Excel-l developers list

I just wanted to call out my all time favourite Excel resource, the Excel-l Excel developer listserv email list. its hosted here.

I know lots of you are already registered, but I wanted to drum up a few more members, for a couple of reasons

  1. The main one – its a superb resource, any Excel, VBA, Access and other apps based questions will get a sensible answer here
  2. The number of registered users is declining. I don’t know what the cut off is but at some point if membership gets too low, and questions don’t get answered then even more people will leave and the best non-beginner Excel resource will disappear.

So if you are not already registered then sign up (it’s free), you’ll be able to search the archives straightaway, and maybe join in the e-mail debates, and help others out. For a few years I had mine on digest mode which means just one email a day, but now I have a bit more time I’m back to getting every email individually.

I hope the decline in numbers isn’t a sign of dwindling interest in Excel/VBA developments, although that would not be a surprise.

Do you have any explanation for the decline? do you know better resources?



16 Responses to “Excel-l developers list”

  1. Jon Peltier Says:

    In all fairness, while the Excel-L and -G lists were good resources a decade or more ago, other resources have overtaken the lists. The Microsoft newsgroups and the Mr Excel forum are better sources for help. Their populations are rising, while the depth and breadth of topics is much stronger than in the lists.

    Part of the decline of the lists is their very nature; they are mailing lists which distribute content one post per email. This is less convenient and less conducive to efficient information exchange than newsgroups and forums.

  2. Dick Kusleika Says:

    Seriously? It’s a mailing list. That’s like asking why buggy whip sales are down. Excluding hand written letters sent via the post office, is there any less efficient method of giving and receiving help.

    I actually tried Excel L a few years ago. I just could get why people would choose that method over nntp. Sell me on it and I’ll join. :)

  3. Doug Glancy Says:

    I subscribed a while back based on a previous mention by Simon. It goes to my gmail account which by chance makes each conversation look like a newsgroup thread. I don’t look at it much but it seems like the topics are more interesting on average than in the excel.programming newsgroup.

  4. sam Says:

    Its been a great help for me over the years…. I guess when I am in a jam and google doest give me the answers… I post the question.. 9 on 10 there is some one offering a great solution…

  5. Rob Says:

    I first subscribed well over a decade ago.

    It has changed a bit since then – it used to be really cutting edge in those days but now it’s more mundane, partly because a lot of the innovative stuff has been ‘done’ now and partly because the community is more fractured by the rise firstly of web fora and then blogs.

    It does have a tendency to have a bad memory as old hands leave and new members join – I can think of a few techniques that have been lost from folk memory only to be rediscovered years later.

    Overall, I like the drip, drip effect of emails arriving throughout the day – it’s something that comes to me rather than me having to make the effort of trawling though a usenet group, or, even worse, a web forum looking for interesting questions and answers.

  6. Marcus from London Says:

    I used to be registered, but must confess that I actually got annoyed with the emails in my inbox. I much prefer to go to a site and scan the items of interest.

    Now if I’m stuck on something I usually just Google it.

  7. Bob Phillips Says:

    I joined the list many years ago also, and It seems to me that there is rarely anything new there now. If new members are going to ask newbie questions, they are better off on MrExcel or the NGs, they get answered more quickly and will be just as good.

    I also find that the OT posts are intrusive, especially when they fail to mark them as OT. Too many, too often.

    And finally, it is a bit cliquey. Certain people join into threads and steer them in their pet directions, often taking them off topic. We all know who they are. How many more times have I got hear that a certain member likes a certain drink?

    As such, I think it is a relatively poor resource against what it used to be. I tend to skim the first post in a thread, and if it is not looking good, I delete them all, which means I will miss some good ones potentially.

  8. Simon Says:

    Dick – I could suggest pigeon post as being slower – but seemingly its faster than broadband:

    Sadly I don’t disagree with any of these criticisms, I just haven’t found anything better – maybe I need to look harder.
    Some of the forums I have found are sickeningly commercialised and heavy handedly moderated, and they too seem v cliquey

  9. mikewoodhouse Says:

    Good lord, I’d forgotten all about that list – it must have dropped off my radar a few job changes ago. I’m afraid I can’t be doing with mailing lists these days – I really don’t spend a lot of time with email at all: two or three times a day at work, once a day at home is plenty. Newsgroups are better, but even those are irritating compared to the simplicity of the all-powerful aggregators. So what we need is for the 5-10 “best” questions to be pulled together into a once-a-day RSS feed. Then we’ll take notice.

    Alternative http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/excel ?

  10. Andy Cotgreave Says:

    I find it useful, but agree with Bob about the OT posts. I particularly dislike the OT: Humour posts on a Friday, which feel like a particular throwback to the 1990s. And woebetied anyone who suggests that maybe some of the jokes are offensive to some and that you can find jokes elsewhere on the ‘net…

    I avidly followed it for about 6 months last year, but have found it less interesting recently.

    HOWEVER, if I have a problem, I do find it’s still extremely reliable at getting me an answer.

  11. JP Says:

    I’m on Excel-L, but the substance seems to be lacking. The off-topic stuff, especially on Friday, is really getting on my nerves. Thank goodness for digest mode. Soon I’ll be reading it on the web, to limit the amount of fluff in my inbox. The better forums can be read online (MrExcel, VBA Express, Yahoo Groups, etc). Most of the developers I would want to ask a question of anyway usually have their own sites or blogs soliciting visitor comments.

  12. Jon Peltier Says:

    You can read the Excel-L list archives online, one week at a time:

    Last week there were less than twenty topics.

  13. dougaj4 Says:

    It just got one new subscriber.

    (Although why I think I need another Internet diversion from doing or seeking paying work, I really don’t know :))

  14. martin rushton Says:

    Anybody else of the opinion that the man who prefers a certain drink is becoming more prickly and now has a standard response with a list of conditions needed to send him the file off list?

  15. Bob Phillips Says:

    Couldn’t agree more, but it keeps the post count up doesn’t it.

  16. Simon Says:

    As well as taking potential solutions off line, out of discussion and away from the archives.

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