Termination of TMF Posting Privileges--Mine!

Financial Independence/Retire Early -- Learn How!
hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Termination of TMF Posting Privileges--Mine!

Post by hocus » Tue May 20, 2003 6:17 am

I received an e-mail this morning from Motley Fool telling me that my TMF posting privileges have been revoked. They killed hocus!

Since this is my second favorite message board community, I have an interest in significantly increasing my posting activity at this board. There are some complications, however.

I plan to go ahead with the development of the new Retire Early web site. I expect to get to work on that late this year and have it up in the early months of next year. In one sense, it could be a very good thing for this site. I will have lots of free material on FIRE at the site, will recommend this site highly, and perhaps will be able to pull some new posters here through links.

The potential problem is that I continue to believe that the community of people with an interest in early retirement would benefit greatly from having the ability to put up informed and honest posts at the Motley Fool board. My chances for taking over that board have been greatly diminished, but I believe that there are still some avenues by which the community of people with a genuine interest in the subject matter could gain control of that board, and I believe that it is to our benefit to pursue them.

That means that I need a place to post all of the posts on the SWR/intercst matter that I otherwise would have posted at the REHP board. I never have posted for the purposes of engaging in a personal attack, and never will. But there is a need for me to show plainly how intercst has engaged in trickery on the board and the damage that it has done to the community. There has been some discomfort expressed when I have posted on these matters here in the past. So before going down that road, it might be a good idea for either ES or the community as a whole to give some thought as to what the rules will be for posting on this sort of matter here.

My personal view is that the sort of post that I am considering should not be all that controversial. It is common practice in newspapers, magazines, and television programs to expose various sorts of cons. That is what we are dealing with here, and Motley Fool has undermined the integrity of its site by denying those trying to expose the con the freedom to do so on the board at which the con was implemented.

For some reason, some seem uneasy about having this sort of thing done on a message board. I am not a long-term participant here, so I don't intend to press the point too hard if there is strong opposition to me posting here. I obviously would be willing to craft these posts in responsible ways. I have always tried to do that. But if the very idea of exposing how someone has used a discussion board to put forward false claims makes people uneasy, we need to decide as a group how to deal with that.

In the long term, I would expect to put up all other sorts of posts as well. But I have plans for a good number of posts putting The Great Debate that was held at the other board in perspective. My personal view is that the users of discussion boards are going to need to come up with effective means of dealing with these sorts of issues to make the new communications medium a successful one, and I think that the facts that apply make this a fascinating test case. So I would like to explore lots of angles to what went on, and I also would like to explore some possibilities for having the Motley Fooln decision reversed.

I generally will not have much time to post for the next four months. So there is no need to come to an immediate final decision on any of these questions. But I thought that I should let you all know where things stood. I'll respond to any questions that people have to the best of my ability.

Does anyone know if there have been earlier cases of community members being terminated from the Motley Fool service? I know that it happened to two posters last summer, whose posting privileges were ultimately restored. I don't know of any other cases, but there may have been some. It would be helpful to know how unusual an act it was that Motley Fool engaged in today.

User avatar
ElSupremo
Admin Board Member
Posts: 343
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2002 12:53 pm
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Post by ElSupremo » Tue May 20, 2003 7:28 am

Greetings hocus :)

Very sorry to hear about your bad fortune hocus. I could say we told you so but I wouldn't do that to you. :wink: Of course your always welcome here and I look forward to many enlightening posts from you in the future.

As far as TMF is concerned, their loss is our gain! :great: On the other matter I believe it's up to the FIRE board members as to what type of posts they want to see on the FIRE board. Seems to me they like to stay pretty much on topic which also seems to include quite a bit! :lol:

If you would like to start another board with a different agenda I will gladly set that up. Then you can say what you want as long as it stays within the NFB rules.

Welcome back! :great:
"The best things in life are FREE!"

www.nofeeboards.com

raddr
*** Veteran
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2002 3:25 am
Contact:

Post by raddr » Tue May 20, 2003 7:50 am

hocus,

Like ES, I'm real sorry this happened. Did they give you any sort of rational explanation for terminating your posting priveledges?

JWR1945
***** Legend
Posts: 1697
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:59 am
Location: Crestview, Florida

Post by JWR1945 » Tue May 20, 2003 8:13 am

raddr
Like ES, I'm real sorry this happened. Did they give you any sort of rational explanation for terminating your posting privileges?

I think that you will have to delete that word rational. Otherwise, we will be working with a null set.

IIRC, we can post just about anything at the Town Center and hocus can open up a new board here if he so desires (as ES has volunteered). It depends upon what hocus wishes to do.

Have fun.

From a shocked John R.

hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Post by hocus » Tue May 20, 2003 9:20 am

You are always welcome here and I look forward to many enlightening posts from you in the future.

Thanks for those kind words, ES. As you know, my heart is with the Motley Fool board. My love for that board runs deep in my blood. On learning the news, however, it was certainly good to know that there was a Grade-A alternative available to me. I'm grateful for that.

Please undertand that I do not expect to post much for four or five months. while I take care of some other business. It's after that that I will be looking for a new posting home.

I believe it's up to the FIRE board members as to what type of posts they want to see on the FIRE board. Seems to me they like to stay pretty much on topic, which also seems to include quite a bit!

Perhaps the thing to do is for me to provide more detail about the stuff I want to post when the time gets closer to when I will be able to do it. It's all relevant to FIRE. But some of it relates to the intercst matter, which some (not me) seem to view as somehow "off topic." I see that stuff as relevant to the "story" of The Great Debate. The reaction of various human beings, including intercst, to various developments, adds blood to the story, and I am very reluctant to cut that stuff out of my telling of the story. I think it makes the story, which otherwise is about numbers and data, go down a lot easier.

The project that I am talking about is the report that I have referred to in earlier posts, "The Truth About Safe Withdrawal Rates." I want to collect all of the various strands of the story and relate it in one place in a manner that both adds something important to the literature and that packs a punch too. When it's finished, I'll make it available on the my web site.

I would like to make the preparation of it as much of a community effort as possible because some of the most knowledgeable people in the world on SWRs already post at this place. The logicial thing is to work on it as sort of a group project, presuming that there are some in the community interested (which I believe to be the case).

When its finsihed, we will have the makings of a powerful tool, I believe. We won't be able to answer every question, but we should be able to add some significant insights. I would like to take the thing to some big names, people like William Bernstein and Scott Burns, and get them to comment on it and write about it. I think that we can persuade people like this that the intercst approach is full of holes and that a more informed approach to the use of SWRs provides a far more valuable analytical tool. I think that the stuff that people have been working on at this boars is very important.

If you would like to start another board with a different agenda I will gladly set that up. Then you can say what you want as long as it stays within the NFB rules.

It's possible that it would make sense to start a board just on safe withdrawal rates. That might help with organization. My initial thought, however, is that it is better to put this stuff on the FIRE board.

The one idea that I do not like is the idea of putting this stuff on the Town Center board. I think of myself as a pure on-topic poster. I don't like to go off-topic, and I really dislike the suggestion that is sometimes made that this entire matter that I have devoted much of the past 12 months of my life to is an "off topic" discussion. That suggestion drives m a little nuts, if you want to know the truth. I think that this matter is the most on-topic matter there could ever be--it is core to the future growth of the Retire Early movement.

hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Post by hocus » Tue May 20, 2003 10:17 am

Did they give you any sort of rational explanation for terminating your posting priveledges?

My dealings with Motley Fool re this matter have been exceedingly strange. Their assigned duty is to enforce the posting rules as published. That's what we pay them for, isn't it?

It seems to confound them that I do not break any rules. They clearly have always wanted to side with intercst (nominating him for the Feste award while the smear campaign was in full swing was not exactly a good sign for Information Seekers!), but they have had a hard time coming up with any justification for doing so.

They said that they have noticed a decline in use of the REHP board!

Now, I am hardly in a position to argue. I have been saying that all of the best posters have been leaving the board ever since the smear campaign began. But to blame the smearee instead of the smearer is a strange way to go about things.

The strangest interaction with Motley Fool was back in November, when Galeno and SydSydSyd and some others put up a thread discussing which gun model would be the most effective way to get rid of me without wasting too many bullets. They asked me not to post for a time, presumably so that things could calm down.

Now, they didn't remove the people making the gun threats. They didn't put up any sort of warning to the individual who had encouraged board members to post in this manner. They ask the guy being threatened to stop posting. So the threats achieve their goal! That's a smart approach.

I am one of the most popular posters on the entire site. I sold more copies of my Soapbox report (which provided them revenue) than anyone else in the history of the service. The co-founder of the site said that high school students should be required to read my report before graduating high school. Intercst had engaged in deceptions that have cost users of their discussion boards tens of thousands of dollars, and he was engaging in a prolonged smear campaign against me that kept the board tied in knots for months. Things had reached a point at which posters were making death threats.

And their solution to the problem--ban the guy who has never in over three years of posting had a single post removed. That's creative thinking.

None of this should be taken as a sign that I do not think that aspiring early retirees do not still need to gain control of that board. I still believe this. It is a public board, and people with views differing from intercst should be permitted to post there. To allow him to present false claims and not pernit the other side of the story to be told undermines the integity of their entire business. The step they have taken is an endorsement of the intercst method of limiting the board's discussion agenda. They are dirtying the Motley Fool brand by using it in support of a con. There's no other way to say it. He is saying things that have been proven to be false, and they are denying anyone the ability to tell the other side of the story.

It would be wonderful if we could find some sort of group that is working to advance the use of internet discussion boards as a new communications tool. Motley Fool has all sorts of high-sounding language in their published rules about how they believe in the power of the internet to do good, but they side with the Disruptors when push comes to shove.

I believe that public pressure should be applied on them to administer the posting rules in an evenhanded manner. This really is an important matter. I have seen the best of what the internet has to offer and I have seen the worst. The network effect that kicked in on that board in 2000 was something to see. It showed how much people can learn when they are able to share valid information with each other. The intercst matter shows how the same tool can be put to use for the advancement of personal ego agendas and to the detriment of the efforts ot community members to learn about the subject matter.

This aspect of the question is one that I very much want to explore in greater detail in times to come. Perhaps this is an aspect that belongs at a separate board here. I am reluctant to start too many separate boards, however, until we reach a point at which we have enough members coming in on a regular basis to support them all. We may just need to address these questions one point at a time.

In any event, I do not want to drop the idea of gaining control of the Motley Fool board. Things can change. I would not be surprised to see intercst do a lot more harm there, and to cause enough friction to bring the board down still further. I would still like to tap into that eyeball-generation engine for the good of aspiring early retirees. It's the Wave that matters in the final analysis. We will just have to wait and see how things shake out.

JWR1945
***** Legend
Posts: 1697
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:59 am
Location: Crestview, Florida

Post by JWR1945 » Tue May 20, 2003 11:41 am

hocus, I think that you understand my point since I now read:
...The intercst matter shows how the same tool can be put to use for the advancement of personal ego agendas and to the detriment of the efforts of community members to learn about the subject matter.

This aspect of the question is one that I very much want to explore in greater detail in times to come. Perhaps this is an aspect that belongs at a separate board here. I am reluctant to start too many separate boards, however, until we reach a point at which we have enough members coming in on a regular basis to support them all. We may just need to address these questions one point at a time.
Should there be any doubt, this is on topic:
The project that I am talking about is the report that I have referred to in earlier posts, "The Truth About Safe Withdrawal Rates." I want to collect all of the various strands of the story and relate it in one place in a manner that both adds something important to the literature and that packs a punch too. When it's finished, I'll make it available on my web site.
This is also on topic.
Perhaps the thing to do is for me to provide more detail about the stuff I want to post when the time gets closer to when I will be able to do it. It's all relevant to FIRE. But some of it relates to the intercst matter, which some (not me) seem to view as somehow "off topic." I see that stuff as relevant to the "story" of The Great Debate. The reaction of various human beings, including intercst, to various developments, adds blood to the story, and I am very reluctant to cut that stuff out of my telling of the story. I think it makes the story, which otherwise is about numbers and data, go down a lot easier.

So what do I consider off topic for this FIRE board? It is the details about the smear campaigns...the lies, deceptions, disruptions, misrepresentations and so forth. They happened on another board. It is not off topic to mention that they occurred. It is not off topic to state that they were used against you to block meaningful discussions. It is the listing of all of the details.

It is one thing to mention that semantic games were launched and continue even to this day. It is OK to provide an example or two. To the extent that your focus is on the tactics that were used to hide the truth, that information should be at the Town Center. Those tactics were used at another site. We would not tolerate them here. What you were looking for...the content, the truth...belongs here (on this FIRE board or a special board if you so choose).

I hope that I have clarified this.

Have fun.

John R.

hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Post by hocus » Tue May 20, 2003 1:08 pm

To the extent that your focus is on the tactics that were used to hide the truth, that information should be at the Town Center. Those tactics were used at another site. We would not tolerate them here. What you were looking for...the content, the truth...belongs here.

I understand the distinction you are making, JWR1945. But I don't really buy into it. Let me explain where I am coming from in practical terms and let's see if we have any common ground.

My goal is not so much to discover "the truth" on any one particular point. I see the value in that, but it is not the thing about message boards that most excites me. What excites me is the process, the so-called network effect that kicks in when people begin sharing information of importance with each other.

There is no one particular thing about safe withdrawal rates that I want to "know," If you gave me the definitive answer to every question that I could think of today, I would come up with more questions tomorrow. I see no end to the possible questions, and I do not long to see an end to them. I think that exploring the questions, rather than just figuring out the "answers" is the point of the exercise.

I believe that the group of people interested in FIRE need a place where they can engage in this exploring process. Finding a way for them to do it is my #2 FIRE priority (#1 is finishing the book). I had been under the impression that I had already helped put such a place in existence with the efforts I put into building up the REHP board back in 2000. The smear campaign that drove Wanderer off of that board in early 2002 revealed to me that I was wrong.

My goal then became to restore what I earlier had thought had already been secured--a place for aspiring early retirees to share informed and honest insights. The reason that I devoted so much time to The Great Debate is that I thought that generating on-topic discussion at the REHP board was the best strategy for restoring that asset that we had for a short time but that we lost.

The question before me is--How to restore it now? You are suggesting that this board could serve the purpose, and in nine out of ten ways, it could. The infrastructure is great here, the people are great here. But I still have concerns about the eyeball-generation engine. I worry that we do not have a reliable means of generating new posters when old ones leave. I don't want to put a lot of energy into a second board and then see that one fail also.

My proposed strategy for dealing with this has been to gain control of the REHP board, and then use that board's eyeball-generation engine to fuel growth both there and here. I think that interest in the subject matter is strong enough to support more than one thriving board if only some means of permitting informed, honest posting at the REHP board can be developed.

To me, then, the most important on-topic issue for early retirees is gaining control of that board. I see it as the answer to all sorts of problems. It is a process question, not a substance question, that is the distinction you are making. But I view process questions as being of great importance.

It is like building a highway rather than a retail store. A highway does not directly contribute revenue to an area's growth in the way that a retail store does, But that does not mean that it is not important. Retail stores depend on highways to succeed. Cities need highways to connect people from one place to another, and the community of aspiring early retirees needs an eyeball-generation engine to make all of our discussion boards thrive.

To get control of the asset, I need to have people go over there and say "intercst, please start following the rules." To persuade people to do that, I need to explain how he has failed to follow the rules during the course of The Great Debate. I am always being led back to that in my attempts to make my case.

I still want to get control of that asset. If we determine that we can't do it, I think we need to get control of some other asset that serves the same purpose. I believe that we need an eyeball-generation engine. It is going to be harder to get given today's development, but I don't see that I can just give up on this. I think it is of critical importance to the future of the FIRE movement.

I would be OK with starting a new board here that could be called something like "SWR Research Group" or "The Great Debate on SWRs." I don't object to having a separate board that deals with this paricular little cause of mine. Perhaps we could have occasional posts that provided updates to the FIRE board as to activities that the SWR Research Group has been engaged in. My only concern there is as to whether the site is large enough to support more boards. But I have no real objection to breaking those discussions off from other sorts of FIRE discussions.

I do object, however, to the idea of holding those discussion at the Town Center board. The reason is that I do not see those discussions as being in any way off-topic. To me, they are more on-topic than anything else.

My big problem is that most people see it the way you do. Most people enjoy the stuff that is more directly related to substantive questions more than the process stuff. That holds me back all the time. For me, the process stuff is far more exciting. I feel that it is 10 times more important than any direct FIRE question. But I see that I am in a minority in seeing it this way.

I want to develop lots of materials for inclusion in the "Truth About SWRs" report. Some would be substance stuff and some would be process stuff. What I am trying to figure out is how to do it without offending others at the board but while still pursuing my key objective, which is to secure control of the REHP board or some other equally strong eyeball-generation engine.

If we got that eyeball-generation engine, I think that all would be clear sailing from that point forward. With that, and with the other stuff we already have at this board, I don't see that we would have any big problems dealing with any substance questions that came up. But without the eyeball-generation engine, I worry about where we are headed.

We have lots of smart and good and energized people here. But my personal view is that we are still missing one important element, and I would like to at least be working towards the day when I could put my concerns on that point to rest.

JWR1945
***** Legend
Posts: 1697
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:59 am
Location: Crestview, Florida

Post by JWR1945 » Tue May 20, 2003 1:51 pm

ES has already volunteered to put up a separate board if you should so desire. He has said:
If you would like to start another board with a different agenda I will gladly set that up. Then you can say what you want as long as it stays within the NFB rules.

Welcome back!

I think that you view the Town Center board differently than I. I do not associate anything negative about that board. To me, it is just somewhere to post when something does not quite fit here or the Index Funds board or the Newbies board. To me, it does not even mean off-topic. It just implies an imperfect fit elsewhere.

I agree that process is an important issue.

Have fun.

John R.

wanderer
*** Veteran
Posts: 363
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 9:33 am
Location: anytown, usa

Post by wanderer » Tue May 20, 2003 5:30 pm

hocus -

i'm cretain you'll fit in with the dimwits, the mentally ill, expat malcontents and other social refuse that congregates here. After all, you were a "stalker" (at least, according to one self-storage "magnate"). :wink: :great:
regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

User avatar
ben
*** Veteran
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2003 4:00 am
Location: The world is not enough

Post by ben » Wed May 21, 2003 12:53 am

Hey Hocus,
I welcome you here too :D, and agree with (some of the) previous posters that as long it is "on topic" (which is very broad indeed!) you can FIRE away.

If you on the other hand can not seperate the Intercst ranting from the topic of the board, you better get a seperate board here, one which I will never go to I admit :wink:.

ben - being happy with "about 4% historically" as my SWR rule....
Normal; to put on clothes bought for work, go to work in car bought to get to work needed to pay for the clothes, the car and the home left empty all day in order to afford to live in it...

hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Post by hocus » Wed May 21, 2003 1:04 am

If you on the other hand can not seperate the Intercst ranting from the topic of the board, you better get a seperate board here, one which I will never go to I admit

OK, Ben. I'm leaning toward the separate board idea. It might be called something like "Safe Withdrawal Rate Research Group."

Just to clarify, I hope that there will not be any "ranting" at that board. That said, intercst has put himself forward as an expert in this field, and it is fair to examine both the work product that an expert puts forward, the posts that he offers drawing conclusions from the work product, and any debating tactics he employs as a means of protecting either of the first two from fair scrutiny. I will not apply a higher standard to intercst than I would apply to any other individual putting himself forward as an expert, but I will not apply a lower standard either. My aim will be to play it straight, and let the chips fall where they will.

WiseNLucky
** Regular
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:59 am
Location: Florida

Post by WiseNLucky » Wed May 21, 2003 3:33 am

hocus,
OK, Ben. I'm leaning toward the separate board idea. It might be called something like "Safe Withdrawal Rate Research Group."


Actually, I think safe withdrawal rate information belongs on the FIRE board. I would prefer to see it stay there.
Just to clarify, I hope that there will not be any "ranting" at that board. That said, intercst has put himself forward as an expert in this field, and it is fair to examine both the work product that an expert puts forward, the posts that he offers drawing conclusions from the work product, and any debating tactics he employs as a means of protecting either of the first two from fair scrutiny.


Here is where I have a problem. I do not care about TMF. I absolutely do not care about intercst. I especially do not care about any disagreements any on this board have with TMF or intercst. I have not been to TMF since the nature of that site changed (I don't even remember when that was now) and I do not intend to ever go back. And, sadly, I do not care that people are being misled there.

I greatly appreciate your contributions to FIRE and, more specifically, to SWR. Why can't we just talk about that topic and leave the whole intercst/TMF issue out of it? I understand that your feelings are hurt and that you see an injustice being done. But I will never be interested in discussions about it.

My comments sound rather harsh but I can't figure out a way to say it better without being clear. I want you here. I do not want your vendetta here.
WiseNLucky

I just wish everyone could step back and get less car and less house then they want, and realize they don't NEED more. -- NeuroFool

hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Post by hocus » Wed May 21, 2003 6:42 am

My comments sound rather harsh but I can't figure out a way to say it better without being clear. I want you here. I do not want your vendetta here.

It is helpful when you speak frankly, WisenLucky. That is the best way of getting things on the table so that they can be dealt with in some reasonably satisfactory way.

You are wrong to think that I have a "vendetta" against intercst. It is not so, and there is not even a little bit of evidence in the record that it is so. There are many, many posts showing that it is not so. I have been highly complemantary to intercst for his many valid contributions. I have no objection to anyone pointing those out. But those do not change the facts of what he has claimed about safe withdrawal rates (SWRs), or the fact that scrutiny of his SWR claims is a legitimate item of board business.

The purpose of doing this is not to beat a dead horse. There are things that I want to post about SWRs that I believe will enhance the ability of aspiring early retirees to put together effective plans. It is not possible to get to the advanced stuff until a consensus is reached on the ABCs. The community of aspiring early retirees is confused about even the ABCs (not as badly here as at the other board, of course) largely because of flawed ideas that people have picked up from listening to intercst.

intercst has played a role in developing people's understanding of how SWRs work, and one effect of the role he has played is that people are suffering from terrible confusion on a wide range of issues. The only way to correct the confusion is to explain how it came to be. It came to be because intercst has said many things on the subject that simply are not so.

It is not my intent to dwell on the intercst angle. That is one piece of the puzzle. The reason I brought it up yesterday is that it is the piece of the puzzle that generally causes the most trouble.

Let's consider one issue--the question of whether there is a valid distinction between the hSWR (historical SWR) and the fSWR (future SWR). You may have heard me say that I believe that this distinction is a 100 percent nonsense distinction. Making this distinction does nothing but spread confusion. The only number that has any practical revelvance is the fSWR, which is the number that in earlier times was referred to simply as the SWR.

To come to a more solid understanding of SWRs, we need to deal with this hSWR vs. fSWR matter. An important part of the story is the history of this distinction. My recollection is that it was first put forward by Prometheuss at the time that I came forward with the Bernstein quote that the SWR in 2000 was 2 percent. I believe it can be shown by making reference to the posts that his purpose was not to aid understanding of the SWR concept. His purpose was to spread confusion, to make it look as if the intercst number was not really as wrong as I had shown it to be.

BenSolar, who is a wonderful poster, endorsed the distinction in an effort at compromise with the other side (I believe), and then it really stuck. My view is that the acceptance of this distinction, even by people who generally know what they are talking about on this subject, has been a disaster. People don't even understand what a SWR is anymore. How can they determine if we have calculated it correcly if they do not know what it is?

If I were to hear a broad consensus of the board that we all accept that the distinction is a nonsense one, then there would be no need to go through the debate transcript and reveal the motivations for its development. But I don't think we have that sort of consensus, even just at this board. The SWR matter has been terribly muddled. The obvious deceptions I presume that people have caught on to at this point. But it is the not-so-obvious ones that still cause trouble. The deceptions you believe in you don't even see as deceptions yet.

How can we possibly move foward if we do not address these matters? I have no problem with someone presenting the other side of the story, arguing that the distinction is a valid one. It's probably a good thing if someone does that because it makes the debate a more compelling one. But how can we move forward if we do not discuss the things that we are confused about? And how do we overcome the confusion unless we look at the question of how we came to be so confused?

You say that you do not "care" about intercst. I do not "care" about him either. I care about FIRE. He has acted to confuse people about FIRE, and I want to overcome that confusion. He injected himself into this and he is part of it, whether we like to acknowledge it or not.

If Frank Lloyd Wright designed a new sort of bridge, and the bridge fell down, would it be possible to discuss the failure of the bridge without discussing Wright's involvement in the effort of designing the bridge? I think that there is a good chance that it would not be possible. What if he made all sorts of claims as to why the bridge would work that turned out not to be so, and presented all sorts of "proof" for his claims? To take steps to have the next bridge hold up better, you would need to determine how you had been deceived by false claims made in regard to the earlier bridge. It would be part of the process of coming to terms with what had happened.

Intercst has been selling people a bridge that does not hold up. He says that his approach is "100 percent safe," but raddr has done a study showing that it is at best 50 percent safe. There's a big difference between those two percentages. We have to find out how he constructed his claims of 100 percent safety, how it is that he made those claims appear plausible for so long, and why it is that they are in fact not plausible at all.

We need to do that because we are interested in the subject matter of the board, not because any of us have a vendetta against intercst.

User avatar
ben
*** Veteran
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2003 4:00 am
Location: The world is not enough

Post by ben » Wed May 21, 2003 7:48 am

ben/wise&lucky/a few others: "as long as on topic/not about TMF/Intercst issues then FIRE board is fine"

Hocus: "sorry, can not split those 2 + lean towards seperate board here"


Based the above statements looks like a seperate board - but calling it SWR study or similar neutral wording does not fit - call it "The TMF/Intercst SWR conspiracy" or similar instead as I agree w. W&L that normal SWR discussions belong just perfectly on the FIRE boards.

Just my 2 cents 8)
Normal; to put on clothes bought for work, go to work in car bought to get to work needed to pay for the clothes, the car and the home left empty all day in order to afford to live in it...

JWR1945
***** Legend
Posts: 1697
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:59 am
Location: Crestview, Florida

Post by JWR1945 » Wed May 21, 2003 9:19 am

I think that ben and others are misinterpreting what has taken place. I think that they will be pleasantly surprised to see how things turn out.

In the meantime, I think that it is advisable for us to use a separate board just so we (including hocus) do not have to be overly cautious in our comments. I would rather start with frank comments followed with corrections and clarifications than to start with ultra-sensitive comments that require a large number of measured steps before reaching the truth.

I am confident that the final product will be respectful and accurate. I am confident that the final product will stand up to reasoned examination. I do not want to hinder the process of going through the intermediate steps.

Have fun.

John R.

hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Post by hocus » Wed May 21, 2003 9:37 am

normal SWR discussions belong just perfectly on the FIRE boards.

I don't have a problem with the idea of some SWR threads appearing on the FIRE board rather than the "SWR Research Group" board. I envision the mission of the SWR board as purpose-specific rather than topic-specific.

The SWR Research Group material will all relate in some way to an effort to: (1) come to terms with what happened during The Great Debate; (2) develop a storehouse of background information and data on SWRs; (3) prepare for publication of a report called "The Truth About SWRs; (4) acquire control of the REHP board or some alternate eyeball-generation engine; or (5) take up similar but as-yet unidentified projects.

If I put up a post on SWRs, it is likely that it would appear on the SWR board because my reason for posting it would probably be to advance one of those five goals. However, it would be OK for other board members to post ideas on SWRs not for any of those purposes, but simply to share insights with fellow aspiring early retirees. They would be free to post such material to the FIRE board.

I might want to collect material from such posts for use in one of the projects described above. So I might want to re-post at the SWR board an SWR post that first appeared at the FIRE board, or post a summary of the discussion held in connection with it. In that case, I would be taking material first posted for one purpose (a FIRE board purpose) and redirecting it to a second purpose (a SWR Research Group purpose).

In the event that there were someone who did not want to view the SWR Research Group material, but wanted to stay up to date on general SWR material, he or she would be able to satisfy both desires by following the FIRE board but not the SWR Research Group board.

[KenM]
*** Veteran
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 12:54 am

Post by [KenM] » Wed May 21, 2003 5:00 pm

Hocus
In a previous post I once dipped a tentative toe into the murky waters of the intercst issue - now I'll put in a whole foot (always putting my foot in it :D sorry for the poor joke - but couldn't resist it)

Like some others, I tend to find continued debate about intercst somewhat unproductive. Maybe I'm selfish, but I really couldn't care if some poor souls on the REHP board continue to follow lines of thought that may be misguided. On the other hand, as a relative newcomer to FIRE concepts, I would find it very productive to hear from you how you achieved FIRE. As a guest at REHP I once saw hints of how you achieved it but couldn't find the details amongst the vast amount of irrelevant stuff posted by the members there.

Perhaps you will note my signature "Never try to teach a pig to sing........". I used to be a "crusader" - many fierce arguments over long periods of time trying to change peoples' opinions if they were contrary to mine. Thankfully before internet chat boards became common (otherwise I may have spent even more of my time on crusading) I decided "....It wastes your time and annoys the pig." and I could spend my time more productively. I therefore resolved, as a matter of principle, to never have the last word in any argument. (Hence my signature).
Reduces stress levels substantially :D:D:D
KenM
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

wanderer
*** Veteran
Posts: 363
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 9:33 am
Location: anytown, usa

Post by wanderer » Wed May 21, 2003 5:08 pm

hocus -

i'll weigh in with relocating discussions abt other board (mis)management etc. to the town center and/or a separate board.

pure discussion about SWR belongs here, imo. Just devoid of personalities/references.

my $.02.
regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

hocus
Moderator
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:56 am

Post by hocus » Thu May 22, 2003 2:34 am

Like some others, I tend to find continued debate about intercst somewhat unproductive. Maybe I'm selfish, but I really couldn't care if some poor souls on the REHP board continue to follow lines of thought that may be misguided.

Thanks for offering your comments, KenM. It's clear to me that your comments are reflective of thoughts that others have as well, and I believe that the most constructive thing is to get these things as much out in the open as possible.

I am not a pure altruist. Nor am I entirely selfish. I put the needs of myself and my family first. But I like it when I find a way to pursue my own needs and the needs of a good many others at the same time. I find that it is often entirely possible to do that.

It was for the purpose of being able to do that more frequently that I first began putting together a FIRE plan 12 years ago. I find work to be one of life's great joys, so I never had any thought of "retiring" from work. However, I had found that when I was working for a paycheck, my ability to choose projects that would serve both me and others to the greatest extent possible was sometimes too limited. I wanted to gain enough financial independence so that I could do more work that would serve both others and myself more effectively.

I saved the money needed to be able to devote the remaining days of my life to the project of learning about and sharing information about FIRE. I think of myself as a little corporation that has the advancement of FIRE ideas as my corporate mission. I am the CEO of this little business. Each day I do what I can to make this business grow.

In earlier days, I devoted some efforts to making the business grow by writing posts like "The New Luxuries" and "Ten Mental Exercise Leading to Freedom." Lots of people seemed to like that sort of thing, and I have drafts for scores more of those sorts of posts, and I would love to see time open up for me to polish them and put them up. But i must do what I think is the right thing for this little business. The other matter, which has been <extremely time-consuming, offers 10 times the opportunities to advance knowledge of FIRE, in my assessment. So I cannot in good conscience take my attention away from it.

Why does it offer 10 times the opportunities? Because it is a process question, not a substance question. Whatever knowledge people gather from reading "Ten Mental Exercises" is tiny compared to the knowledge they gather from gaining access to a discussion board that provides them with thousands of posts from hundreds of posters. It is just silly to say that I would be doing more good by crafting another "Ten Mental Exercises" than I would be by opening up access to the Motley Fool eyeball-generation engine to people who want to use it to learn about FIRE.

My goals have not changed from the first days. When I wrote the "Mental Exercises" post, I was not thinking solely about the effect that that particular post would have. I wrote those posts to build up that board. A board needs to reach a cetain level of posting before the network effect kicks i. I wrote every post that I put up in 2000 with the thought of getting the REHP board to that level.

My eight Posts of the Day in 2000 made a big difference. Take a look at the post numbers for the days before and after my POTDs hit the "Best Of" board at TMF. Each of those POTDs made the REHP board stronger. My Soapbox report had 5,300 sales (including a bulk sale of 3500 copies), and each copy included an invitation for readers of it to come participate at the REHP board. The point of my efforts was not just to share the limited amount of information that could be included in the individual posts or the report. The point was to build up the board because I saw that it would prove over time to be a fantastic resource for the use of aspiring early retirees.

I was building a highway. I have all sorts of plans for how to use that highway in the future. One purpose that I have mentioned is to use that highway to add participants here, and make this board a second thriving FIRE community. But there are lots of other things that I have not talked about. Suffice it to say that I have plans to make the REHP board the most important and most successful and most useful discussion board on Planet Earth.

Does it sound to you as if I have time with all of these plans I am working on to spend three seconds worrying about what some guy who posts on the internet under the name intercst thinks of me?. What he does or does not do matters not one whit to me execpt when he does something to undermine my efforts to build up the value of that bridge, that resource, that asset.

The asset does not belong to that one individual. It belongs to the community that built it and that wants to make use of it. I am not saying that if I become Board General the REHP board will belong to me. I am saying that I will be leading it, but with a responsibility to do what is right for the community that owns it. Intercst has abused the trust of the community that owns it and thereby given up any legitimate claim to lead it.

Many people don't think of discussion boards as assets. They think of them as toys, frivolous things. I know they are wrong. I know because I witnessed the power of the REHP board to change lives. It had this power in 2000, it's glory year. It's all in the record, if you care to look. Wanderer wrote an eloquent post about the network effect that had been achieved at that board back in its glory year.

I am a journalist by trade. So I have a natural desire to be involved in journalistic endeavors of great consequence. I am proud to say that I have been. Working for that board in 2000 was as important as working for The New York TImes. Not many people see it that way, but they are wrong. The information provided to people during the year 2000 was of greater value than the information provided during the year 2000 by The New York Times. So I am proud of having been part of it.

I now see that opportunities like the year 2000 REHP board don't come along all the time. If you want more opportunities like that, you need to fight for them. I am a gentle accomodating person by nature. But if fighting is what it takes to regain that asset for the community, then fight I will. Always in a fair way, no low stuff. But I have to do what I have to do.

I very much want people with a genuine interest in early retirement to have access to the Motley Fool eyeball-generation engine and intercst very much does not want them to have that. So my path crosses his from time to time. If he walks away, our paths would never cross, and that would be fine with me. But it's his choice whether to walk away or not, not mine. I cannot control what he does, so I cannot control whether the work that I do will involve making references to intercst or not.

Say that you lived in a small town where kids have access to only one public pool in the summer. A group of five bullies announces that they will all pee in the pool each day, and proceed to do so. Is your response to say "Well, I am not selfish, let them pee in the pool, it's not my concern." If you have a kid that wants to make use of the pool, it is your concern. In those sorts of circumstances, responsible community members must step forward and say to the leader of the bullies "stop peeing in the public pool or steps will be taken." This must be done. The REHP board is our board. It belongs to anyone with a genuine interest in learning about FIRE. We built it. We own it fair and square. Intercst has stolen that asset as a means of furthering his personal agenda, and we need to get it back.

Getting it back is a complicated endeavor at this point, I acknowledge. The game is not lost, there are still many things that can be done. But I am not as confident as I was a few days ago. Them's the breaks. But I do not see how it makes sense to give up the effort just because we have suffered a little setback. It happens. You feel bad for awhile, you forget about it, you pick yourself up from the floor, and you take the next positive step you can think of.

It's an on-topic question, KenM. There is no topic that has ever been discussed on this board that is more important to the future of the FIRE movement. The rest of the stuff discussed here is of real value, but in comparison to this, it just doesn't stack up. I have only so many hours to work with each day, and I cannot justify spending my energies on the other stuff while this matter remains pending.

Now, if you see me carrying out some sort of vendetta, then you would have a legitmate gripe. If I were to put up a post here saying, "it's really intercst who is the one suffering from mental illness," then I am playing the same dirty low cards that he is playing, and you are right to say "hey, this board was not put here for that sort of stuff." That sort of stuff is personal, and it does not belong.

But if there is a post in which intercst says that he knew from the first day he put his study forward that he did not have enough data points to produce statistically meaningful results, and there are other posts in the record in which he said that the statistical support for investing in his preferred stock allocation is far greater than the statistical support for investing in other allocations or other asset types, then pointing that out is fair game. He has put himself forward as an expert on FIRE, there are clearly people who have accepted that his claims have some validity, and his credibility is a legitimate topic of discussion among aspiring early retirees.

To advance my case, I need to examine intercst's credibility as an expert on FIRE issues. I say that his credibility is poor. But I am not going to just make that sort of claim and ask people to take my word on it. I am going to present evidence from the record. That is what the record is for. One reason why posts are put in an archive is to hold posters to some mininum level of veracity. if you know that your words can be used against you at some later time, you should be a little careful about what you say. Intercst has been not careful at all, he has said a great many deceptive things, these deceptions do financial harm to people planning retirements, and one of the goals of this board should be to protect people being hurt by self-proclaimed experts who are causing financial harm to others through the use of deception.

That's where I am coming from. I am willing to limit my posting on these sorts of questions to a separate board called "SWR Research Group" and I am OK with others posting about SWR issues on the FIRE board. But to me the intercst/SWR matter is by far the most important FIRE issue pending at this time. I hope that some day in the not too distant future I will be able to devote my energies to more pleasant sorts of subjects, but I feel a need to do the most important FIRE work that it is in my power to do.

It is my assessment that this matter is the most important FIRE project pending before this board at thie time.Just imagine what happens if we gain control of that board. Think what we could learn about SWRs then. Do you remember the scores of posters who rushed forward to tell me that the issue I put on the table on May 13, 2002, was the most important issue that the REHP board had considered in months? If we regain the freedom to discuss on-topic matters at that board, those people all rejoin the community. And it's not just them. There are hundreds more like them out in the world who would also sign up if they thought that it was possible to use that board as a learning resource. People are looking at the ugly part of this process, and throwing up their hands. But the potential gain here if we work past the ugliness is enormous.

Now, I am a practical person. Getting control of the REHP board is not going to be easy given that I am no longer able to post anywhere on the Motley Fool service. This recent development is a serious setback. If we could get control of an alternate eyeball-generation engine, that would be fine with me. If we could make this board as far-reaching a resource as the Year 2000 version REHP board, then I agree with you that it is not worth the trouble it takes to deal with the other matter.

But that is an extremely difficult thing to pull off. ES has already made this the most powerful non-Fool discussion board that I know of, so perhaps he can pull this off. It would be a wonderful thing, and it is certainly something that we all should be working together to achieve. So I consider that project an item on the agenda of the SWR Research Group board. That's an alternate means of achieving the same result.

My bottom line, however, is that I cannot justify to myself not working to achieve the result. The result is very important. The community of people with an interest in sharing information on how to achieve financial independence early in life has need of a discussion board where we can put up honest and informed posts, and we need for that board to have a strong eyeball-generation engine to assure that it will continue to serve our needs for a long time to come.

Post Reply