Another year older for the forum and the wiki

Our forum just reached it’s 13th birthday today and the wiki turned 9 a few days ago. Our community continues on its mission to educate Canadian investors in a totally independent and non-commercial manner.  For anyone new to the site, you can read about the History of FWF for more details on how the site came into existence and how we’ve grown.

Some statistics associated these milestones.

  • The forum stats show: Total posts 495313 • Total topics 16372 • Total members 8921. But that only tells part of the story, many lurkers and guests are helped by what gets posted here without every registering and becoming part of our community. In 2017, there were over 1.1 million visitors and 7.6 million pages served.
  • The wiki stats show: there are currently 212 content pages and there have been 15,599 page edits completed by our 45 registered users. In 2017, there were about a quarter million visits to finiki, with about 1.1 million pages viewed.

How’s that for a site that is independent and non-commercial. We do not accept money or other benefits from providers of investment products or advice. We do not allow advertising of any kind on this site. The site is run by volunteers, with the help of donations from the members. You can show your support for our efforts by telling everyone you know about the site, more visitors means more opportunity to educate Canadian investors. One method you might consider is linking to us in your other online activities. It helps spread the word that we are here to empower Canadians on financial issues.

Quick start guide for v3.2

FWF has been upgraded to the phpBB 3.2 feature release.  There are new features in that we’re excited to share with the FWF user community. This starter guide will introduce some of these features.

Clever quotes

The most obvious change is a significant improvement in the quoting feature, nicknamed “clever quotes”. Quoted posts now show links to the post author and the quoted post, and the time and date of the quoted post. This new information provides a handy reference and navigation ability to quoted posted.

A screen capture of this feature is shown below. Notice the ↑ character after the ‘Administrator wrote:’, that’s a clickable link back to the post where the quote came from. Also having the timestamp from the quoted post provides more context about when the quoted material was posted.


Showing even more advanced emotions than smilies is possible with the use of Emoji! With Emoji, it’s easy to add extra emotion to your post from your tablet or mobile devices. From a ❤️ to a 😎, Emoji can liven up all posts on your board!

Before you ask, emojis are just Unicode characters and are not the same as the smilies you see beside the posting area. Most mobile devices provide a built-in emoji keyboard so emojis can be entered just like typing ‘normal’ text. Desktop users who don’t have a built-in emoji keyboard might try 😋 Get Emoji — List of all Emojis to ✂️ Copy and 📋 Paste 👌, which is what I’ve found useful when I want to add an emoji when posting from a desktop.

Please remember that you should post in a way which is consistent with normal writing. Please do not post excessive numbers of emojis.


Have you ever missed seeing a notification because there was no obvious visual clue? With this new release notifications should be more visible, as shown by this screenshot.

A further improvement, in your notification settings, you can choose to notified only by e-mail. In the previous version that you could choose to be notified only by notifications, but you couldn’t choose to be notified only by e-mail.

Behind the scenes the notification system has been reworked so that notifications now work faster and more efficiently.

Board icons

Most of the board icons are now Font Awesome icons, which should be more intuitive icons with retina quality.

 Keep exploring

This is not a comprehensive list, we are sure members will find other changes and share the information via forum posts.

For more information and discussion, see We’re now running on phpBB 3.2 – Financial Wisdom Forum

Forum reminders and tips

Password strength and security

We’d like to take this time to remind everyone about password strength and security. We have recently added functionality that will show users how strong (or weak) their password is as they type it into the password field when creating or updating their account.

There are two main features you will see:

  • The Password field changes colors from red (weak) to green (strong) as the user types in a password.
  • The Password strength is labeled as ‘Very Weak’, ‘Weak’, ‘Good’, ‘Strong’ and ‘Very Strong’.

We’d like to offer a few other pointers about passwords and security.

  • Choose a password that indicates as Strong or Very Strong. The longer the password, the better. Passwords on FWF must be at least eight characters long, and preferably longer.
  • Change your password from time to time. The frequency is up to you.
  • Do not use the same password on multiple sites. If your password is unique to a site, then it will not be compromised if some other site is hacked.

One other reminded while we have your attention. Please keep the e-mail address in your profile up-to-date. That way, if you need to reset your password or if there ever is an issue we can notify you.

Members, please keep your email address in your profile current

Our board server log files contain a number of instances where emails to members for notifications are getting bounced because the member’s email address is no longer valid.

We would appreciate if members would check in their User Control Panel, Profile tab, under Edit account settings to make sure the Email address shown is correct and valid.

Notice: Change to “Remember me” settings upcoming

On Saturday March 11, 2017 around 9 AM Eastern Time (ET) we will change “Remember me” sessions so that they will last up to one year on FWF. This will affect only users who select the option to “Remember me” on the login screen on a particular computer or device and don’t revisit FWF from that device within a year.

Users who do not check “Remember me” will not be affected by this change. You can log out sooner by clicking the “Log out” button in the menu under your user name in the upper right corner of your screen, or by clearing cookies for the website, either manually or using the “Delete all board cookies” link in the board footer.

A reminder:

Our FAQ wrote:To stay logged in, check the Remember me box during login. This is not recommended if you access the board from a shared computer, e.g. library, internet cafe, university computer lab, etc.

FWF is now feed friendly

In addition to the RSS feed of this blog, we are happy to announce the availability of a new feature on the Financial Wisdom Forum (FWF). FWF now provides web feeds (also known as syndicated or news feeds) using the forum’s Atom feed icon Atom feeds.

There are currently three feeds enabled on FWF, each offers different information that a reader may find helpful based on their forum browsing habits.

The feeds only provide the Your Money … and Now Hear This! forums that are visible to guests.

The feeds are best viewed in a feed reader such as Feedly rather than in a browser. If you want to first try them in a browser, IE and Firefox offer reader capability, Chrome does not.

Sample of FWF's feeds as seen in Feedly

Sample of FWF’s feeds as seen in Feedly

To reply to a post that you are viewing in a feed reader, the subject line is a clickable link back to the forum, where you can post a reply (if you are logged in the forum) in the normal way.

For further information, please read our forum discussion of this feature in New feature – Feeds.

BTW, our wiki, finiki’s Recent changes also provides an Atom feed (look under Tools in the left sidebar) so you can track the efforts of finiki editors to see what’s changing?

Happy 10th birthday FWF

A decade ago, seeing a window of opportunity to help Canadians, the original FWF gang of four, Bylo Selhi, Norbert Schlenker, Shakespeare and yielder were working very hard on building a new financial discussion forum, to be called the Financial Webring Forum (FWF), and now known as the Financial Wisdom Forum.

The forum software records the board was started 15 Feb 2005, 21:09 MST, the first ‘outside’ member joined 18 Feb 2005, 07:54 and forum post #3 Links on 16 Feb 2005, 03:55. Norbert’s recollection is that the forum was unveiled on February 18th.

Join the discussion of this event in the forum topic Happy 10th birthday FWF – Financial Wisdom Forum.

FWF has a new look

Our discussion forum, Financial Wisdom Forum, has a new responsive design that provides a modern and unified experience across all your devices, including desktops, tablets and smart-phones. Plus more new features. For more details, check out Version 3.1 is alive!

Quick start guide for v3.1

There are a number of new features in phpBB 3.1 and some redesign of the location of some of the existing features. This starter guide will introduce some of these features and location changes.

The most noticeable change you might detect is the forum is now a fully responsive design, the prosilver board style has been completely overhauled to ensure a modern experience on all of your devices. Give it a try on a tablet or smart-phone. Gone is our previous mobile style.

The navigation bar

The navigation bar in phpBB 3.0 for most users looks like:

navbar - 3.0

If you are still using the subsilver2 board style, your navigation bar looks like:

navbar subsilver2 - 3.0

In phpBB 3.1, the navigation bar looks like:

navbar - 3.1

A few things you might notice, the User Control Panel seems to have gone missing, the various “View …” links are missing and now there is a Quick links item. There are a few other icons that might seem familiar, but there are now in a different place.

The various view links have been collected into Quick links, the expanded view looks like:

quick links - 3.1

Don’t worry, if you have bookmarked any of the ‘popular’ one such as View unread posts, View new posts or View active links, your bookmarks will continue to function as without change.

You can find User Control Panel under your username, and the member list in the bottom navigation bar as shown below. Please note the change in location for Logout.

User control panel - 3.1

Bottom navigation bar - 3.1

Improvements in the forums list

Since the subsilver2 board style is no longer supported in phpBB 3.1, the remainder of this guide will use screen shots using the prosilver board style.

The board index in phpBB 3.0 looks like:

forum list - 3.0

With the upgrade to phpBB 3.1, the LAST POST column now shows the subject of the last post so if you click on the link you’ll have a better understanding of where you are going.

forum list - 3.1

A further improvement exists in the topic list, in addition to the small  icon that could be clicked to View first unread post, the larger  icon is also now a clickable link to the first unread post. This should be particularly helpful on mobile devices.

topic list - 3.1

User Control Panel changes

No more worrying about daylight savings time changes, they’ll be handled automatically. You will need to make sure your time zone is set correctly.

timezone handling - 3.1

You might have notice the Notifications item in the navigation bar. Notifications are easily configured to how you prefer to be notified about various events, such as when you are quoted in a post. The new extensible notifications feature lives in the header of every page and provides a centralized place to receive alerts and other information. The settings are in your User Control Panel.

Notification options - 3.1

To conform with modern web design, the notification popup option has been removed.

Keep exploring

This is not a comprehensive list, we are sure members will find other changes and share the information via forum posts.

Improving the wiki reader experience

Two additions to the wiki “tool box” are available to improve our readers’ interaction with finiki, the Canadian financial wiki.

Have you as a wiki reader been frustrated when printing a page? If so, the wiki now has a tool that allows a reader to render the page as a PDF file, and also to arrange pages into a “book”.

Have you ever read an article and found an error or thought there was information missing? The second tool gives readers the means to provide feedback about a page and offer suggestions on how to improve the page.

The PDF and book tool

This feature which will create formatted PDF files from any wiki article. This is a significant improvement over the existing print feature (Printable version) in that the articles are organized and formatted as one would expect from a word processor. Page headings, graphics, links, and references are presented in a very readable format. We’re using the same software as Wikipedia (left side menu, under Toolbox), so there is plenty of support, and we will follow Wikipedia’s guidance.

Select an article of interest. At the bottom of the left-side menu is Print/Export. Click on Print/Export to expand into 3 entries:

– Create a book
This starts the Book creator. Click on “Start Book Creator,” then proceed to compile your list of articles and create your book. Full instructions are in Help:Books, which links to the Wikipedia help page. Watch the video.

– Download as PDF
This will create a PDF of the selected article.

– Printable version
This is the existing built-in feature, which produces a printable view but does none of the additional formatting mentioned above. However, it does show all of the content.

Note: There may be an occasional “Render error” due to server overload. This is a limitation of the backend Pedia Press server used to generate the PDF output, not the wiki. Keep trying; it will eventually complete the process.

The reader feedback tool

In order for our wiki to continue to improve and grow, we need to engage readers and help editors improve articles. So what does that mean? It means there is now a feedback loop directly on wiki articles for anyone to help improve our wiki, the Article Feedback Tool (AFT). By now all should be familiar that our wiki is intended to be a collaborative effort of the FWF community. It needs your collaboration and perhaps this new tool can spark an effort to grow and improve the wiki.

In wiki terms, please be bold and review a finiki article or two and use AFT to give the editors some feedback that can be used to improve the wiki and energize the editor community. Quick views of pages can always be accessed by using the random page link in the wiki sidebar.

How does it work? The bottom of every article now contains a feedback form “Help improve this page.” Click on Yes or No, then add your comments. Below shows what happens when you click Yes (you’ll get a similar form for “No”).


Is there a typo or spelling error? Broken link? Missing information? Just fill in the form. Wiki editors are monitoring the feedback, so they will know something needs to be done.

The feedback form is anonymous; no account is required. The intention is not only for forum members to use this form, but for anyone reading the wiki (that includes the lurkers).

The top right link “What’s this?” leads to finiki:Article feedback where you can get an overview of the entire process, including a video.

History of FWF

The launch

Three Canadian individual investors, under the monikers Bylo Selhi, Shakespeare and yielder, first met in the late 1990’s at an online discussion forum run by the Fund Library. In 1999, Jon Chevreau, then a columnist at the Financial Post, started a new forum called The Wealthy Boomer (TWB), to which the three decamped posthaste. Norbert Schlenker joined TWB in the fall of 2000. TWB served many Canadian investors well for years. In late 2004, the custom-built forum infrastructure at TWB and Jon’s concerns about high maintenance and hosting costs prompted Bylo, Shakespeare, yielder and Norbert to investigate alternatives. They suggested to Jon that it was time to move to “modern” software, at low or zero cost, and to transfer TWB to a low cost host.

Unable to reach agreement with Jon, and in mid-February 2005 unable to stomach the lack of moderation of the discussions at TWB, the four decided to act. They resolved to build a vibrant investing discussion forum, strictly non-commercial – no sponsors, no advertising, no fees – and moderated to forbid spam and avoid catfights, so that Canadian investors could educate and empower themselves. A week later, they had registered a domain name, and built a website and the FWF forum, which they unveiled on February 18, 2005.

Key milestones

  • February 18, 2005, FWF goes live using phpBB v2.0.11
  • February 22, 2005, ig17, FWF’s 100th member joins (and he’s still posting today!)
  • November 22, 2005, 600 financial threads with 7,000 posts are imported from TWB
  • April 21, 2007, the 100,000th post is made
  • March 14, 2008, Bylo Selhi is the first member to make 10,000 posts
  • February 14, 2009, finiki, the Canadian financial wiki goes live
  • March 2009, FWF takes over the archive of gummy-stuff
  • November 26, 2009, FWF moves to phpBB v3
  • November 23, 2011, a phpBB themed homepage is unveiled and we refresh our logos to incorporate the maple leaf
  • October 10, 2012, add support for mobile devices via the Artodia:Mobile style
  • January 19, 2014, relaunch FWF as the Financial Wisdom Forum with a brand new homepage

Nine years later

FWF continues to be one of the best Canadian financial websites, attracting about 30,000 unique visitors per month, who view about 850,000 pages in the discussion forum and the gummy-stuff archive. The wiki has about 11,000 unique visitors and serves about 130,000 pages to them each month.

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Relaunch of the FWF homepage

Today, we are pleased to announce the relaunch of the FWF homepage in a desktop, tablet and smartphone-friendly design motif.

We’ve redesigned

Much has changed over the years, not least the rise of mobile devices to browse the internet. Our homepage wasn’t mobile-friendly. This gave us pause to reconsider the whole homepage design. The result of this rethink is the new homepage that was launched in January 2014. Through the use of WordPress (and the Responsive theme) the user experience is now the same for desktop users, tablet users and smartphone users.

responsive theme

The relaunched homepage better explains what we have to offer.

It properly introduces the wiki and the discussion forum and the relationship between them.

You should have noticed the Navigation menu above that gives readers the ability to jump quickly to the main parts of both the wiki and the forum. There is also a Links menu item, which contains a number of other websites we feel might be worthwhile for you to visit.

There is a panel with some Quick links and how to donate to support FWF.

Down memory lane

At its inception in February 2005, the Financial Webring Forum homepage was pretty basic. Once members joined the discussion forum, they generally navigated using the forum software and rarely revisit the homepage. The homepage implemented the “Webring,” a group of like-minded websites geared towards do-it-yourself investors.

FWF homepage - circa 2009

The FWF homepage, circa 2009

In late 2011, the homepage was revamped to have the look and feel of the discussion forum, with more focus towards the discussion forum and our growing wiki, finiki, the Canadian financial wiki.

The FWF homepage, circa 2012

The FWF homepage, circa 2012