Hi Forum People!
So, this really neat collection of our thoughts is coming up on its 5-year anniversary and it has become pretty big: close to 30,000 registered users and over 1.2 million posts.
But it has also taken a lot of work - tens of thousands of those posts (and untold shitloads of behind-the-scenes work) are from the moderators themselves, who are the sole reason this forum exists. Part of this work is deleting the daily flood of spam accounts that somehow make it past our "skill testing questions" and also the trolls and people who can't seem to be a productive part of a conversation. There have been hundreds or thousands of such people over the years.
This often brings up questions - "Hey! How come I got banned?", or "Hey, I can't join the forum - Why do you deliberately make it difficult to do so!"
The answer is tough but necessary: This forum is like a little town or community - it's not big enough to accommodate everyone who wants to join, and its systems break down if we let it get too big. We aren't interested in scaling the forum up to create another Reddit, so we need to keep it finite.
The bad news is that not everyone can get the full benefits of personal conversations right here on this exact website. The good news is that the conversations of MMM forum users can help other people who happen to be passing by.
This forum, because of your unusually precise and intelligent content, has become an insanely powerful magnet for Google and other search engines. Often, conversations you have here will immediately show up on the first page of a web search. This brings more people, and means the conversations are influential. The forum alone (not counting the main Mr. Money Mustache blog) gets over 3 million page views per month.
When you combine these two factors: limited size and wide reach, you come to realize that this forum is not really a bunch of private conversations. It's more like a stage, on which you are performing the act of civilized questions and intelligent responses in front of millions of people. OK, not every conversation, but definitely certain ones wherever we happen to get a lot of search visitors.
I think this is the reason that the moderators are a bit more strict than they might be on smaller forums, and I also have a pretty hasty mouse trigger over the delete button - both on the main blog's comments section, and on troll-ish accounts here on the forum.
I mean, sure, we can be sarcastic and argumentative all day and maybe have some personal fun with it in a thread that started out being about, say, investment allocations. But then we waste everyone's time who came here to actually learn about investment allocations.
So I'm a fan of the more strict rules of "Debate intelligently, avoid personal attacks and angry opinions, and provide as much backup data as you can." A post on this forum should be done out of the excitement of helping people (including yourself) learn something new, rather than out of anger that their initial opinion is different than your own.
Because we're now on a stage with limited space and lots of people willing to step up, I hope the moderators won't sweat the fact that we can't always be perfect. It's a hasty and sloppy job, trying to keep this place functioning, but the amount of people silently passing by and learning stuff make it worthwhile.
Also - further ideas and opinions welcomed. And thanks a lot for everything.