So called Excel forums, how they do harm, and how to minimize their destructive impact in your Web searches.

Excel Forums vs Newsgroups

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Why Excel Forums are Evil

It is rather unfortunate that there are web pages that are merely repetitions of postings to newsgroups.  If you want to search newsgroups you can do that with Google Groups search.  But when you have 100 postings hidden in a web page you get lots of hits and very little content of interest.  Another thing that interferes with searches is unrelated advertising that has some hits on your keywords.

There are unfortunately many so called “forums”  that purposely load you up with advertisements under the guise of answering questions, when in fact the questions are really posted through to one of the microsoft.public.excel newsgroups.  The advertisements may take up 90% of the traffic to your machine (leaving the true content at 10%).

With high speed access you might take that heavy traffic in stride, but the loss of real estate on your machine is your biggest problem (assuming you never click on an ad) when using a forum.

The biggest problem to all users is that the forums cause newsgroup postings to be repeated over and over to lots of web sites so that when you do a web search for quality material you will pull up newsgroup postings.  You do not want to reread newsgroup postings when doing a web search that is what newsgroup searches are for.

You should have the choice of searching newsgroups mainly for new material or a quick orientation; or search websites for material where more time was spent to be guide you through material.

Anybody who posts from such forums or who answers those questions in a newsgroup contributes to the noise for those who search for web pages.

Lies and Deceptions (#deceptions)

The following information in blue was copied directly from, one of over fifty sites that provide a disservice to Microsoft Public newsgroups.

These forums are gateways to selected excel related usenet newsgroups.

Anyone not behind a firewall can connect directly and free of charge to the Microsoft newsgroups with a newsgroup reader that you already have like Outlook Express, or any of numerous newsgroup readers. 
Those behind a Firewall can use Microsoft Communities, or Google Groups as a gateway to these newsgroups without trashing web searches for the rest of us.  Though the web based searches will dispense advertising like the web based "forums".

You can now reach the many thousands of usenet users without having to grapple with complicated news software

Deception. (red-herrings)

and with[out] the need to pay for a newsfeed.

Deception.  Access to Microsoft Public newsgroups is free.

Any posts you make in these

Gibberish, not a sentence.

Additional information:

Ignore newsgroup postings involving Forums (#ignore)

Sounds simple, but it is impossible to deal with in that manner, and such people who are not using newsgroups directly are the most vulnerable and need the most help.

From behind a Corporate Firewall (#firewalls)

If you are behind a firewall and can't use newsgroups directly, would suggest that you use Microsoft CDO (Community Groups) which will not in itself put postings to a website, or you can use Google Newsgroups which also will not put newsgroup postings to a website.  You have to sign up at Google to post to a newsgroup through Google.  In fact you would probably have to sign up sooner or later just so you can reply to a recent article you might find from a search.

Discarding newsgroup archives from Web Searches (#spammy)

Dealing with reiteration of newsgroup postings on web searches is a pain, you can only include about 32 arguments in a Google Search and there are over fifty such forums that you would want to exclude. 

While such forums have for the most part not quite reached the extreme abusive level of spammy websites, you can eliminate them with the same tools.

The simplest way to eliminate much of the forum trash is to exclude pages with signatures with Hope this Helps abbreviated as HTH by including -HTH in your websearch along with the use of Firefox as your web browser with the Customize Google Firefox extension to remove spammy webpages using your own list of sites to avoid.  You can view my own list of junk websites (or nodes within) to steer clear of in web searches (meaning the filter is only to be used with a web search).

Another way when searching for Excel information is to restrict yourself to only some sites such as MVP sites.  While it may be helpful -- I would not recommend this as you will miss a lot of useful information, including information relevant to a specific occupation.  Ron de Bruin has an Excel addin tool to search specific sites, which you can further customize, unfortunately you may just have to resort to using such a tool if other methods fail.  See Google Search Add-in for Excel / Word / PowerPoint.

Bookmarklets;  There are a lot of links on this page.  The following BookMarklets (Favelets) will distinguish between internal or external links.  First click on "highlight links",  and then on "int/ext links".  Your browser's Reset button (F5) will reload the original unmodified web page. 
Excel questions not directly concerning my web pages are best directed to newsgroups
such as news:// where Excel users all around the clock from at least 6 continents ask and answer Excel questions.  Posting suggestions and netiquette.  More information on newsgroups and searching newsgroups.    Google Groups (Usenet) Advanced Search Excel newsgroups (or search any newsgroup).
This page was introduced on November 12, 2005. 
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