One Million Threads and Still Excelling
December 24, 2017 - by Bill Jelen
Welcome to the new look for MrExcel.com. The site was originally built using simple HTML and Notepad back in 1998. Originally – the concept was simple; send your Excel questions via e-mail to me. I would wake up every morning at 5 AM and answer yesterday’s questions until 6 AM and then head to my day job as a financial analyst. Eventually, we reached the point where there were more e-mails arriving each day than I could answer in an hour, so we introduced the first MrExcel Message Board.
Rather than e-mailing your questions, you would post the question in a webpage using a WWWBoard script written in Perl from Matt’s Script Archive. I asked that after you posted your question, could you please read through some other questions and help someone else. It was like the “Take-a-Penny, Leave-a-Penny” jar at the checkout counter.
In the very early days, I noticed that a few folks were stopping in almost every day. Ivan Moala from New Zealand. Cecilia from the Pacific Northwest. The late Dave Hawley. At the end of 1999, there were 10 people who had answered more than 100 posts.
I remember the first time that I had to use my own message board to find an answer. I was working on a tricky formula and could not figure it out. I posted the question at MrExcel, went to lunch, and an hour later, I had an answer from Ivan Moala. That is the day that I realized how cool the message board could be.
You can learn a lot by watching other people’s questions and the answers offered at the board. Aladin Akyurek has posted over 81,000 answers. I usually mention Aladin in my Power Excel seminars when I show the Evaluate Formula command in Excel.
If you post a question at MrExcel and the answer comes from Aladin Akyurek, I will bet two things:
- The answer will work, and
- You will need to use Evaluate Formula to figure out how the answer is working.
In his book, Ctrl+Shift+Enter, Author Mike Girvin credits the “amazing Excel masters at the MrExcel Message Board” for his knowledge of array formulas. He lists 89 different people who have provided help over the years.
The Message Board was the source of another book: Excel Gurus Gone Wild. While I was doing a seminar in England many years ago, Richard Schollar and Jon Von Der Heyden mentioned that their “favorite posts” list would make a great book. They were right – I combined all of my favorite posts, plus Richard’s and Jon’s and compiled them into a collection of jaw-dropping techniques in Excel.
Eventually, we outgrew the Perl script and moved on to a more robust system using PHP and MySQL. Today, our message board is running on a dedicated server with 24 physical cores, 128GB of RAM, and nearly a terabyte of Solid State Drives.
This month, the 1 millionth thread was posted at MrExcel.com. Our millionth post was the first time that SamWong had posted at the forum. He asked about using SUMIF or SUMIFS to group a list of employees into age buckets. Two different formulas by Dave Patton and Scott Huish solved the problem.
It took 19 years and 15 days to reach 1 million threads. That is an average of 52,517 threads per year. On average, each thread receives 3.92 replies. The top 30 people with the most posts have more than 13,000 posts each: Aladin Akyurek, Andrew Poulsom, Norie, VoG, Jonmo1, Joe4, Peter_SSs, RoryA, Rick Rothstein, Smitty, Richard Schollar, mikerickson, barry houdini, shg, Scott Huish, pgc01, erik.van.geit, Domenic, hiker95, jindon, T. Valko, xenou, Michael M, AlphaFrog, JoeMo, PaddyD, lenze, Marcelo Branco, Von Pookie, MickG.
My sincere thanks to the moderators: Tracy, Smitty, RoryA, Peter_SSs, Joe4. In a community with 400,000 members, there are occasionally people who want to cause problems. The moderators act quickly to make sure that spam does not overwhelm the message board.
I am also proud of that fact that we do not delete old threads here. There are some big competitors in Redmond Washington who will abandon their message boards every time they come up with a new flavor. Every thread posted here remains online and searchable, even the 13000 threads from the WWWBoard.
To celebrate the new site and the 1 millionth post, I am lowering the price on the Excel Gurus Gone Wild e-book to 90% off: Just $1.95 between now and February 17, 2018.