Excel Zone Expert Discussion, Number 35

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LVL 81
byundtMechanical EngineerAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
Most of the time, Excel handles rounding issues in an acceptable manner. You still get the occasional boss with a pocket calculator who refuses to understand while hyperventilating that "Excel can't add" when the total is off by a couple of pennies out of millions of dollars. But most people understand that 15 significant figures and binary arithmetic are going to produce small discrepancies that ought to be completely hidden by appropriate formatting.

I got into trouble in a recent thread where I was trying to solve a 3rd grade arithmetic problem. If toys cost 30 cents, ice pops cost 40 cents and candy costs 25 cents, how many ways does a young lad have to spend exactly 6 dollars?

The mistake I made was using MOD(xxx, 1) to return the number of fractional candies that could be purchased. Since some of the prices involve a repeating binary fraction, truncating after 15 significant figures in many cases left me with either a smidge less than a whole number, or a smidge more. As a result, I found only 27 valid combinations when there are actually 37.

The workaround I used was to add an infinitesimal to the number before taking MOD. I then compared the result to a half-penny's worth of candy. If less than, then I had a valid combination.

The Perl guys did the calculations in pennies and avoided the whole issue. Very embarrassing.

Brad
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
* This thread seems to be visible in the normal summary of "Open Questions".

I thought it was usually hidden from view.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I found it in Open Questions just now. The giveaway, of course, when reading quickly was that the points were zero.

.... Thinkpads_User
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
If only there was a "Private Messaging" facility... I could have contacted Brad directly by now! ;)
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Access is usually by invitation via the provision of a link from an existing contributor.
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
Most of the time, this thread is hidden in plain sight by virtue of being below the fold. Once the link gets off the first page of open questions, the hoi polloi no longer notice it. But for the next day or two, we may be welcoming new friends.

I try to invite people to take a look at the thread who are new to the site but have been making a good impression with their posts. And if I overlook someone, such an invitation would be equally well received if it came from any of you other Excel Regulars. We're part of a community.

Brad
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rspahitzCommented:
>Most of the time, this thread is hidden in plain sight by virtue of being below the fold.

Glad I found it once upon a time or I wouldn't be able to read the banter you guys throw about.
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
I had never seen anybody use three or more alternatives in a single column AutoFilter. HarryHYLee did it in http:/Q_28233030.html#a39472095 using:
ActiveSheet.Range(Cells(1, 1), Cells(rw, clmn)).AutoFilter Field:=1, Criteria1:=Array( _
        "Jessica", "Michelle", "Wanda"), Operator:=xlFilterValues

Open in new window


Nice trick!
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
That's what the macro recorder produces when you select more than one value on which to autofilter.

:-)

Kevin
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Real "Experts" don't use a macro recorder, Kevin! ;)

Anybody need code to create an ADO recordset in memory to sort columns?

[ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Excel/Q_28233210.html ]

No, I thought it was an odd requirement for a question too! :)
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aikimarkCommented:
posted a better solution
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
posted a better solution

Yes, I have just seen your different solution.

The question asker determines which is "better".

...

Your proposal seems to sort the columns based on the content of the data within them.

I understood the requirement to be:

The sort needs to be done according to the "length" of the column on the left but when sorting the data, both the column on the left and the column on the right must stay together.

"Length" I was presuming was the number of rows in each column, regardless of the order of the data within them.
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
>Real "Experts" don't use a macro recorder, Kevin! ;)

Bite me. I use the macro recorder every day. It's how I learned to set multiple filter criteria over seven years ago.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
:)

I use it too., Kevin.

In fact, doing so didn't help the ongoing relationship between the question asker & I in this thread:

[ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Languages/Visual_Basic/VB_Script/Q_28223794.html#a39456922 ]

Actually, I was glad when the asker started to ignore me & went with another "Expert", even though I still believe my solution worked (or would have worked given all the necessary information).
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
:-)
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
Brad, I learned that method a year or so ago. Totally blew my mind. They key, of course, is the xlFilterValues. And yes, I occasionally use the macro recorder. Kevin needs to use it more often (e.g. "every day") because he's getting old and senile. Just ask him. ;)

Zack
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rspahitzCommented:
I think that not only is the macro recorder useful for beginners, but it's great for experts who are as lazy as I am and would rather have Excel write much of the code for me (although I often clean it up afterwards since it's usually inadequate in the result.)  Still better than writing it all from scratch...unless you LIKE doing things the hard way.  then again, I also use auto-complete which is really just a macro recorder of sorts running in the background, and I know that real experts would never allow a system to help them get their jobs done quicker because sometimes it gets it wrong.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
:)

I use the macro recorder more often now the MS-Excel/Office Help system is fully online.  It's quicker to edit/remove unnecessary code than to wait for the required Help topic to be displayed just to check the parameter syntax of statements I use less often than others.

That said, I would sooner write from scratch, rspahitz.  The code offered by the macro recorder is often far too complicated to either read &/or comprehend.

I see Brad was discussing the decline of the usefulness of the Office product Help facility a few days ago:

[ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Q_28233082.html#a39472183 ]
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rspahitzCommented:
Yes, I agree that the help system has become worse...not only is the online version slower for me (even with a quick connection) but it seems that they re-wrote everything and made it more complicated and I can't find things any more...it used to be very succinct.

As for scratch vs record, I often write from scratch but sometimes the recorder will create parts for me faster if it's more than a few things in sequence...then cleaning up CAN be a minimal effort, depending on what you're recording.  Hmmm...maybe it's time for MS to revisit the recordings and try to make more optimized code so newbies don't get so confused by what comes out.  I know that in VB.Net you can create your own snippets that you use regularly so you can "play them back" with just a few keystrokes.  Not quite the same but a great feature that VBA could use.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
I know that in VB.Net you can create your own snippets that you use regularly so you can "play them back" with just a few keystrokes.  Not quite the same but a great feature that VBA could use.

As long as Carlos J Quintero continues to support the MZ-Tools for VBA (freeware) Add-In for Microsoft Office, then Microsoft do not need to change the VB(A)Project environment!

[ http://mztools.com/v3/download.aspx ]

It offers, amongst many more useful features, a facility to store code statements to paste into a code module by a user-specified shortcut key combination.  There is also a dedicated Error Hander, Procedure Header, & Module Header code template that can be quickly pasted into a code window.  Each of these can be configured by the use of variables that are replaced at the point of insertion, such as:

Module Name
Procedure Name
Procedure Type
Procedure Return Type
Procedure Return Prefix
Current Date
Current Time
& other attributes

The "Review Source Code" feature I find particularly useful in identifying unused Procedures, Variables, &/or Constants.

I rarely use any feature other than this, but you may find any of the others offered useful to you.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
Too bad it doesn't work on 64 bit. :(

Zack
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Why you anybody want to use that?
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
There are many people who want to use 64 bit. Computational power is the #1 reason, taking full advantage of the 64-bit architecture and multi-threading. I don't use it as my primary because there's too many incompatibilities (e.g. MZ Tools, SmartIndenter), not to mention the change in APIs/variables/compilers. If crunching large numbers or housing big (ish) data, 64-bit definitely has some advantages.

Zack
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
You are really going to have to come to terms that there is sarcasm implied in every comment I post, Zack :)

I purposefully did not install the 64-bit version of MS-Excel 2010, & then MS-Excel 2013, due to the reasons you summarised.

Maintaining a version that represents the "lowest common denominator" to support people here at Experts-Exchange.com is still a concern for me too.

I prefer to work in MS-Excel 2003.  It loads much quicker, & doesn't look like a 3 year old has designed the graphical user interface with a box of crayons (like the two most recent versions of MS-Office).

As I mentioned above, the online Help system works (locally) too.

I do see the benefit in some of the new features added to the later versions of the product, but being "old" (like Kevin) I am stuck in my ways of doing things ("the hard way").
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
Another reason I like you. :) Even if I am a bit daft sometimes lol.

I hear you about 2003. Solid build for sure. When 2007 came out I took to the ribbon, unlike basically everyone else I know. 2010 fixed a lot of issues for me, and is my goto app version now. I like 2013, but then again I've spent a lot of time making templates in it, so it holds a special place in my heart. :)

Newer features are nice and shiny, and I do like shiny things. <wideEyedStare> Oooh. Pretty. </wideEyedStare> Although I do keep all 32-bit versions installed on my machine (2003 and later), both to use with forums and clients.

Re code writing, I almost always write from scratch now.

Zack
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SteveCommented:
Interesting question, if anyone fancies a look here.
Without Macro or fixed coulmn data I am not sure how to acheive the specific result the user wants.
However I am sure someone could.

ATB
Steve.
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
The Preview version of the very cool Power Map add-in is now available for download. You'll need Excel 2013 Pro Plus to run it. With it, you can use plot Excel data on top of maps from Bing. You can even make movies of the map changing as you zoom in on points of interest or filter the data.
Sample chart produced by PowerMap add-inYou can get it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38395
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redmondbCommented:
Steve,

Just saw the newsletter, congratulations to our newest Genius!

All the best,
Brian.
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
Ditto - congratulations, Steve! That was pretty damn quick too!

Rory
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SteveCommented:
Thanks Brian & Rory.
How people like Brad get to 10m without going a little crazy is beyond me :)

And which newsletter? news to me :)

ATB
Steve.
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
What makes you think we aren't crazy? :)
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
If you aren't on the mailing list for the Experts-Exchange newsletter (or if your ISP automatically deletes the mail as spam like mine does), then you can see all the newsletters at the EE-Stuff.com web site. It's run by Netminder & company, but is independent from Experts Exchange in San Luis Obispo. You log into the EE-Stuff site using your EE username & password.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Why are passwords stored/accessed outside of the Experts-Exchange.com domain?

Are any (other) personal details used elsewhere?
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
Re: Power View, to be explicit, you must have ProPlus or Professional Plus. Believe it or not, they're two different beasts. :(

Zack
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
The authentication for EE-Stuff is done at EE, EE-Stuff is only checking for a valid cookie. EE does not forward any personal information without explicit permission.

OK; thanks Modalot.
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
I must have originally missed the fact that we can't post links to other forums. So even if there's a beautifully crafted post elsewhere that perfectly answers the question here, I'm not allowed to link to it?
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
Interesting because that is absolutely not what the newsletter says:

"The hurts more than it helps link:
These are the ones to competing Q&A sites (as opposed to a MSDN page). Even if the comment quotes from the page, the link will be removed."

So which is correct?
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
To be honest, I'm not sure what you're saying.

The newsletter seems pretty unequivocal - no links to other Q&A sites. No ifs, ands or buts.

I can't tell if you're suggesting that simply copy and pasting the response here without link or reference to the other site is acceptable - I hope not.
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
What we agreed to when discussing the problem with links was:
"Links to competing Q&A web sites are discouraged. They are subject to deletion unless accompanied by a substantial body of discussion in the EE post."

The way that I have been enforcing the rule in Excel questions is as follows:
I delete the comment or link if it isn't relevant to the question under discussion. For example, the Asker has Excel 2010 and is complaining about VBA code stopping with an error message about objects being moved off the sheet--and the Expert posted a link to  Mr. Excel thread specific to Excel 97 with no supporting discussion. This doesn't happen too often in the Excel TA.
If the subject matter of the link is relevant, but the EE Comment includes a formula or piece of code made specific for the Asker's workbook layout, I remove the link but make sure the Comment says that the formula (or code) was originally posted by so-and-so at xyz competing site. This approach appears to cover most situations where people post relevant links.
If the link content is spot-on, I will leave it in place provided that there is a paragraph in the EE Comment discussing the relevance and/or fine points of the content at the other site.

Brad
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TommySzalapskiCommented:
I like the stronger wording in the newsletter. Previously all we had was that little article with "frowned upon" as the harshest phrase and people would get crabby (justifiably so) when their posts were deleted. Now, no one can fault the TA or Admin when they delete such posts. We are following policy.

Your public display of the guidelines should always be as strict or stricter than your enforcement of said guidelines.
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redmondbCommented:
Just to make it clear, this post is entirely about links to Q&A sites - I'm in full agreement with the original rules.

We are following policy.
Only if the Newsletter is the policy (as opposed to simply reporting it). As of yesterday, the Help page for links didn't reflect the harsher attitude described in the Newsletter.

Your public display of the guidelines should always be as strict or stricter than your enforcement of said guidelines.
No, in an ideal world they should be exactly the same. A consistent message, consistently applied is very powerful in dealing with the inevitable complaints.
(BTW, I don't like the word "guideline". Let's call a spade a ruddy shovel - these are rules.)

While I'm open to more justification/explanation, I believe that this new rule/policy/guideline/whatever is just too extreme. I'm not so much concerned about the Experts, it's more the reaction of the poor Member who will have a hard job understanding why a perfectly valid solution is being taken away from them. Surely this runs the risk of encouraging them to go elsewhere?

Cheers,
Brian.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
I tend to agree with Brian in the letter of the rule, but I understand individual flexibility in the interpretation. In the forums I administer I almost never supersede a moderator, as I like them to use their best judgement.

As far as the guideline/rule, I'm not a fan. If there is a perfectly suitable solution but on another forum I will ALWAYS post the link (if I know where it is or can find it). Of course anything customizable will be evaluated and most likely posted as well. There is zero sense in re-creating the wheel. Besides, I don't consider any site a "competitor" which I visit. No other site I frequent charges monetarily for users to ask questions. This is semi-enforced (slightly different in the adaptation/interpretation) at one other forum I frequent, only because they offer a consulting service aside from the free help forum.

Personally I'm perfectly happy to abide by any rules set. If they ever get out of hand I'll just move to another forum. :)

Zack
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
I agree with Zack. In addition, it seems to me to be at odds with one of the primary objectives of this site: to be higher in the organic search engine rankings. It's fairly well known that Google's page ranking started and continues to be based on the notion of community and what best defines community are links to other sites - reciprocating links in particular. EE is - in a way - shooting themselves in the foot by restricting in this manner. It also, as Zack eludes to above, discourages experts from participating assuming they thrive best in open and free communities that, as a whole, appear as one large community. In other words, this restriction makes more clear the single discerning attribute that sets EE aside from the others: it requires a fee to participate. Now it appears more like EE doesn't even want to acknowledge other communities which further alienates it from the larger community.

That said, I am not a fan of Google monkeys who quickly and lazily post links without any real substance just to get the points. If this rule's primary intent was to control that behavior - as I believe it originally started out doing - then it makes sense. But as it appears to be stated now it seems a overly stifling in what is normally a free and reciprocating community of well intentioned volunteers who are really only interested in helping people and doing so without any direct compensation.

Overall, I understand EE's desire to create a self-contained database of knowledge as that adds value to the site and thus adds subscribers. But the risk is further alienation of the community and community members at large. It's an optimization problem and thus far EE has been relatively successful implementing it. Would they be more or less successful easing this rule? I don't know.

Kevin
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
Spelling aside, Kevin pretty much sums it up for me.

I totally understand a desire to stop people posting garbage or using the scattergun links approach in the hope something is relevant, but telling me that I can't help someone because of where the content is, simply doesn't work for me.
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
Note to self: use Word versus Firefox for spelling help.
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TommySzalapskiCommented:
No, in an ideal world [display and enforcement of guidelines] should be exactly the same.
Yes. Too bad we don't live in an ideal world.

Note I wasn't saying that I particularly like the way it was worded in the newsletter. I like the way it is worded in byundt's post better.

What is nice is that we will now have something concrete to point to that says "hey don't do that" when chastising Google Monkeys or crabby, disaffected experts. As always, it is up to the TA or Admin to make the best judgment possible, but now those judgments can be viewed as merciful instead of harsh (when compared to the posted guidelines).
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Spelling aside, Kevin pretty much sums it up for me.

He was just born in the wrong country.  It's not his fault (most of the time).

Seriously, now...

I totally understand a desire to stop people posting garbage or using the scattergun links approach in the hope something is relevant, but telling me that I can't help someone because of where the content is, simply doesn't work for me.

Fair point but, you can, if you wish, reproduce the content & quote the original author/site, whilst ensuring that the relevant information is all in one place (this site).

The only issue here, though, is copyright control.

If concerned, you can simply base your proposed solution on the originally published content.

You are also free to leave the site & not contribute ever again.  I think that would be a loss to the site, to the members, & to you, but no one would blame you if that was the outcome of enforcing the "guidelines".

The real issue, I think, is that the situation has got to a point where it has been necessary to re-enforce a previously ambiguous definition of how the site wishes to operate, rather than having consistent moderation throughout the evolution of the site.

Unfortunately, we are where we are, & we cannot change what has happened previously.

I do appreciate that such a change will alienate some respected 'Experts' & less-established members a-like, but it isn't our site, & we don't make the rules (sorry, guidelines).

In fact, isn't this why some "competing" sites were started a few years ago?
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redmondbCommented:
What is nice is that we will now have something concrete to point to that says "hey don't do that" when chastising Google Monkeys or crabby, disaffected experts.
Using Off-Site Content on Experts Exchange
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TommySzalapskiCommented:
Yes, that is what I was referring to when I said "frowned upon."

Expert reads:
"Posting links without any accompanying explanation is generally frowned upon."
Expert posts a link.
Topic advisor chastises him.
Expert gets angry because "no one said I couldn't do that".

Expert reads:
"[Link posts] are subject to deletion unless accompanied by a substantial body of discussion in the EE post."
Expert posts a link.
Topic advisor chastises him.
Expert learns and becomes a better person.
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redmondbCommented:
First sentence...
You may use content that you found off-site (or elsewhere on EE) to answer questions or in articles on Experts Exchange, as long as you credit the original author and add an explanation of your own.
While I've seen a few blind-linking Experts pointed to this link by Mods, I've never once seen them object that "no one said I couldn't do that".
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
The new rules permit us to post a link to FAQ or Article type content on Microsoft.com or an MVP's web site. An FAQ or Article will cover a generic issue in fair detail, and it would be beyond the "fair use" provision to copy and paste such content in an EE thread even if you attribute it properly. The EE Comment would merely need to point out that Chip Pearson does a wonderful job describing how to use Application.OnTime in your VBA code.

When interpreting the new rules in the context of the Excel TA, I am inclined to be lenient regarding links to FAQ and Articles on competing Q&A web sites. Our job in such situations should be to make a specific recommendation on how to solve the Asker's problem, and the FAQ or Article would provide background discussion supporting it. I see this as being qualitatively different from posting a link to a question thread in another site.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Per redmondb: I've never once seen them object that "no one said I couldn't do that".

It will start happening - guaranteed. Right now, I am posting Member Comments saying "Don't do that".  IIRC, I did delete one or two completely blind links.

So as the rules become understood, we will see more action on blind links.

Per byundt: I am inclined to be lenient regarding links to FAQ and Articles on competing Q&A web sites.

So long as the poster demonstrates a knowledge of the subject, I am lenient as well.

... Thinkpads_User
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redmondbCommented:
thinkpads_user, you know that under the "old" rules, not only have blind-link posts been deleted, but Experts have been suspended for them?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I put a Member Comment into one profile today and saw that he (or she) had been suspended. So yes, I know.

I am still learning about my new role (11 days thus far).

... Thinkpads_User
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redmondbCommented:
Apologies, that wasn't intended as a dig. It was simply a comment that applying the old rules didn't get strong push-back.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
So long as the poster demonstrates a knowledge of the subject, I am lenient as well.
Frankly I don't care if the person posting has knowledge on the subject, but rather if the link is pertinent. I've been called "the lazy coder" by more than one person. And I'm not ashamed about it whatsoever, just ask Kevin. ;) What I care about is not re-creating the wheel. To me I don't care if Bob, Tom or Dick is qualified as an "expert" or not, by this board or any other, but rate content on it's own merit.

I do understand how linking can be dangerous. Links may not always point to the same location. Sometimes it can become dead. Microsoft is a stickler about this. They evaluate any links used very carefully and there must be a proven track record for the domain. Even upgrading forum software, if not done properly, can have devastating effects on links. If this is the focus, I personally agree 100% with it. However if the point is to ensure EE has little to no competitors, as mentioned by others, I shan't be missed. ;)

And to end my little rant, a few comments. :)

Kevin,

Believe it or not... you're mostly right.
Bwahaha!! Was there really ever any doubt in his mind? ;)

We both know it's possible to create hexagonal cells in Excel -- and that's what makes EE a valuable site
It's what makes the contributors valuable. There are many other places people can go to ask this type of question (and others like it) where they can get expert answers as well. I'm not saying EE isn't valuable, it's just not the only place. :)

...and the practice of most people who post links to be interested NOT in helping someone, but rather in just picking up some points
Which I never understood really. Points are cool and all, but having that functionality on this site will naturally skew some people into straight point whoring. It's the nature of incentives. There will always be those who shortcut, or at least try to. This is where I see the true nature of the guideline being enforced, and I'm totally cool with that. :)

The other is the link that says "see this". There's nothing there to tell anyone what the link has, and if/when it disappears, the post is of zero value. Considering not five minutes ago, we got an email from the office, on behalf of someone, saying that a link, selected as the "answer", is dead... the reader has very little way of finding out what the page was about -- no title, no summary, no nothing but a dead link.
Completely agree with you.

Finally, it's in keeping with the practice of other sites to delete comments linking to "competing sites" -- just as EE's terms of use prohibit them.
Now that's just a lazy a$$ excuse.  ;)  Some sites do this. Personally I think it's short-sighted. But this certainly can't be a valid reason. We're all adults here (right?). We can't use the excuse of, "well all the other kids at the playground are doing it."

Okay, I'm done (for now). :D

Zack
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
One type of blind link that is permitted by the new rules, but is nevertheless quite annoying, is an EE Comment that in its entirety says "see my workbook" along with an attached workbook.

I don't like these type of Comments because everybody involved, Asker as well as other Experts, needs to download the workbook, look for the suggestion, then evaluate whether it addresses the Asker's problem. Even if the workbook is a perfect solution to the problem, it is still a low quality post in my opinion.

It would be far better if the Expert posted a formula or code in the Comment and then augmented it with an attached workbook. The formula or code in the Comment raises the quality of the post, and the attached workbook stops the Asker from saying "doesn't work" and instead shifts the discussion to how to implement the suggestion.

What do the rest of you think about this issue? While I can try to set a good example, I don't want to start enforcing a "local rule" unless we are all agreed on the matter.
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redmondbCommented:
Brad, I'd be happy to see that as a rule..,

....with a small exception - I don't always post the code for V3, V4, V5 etc. My feeling is that anyone glancing at the first version of my code usually has a good feel as to whether it's worth downloading subsequent versions.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
In the days when files were not able to be uploaded to the thread, but were stored externally (off-site), I would agree that saying "See my workbook" (or whatever) was a poor comment as there was no guarantee that the hosted file would be available in the future.

However, now that the supporting files are under the site's control there is less chance of a "blind" link.

That said, sometimes circumstances of how the thread is progressing makes such a comment an acceptable "solution" as there may be a few exchanges between the asker & the "Expert" to that point.

If there is just a single comment of this nature & having this accepted as the "solution" is a poor quality response & in such the question should probably be removed from the site's index (so that it does not appear in the results from a search).

Posting code or content from the attached file is, in my opinion, the better method of presentation.  However, I agree with redmondb that subsequent revisions of the same file need not attract the same depth of response (this mirrors my comment about the way in which a thread is progressing though).
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
Brian,
When you post versions 3, 4 and 5 of your code in workbook form, does the Comment say what changes you made? If you did, I feel such a post would be high quality.

What do the rest of you think?

Brad
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
Re Kevin's spelling, I'm not sure eludes = alludes even in US English ;)

Re other sites deleting links to competing sites, yes, as Zack said, some do. If I'm aware of it, I don't use them.

I guess the problem is that EE sees them as "competing" when I don't. They're just other sites to me. I am obviously aware that EE's interests and mine are not the same - they just happen to be running parallel most of the time - but on this we appear to be perpendicular. My only interest is in getting the question answered - however, wherever and by whomever that may be.

As regards "this isn't our site", that's true in the sense that we don't own it but I don't know anyone who spends a lot of time on any site without feeling that it's "theirs". Most of the time that's good because it engenders a greater sense of community, but it equally tends to raise the stakes when things go awry, as I know only too well.

You are also free to leave the site & not contribute ever again.

I know that too, and life would go on for all of us - because there are plenty of other sites, more than enough Excel users with problems, and more than enough people with answers to go round. But when did "there's plenty of other fish in the sea" actually make anyone feel better?

Anyway, it's Friday, I have enough to deal with at the moment, and what will be, will be, so I'll just wish one and all a lovely weekend. Laters.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
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redmondbCommented:
Brad, mostly - but I won't say 100%, I'm not silly about it.

BTW, it used to be an "unwritten" law in the Excel TA that code was posted. (I say "unwritten" as, not long after I started, dlmille was gently cross with me for not doing that!)
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
I think that is a concern; what a typical "Expert" would generally see as acceptable "behavio(u)r" & what a typical member does.

Unless there is a rule (note: not a guideline) to dictate how comments should be made, then any way is 'right'.

Make too many rules, & that is all the site will be filled with.  Nobody will comment at all, either due to fear of getting it wrong, or simply because it takes too long to understand how to get it right.

I do hope this issue is 'resolved' to everybody's mutual satisfaction soon as I'd like to get back to answering questions.  I'm spending all my time reading about people's opinions on why the phrase "competing site" is an indication of the site's management being afraid of losing customers, or because the phrase "blind link" is a subjective term.

Nobody likes change.  Here, I think, most people don't understand it.
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
fanpages,
When faced with poor quality questions, such as the one you cited as an example, we have the power to de-index the question once it is solved. Unless the meat of the problem appears in the question, no search engine is going to find it as a relevant link.

Those of us who are Badgers can certainly retitle such a question and even add the essence of it to the question body. I do that frequently. And if an Asker frequently posts questions like that in the Excel TA, I would post a Comment suggesting that he would receive quicker and better suggestions if the question body and title summarized the problem. Any of the participants in the Excel Regulars threads could take this latter step.

Brad
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Thanks for the advice, Brad.

I just opened that question thread by chance; I didn't go looking for it.  Without reviewing that member's past questions I wouldn't know if that was the typical style that they use to ask a question or not.

Comments noted though.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
*shrug*... you're a firefighter. I live in California, not all that far from where over a quarter of a million acres have been burning for three weeks, and have watched your colleagues-in-arms doing what has to be some of the most dangerous work there is on the planet almost every summer for as long as I can remember. You know what works.
True that. True. That.

It may be short-sighted (no one has ever given me strong evidence either way). It's certainly close to being petty. But it's supposed to be an exchange, right? And if other sites choose to not honor that, is there a compelling reason why EE should?
I think maybe it's that I'm an 'against-the-grain' kinda guy, and don't do things because they're popular. I'm not saying it's all bad practice, I'm just saying if that is a reason (because other sites do it), well that's no valid reason at all.

Re Brad's comments, totally agree. A "see my file" comment is pretty worthless.

+1 to everything Rory said.

Those of us who are Badgers can certainly retitle such a question and even add the essence of it to the question body. I do that frequently. And if an Asker frequently posts questions like that in the Excel TA, I would post a Comment suggesting that he would receive quicker and better suggestions if the question body and title summarized the problem. Any of the participants in the Excel Regulars threads could take this latter step.
I do this constantly in all forums I moderate/administer. Certainly it's a never-ending battle, but one which needs to be done. :)

Zack
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
Eric,

I may be "not right" in your eyes, but it is how I feel and how a lot of outsiders feel. There is still resistance to harvesting Microsoft MVPs from EE because of the fee based nature of the site and the increasingly isolationist image it portrays.

In your argument you repeatedly refer to other sites in a manner that puts them in one of two buckets: competing and non-competing sites. As long as they are non-competing then there is more leniency. If they are deemed competing then the rules are more strictly enforced. It might surprise you to know that many of the same people who produce content here and on the competing sites produce the content on those non-competing sites. It is, for the most part, the same shit. Therefore you are promoting, simply put, a bigoted perspective, which is counter to the culture of the overall Q&A community.

And I know of no other sites that prohibit links to “competing” sites. Rather there is a general disdain on the part of outsiders of EE specific content because you have to pay to see it, and EE promotes an isolationist role in the community. It’s not that those links are removed – they are never put there in the first place. Those competing sites are, for the most part, very friendly with each other and share many of the same contributors. Links abound.

At the end of the day, it is not about being right or wrong, it is simply about where we feel most at home and most comfortable helping people in need. Part of feeling comfortable is being able to post quality solutions my way and without censorship – especially censorship of a bigoted nature. If I deem a link with minimal supportive but appropriate content as a worthy solution then that is what I will post. And with regard to copyrighted content, it is more appropriate to link to the original source than to try to re-work it into a form that does not violate any copyright – linking is, after all, one of the most basic tenets of the World Wide Web.

From my perspective, it is becoming increasingly uncomfortable here although I still feel a sense of home. EE is, after all, where I got wet.

Kevin

[Composed in Microsoft Word – for Rory – with love.]
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
...And I know of no other sites that prohibit links to “competing” sites...

I know of (just) one.

I stopped contributing there earlier this year (after six years of active 'service') due to varying reasons including, but not limited to, the fact that the moderation team began removing comments (specifically links to competing sites) without any explanation & those that questioned their motives were banned from the site.
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rspahitzCommented:
Wow!  Hard to believe that I've beenaround teh site longer than most of you...I guess I just don't have much time to post, especially in spurts.

Anyway, I think these are great comments, almost entirely from the experts' perspective.

So what makes a good post? For myself, as an asker, it's like this:

#1 A solution in a single post in EE (I.E. entirely in text)
#2 A solution in a collection of posts in EE
#3 An explanation of the solution (even if the solution is not exactly there)
#4 A link, with an explanation, that lead directly to the solution
#5 A link to something that is close to the solution
#6 An attachment that contains a solution, with an appropriate solution
#7 some general discussion with links that are similar to the things I'm seeking.

Ultimately, I wan the answer to my question.  If not, I want it to be as easy as possible to get, and links are easier than downloads.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
I was just reading the current (highest placed) questions to check for "blind links" & such forth, & noted Brad's comment here:

[ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Excel/Q_28239427.html#a39492185 ]

The actual explanation & reason, & subsequent agreement on the use of comments such as "See attached workbook" are all discussed with good intentions & everybody is friendly.

So far so good.

I then saw that Brad had added "-Microsoft Excel Topic Advisor" after his sign-off.  I have seen previously that you are far from the first, & probably nowhere near the last, to do this Brad, so I'm not "picking on you".  I just that I know you won't mind discussing it here.

So, to my point, & I would welcome (all) thoughts on this...

Should (all) the Community Volunteers start adding their involvement with the site (manually, as a matter of course), or should something be added within the individual comment headers each member makes to relay the same information?  Yes, I know that this information is displayed within the commenting member's profile, but it is not immediately apparent when scanning comments within a question thread.  It also may never be seen when only shown with a member profile, & some other members may not take too kindly to being asked to re-word comments (to comply with the latest incentive regarding linking off-site).

I also note that some members add that they are an "MVP", others don't sign-off at all, & some others simply try to be polite...

BFN,

fp.
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rspahitzCommented:
"others don't sign-off at all"
oops
--
Rob :)
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
I work here is done! ;)
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Seriously, though, is the approach I took (in the comment I linked to below) less intrusive, or do you think that those that are being targeted may miss the point?

[ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Excel/Q_28239151.html#a39491778 ]
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IrogSintaCommented:
After reading the link in fanpages' comment, a different question came to mind.  byundt modified another expert's comments so that it would be more relevant.  I agree with what he did but I just want to be sure that this is something I could do as a Topic Advisor and not get in trouble for.  

I also had half a mind to modify the Asker's question here Q_28238964 in order insert what he had in the attachment right into the question but then I figured that only MODs are allowed to do that.  Am I right?

Ron
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
We have the power and mandate to improve the quality of questions and answers. As long as we do so in a manner that none of the beneficiaries would complain about, I think we should feel comfortable making the change.

Minor edits (spelling, capitalization and the like) I make without drawing attention to the fact that I did it. More significant edits are always noted <<Wording edited by byundt--Microsoft Excel Topic Advisor>>

If I am trying to modify behavior, I'll show the right way and then post an orange Comment drawing attention to the issue. I'm interested to see if fanpages' italicized note is as effective at encouraging improved quality.

Brad
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SteveCommented:
Well, we all seem to be getting into the sprit of improving quality of the answers on the site.

For me I would agree completely with Brad and FP...
1) Code should be posted in the answer, not just hidden in an attachment. A polite note should be enough to modify that behaviour.
2) Code tags should be used where appropriate (modifying comments by TA should do there)

I feel that the Excel section has a very good quality of answer as we are at the moment.
So it should just be about getting people to maintain that quality we already have.

ATB
Steve.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
I find it odd with so much focus about blind links being bad for Google. You do know you can't view the questions if you're not logged in, right? Serious turnoff for me personally. In terms of freshness that weighs it down. Which is bad because Google ranks it as a high measurement. Plus it's a cheap ploy to get people to register IMHO.

There are other sites which require users to be logged in to view code which is in [ CODE ] tags. I know site owners who do this, admins who promote it and mods who embrace it. Personally I hate it. Thousands of users perform Bing/Google/Yahoo searches every day looking for content. To be a worthy resource it needs to be found and has to have weight and substance in the users/searchers eyes. If you give them extra steps, even as easy as signing up, some just won't do it.

Re badging, identification, titling. I like the way this site works it, personally. You always have the same username in each post, right at the top. Cool. I like simple. Simple works. And I'm a simple guy. (Shut up, Kevin.) I like my signatures to be short, sweet and courteous. (I actually had to look at my profile to see what I put there.)  I'm here to help, plain and simple, not to throw around titles or puff my chest out further than the next 'expert'. Call me a beginner, cause I don't really care and learn something new everyday. :)


Regarding NetMinder's comments...
EE members (not including fanpages) have told me that their comments containing links to solutions at EE have been deleted, and I have no reason to doubt them.
I wouldn't doubt them either. Happens all the time. But you know as well as I do that is highly subjective. You cannot logically make an objective decision based on that information alone. And I'm not saying you did, I'm sure there was more to it, but giving that as a main reason is a little dicey, and I'm leaning towards the BS side of the fence there (for reasoning). Other boards will do as they please, it shouldn't have a specific effect on EE, and vice versa.

Sites that build their reputations on being the Anti-EE have every reason to remove links that show EE in a positive light; heaven forbid that their entire raison d'etre be called into question.
I'm not sure I'd bother with any sites that are anti-EE, nor do I see a reason why it should impact any operations here. Why should anybody care about that? And why would a site build their reputation as being anti-EE? Someone here making others fairly angry?

But that being the case, I see no reason to allow the active redirection of EE members to their site.
Whoa, hold the phone Sally. "That being the case." What being the case, that you flippantly can say other sites build reputations as anti-EE and that is their sole purpose, thus I shall use that as my reasoning? Even if it isn't flippant and is substantiated, it begs the question, who gives a rats behind? I'm trying to make sure I follow you right. Like I said before, it's petty. You have kids? I do. 5 of the little bastards. And any age, if they retaliate (for whatever, kids fighting) against their siblings, their reason is almost always to the effect of but they did xyz to me first. What do you think I tell them as the reasonable parent? Yeah, that's no excuse for your own actions. Retaliation is a distinctly petty response, and one I would hope admins/mods are above.

I have a lot of respect for admins/mod. It can be stressful and oh so time consuming. It's mostly a thankless job. I'm the first to have respect for it. Sometimes I wonder why I moderate these other forums which have private messaging (such a burden!) and not the one site I know of which doesn't have this functionality. (Not volunteering myself lol.)

At one time, EE was not just authoritative and reliable, but in some topic areas was even groundbreaking, and the flood of people looking to get a quick t-shirt (and EE's complicity in allowing that to happen) by allowing less than perfect links meant that the high quality was disappearing.
Wait, people get t-shirts? Man I must've missed that bus. ;) But seriously, I don't think that (allowing that to happen) should be equated to high quality disappearing. Two very independent actions. I understand the analogy here though, and the relation, it just seems a bit extreme. I'd think you'd be able to identify many other issues (affecting board growth and consumption) before something like that. My pence.

I once talked with an extremely famous Excel MVP. I'd held him in very high regard. He was truly "groundbreaking". With books, websites, you name it, he had done it. I learned so much from this guy it wasn't even funny. I still hope to be half the developer he is. In speaking with him I learned an undeniable truth - even experts can be assholes, and this guy took the cake. The king of pompous and arrogance. And not in the good way, where you're confident in what you know, I feel that is healthy, but in the way which looks down on people as not being as good as you are, that they are less than you are. Moral of the story, I know it's here somewhere, is even an experts expert who does groundbreaking work can be detrimental. I value kindness and selflessness much more than I do groundbreaking solutions. I'm sure the brass could forge an argument here as well. ;)

Funny... as it happens, I was part of a conversation yesterday with the owner of EE -- who is, as I'm sure you know, no longer managing the day-to-day operations and doesn't really have that much to say about the plans EE has for the site's future -- when this exact subject came up.
You talk to the owner? That's really cool. Tell him I said wassup. And no, I have no idea what he manages or even does (not sure how I would?). I know basically nobody except most here in this thread, Brittny and Jennifer. All of my interactions with the staff here have been very good and extremely pleasant.

This is a good site. I come back because of the experts in the community. Some of the questions are retarded for sure, and it's interesting dealing with people who are paying money to post for high visibility to a large group of experts who are working for free, very unique paradigm. At the end of the day I'm about community, much like Rory stated very eloquently. I've made some good friends, a lot I've met in person, relationships which I value highly.


Regarding Kevin's comments...
And I know of no other sites that prohibit links to “competing” sites. It’s not that those links are removed – they are never put there in the first place.
I do. And it's petty. An emotional response to a perceived threat with no real basis.

Rather there is a general disdain on the part of outsiders of EE specific content because you have to pay to see it, and EE promotes an isolationist role in the community.
Oh. So. True. I can't claim to know all of the rules, and honestly I don't particularly care. At one point (still?) an 'expert', or at least those who were answering questions, was awarded some sort of 'premium' membership if they were awarded X number of points per month (2000 I think it was). I couldn't tell you the difference between a regular and premium account if you held me to the coals. The whole points thing is very much a double-edged sword. I've been/am with other forums who've tried implementing something similar and it ended up being worse in the sense of community and caused a lot of animosity. Part of the reason I don't give two shits about points. :)


Re Steve's comments...
Well, I just agree with them all. :)

Zack
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
Eric,

I believe you missed my only real point. I'll be more precise.

1) The content on competitive and non-competitive sites is written by the same experts - many of whom have also produced content here. It is essentially of the same quality and contains the same information.

2) By taking a more strict stance on a site because it is deemed a competing site is a purely bigoted approach to censorship. This approach is counter to the overall culture of the web and the Q&A community. It's not unheard of and it can work as a business model, but it has problems attracting good experts living in this community.

Also, you have not spoken to any MVPs who do not participate here. It is they who promote the notion that EE's presence runs counter to the spirit behind the MVP program - that being a free and open sharing of information. The ONLY reason that EE experts were and continue to be harvested from EE is that someone convinced Microsoft that the experts are not profiting from the fees that block the site from non-paying visitors. That this decision was made prior to EE hiding all threads from public view is fortunate to EE, and the decision did have a negative impact in the perception of EE amongst those other MVPs not participating here and the MVP leads responsible for harvesting.

I've been an MVP for seven years. I talk to the leads and the other MVPs. You don't. I have felt an increasing need to contribute to other venues outside of EE mostly because of the increasingly isolationist nature of the site.

Kevin
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
If anybody fancies a challenge...

"Display full cell contents when mouse is over cell"
[ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Excel/Q_28237716.html ]

FamousMortimer, MartinLiss, & I have contributed so far.

My most recent suggestion to the Question Asker was posted just a moment ago.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
I have just "invited" MartinLiss to visit & contribute to this thread to raise concerns about the posting of code contained within a workbook as well as adding an attachment:

[ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Excel/Q_28237716.html#a39494339 ]

So are you saying that I should post all the code from any workbook that I post? I hope not because that could be very difficult and confusing in VBA-intensive solutions.
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Martin LissOlder than dirtCommented:
fp please feel free to "tidy up" that page. There's a lot to read above so can you explain here why you extracted the code from my workbook considering the fact that it's not an external link? I'm happy to comply with whatever the new rules are but I need a better understand of what they are when it comes to posted workbooks.
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SteveCommented:
Martin, these are not new rules (not even really a 'rule')... I was made aware of the "accepted standard" which the excel experts work to over a year ago by D.Miller.
He basically said to me that it is good practice to put the code into the comment as well as in a workbook.
It is this best practice we are trying to maintain... not a hard fast rule.
It is about making the post easier to read for all, without having to download and interrogate workbooks.

I have also recently pulled code from an attachment into the comment.
It is not intended as a "dig" or "chastisement" more an attempt to standardise good practice for the experts.

I hope this is clearer, I didn't mind when I was asked to change my ways, hopefully it will lead to a more coherent approach among us.

ATB
Steve.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Hi Marty,

Thanks for visiting/commenting.

As I mentioned within the other thread, we (the other Topic Advisors, & I) are targeting not only external (off-site) links, but also comments where there is very little (or no) supporting text to explain the content of an attachment.

It is easier to discuss a proposed (or ongoing) solution if the respective code is transposed within the thread, & it also means that should an attachment ever be unreadable in the future, then at least there is a record of what was being discussed.

This is particularly useful if a comment of this nature is accepted as the "solution" to a thread.

I appreciate there is a lot of discussion above.  The most pertinent is from "ID: 39490908" onwards.  The opinions of the other contributors to this thread may prompt you to raise additional concerns/points.

...

^ What Steve said :)
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Martin LissOlder than dirtCommented:
I did not feel chastised or "dug":)

I am still unsure as to when I should post the VBA code from a workbook solution. In the thread that started my involvement here I can see some advantage to posting the code as long as any needed controls are mentioned, but that code was all in one place (Sheet1). I've previously posted wb solutions (like I know you have) that had code in several sheets, ThisWorkbook and/or modules and in a case like that should I post all the code? And just to make sure, if after posting the original workbook and all that code, if there needs to be a correction do I need to post the code again?

I understand that these aren't rules but I want to be the best contributor I can be.
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SteveCommented:
I would tend to always post the first set of code I write.
Hopefully that does the job.
If there are errors in my coding, I would re-post in full.
If there are changes requested by the user I would tend not to re-post the whole code.
If practical and pertinent to the question I would add the changed code.
But if, as it often is, just a minor change to how the user wanted it (column number, colour etc) I would just post a workbook.

This is just how I work, it could be way off the "standard" but that's just me.
I always think...
    1) How would I feel as the asker about the response. They must come first in my opinion.
    2) How would I feel, as an expert, if using a poor internet connection, reading the thread.

ATB
Steve.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
If I posted a code listing, & then found that a small revision was required, I would simply quote the area around the offending statement(s), & re-post that unless it wasn't easy to explain & I would simply post the whole code (& add an attachment) again.

I noted in the original thread that all your code was in one module (apart from a repeated routine within what looked like the redundant output from the macro recording facility).

If there had too much code to transpose, I would simply have asked you to determine the most relevant area that could demonstrate the solution.  If supporting subroutines/function were required, then they could be posted too.

However, if the code is of a substantial quantity to detract from the rest of the thread then I would probably just summarise what can be found in each code module within the attachment.

As I mentioned, we have had already touched on this earlier within this thread.

Steve summarised well with his two closing points.
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
Eric,

I’m wondering where the breakdown in communication is. That you have virtually completely missed my point and continue to articulate the same baseless arguments without directly addressing my points is amusing and disheartening.

Regarding my statement that competing and non-competing sites contain the same quality content by the same experts you stated “Which isn't really relevant.”

It is entirely relevant. My point is that, because they contain the same quality content, that EE chooses to allow one and not the other is purely bigoted self-serving censorship. Address that and we’ll have an intelligent discussion versus a blind repeating of the company line.

>both FP and Zack say it's a common practice at other sites

It is NOT a common practice on other sites. It occurs rarely and, for the most part, links to EE are not included in posts because EE pages are not available to the non-members. You may be reading the posts above but you are most definitely not understanding the points being made, or the facts presented by those who are actually using those other sites.

>If that's the case, then why are those various other sites doing the same damn thing?

Try reading the posts above. Again. Maybe you will then understand our points and concerns.

>But it doesn't seem to have had too many problems attracting good Experts.

Sure, a few are attracted. And some are not. Those that are not move in other directions for the reasons we have been discussing. I can’t say which model is more effective overall. I am only stating that EE alienates a certain population of experts that other sites do not.

>Since one of Google's metrics (not the only one, to be sure, but the one we on this side of the firewall can do something about) is overall content quality, then it's incumbent that we take those steps.

If it is purely about the quality of the content, and if quality content can contain links to other sites if properly and smartly made with content that supports the link, and those other sites – competing and non-competing – contain the same quality content created by the same experts, then you will do away with the competing/non-competing rule and allow all links regardless of their destination. Anything short of that is bigoted self-serving censorship and will only hurt the reputation of EE amongst the experts in the overall community.

That we are even having this discussion is proof of that impression and reaction. You can’t argue us into submission – especially if you do not read and understand our points and stated facts. You can change how the rules are written, interpreted, and followed.

Kevin
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
I'm beginning to wish I'd never asked. ;)

I'm as confused as before, so I think I'll just carry on regardless until someone slaps my wrists.

sorry about that, Brad, FP, and Rory

Um - sorry about what?
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cyberkiwiCommented:
Dear Netminder,

In my humble opinion, I think you're shooting yourself in the foot.  I've long been inactive here, but I keep up for old time's sake.  You obviously don't care what Kevin thinks, but he is one of few who at least speaks his mind still.  Half the "experts" that I knew years ago have moved on to a better site, one that cultivates quality Q&A.  I will never forgive the EE elitist mods that leave me "member comments" (both my incarnations on this site) that are clearly biased from the start and have personal agendas.  At least the mods are elected at the other site and predominantly actually "moderate" (there are rotten eggs in every basket).

EE has it's place and customers, the paying ones that only want to to be helped (since they paid).  They don't care about your latest drive and rules - only that they get the help they were after.  These same people won't find a home at other Q&A sites because they will get chastised at their poor communication skills and/or one-off nature of their problems.  But EE shines here with the horde of volunteers with a different bent than the rest of the internet.  Yet you're going to delete links that may or may not help them.  And annoy and remove Google Monkeys that may sometimes solve the asker's problem, i.e. the help which they really paid for.  If quality is your real altruistic drive, then by all means add content to the blind links and help the asker (see the theme?), add another answer or offer something more with your own time.  Negating someone's link, dissolving the answer, banning competitive sites.... yuck.  For what it's worth, EE pays nothing more than poinks for contribution; the rules of that game include the contributor working any which way they like for the poinks IMHO (plagiarism aside).

All this in the hope of getting back at Google's good graces?  Between you and I are two people who know it won't happen as long as the paywall's there, and as I outlined above, I firmly believe that day won't come before the second coming.

Sincerely,
Richard
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SteveCommented:
From my point of view
    This is not about satisfying Google.
    This is not about satisfying the Q&A Community.
    This is not about satisfying the Experts.
    This is not about satisfying Eric, or anyone at E-E.

    This is about satisfying the customer,
        They who pay the subscriptions
        They who ask the questions
    Without them the site will fail.

We have the parable of the Man Who Needs a Suit...
A man needs a suit, he has the money for a suit, he needs the suit asap, it must fit him.
He can rush from charity shop to charity shop sifting through other peoples old suits for free.
He can go to a tailor and pay for an Expertly crafted Suit, tailored to his exact needs.
The man has money and would like the Expertly tailored solution to fit him.
He goes to the tailors shop, pays his money and... there are a selection of tailors...
   Tailor 1 is experienced, makes suits all day, takes the time to create the best fit for the customer.
   Tailor 2 is willing but cuts corners, gets suits from the charity shop next door and then tailors them to suit the customer.
   Tailor 3 gets suits from the charity shop next door, hands it to the customer and leaves it at that.
So, if in turn the man is served by each tailor, how would he respond/feel?
How would you respond/feel?

There is no right or wrong way to solve peoples probelms, everyone is different.
But we must strive to do the best we can to provide a service which meets customer expectations.
Just handing over something which is freely available elsewhere, without any fitting to the customer need, is only acceptable if it is a perfect fit.

ATB
Steve.
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
Richard,
If you look at how we are implementing the new policy on links in the Excel TA, it is more along the lines you were suggesting. When we encounter a blink link that is relevant to the question, we add a description and encourage the Expert to do so himself in the future. If someone posts a workbook and says "see workbook" as the totality of his Comment, we extract the formula or code from the workbook and add that to the Expert's post along with a request to do likewise in the future.

I have deleted a total of one Comment under the new policy. It contained a link to a Microsoft Knowledgebase article on Excel 97, whereas the Asker had Excel 2010. After looking at the link, it didn't appear relevant, as was confirmed by subsequent discussion in that thread.

While the new rules may appear overly harsh and self-defeating, the implementation of those rules is tempered by the norms of the TA and the sensibilities of the people responsible. I can't speak for how they do things in other Topic Areas, but I believe the Excel TA has its priorities in the right place: improving the quality of service to the customer.

Brad
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rspahitzCommented:
Barman Steve, is that a real parable?  Sounds great, similar vein to my previous post about what I want as someone asking questions: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Excel/Q_28228300.html#a39492250

And all this is very interesting discussion, although I wonder if it belongs outside the Excel Zone Expert Discussion and more in the EE Zone Expert Discussion (which probably is the Lounge?  Probably a decade since I've been there.)

Oh, and good thing I'm not a TA or I'd probably never delete anything (except spam) but would rather add enhancement comments (as someone suggested.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
Eric,

Kevin is right, you know, when he says "a few" sites. When I said "I do" it meant literally what I said. I do know sites which do this (behavior), but there aren't many. That doesn't mean the majority, or we can use it as a blanket statement. I know of 2. They are very rare indeed. Lets try not to take things out of context eh. :)

[Viewing answers w/o being logged in...] Ummm... yes, you can. Try it
Umm... I have, and I did (again, for you ;) ), and I still can't. I logged out, did a simple search on the EE main page search box (terms were "excel vba change cell"), clicked the first link found. See the question, then a bunch of ads/links and no continuation of the thread below it. I did see them at one point a few months back I think it was, but not anymore.

Re: signatures: There's been some conversation about relaxing the attitude towards signatures. The attitude has always been that it's [potentially] advertising .... I don't think any of us like seeing the six-line signatures .... not exactly a priority compared to a lot of other dysfunctionalities around here.
Signatures are never for the site, they're for the users. It's a small thing, but it helps in that 'community' feeling. Yes, large signatures are awful. :)

I agree, I suppose. But... when the Topic Advisors, Moderators and Admins had the discussion, it kept coming up. I figure if it's important to a healthy percentage of working Experts, then while it may not be the best reason, it IS a reason.
Touche. :)

...the connected dots indicate a directed offensive.
Huh, well that's interesting and all, but now you're getting into site politics, which I want nothing to do with. Sounds more like an episode of Red vs. Blue.

Because Kevin prefers to post detailed explanations with samples only to lose out to the first three dweebs who do a search and post the first link that appears to them, he stops posting...
Knowing Kevin as I do, I seriously doubt this was the reason - let alone any part of a reason - why his post count has dropped (and I have no idea if it has or not).

EE has issues, one of which is the perception that EE has no real Experts.
ROFL!! What?! And whose perception is this? Look, Eric, I'm sure you're a nice guy, but are these your opinions, or are you talking to somebody else? Some of the things you're saying are ludicrous - like this comment. Let me ease your mind - the perception is not that there are no experts at EE, it's that you have your own little party and if you don't know anyone then you must pay to play. That is the perception, which is, I believe, what Kevin has been saying. Not really sure why you want to argue with him. I don't think he's "blaming" you, just passionate about helping people. :)

At some point you have to have reasonable rules and people leading this site - any site, to make it successful. I've watched sites, many of which I thought were very good, go down the tubes because of bad leadership. I'm certainly not pointing fingers here, I can't even do a proper assessment here, but I do know things are made or broken from the top down. If the site has issues, it starts at the top, not at the bottom. And if you manage from the bottom up, I can guarantee you the organization will always be a failure, it'll just take longer to accomplish.

We're saying "we don't like blind links, and we don't like Google Monkeys." We're saying that we know the Experts here are more than capable of going beyond a blind link, and that even when they do post links, they're capable of showing some evidence they've read and understood and can explain the contents of a page in the context of the question being asked -- that it's not just a wild guess.
I know what you're saying, I can read. ;) Bottom line is it's censorship. You're discriminating on part of the experts (by "experts" I mean anybody who answers questions) because you want the content available for the thread on on this site. You're an admin, you're supposed to want that. Or that's just what you're being told and you're regurgitating it like a machine, which ultimately doesn't actually matter to those answering questions. I see two [major] classes of 'experts', those who are point whores and those who want to help. Everything else is really a moot point (in this respect).

"Anything short of that is bigoted self-serving censorship and will only hurt the reputation of EE amongst the experts in the overall community." ... Repeating the same phrase over and over doesn't make it any more true.
Ha!! You sound like my wife. :) You're absolutely correct, repeating the same thing over and over doesn't make it correct. Saying one thing doesn't make it correct either. I could say the sky is purple, doesn't really make it true now does it. Just because something is repeated, conversely, doesn't necessarily make it untrue either. How is credit taken away in lieu of repetition? To me it sounds like a fairly succinct statement, which I happen to agree with. If you censor links because the content isn't here (on the site) differently for 'anti-EE' sites, that is bigoted in the very definition of the word. If that's not the case, well then it's not, and Kevin's statement wouldn't necessarily be completely true. I'm not necessarily against censorship, so long as it's performed within reason. Like Brad says, the censorship (read: moderation) in the Excel forum is performed fairly well, and I certainly agree. The forum is better off for it.

But it is the consensus of the Moderators and Topic Advisors that turning the other way on blind links and Google Monkey behavior has not done EE any favors, and that we should do something about it, whether the company likes it (they're not sold on it) or not.
Hmm, interesting. A democratic leadership? That's an interesting take on a large Q&A site. Certainly not the approach I would take. But hey, whatever floats yer boat. :)

Interesting thing this "paywall". I find it at odds because you can go other places for free and get the same quality content, "custom tailored" even. Were I a betting man I'd wager the expert pool here will eventually diminish, the 'expert' level shall be defined as whatever the last remaining experts have time for answering, site traffic will dull, at which time eventually it will be a small money-maker and so on and so forth it goes. Don't worry, some call me crazy and move on. ;)


Re Brad's comments, I definitely agree the Excel forum has been pretty good. There are always going to be comments and questions posted which need moderation, there's absolutely no way around that. And you need a dedicated and willing staff to address those issues on a continual basis. Can't say I've ever been censored and knew about it. Can't say I've never censored someone and not told them either (on other boards). As it stands I'm happy to post here because overall it's still a good site. It's not perfect, and give me the reigns I'd definitely change it up a bit, but it doesn't have to be.


Steve,

Just handing over something which is freely available elsewhere, without any fitting to the customer need, is only acceptable if it is a perfect fit.
You make very good points indeed. Many experts feel they don't need to "hold hands" with the askers. Often times we'll try to help the OP to their solution, which I see nothing wrong with. This may not jive with the brass because the OP's pay to play, but that's not the problem of people answering questions, which is of course a crux of this site and, to an extent, I believe part of the overall problem (being discussed). There are times to fit and there are times to teach. Because EE requires people to pay to ask questions, does that then require us to answer in a specific fashion? Your point is one of a purist, which I like, but don't always take personally. I think this is the heart of the question trying to get sussed out here.

In business I've been told the customer is always right. Kevin might find issues with me here, and most likely rightfully so, but I'm a type A personality and sometimes even pretentious, and I think the customer is not always right. Sometimes what the customer needs is just a pointing in the right direction, and sometimes they just need a swift kick in the ass. I'd rather throw a customer away that is bad rather than lower myself to their level to keep them. But really in the end this begs the question - who is the customer, the asker or the expert? Personally, I feel it's both.

Regards,
Zack
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Rory ArchibaldCommented:
Eric,
I've already done the searches
If only that were true most of the time - here and elsewhere!

I know that sometimes people either don't know what to search for or can't tweak what they find to suit their situation, but often I cannot believe they even tried. THOSE people almost deserve their Google monkeys.

I will endeavour to evolve along with the mores of our TA and leave the other zones well alone. ;)

Rory
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Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE)Microsoft MVP ExcelCommented:
Sorry to hijack this thread, but there's an Office specific thing I'd like to share.

Apparently, the September 2013 update of Office breaks file associations on some machines. Double clicking a file will result in an error message. Opening the application and then going File > Open still works.

Especially users with Office 2010 Starter seem to be hit bad. When they try to repair the free Starter version included with their OEM system, they are now offered a 30 day trial of Office 365, which many users are not happy about.

MS Word MVP Suzanne Barnhill has written up a diagnosis and some workaround suggestions for 2010 and 2010 Starter. It is in a "Discussion" thread at the Microsoft Community site (previously known as "Answers").

Here goes: this is a link to a competing Q&A site AND I'm using a URL shortener:

http://bit.ly/16DJiub

Now, please feel free to continue the discussion about links.

<vbg>
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
teylyn,
Thanks for posting the link to Suzanne Barnhill's article. I wish all hijacks were as relevant to a thread as that one.

Brad
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Yes, a very relevant topic tangent; a discussion about Word documents in an Excel Zone Expert Discussion thread.

:)
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Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE)Microsoft MVP ExcelCommented:
FP, the file associations are broken for ALL Office apps on an affected machine. The solution just happens to be written by a Word MVP, so she will focus on Word documents, but it applies to all Office file types.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
I see your sarcasm filter is broken just like Zack's was earlier within this thread.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
I'm working on it...<nodding head, approving to self> I didn't reply, did I? ;)

Thanks teylyn, has already come in handy!

Zack
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
Eric,

Please read very, very carefully.

1) I am as concerned as you with Google monkey posts without sufficient supportive wrapper content. We agree. We all agree. We have been editing them for years. I was one of the original Experts/Moderators pointing them out as an issue and recommending standards.

2) I am not talking about (1). No one else has been paying it much attention - except for you.

3) That there is any preference - now, please, take a breath and ready very carefully - for a non-competitive site versus a competitive site is my issue and to which I have been trying to get you to respond. You have not once acknowledged this biased and bigoted censorship which, if I recall correctly, was what started this dialog in the first place.

Can you respond to that? Can you respond using the words “competitive” and “non-competitive”?

Are they treated the same or not? Or are you going to continue deflecting with the company line?

Entertain me. Please.

Perhaps now you will find merit in my arguments above.

Kevin
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zorvek (Kevin Jones)ConsultantCommented:
Eric,

I'm not worried about my credibility with you or this site any more. My work here is, for the most part, done.

That you finally responded to my only real argument is refreshing. It took a while but you finally understood (sort of) what I have been espousing.

I'm amused that you feel a need to use the same tactics that I use to get you to actively listen to me ;-) And that you somehow still don't see that I have been reading your words very carefully and that is why I have continued to make the same arguments. You have not been listening to me - at least as intently as I am listening to you. You failed numerous times to respond to my main argument and continued to make the same myopic narrow minded statements.

But you are still missing a key element of my point. You are not a topic advisor - I get it. But you are the head admin and as such, have the opportunity to set the tone regarding how the TAs operate. That you are willing to turn a blind eye to bigoted censorship is concerning. Then again, it's your MO: let the badgers do their thing and watch the debates from the sidelines. That works but it isn’t leadership. Brad led this zone for years with consistency and fairness. To his credit he created probably the best technical forum on the Internet. It still is better than most but has digressed lately.

While you tried to address my (and the rest of our) concern regarding competing and non-competing sites, you still deflected with a laissez-faire response that essentially does nothing to quell or even address our concern. I have stated repeatedly that what the rule makers are proposing is bigoted censorship if there is ANY preference given to non-competing sites versus competing sites. I have given a number of reasons why this is, in fact, pure bigotry, and you have chosen to argue each of those reasons in isolation to prove each incorrect while craftily avoiding the main point.

You are clever and you are an editor/writer so there is little to no excuse other than you are afraid to step up and buck the supposed company line and pursue a path of fairness. Perhaps you feel constrained by the fact that the site is now closed to any who don’t pay or contribute. You are complicit with censorship if one or two other sites do it to EE and the TA feels a desire to play the same game. You go along with this without understanding principles behind why another site might remove a link to EE.

You and I once traveled to headquarters and bucked the company line. We once looked Andy and Randy in the eye and said “bullshit” to their words. And things changed.

Kevin
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
Wow. Really? Dude, Eric, I don't always agree with Kevin - just ask him, we have some great arguments, but how in the Lord's creation does spewing an opinion (repeatedly or not) take away credibility? That's absolutely ridiculous.

The fact that you have an anti stance on any site, competitive and non, affects this site, whether you admit it or not. You're an admin for crying out loud. Holding your hands and doing nothing while saying you (more or less) hate the site which shall not be named, is appalling, and frankly immature. It's not the fact that you have that opinion, that's all good and well, were all entitled to that, but you're pushing an agenda regardless. Passive aggressive much? I understand everyone is entitled their opinion, but do admins not set the precedence? Call me old fashioned but I believe in leadership. And leaders should lead or get the hell out of the way so someone else can. In the words of General Patton, "lead me, follow me, or get out of my way."

I'll just bow out here before I piss someone off. Good day.

Zack
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kgerbChief EngineerCommented:
Eric,
Thank you.  Your last post was very enlightening.  I am a nobody here.  I’m not an MVP.  I don’t have a million genius shirts (or even 1 for that matter).  I have no idea who Jeff Atwood or Joel Spolsky are, or at least I didn’t until your last couple posts.  I don’t come close to moving the needle when it comes to opinions that matter at EE.  I’m just a guy who likes to follow this thread b/c of the HUGE amount of respect I have for the experts here.  Brad literally changed my career in 2004 when he, and a few others, taught me how to program in VBA.

Until your last post I was pretty confused about what all the controversy was about.  I enjoyed the banter, but I couldn’t really understand WHY some people (i.e. Kevin) were getting so upset.  It’s all clear now though.  You have a bone to pick with one single site, and you want to make sure they are blacklisted from EVER showing up on your site.  Now I understand.

Tell me this.  What are you going to say when the rest of the “general public” begins to recognize the only links that are being “cleansed” are the ones directed toward your arch enemy?  I know, I know, you let the individual TA’s govern themselves.  Gimme a break.  You actually think someone in your position, with your authority, who has an opinion on the matter as strong as yours, will not “persuade” some of the other badgers to follow your lead in this area?

You REALLY need to re-think your stance on this, or at least what you post publicly.  You can think whatever you want in your own head, but to try to add nuances to rules that govern this site that stem from your 8th grade “well-he-hit-me-first” attitude is CRAZY!

Okay, I’m done.  I will now disappear back into obscurity.

Kyle

Oh, one more thing.  Rock on Kevin!
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Hi Kyle,

You're still here with nearly 10 years of membership & you continue to contribute to questions.

You are definitely not a "nobody".  Everybody in this thread has contributed to the Topic Area in one way or another over their years at the site.

Please don't think your efforts are not appreciated.

BFN,

fp.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
Hey Kevin, Netminder signed-off with "ep"... Almost first name terms! :)

At the same time, we know traffic is down. Questions are down. The number of people answering questions is down.

Whenever I notice somebody is "missing in action" here, I find them contributing "elsewhere" *.  I tried that other place earlier this year.  Stuck with it for two questions.  Hated the format.  Haven't been again.  Not missing it.

* You know where...

Except one family of sites -- which famously "picked their enemy" without even visiting EE.

For what it is worth, I would expect that anybody looking to take on a competitor would take an interest in their competitor first & learn from their 'mistakes'.  Do you know for a fact that the famous "enemy" didn't visit here?

It doesn't sound good business sense to try to improve on something without knowing what that something does well, or otherwise.
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Zack BarresseCEOCommented:
Eric, I certainly appreciate your stance from your last couple of posts. I too have held many leadership roles, and holding the hands of those under you can almost always hider things. Personally I do agree with your approach there.

Kyle has a point though, and he expressed it much better than I did. While you say you are just being honest, I get it, and I can really appreciate it. I'm, more often than not, in the same boat - honest to a fault (just ask my wife ;) ). This can be a bad thing on occasion though. You do set the precedent being a (senior) admin. Leadership 101 will dictate as such. It's basic human behavior and you're not an exception, we're all in that boat.

If I were in your shoes I might very well feel the same way. In fact I may even feel more heated about it. The more I learn about things which have transpired, the more irritated I get about it. Certainly it sounds like a downright shitty thing to do. I've dealt with that type of person quite often, and as much as I don't like it (and sometimes react), the more I learn we need to be tolerant of those (jerks and idiots).

I know I've said it before somewhere, and I will say it again, I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone who fills a staff position (read: admin, mod, etc). It's hard, unappreciated work, and a "thanks" is sometimes impossible to come by.

PS: Kevin and I go way back. He's not a BAD guy...
In my best Zangeif voice, "you are bad guy, but this does not mean you are *bad* guy. " LOL! For all those Wreck It Ralph fans (my kids have made me watch it about 300 times).

@Kyle: I hear ya on being "nobody", I generally just express my opinion regardless of who is listening (which is generally not many). ;)

Zack
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aikimarkCommented:
I negotiated an appearance by Jeff Attwood at the CORE2010 conference.  TPTB decided against it.  I thought it was better to face direct criticism from outside than to avoid or squelch internal criticism.
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[ fanpages ]IT Services ConsultantCommented:
In my best Zangeif voice, "you are bad guy, but this does not mean you are *bad* guy. " LOL! For all those Wreck It Ralph fans (my kids have made me watch it about 300 times).

"Top shelf" Zack.
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Mark WillsTopic AdvisorCommented:
Just my 2 cents

1) When EE started it was kind of unique, now there are plenty of Q&A forums.
2) There is a clause in ToU (section 6 point 9) about competitive sites from the get go.
3) When SO started it was an "anti-experts-exchange" site : http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/04/introducing-stackoverflow-com.html
4) blind links are bad for EE, especially when it is to a competitor site because the blind link offers no intrinsic value when the blind link basically says "go there instead".

So, I am confused about some of the comments and attitudes above...

Finally we are doing something to help the quality and focus a little more on the service aspects.

I understand that a well researched  "link" can be of immense value - even if it is to "Stack" - but that is not what the latest initiative is all about.

It is all about the blind link and educating our fellow experts to embellish their posts just a little more to position that link as to how or why or what it offers in answer to the question.

As for "competitors" then it is a hard call. Plenty of Q&A sites, but think EE has more of a service focus so it could be regarded more of online consulting than pure Q&A. For me, if there is one, a self-confessed competitor is a good candidate and that happens to be Stack.

But we are not focussing on killing links just because it is a competitor (even though there is a mandate in Terms Of Use from early days), it really is the blind link, extended into inappropriate / irrelevant link, plagiarism and copyright. We want to encourage the service aspect.
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DaveCommented:
Mark,

Rory already nailed the reason for the "confusion".  There are two very different perspectives being put forward,  quality on blind links (no issue there), versus an emotive  personal reaction to Stack.

On the later "argument" I still don't get:

1. The business logic that EE is somehow better off with depriving paying customers of the best possible service, by denying them access to answers linking to Stack (who FWIW from my experience of linking back here, don't censor the EE content that is available outside the pay-wall).
2. The argy-bargy which is on a personal level from the EE side, evident in the vitriol directed at the Stack founders (publicly at that on Badger Thoughts), compared to Stack engaging on some cheeky, but smart and effective marketing on a site level that clearly resonated with their target market.  

It's basic Business on both counts. Provide a good service and understand your market.  

Just as flailing wildly at a upstart newcomer, and spruiking a rich history that is now challenged in the present, isn't going to help in revitalising EE.

{Kyle - great post}

Dave
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Mark WillsTopic AdvisorCommented:
>> Just as flailing wildly at a upstart newcomer

Nah, the intent is to educate via MC so it is a "personal heads up" and not in public as much as possible (with regard to blind or bad links)

One of the new TA's even got a "thank you" after the expert edited and added more value to his post. Great result, and will be perfect if the vast majority of that Expert's post now contain the lead in to any other links.

There might be a couple of TA's who will be slightly more "terse", but they will learn.

I think there is not much difference in attitude about SO from EE as EE from SO. Stack did position themselves from the get go as "anti-experts-exchange" and there is certainly no love lost between TPTB from both sites.

Some of the stuff I have seen is not just "cheeky, but smart and effective marketing" and after a while, can well imagine how that cuts.

That (I think) is quite irrelevant though and not sure how the initiatives decayed into (what seemed to become) a personal attack on Netminder. Or to reword that a little, Netminder may well have personal perspective on SO but has nothing to do with this initiative, nor would it influence it...

The new initiatives are NOT about enforcing Secion 6 item 9 "competitive" clause and can not see where or how this has become "bigoted censorship".

Truth is, there might be a well constructed answer with some commentary and a supporting link to code posted on SO. That normally would not get deleted, and no one is saying it should be. Maybe the link is crap, and that should get deleted, but it is because it is a crap link, not because it happens top be SO.

Quality and value is important. So now we are starting to have a more detailed look at what used to be overlooked.

So, lets not introduce new interpretations when we want to encourage new TA's to discourage the crap and encourage (or educate) experts on how to do a better job.

That is where part of my confusion stems from. I don't get why that second part (in Brett's post) is becoming more important than it should be.

FWIW :

there are 245 references to Experts-Exchange in SO and a few have been voted up, the majority have zero answers and/or no votes.

there are over 12,000 links to SO from EE, and a lot have earned points for the poster. There are quite a few that I have seen (random picks) that are nothing more than a blind link.  I don't think EE has any major problem with SO as is evidenced by the existing volume.

Have not seen anyone go back to delete a post because it contains a link to SO (blind or otherwise). Well not entirely true, I do know of a couple of people that have made Blind Links a campaign prior to the current initiative and they have deleted previously (regardless of SO or not)...

Cheers,
Mark
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I suppose we are all victims of our own baggage. I do not use Stack and I do not come across many Stack links in my travels here - most Microsoft links.

So then if I am looking at bare links, it does not make any real difference to me where the link points. I have always disliked "look here - you figure out the needle in the haystack" links because nothing denotes the poster as an expert.

I have had more success with "educational" Member Comments.

I am using this new TA role to practice helpful commenting, and that seems to be working also.

... Thinkpads_User
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byundtMechanical EngineerAuthor Commented:
We are at 135 posts in this thread, so it is about time for a new one: http:/Q_28245882.html
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