VisualEditor is the easier way of editing that works more like a word processor and hides the underlying source code. Links and other items are edited using toolbar and pop-up interfaces.
Editing Editing
Referencing Referencing
Images Images
Tables Tables

Getting started

It is 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 are 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. You can find basic help in Help:Editing. Until you are comfortable with the markup language, use the Sandbox to test your edits. Not all MediaWiki features are enabled in theBogleheads wiki. Try things out in Special:ExpandTemplates or Bogleheads:Sandbox 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 cannot 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 will never be finished.

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.

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.

For style guide recommendations specific to the Bogleheads wiki, see Help:Style guide.

Creating a new page

From the search page

Login to your wiki account. If you search for a page that does not exist (using the search box and "Go" button on the left of the page), you will see 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 (recommended), use User:your_username/name_of_page.

Press return (or click on the magnifying glass). You will see:

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, then press "Publish changes". You have now created the page.

Using wikilinks

For an existing page sentence, Where are the customers' yachts?, you may decide that yachts should have its own page. You would enclose yachts with [[ ]] to give [[yachts]], and the sentence will appear as 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

Put template {{Under construction}} on the first line of a new page, and leave it in place until the page is ready to view. You can replace {{Under construction}} with {{Incomplete}} 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 you included references, these should come before external links. Use ==References==; on the next line type in the text {{Reflist}}. Finally, add any relevant [[Category:xxx]] tags.

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

{{Under construction}}

   Text goes here


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


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


An example is Risk and return: an introduction.

Editing an existing page

You can find extensive help on editing at Wikipedia:Help:Editing.

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 useful is Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes.

Deleting existing pages

Only a wiki administrator can delete pages. If you would like a page to be deleted, please put {{subst:Proposed deletion}} at the top of the page and provide a reason in the page's Discussion (Talk) page.

Deleting a page requires care. Other pages can link to that page, and external sites can as well. If a different or newer page supersedes it, consider a redirect instead of deletion.

Citing sources

You should cite sources for the information you contribute, using <ref> tags. These will appear in the "References" section at the end of the page. List any websites that would be of particular interest to a reader of an article, with links, in the "External links" section. List books of particular interest 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.

Do not use a raw URL link, for example <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.

For consistency, you can use the {{cite web}} template as a convenient way to format references. It is particularly useful where there are multiple attributes to include, because you can give its parameters in any order. For example,

<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Americans Should Avoid Owning Shares in a Non-U.S. Mutual Fund|last=Healy | first=Roger| date=2022 |publisher=Creative Planning | accessdate=July 27, 2022}}</ref>


  1. Healy, Roger (2022). "Americans Should Avoid Owning Shares in a Non-U.S. Mutual Fund". Creative Planning. Retrieved July 27, 2022.

Using <ref> tags means the content between tags may not be evident when previewing changes; that content will either be at the end of the article (if the separate "References" section is present) or not visible (if the {{Reflist}} command has been forgotten). View the "References" section specifically to cross-check the format. Click each link to ensure it is correct.

You can use excerpts from specific Bogleheads Forum topics or posts, but the citation must include the author's posting ID, a link to the post cited, and the date of the post. If the excerpt is unmodified, place it inside {{blockquote}}. If you modified it, your citation should include a note that you have done this. Use the template {{Forum link}} for a standardized appearance.

Where you cite the whole topic as a general reference, use a citation of the form <ref>{{forum link|t=6211|title=Financial Planning}}, viewed 31 Dec 2022</ref>. This gives:[1]

  1. Bogleheads forum topic: "Financial Planning", viewed 31 Dec 2022

For more on references, see: Help:Citing references.

Bogleheads is a registered service mark

The name Bogleheads is a registered service mark.[1]

By convention, the first use in any article should include the ® service mark, that is Bogleheads®. In wiki syntax, this is Bogleheads&reg;. An alternative is using the template {{Bogleheads registered service mark}} (shortcut {{bhrsm}}), which produces "Bogleheads®".

The footer of every wiki page contains the ® service mark as "About Bogleheads®" which meets guidelines for displaying the mark if there is no mention of "Bogleheads" in the article.[2]

New articles containing Bogleheads in the title should include the service mark as Bogleheads&reg; which produces Bogleheads®.

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 track 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 Wikipedia:Help:How to 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 but preserve 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. There is an example 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 you to add pre-formatted text. Include templates in a page by inserting the name of the template between {{ }} double curly brackets. The template's content will appear at that point.

Category:Transclusion templates and Category:Templates show lists of useful templates. Before you create a new template, check to see if there is an existing template that already does the job. For information on creating templates, see Wikipedia:Help:A quick guide to templates.


TemplateWizard provides a popup window for the WikiEditor toolbar to insert templates into Wikitext.

  • To use TemplateWizard, open a wiki page for editing using the Wikitext editor (not the 2017 Wikitext editor)
  • Place the cursor in the location that you want the template to be inserted. Then click on the puzzle icon OOjs UI icon puzzle-ltr.svg in the toolbar - TemplateWizard icon.png
  • A dialog window will pop-up
  • Start typing a template's name, and you will be presented with a list of templates to choose from.

External tools

HTML tools

Wikitext allows a number of HTML elements that are useful in writing an article. For details, see Wikipedia:Help:HTML in wikitext.

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.