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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernstein could be as wrong as you think intercst is.

He could be. That's fair to say.

But if posters at our boards are free to post about the intercst views on SWRs, then people should be able to post about the Bernstein views too. Bernstein is every bit the authority that intercst is.

The question that was answered over two years ago is--Is there enough cause to believe that valuation levels affect SWRs that community members should be permitted to argue that case on the various Retire Early boards? When I first made the claim, intercst said that I was "mentally ill" and that he needed to disrupt every thread in which community members discussed the question in order to "protect" the community from being harmed by the mentally ill.

When I showed that Bernstein believes all the same things about SWRs that I believe, I crossed the threshold where I should have been permitted to enter discussions with the 100-plus posters who expressed a desire to discuss the matter with me. Intercst's veto power should have been removed from him when I came forward with the passages in the Four Pillars book in which Bernstein endorsed all my claims.

The standard that is being imposed is unreasonable. The standard is that every single point must be proven beyond any possible reasonable doubt before the first non-disrupted thread on this issue can be permitted. That is not the standard that applies for any other topic. So long as a reasonable case has been made--and Bernstein's endorsement gets us there--the discussion should be permitted.

End of story. All the rest is nonsense.


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Norbert Schlenker
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hocus2004 wrote:
The question that was answered over two years ago is--Is there enough cause to believe that valuation levels affect SWRs that community members should be permitted to argue that case on the various Retire Early boards? When I first made the claim, intercst said that I was "mentally ill" and that he needed to disrupt every thread in which community members discussed the question in order to "protect" the community from being harmed by the mentally ill.

That's a damning indictment. Show me. Give me a url.

Quote:
So long as a reasonable case has been made--and Bernstein's endorsement gets us there--the discussion should be permitted.

Perhaps a definition of terminology is in order here. In what sense do you have Bernstein's "endorsement"? If your meaning is that, broadly read, Bernstein's language in Four Pillars matches your own sentiments regarding SWR, then there is still an additional hurdle of assessing Bernstein's credibility on the issue. I can make a good argument that he was off base, which is admittedly pretty rare for him.



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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I can see - and my sight isn't perfect because I don't know the entire history - you were banned for reasons other than questioning the methodology.

I was banned by four site administrators: (1) TMFBogey at Motley Fool; (2) ES here; (3) raddr at raddr-pages.com; and (4) Dory 36 at the Early Retirement Forum.

Not one of those site administrators referred to a single violation of any posting rule when banning me. Every single one has appluaded my contributions to Retire Early boards in the strongest possible terms.

At Motley Fool, the site co-owner Tom Gardern devoted an entire column to the work I did on Motley Fool boards. Gardner said that every high-school student should be required to read my stuff before being permitted to graduate. My "Secrets of Retiring Early" report was the best-selling report in the history of the Motley Fool-owned Soapbox.com site. I was a paid instructor for a Motley Fool course on how to plan for retirement.

I received my first e-mail re my banning from Motley Fool about two hours after death threats were posted at the board by an intercst supporter. The e-mail expressed appreciation for my many fine contributions and did not include mention of any posting violation on my part. Excuse me if I wonder whether it was something that Motley Fool lawyers said about potential liability in the event that they did nothing in response to the death threats that was the cause of my banning.

At NFB, my banning came one week after ES made a public apology for having alloweed the intercst supporters to continue their Smear Campaign against me for so long. He promised that he would never do this again. It was subsequently revealed that this promise of his caused the leaders of the Smear Campaign to engage in a behind-the-scenes effort to pressure ES to ban me. ES once said that my posts were "like magic" and he expressed sorrow for the banning in his e-mail to me, saying that he felt that he had no choice because of other factors.

Raddr banned both JWR1945 and me before either one of us ever posted a word to his site. In earlier days, he described my "Coin Toss" post (an SWR post) as "one of the best thingd he has ever read on any discussion board." Raddr's SWR research is entirely in line with my claim that intercst got the number wrong in the REHP study.

Dory36 provided me with one of the blurbs that I am using on the back cover of my book. He provided no explanation for the banning, either to me or to the board community. You saw his "F-You!" message to those concerned for the integrity of his board that he posted in response to you question. Dory36 is a personal friend of intercst's. Dory36's FIRECalc tool has provided him a good bit of fame via write-ups in Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. FireCalc is based on the findings of the REHP study.

I have been banned from a number of boards for one reason only, because I posted the truth about SWRs and because intercst is not man enough to acknowledge that he got the number wrong.

End of story. The rest is nonsense.


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There can be no single post to support the "ad nauseum" claim.

I have responded to the questions that have been put to me. That is what a poster is supposed to do. The questions have been put forward in ad nauseum fashion, I will give you that one. That's not my doing.

You might want to consider how a disinterested third party would take that thread

The entire text of the deleted post is set forth in the "Dead Posts File" thread, as well as the entire text of all community comments re the deletion. What more could I possibly do to allow the other side the freedom to state its point of view short of not deleting the post (which would be a failure to honor my responsibilities as board moderator)?


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a damning indictment. Show me. Give me a url.

There are thousands of links that could be put forward to demonstrate how foul and dishonest and abusive a poster intercst is. There is no end to them.

I'll provide you a link to my "For TH" post. That one provides links to the testimony of three of our most-respected contributors of all time--FoolMeOnce, BenSolar, and JWR1945. FoolMeOnce said that he could not in conscience continue to participate at a board dominated by intercst posting tactics. BenSolar said that intercst and a gang of his supporters had been engaging in deliberate deception since the earliest days of the SWR discussions, and JWR1945, who has been watching this all closely since the first day, said that intercst practices the technique of "The Big Lie."

If you can't figure out why it is we need to cut intercst loose from reading this one, I'm going to say that you have rocks in your head just like Ben.

http://nofeeboards.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=2596


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

then there is still an additional hurdle of assessing Bernstein's credibility on the issue. I can make a good argument that he was off base, which is admittedly pretty rare for him

It is indeed your right to do just that. That's what the boards are for, to faciliate a hearing of both sides.

You do not have a right to follow a poster around from board to board disrupting every thread that he puts up that has the words "safe withdrawal rate" in it with tactics like deliberate deception over known facts, threats of physcial violence, and other nonsense. That stuff destroys boards. You are not allowed to do it, I am not allowed to do it, and intercst should not be allowed to do it.

Community members who want to make the Bernstein case should be permited to do that, and community members who want to make the anti-Bernstein casse should be permitted to do that. Both groups should be held to whatever posting rules apply at the particular board where the discussions are being held.

End of story. The rest is nonsense.


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beachbumz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ben wrote:
Quote:
The 4 percent number was not always safe in earlier periods, BeachBumz. It always SURVIVED in earlier periods. That's something different.

I think this is a key point in some misunderstandings of your posts hocus. I read safe/survived as the same thing - you do not. We don't have to agree.
Cheers!

I have not read the gazillion posts after this, but I whole heartedly agree with this comment. A withdrawal rate that SURVIVED was SAFE. I agree that this is causing a lot of problems/confusion. SURVIVED=SAFE!!! That was in the PAST of course and we don't know the future. (even Hocus's example of his drunk driving Laughing proved safe in the past! I also agree that the future may not lend the same results and that's why we must diversify.

Beachbumz Cool



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beachbumz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

unclemick wrote:
My two cents.

Of course Ben and Intercst and Raddr are shooting straight.

The central difficulty arises from the appearance that circa 2000 the historical trend channel was broken to the upside(in the U.S.). Add in the current low interest rate and things get chewy.

The insights provided by SWR reasearch data runs along with the nuts and bolts of calculator limitations - provide opportunities to examine how to play the game today.

More than one way to skin a cat - real estate, global diversification, dividend strategies, TIPs anchors, the quest for classic value, etc., etc.

The debate is endless - at least for as long as I can remember(I started in 1966) and will probably go on after I meet my reward.

The SWR research to date has sharpened my sense of how I want to proceed for my ER and clarified some of my thinking.

Number on!

Well said Unclemick! Great!

If we call all realize the truth in your comments, then this would be a much better place.

Beachbumz



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beachbumz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hocus2004 wrote:
I see it as my job as moderator here to figure out how to drop the Dumb Ben in the river so that the Smart Ben gets to come out and play with us more.

I assume this is your opinion of Ben, so I also assume that it would be OK on this board to refer to the "DUMB HOCUS" when I (we) believe this to be the case and the "SMART HOCUS" when I (we) believe this to be the case.

Please correct me if this is wrong (ie if this board has a double standard).

Beachbumz Confused



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ben
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beachbumz wrote:
unclemick wrote:
My two cents.

Of course Ben and Intercst and Raddr are shooting straight.

The central difficulty arises from the appearance that circa 2000 the historical trend channel was broken to the upside(in the U.S.). Add in the current low interest rate and things get chewy.

The insights provided by SWR reasearch data runs along with the nuts and bolts of calculator limitations - provide opportunities to examine how to play the game today.

More than one way to skin a cat - real estate, global diversification, dividend strategies, TIPs anchors, the quest for classic value, etc., etc.

The debate is endless - at least for as long as I can remember(I started in 1966) and will probably go on after I meet my reward.

The SWR research to date has sharpened my sense of how I want to proceed for my ER and clarified some of my thinking.

Number on!

We said Unclemick! Great!

If we call all realize the truth in your comments, then this would be a much better place.

Beachbumz

Where is the original post above from unclemick!? Shocked - ah! on page one! This thread sure moves fast! Laughing



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beachbumz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hocus2004 wrote:
Are you saying that the 4% rate was NOT always safe when back tested in the PAST.

The 4 percent number was not always safe in earlier periods, BeachBumz. It always SURVIVED in earlier periods. That's something different.

How can you say this is something different, Hocus? If the 4% ALWAYS survived in earlier periods, then it, as it turns out, it was SAFE.

Quote:
Say that I have driven 10 miles to a friend's house every Sunday night for two years now. That's 104 drives, 208 if you count back and forth.

On two of those occasions, I was a little bit drunk on the return trip. I got in a fender bender on one of those drives and was hospitalized after a car crash suffered during the other. In both cases, I lived.

Is it reasonable to say that I was "100 percent" safe on the two trips I took when drunk just because I happened to survive them? It is not.

I was taking a big chance driving drunk. I got lucky. I survived. That doesn't mean that it is "100 percent safe" for me to drive home drunk today.

Since we are talking about the REHP study which was trying to determine a rate that would survive all the periods and that rate was the SAFE rate, then yes you were SAFE since you didn't die. (you are comparing apples and sledge hammers here of course.) I agree that your chances of failure in the future in your analogy are high, that's why you should diversify (ie take a cab Laughing )

Quote:
The portfolios of investors who retired with 74 percent S&P allocations in the late 20s or the mid-60s survived, according to the historical data. These retirements were not "100 percent safe," according to the historical data.

If they never would have gone broke using the 4% (or whatever) rate, then it was SAFE.

Quote:
The term "100 percent safe" has a defined meaning in SWR analysis. It means that the portfolio works in a worst-case returns sequence (the worst seen in the historical record, but not any worse than that). Had worst-case scenarios popped up for those retirees, their plans would have failed. It turned out that they didn't fail because worst-case return sequences did not in fact turn up.

I assume this was defined by you. We ALL know that going forward there is no truly '100% safe" withdrawal rate. Yes, had returns been something worse than they were, then the 4% might have failed. In that case the REHP study would have another number. BUT, the returns were what they were. Confused In your analogy, had you died while driving drunk then you would have NOT been safe, but you didn't.

Quote:
Those retirees were lucky. That's nice for them. But it is not reasonable to conclude that because they happened to get lucky that is "100 percent safe" to follow in their footsteps.

What retirees? This was simply a back tested study to examine what WOULD happen IF one withdrew a particular % adjusted for inflation annually from their portfolio. I don't know of anyone that personally used SWRs back then.

Quote:
There are some valuation levels at which a 4 percent take-out is safe according to the historical data and there are some at which it is not. To find out whether that take-out number is safe or not, you need to look at the historical data using a methodlogy that is analytically valid for purposes of determining SWRs.

You are trying to use historical data to calculate the FUTURE SWR, a noble task to be sure, but only time will tell how accurate anyone is/was. I agree that valuations do matter, but given the valuations of the time, the 4% rate was SAFE then, it might not be in the future. In fact, I agree that it probably will not be for a 74% S&P portfolio in the future, but that's JMHO. It's also the reason, I believe in diversification into multiple asset classes.

Beachbumz Cool

BTW, My original question (3rd post in this thread) was directed to JWR1945 and I still would like you to respond to that one JWR.



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peterv
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Full disclosure: I'm not an Intercst supporter. I'm not a Hucus supporter.
I'm just a recently retired guy trying to figure out the best way to manage my assets. I'm also a guy who's not particularly impressed by posturing, fallacious arguments, and endless repetition of complaints.

I'm generally in agreement that a 4% SWR may be high right now but I'd like to read the relevant arguments for both sides. I'm beginning to suspect that this board isn't going to be any more tolerant than dorey36.

Quote:
Perhaps if we can't have an honest, non-hostile debate at dorey36, we can have it here.

Perhaps.

But to have a useful discussion, we need posters. How many can we count on pulling in to discussions held at this place? There's a board boycott in place, remember?

There's a boycott in place here? I didn't realize you'd started banning people here already. Or did you seriously mean to suggest that somehow people on others boards are being prevented by I*******t from posting here?

Quote:
Do you want to know the sort of thing that will cause his lifespan here to get shortend?. Dumb stuff. Questions like the one Mr. 007 (who is one smart cookie when not posting on the intercst matter) brought up a little bit ago. "Uh, duh, I wonder, duh, if there be any, duh, diff-a-dence be-duh!-tween da woid "safe" and da woid "surviving." Do there be a diff-rinse?" That sort of thing will get you knocked on your bottom at a hocus-moderated board in short order. That one for some funny reason failed to engage my mind.

Ben, I was about to blast back at hucus for this demeaning characterization of your post when saw you beat me to it with a much more civilized reply. I'll keep my peace for now.

Quote:
Stop soft-peddling it, UncleMick. Peterv does not go for that jizz-jazz. Me neither. Get real, UncleMick!

Actually I like unclemick's post very much. I only meant to suggest that he's less strident than some at this board. Keep up the good posts unclemick. And not to change the subject but I've been meaning to ask you for a while now, who's this Norwegian widow you keep bring up?

Quote:
Polite is nice. It's two steps up from non-polite. But polite doesn't pay the electric bill when your portfolio goes bust. Polite gets you points here (because it so pisses intercst off when people are polite) but polite alone is not enough to carry the day. You need to say something real. Get real, everyone!

And if it's not "real" as defined by hucus it doesn't belong here and is a candidate for deletion. Makes sense in a peculiar way I guess. Leaving aside the problem of how to read your mind before hitting the submit button.

Norbert, you mentioned your web site. Care to give us the URL?

No kidding beachbumz, we're seeing the "Dumb Hocus" in this thread like I've not seen him before. "Smart Hocus" please come back, we miss you.


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unclemick
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An obsure newspaper article lost in the mists of time(Seattle?, Portland ?newspaper) pointing out the importance of dividends during bad markets.

Used the metaphor of the Norwegian widow waiting by the mailbox for her deceased husband's dividend checks to arrive. I use it to keep dividends in mind rather than some other trick.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JWR1945 wrote:
Even crude confidence limits are vastly superior to having no confidence limits at all.

There is solid evidence that the historical sequences in the past were lucky sequences or, at least, far from being unlucky. We have been able to quantify such effects.

Portfolio survivability is influenced by both the overall stock market returns and the actual sequence of returns. This widens out the range of withdrawal rates that are likely to survive. No, the actual Historical Surviving Withdrawal Rates did not cover the range of uncertainty. What is worse, only a very few data points are directly relevant if the relationship with valuations is not taken into account. Instead of having fifty to a hundred relevant sequences, you only have four or five, which is far too low a number.John R.

JWR, please allow me to check my understanding of what you are saying in the bit I quoted above. What I take from this-in part- is that since there have been only a few historical sequences starting with high PE ratios, maybe the fact that these did survive with 4% withdrwal rates doesn't mean very much.

Maybe they were lucky sequences.

If this is what you are saying, I wholeheartedly concur. It is the basis of my personal objection to blindly relying on results given by the calcuilators

Mac


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unclemick
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yep

And as John often points out when working with data and attempting to apply it to your own ER - don't forget your common sense.


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MacDuff
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beachbumz wrote:
A withdrawal rate that SURVIVED was SAFE. I agree that this is causing a lot of problems/confusion. SURVIVED=SAFE!!! That was in the PAST of course and we don't know the future. (even Hocus's example of his drunk driving Laughing proved safe in the past! I also agree that the future may not lend the same results and that's why we must diversify.Beachbumz Cool

A statement like the above effectively removis the justification for bothering with calculators in the first place. When you say , "That is why we must diversify", it opens up lots of questions about effective diversification. All that matter is return, expense, volatility and withdrawal rate. Diversification is supposed to have its greatest impast on volatility, but again it is stochastic and relies on the relatively few sequences that have been studied.

To say "Survived =Safe" forgets the stochastic nature of these processes, let alone whatever valuation differences there might be.

If you have a good pension, not too much is at stake. But for those who must completely fund their own retirements had better understand that survived (2 or 3 or 4 times) does not equal safe.

Mac


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've deleted a post by BeachBumz. It was a nonsense gibberish defense of the intercst SWR claims.

I've added the text of the deleted post to the "Dead Post Files" thread. Here's a link:

http://www.nofeeboards.com/boards/viewtopic.php?p=29208#29208


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JWR1945
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am under the weather right now, which limits my ability to respond fully.

MacDuff has the right idea.

I urge all to read my May2004 Overview sticky post. This matter of definitions is critically important. In addition, Hocus has provided an excellent illustration as to why SURVIVED = SAFE is nonsense.

We have a very strong case that past sequences were lucky sequences. Raddr showed this in the early days of the FIRE board. He exchanged the returns from two years selected at random. They brought down the Historical Surviving Withdrawal Rates considerably. Yet, the mean and standard deviation of the stock market statistics were identical to the historical record. This indicates that, with a few notable exceptions possible, all Monte Carlo simulations must show that the past sequences were lucky sequences.

We can apply my own methods. Using the formulas that I have extracted from the historical record, I can apply them to the previous periods. The historical sequences are between the confidence limits, generally closer to the Calculated Rates than to either confidence limit. Since the Safe Withdrawal Rate is the lower confidence limit, this shows that the historical sequences were lucky. They did not occur under dangerous conditions.

Remember that two things determine the safety of a retirement portfolio. The first is the overall return of the market, which is closely related to valuations. The worst-case historical sequences were typical in this regard. They showed lower Historical Surviving Withdrawal Rates as a byproduct of high initial valuations.

The second factor is the sequence of returns. The worst-case historical sequences were typical in this regard, not anywhere close to being worst-case conditions. Less favorable sequences would have brought the Historical Surviving Withdrawal Rates down sharply.

You can see this by looking at the data. (Bpp has put some plots in the special SWR Research area,) Draw confidence limits about the Calculated Rates (i.e., the lines on the graphs). Conditions with the lowest earnings yields have the lowest Historical Surviving Withdrawal Rates. Looking at the lower confidence limit (determined by making an eyeball estimate, drawing a parallel line that is below almost all of the individual data points), you will see that there is a lot of room on the downside before you reach the combined effects of high valuations (or low earnings yield) and unlucky sequences, which determine the lower confidence limit (or Safe Withdrawal Rate).

Have fun.

John R.


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beachbumz
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi DUMB HOCUS!
Once again you have proved how ridiculous you REALLY are. The only nonsense GIBBERISH ever posted to this board has been by YOU. The only word games ever played has been by YOU. The only definition changes have benn by YOU. That's why no reasonable person ever agrees with you...because YOU are WRONG. I feel sorry for JWR1945, since he feels the need to support someone who has gone over the edge like you; he's seems like an intelligent and mostly reasonable person, too bad, he could be a big help.

You have also shown what a double standard this board is. Either agree totally with Hocus' off the deep end ideas or don't post here. I can understand this mentality because you are WRONG and you know it. INTERCST is RIGHT and has made you look like a laughing stock at every other board and you just can't handle it.

I now officially join the ranks of sooooo many others...

I wish the SMART Hocus would return, but I think he is gone for ever!

Beachbumz



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hocus2004 wrote:
From what I can see - and my sight isn't perfect because I don't know the entire history - you were banned for reasons other than questioning the methodology.

I was banned by four site administrators: (1) TMFBogey at Motley Fool; (2) ES here; (3) raddr at raddr-pages.com; and (4) Dory 36 at the Early Retirement Forum.

Not one of those site administrators referred to a single violation of any posting rule when banning me. Every single one has appluaded my contributions to Retire Early boards in the strongest possible terms.

So stipulated. It would be a better description to say that they applauded some other contributions of yours.

Quote:
I received my first e-mail re my banning from Motley Fool about two hours after death threats were posted at the board by an intercst supporter. The e-mail expressed appreciation for my many fine contributions and did not include mention of any posting violation on my part. Excuse me if I wonder whether it was something that Motley Fool lawyers said about potential liability in the event that they did nothing in response to the death threats that was the cause of my banning.

I've asked you before for url's to document such claims and you haven't been very forthcoming. Could I get one here re the death threats? Also, if you could go back upthread and respond to previous requests for urls - in particular, documentation that intercst described you as mentally ill because you questioned the 4% rule, and a Bernstein "endorsement" - I would appreciate it very much.

Quote:
What more could I possibly do to allow the other side the freedom to state its point of view short of not deleting the post (which would be a failure to honor my responsibilities as board moderator)?

First of all, your responsibilities as moderator not to delete were not really the topic we were discussing. (I note also that you were not similarly responsible on dory's board just a few days ago.) The topic we were discussing was whether you had been accused by others of "twisting facts and logic to further your vendetta". You denied that it had ever happened. I pointed to a thread in which you were accused of just that.

Quote:
I'll provide you a link to my "For TH" post. That one provides links to the testimony of three of our most-respected contributors of all time--FoolMeOnce, BenSolar, and JWR1945.

That post is instructive but I note that it specifically does not "provide links to the testimony" of anyone. It quotes others. Can you demonstrate that they actually wrote such words by pointing to the originals? Your opinions re "most-respected contributors" are also noted but I haven't had a chance yet to consider for myself whether their contributions are worthwhile. Once again, I encourage you to provide links to especially good examples that you know of.

Quote:
I'm going to say that you have rocks in your head just like Ben.

You're stressed so I'm just going to let that go. Do you expect to gain something from simply insulting me?



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