Toleration and resources

I found the replies to that recent post about Excel-l really interesting.

At first I thought maybe I was a bit more tolerant than some of you (which  would make you pretty bloody intolerant, as I am hardly the crown prince elect of tolerance!)

It seems far more likely that just different things drive us away from various resources because we hear the noise/signal ratio differently.

Friday humour on the Excel-l doesn’t bother me, as don’t most of the cliquey to and fro banter. Some I read, some I don’t. It being an email list doesn’t bother me, although email is a crap way to collaborate like that.

On other forums though I find the excessive hyperlinks, ad tat, massive personal logo things, bullshit titles, and aggressive commercialisation a major put off. Without mentioning any names, many of the forums others are involved with just annoy me. Some I won’t even follow google links too (must get around to excluding them from my search results), not because the content is poor. More because all the stuff around that content is distracting and irritating.

Anyone else find that?

I was wondering about hosting a forum at codematic for Excel/Access/VBA/Visual Studio devs, but I didn’t want to further fragment the community. And how to make it more valuable than current alternatives? Do advances in indexing and searching mean many of these forums are of limited value going forward?

I was also wondering about something like a google group where people can upload their files and we could all work directly on them – maybe I should wait for the Office 2010 web apps (imaginatively now officially called Web Apps (TM probably)).

Do you see any value in another Excel dev forum? What would make it a must visit/must join resource?



6 Responses to “Toleration and resources”

  1. Jon Peltier Says:

    All of the forums have noise. Excel-l has the OT Friday stuff and the cliquey stuff. Other forums are loaded with ads or with the avatar-driven memberships. If the content isn’t drowned out by the noise, then it’s worth sticking to that forum.

    Unfortunately, the signal/noise ratio of Excel-l is pretty scant. Mr Excel has a pretty good ratio. VBA Express has a good ratio too, but a good percentage of too little bandwidth is still too small to bother with. The Microsoft news groups are probably about the best, if you get them direct (i.e., NNTP), and not through one of the web portals (and the MS web portal is among the worst).

    I can’t think of anything that would make it worthwhile to start a new forum. It must be hassles to start up and maintain, filter out the crap, the spam, and the trolls.

    Keep doing this blog, it’s truly a public service. If you want to contribute in a more technical way, focus on the newsgroups, or Excel-l, or some other forum. Give it some energy, and link to it from here. I don’t know if one guy can restore the former glory of Excel-l, I think the email list format is too 1990s to go over well. But you have lots of knowledge to contribute.

    FWIW, I do my blog, the MS newsgroups, and Mr Excel. I don’t have time or energy to spread out further.

  2. Gordon Says:

    I don’t and could not rely on one single source of Excel information. This applies to any distinct skill/knowledge. In common with most nowadays I guess I use Google (search & Reader) as an aggregator to distill the best from all available resources. Excel-I got me all nostalgic about the old [H]ardware Group list circa 1996, but was a bit dry and, let’s face it, there is little new under the Excel sun to be discussed so I unsubbed.

    The only forums which I’ve found useful to participate in recently (as opposed to leeching like the state on working parents) are the Stack Exchange sites of (‘proper’ programming, insomuch as VBA can be considered proper!) and (more general Excel stuff). The lack of commercialisation, large committed userbase and excellent ranking system means these are the places I turn to if I’m looking for an answer that doesn’t turn up in a search.

    Another new forum would not entice me to sign up, much as I haven’t signed up to Mr Excel, Ozgrid etc. and contribute, instead I would rely on Google’s spiders finding any and all content that might interest me.

  3. Marcus from London Says:

    I unsubscribed from Excel-l primarily due to the noise factor and medium (the vast majority of posts hit the round filing cabinet).

    Nowadays if I’m after a quick answer I hit Google. For deeper answers I hit the books. I’d probably prefer to contribute to (and benefit from) more targeted or niche discussions.

    I’d agree with Jon – you’re already providing a valuable service here. Unless you have a compelling proposition – a VBA Stackoverflow – you may find it a hard slog with little reward.

    Cheers – Marcus

  4. JP Says:

    I agree with the other commenters about Excel-L. The OT stuff is marginalizing the list as a resource, and the posters don’t seem to care.

    Starting a new forum now, when so many others exist, all that will happen is you end up answering all the questions. Doesn’t sound like much fun.

    There are plenty of forums, if you look around – check Yahoo Groups, LinkedIn, OutlookCode, Chandoo has forums at, and so on. YMMV.

    @Marcus – there is a VBA stackoverflow of sorts, it’s called

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