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Site for office suites

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I was wondering if a common site for all office suites would be a good proposal.

Description

Name: Office suites

About: This site will cover all general problems about office suites. Some of the popular office suites are:

  • MS Office
  • a subset of Google's G Suite that includes Docs, Sheets, etc
  • Libre office and open office
  • WPS office
  • Zoho office, etc.

Existing community:

  • So far, I haven't talked to anyone. I would. I contribute regularly to SE sites webapps,and SO and Google's Support community by answering questions on spreadsheets.
  • Also, I presume almost everyone here use one or more office suites for day to day activities.

Notes:

  • It's not a webapps like proposal. Libre office is a desktop software. Though the open source cloud version exists. Also other web apps are off-topic.
  • It doesn't really fit in a programming site. Some portion of it might have codes. For example, Google apps script, VB Scripts, or any other script related with macros. However, there are other aspects which can't be grouped with coding sites.
Why should this post be closed?

3 comments

Maybe name it Office Software? Maybe it's just me (who's non-native English) that struggles with suite and suit, but we wouldn't want people to think the site is about dress code :) ‭Lundin‭ 29 days ago

@Lundin I doubt that's a big source of confusion among anglophones. "Office Software" sounds like it would include all sorts of software used primarily for offices, e.g. CRM systems and Git, whereas "Office Suites" is narrower (and is I think the intention of this proposal). ‭msh210‭ 29 days ago

@msh210 Fair enough. CRM, ERP etc systems would indeed make the scope far too broad. ‭Lundin‭ 28 days ago

3 answers

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Regarding scope, maybe extend it to all software used in an office environment, such as mail clients and VOIP meeting/chat software etc. Some of these might not be considered part of a "suite". Skype wasn't, for example, until MS bought them.

Regarding programming and things like VBA that are integrated with MS Office, I don't see why it should be off-topic. Excel formulas and VBA were always hot potatoes over at SO, constantly debated at what extent they were considered on-topic. VBA is definitely programming, but I see no harm with overlapping scopes - it would fit in better on a site such as this than on the general programming site.

1 comment

I've seen (even participated in) a number of disagreements over the topicality of Excel formulae over on SO but don't recall a single instance where there VBA was considered inherently off-topic. Some examples of what you found may be helpful, since I do see harm with overlapping scopes (if substantial). ‭pnuts‭ 28 days ago

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Although there already exists a veritable plethora of help with office suites (particularly for Excel) I do believe there is room for yet more, provided high quality, well indexed, user friendly, current and with a quick response to posts.

I also believe that the distinction between office suites is a lot less significant than many 'subjects' that are often deemed members of a single 'group'. For example, that many functions and formulae (the 'subject') share syntax and behave in exactly the same way in more than one suite and that [compile-errors] and [widows] (both valid tags at software.codidact.com, the 'group') are likely more different in nature.

It is also clear that for those struggling with office suites the particular suite for a solution sometimes may not matter very much. One indication is that, despite rarely being appropriate there, Stack Overflow [SO] currently has over 1,000 Qs tagged both [excel] and [google-sheets], some Qs with tags for three different suites, and even a few for four. Many users have access to more than one suite, possibly favouring Excel at work and Sheets at home.

I fear the problem with any site covering office suites is likely to be the quality of the Qs. It could become a magnet for help vampires. Many of the current Codidact sites might reasonably be termed 'disciplines' … but for the majority of office suite askers I have come across on the web 'rigorous' is very far from how they appear to me. I have the impression of a huge culture difference between most users of Codidact and most people with office suite issues. The former mostly seem to enjoy learning, the latter mostly to be focused on getting a quick and easy fix to a practical problem.

Since culture can vary across sites this difference may not be a big problem, but I think best to keep any 'Office Suites' site well apart from others. Thus overlapping scopes should be avoided. If 'Office Suites' is to cover the likes of GAS and VBA, then maybe exclude these from Software Development. Though I'd prefer they remain on topic there and instead simply have GAS, VBA, and equivalents off-topic at 'Office Suites'.

Then the issue becomes how to cope with a 'business problem' where the person asking is not aware that the only, or most practical, approach is to write 'code' rather than apply a feature, a standard function or a formula. Super User has migrated some Qs to SO in cases like that, and for similar reasons Web Applications has at times recommended asking on SO instead. I have also seen the opposite on SO – Qs where a VBA programmer was unaware of some standard functionality and needed help with writing code to replicate it. Such Qs have usually survived where drawing attention to the standard functionality was not the first A, but if the first A then the Q was quite likely to be Closed as off-topic for SO.

Perhaps 'Office Suites' would be viable if GAS, VBA etc were off-topic but the culture included no down votes for that reason alone, and an A (or canned Comment?) to the effect "A practical solution requires coding with GAS, VBA, or similar and hence the Q is off-topic here. Please delete this Q, though you may want to copy it prior to re-writing it for Software Development first." was deemed valid.

There is lots of advice about specific features, functions and formulae but very little about combining these effectively. I think users would appreciate if the person answering could be free to choose which suite was most suit[e]able, be allowed to combine package elements where that makes sense (e.g. 'subcontract' some of the 'Excel' processing to Word), and choose how to mix features, functions and formulae for a practical solution. Despite the plethora of help in general, I am not aware of any site offering this mix to any significant extent. 'Office Suites' might be almost unique and very popular.

0 comments

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This seems like a very specific topic that it would be difficult to find a sufficient initial userbase for. I do use both Microsoft Office and Google suite regularly, but I don't think (a question about every six months)*(no. of users active on Codidact) is going to be enough to create an active community, at least at first.

I don't think this is a bad proposal but I don't think it's a good fit for Codidact right now.

3 comments

Questions on Google Spreadsheet, Docs, MS Excel, Libreoffice calc are very popular in SE sites. Also, at least 10 questions appear everyday in Google support. There are sites for excel, but I haven't checked those. But yeah, okay. It maybe postponed till we find enough people. :) I would certainly wait. ‭severus‭ about 1 month ago

If you have a core group of users who would be interested in building a knowledge base I think we could likely move forward. Something like an official partnership with a suite could also drive traffic, e.g. if Libre or Open Office wanted to host their general support Q&A on Codidact. It's just that without an initial dedicated community it's going to be difficult to get momentum, and I'm not sure we have enough organic traffic to self-propel activity. ‭Sigma‭ about 1 month ago

I don't agree with the lack of userbase, literally everyone out there use these suites. The potential for casual visitors is enormous. Like any community, the success will entirely depend on the number of experts it will attract. Finding people willing to ask questions won't be a problem, getting them answered might be. Also, a community like this might be what draws people to the Codidact network as whole. ‭Lundin‭ 29 days ago

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