VBA Forums

Did you know that Microsoft is discontinuing nntp in favor of web based forums? I’m a little sad because I cut my teeth on nntp (Network News Transfer Protocol, or more familiarly newsgroups). But I spend very little time on nntp these days, so it won’t effect my life too drastically.

There seems to be some question about where to post programming related questions. MS’s Answers forums are for the consumer audience. Once again the VBA programmer is left out in the cold. Maybe we should just get the hint and learn C#.

In the mean time, I’ve created these VBA Forums for when nntp gets closed down. In time, and as necessary, I will be getting a better domain and better forum software, but I just want to get something up before nntp is shut down completely.

The best scenario is if MS provides a viable alternative and makes these forums useless. I would like to think they will do just that, but I wouldn’t bet my hard-earned money on it.

As for forum software, my choices seem to be sucky and extra-sucky. I despise most message board software. There so much clutter, it’s hard to find the question or the answer. I applied the simplest theme I could find, but there’s still too much crap. Just questions and answers, that’s all I want. I’m not sure if I’ll find what I want, but I can guarantee that it won’t allow animated gifs.

Currently there is one board for each host application that I could think of. Leave a comment if you there’s any I’m missing. And there’s one group for when the host application doesn’t matter. I thought about breaking it down even further; particularly between advanced and beginning topics. That’s just not going to work. When I answered questions on nntp, I checked every Excel group anyway, so they might as well have all been in one. And it’s a difficult line to draw. So all the Excel questions will go in on and Access will go in another an so on. I think that will be best, but we’ll see.

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14 thoughts on “VBA Forums

  1. You mean Stack Overflow, where your reputation is dependent on not get voted down if you don’t answer a question properly?

  2. What dermotb said.

    Even with the undoubted draw of your good self I can’t see a new forum usurping any of the established channels for Excel VBA discussion, all it would do is further fragment the VBA knowledge on the web.

    Plus, as you admit yourself, web forums can be pretty horrible places to look at, navigate, manage & guard against spam etc., the SO model is much more suitable for Q&A.

    I briefly thought about proposing a VBA Stack Exchange 2.0 site, but think that this wouldn’t get off the ground as a) it treads on Stack Overflow’s toes, and b) there probably wouldn’t be enough traction in VBA alone to get it past the discussion stage, especially when point a) is considered.

  3. NNTP won’t be closed down soon. Proprietary newsgroups (those with a company name as the first token, e.g., microsoft.public.excel) may be started by companies, but as long as third party ISPs host them on their own NNTP servers, they continue to exist. Most ISPs provide nntp feeds from their own servers, and they can be accessed from Google Groups (yes, still a web portal, but arguably easier to use than other web portals).

    There are already a lot of alternatives. I don’t see anything useful coming from

    http://vbaforums.kusleika.com/index.php

    only more fragmentation. For the next year, it makes sense to continue to use microsoft.public.excel.programming, just not via the msnews.microsoft.com servers.

  4. Hi Dick,

    I would definitely recommend directing everyone to StackOverflow. You have a broader audience of programmers to address and the reputation that @JP refers to is only a issue if your answer (or question) has nothing to do with programming or the question being answered. Sometimes I find the correct answer/hint in something that isn’t selected as the right answer.

  5. I guess I’m in the minority about SO.

    The idea of competing for silly badges (or “reputation”) over who has the “best” answer is something I’m not used to. At the end of the day, a reputation score and $2.25 will get you on the NYC subway.

    In one answer I actually saw someone jokingly threaten to “vote down” another’s question because they misspelled a word. I’m not interested in being treated this way.

    @JohnM: Your evaluation of downvoting is extremely optimistic. The problem is that your reputation is at the mercy of anyone who comes along and votes you down. You don’t know that your answer has nothing to do with the question, only that it was voted down.

    I’ll continue to answer questions there, as time permits, but my focus will be elsewhere.

  6. Hello,

    For my part, i tried to set up the use of the bridge in my parameters (as suggested on Ron’s site) but it failed, i got a message that tells i’m not authorized ;-(

  7. @JP: you may be in the minority, numerically (tautology here), but you are definitely not alone in being uncomfortable with SO. Personally, I really like it: I find the quality of the discussion very good, received great answers, fast, and I like the UI a lot. But I found also that it depends on what area you are interested in: the larger the community, the better the quality, which makes sense if you buy into the wisdom of crowds. I know other people who are very strong contributors on other forums, and just don’t like the way SO works, at all. I frequent other non-software forums, where discussions get very heated, and I find that SO strikes a nice balance between professionalism/quality, and a lively community vibe, but I can see how there is also a somewhat childish/infantile element at play.

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