We recently had the opportunity to interview LadyGeek, who undertakes numerous roles at Bogleheads.org. and affiliated sites.
These are the official Bogleheads.org. sites.
Along with these duties, LadyGeek also serves as an administrator of finiki , our sister Canadian site’s wiki. She is also an administrator here at Financial Page and is an administrator of the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy site.
Financial Page: Before delving into your considerable roles at bogleheads.org. perhaps you can tell us how you discovered the site and why you decided to contribute your talents.
LadyGeek: I found this forum after my former financial advisor lost a very large retirement check. We had an IRA CD mature and rolled it over into our account at the advisory firm, but they never received the check. Both my bank and the account at the advisory firm had a zero balance.
At that point, I learned that you must wait 90 days for a check to get reissued. Having a large portion of your retirement savings disappear for 90 days was very stressful. At that point, I was already disappointed with my financial advisor as he was not keeping track of the account activity as he should. I then found the Bogleheads forum and moved everything back to Vanguard.
I decided to repay the help I received by becoming a wiki editor. I knew nearly nothing about investing, but the wiki was in need of improvement and I had the technical background to make that happen.
As they say, “The best way to learn something is to teach it.” I started writing for the wiki as a way to teach myself investing and to help others. If I didn’t understand a concept, others may also not understand the concept.
Creating wiki articles allowed me to pay back what I learned to the forum. I knew very little about investing, so I simply asked the experts for help to review and correct the content (to our forum members – thank you!).
The wiki is a collaborative effort. A considerable amount of assistance was provided by the wiki founder, Barry Barnitz, and several other editors to ensure the content was appropriate. Barry gave me the freedom to improve the wiki’s layout and to work with the underlying technical details of the wiki software. Everyone collaborated to improve the wiki’s layout to what you see today.
Barry Barnitz and I also received assistance from Peculiar_Investor, administrator of our sister Canadian forum’s wiki, finiki, the Canadian financial wiki. Eventually, we became administrators of the Canadian wiki and collaborate together often.
FP: What is the role of a site administrator?
LG: A site administrator is responsible for the configuration of the website. A forum administrator is the one who creates the individual sub-forums (for example). We also help members resolve problems with their accounts.
I should mention that we have more than one forum administrator. Tashina works behind-the-scenes to assist with the site administration, but rarely posts in the forum.
A wiki administrator is responsible for creating the wiki editor accounts and maintaining the pages which form the wiki’s layout, for example. The Bogleheads® wiki follows Wikipedia’s editorial policy and administrative guidelines. Administrators ensure that these guidelines are followed. Barry Barnitz and Peculiar_Investor are also wiki administrators.
Another site administration role is maintenance of the underlying software. We use open-source software:
Larry Auton (site owner, forum member mingstar) is the administrator who provides the care and feeding of the server. Under his guidance, I assist Larry with the software maintenance.
Together, we strive to keep the software current. Security updates have a high priority and are installed as soon as possible.
FP: What is the role of a moderator?
LG: A moderator ensures that a discussion stays focused and abides by the Forum Policies.
There are several moderators in the forum. I may be one of the more visible moderators, but we work together behind-the-scenes to ensure things run smoothly.
It is important to note that moderators do not set forum policy. The site owners set the policy; the moderators just enforce it.
FP: Thank you, LadyGeek. For additional information, please see Who are the Bogleheads?