I'm getting tired of seeing the insulting Resolver One ad "Does anyone actually like VBA?" coming up frequently lately when I view Microsoft Access questions.


I like working in Microsoft Access and VBA.

You folks who work in other environments can close/delete/make rude comments about this posting all you want. But I'd like Jeff or Joel or the people who sell advertising to read my complaint.

  • Robert, thanks for editing my posting to embed the link. I keep forgetting that postings you can embed links. – Tony Toews Apr 6 '10 at 2:55
  • I like VBA also, sure wish they'd just fixed it when they went to .net, not replaced it with a C clone. – Lance Roberts Apr 6 '10 at 5:34
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    Duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/43672/… – perbert Apr 6 '10 at 7:14
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    How is it insulting? – dreamlax Apr 6 '10 at 7:28
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    Looks like you're just spamming a blog post. – random Apr 6 '10 at 8:22
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    We do not like people who like VBA. Go get some life. – Ladybug Killer Apr 6 '10 at 9:18
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    Woah, somebody who actually likes VBA? I don't understand you, but I'd fight for your ability to say you like it. Why, insulting VBA programmers is no different to insulting the mentally ill - it's just not fair. – Phoshi Apr 6 '10 at 12:53
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    @david: You have over 100 reputation, which means you're free to downvote to your heart's content. More to the point, Stack Overflow doesn't care for your particularly annoying brand of whining. If you can't get along, the door's to your left. – Welbog Apr 6 '10 at 13:27
  • @Wel'Bog: I didn't have over 100 reputation when I posted this morning. – David-W-Fenton Apr 7 '10 at 0:32

Chill out! It's just a joke ad!

Why every day or so there is somebody here offended by something!?</rant>

Look, it's just an ad trying to be clever. It's trying to explain what the application is capable of and what it's strengths are in a mere 30 characters. That is an impressive feat by itself.

Personally, I don't find why you find it offensive, as it's vox populi that VBA is not the most loved language, and like it or not, Python is quite more powerful. I find more offensive an ad using a stock photo child to sell me something, or an ad that gives no info at all about the product, or an ad that promotes a stereotype.

Now tell me that you also like Visual SourceSafe and get offended by this other ad.

If you don't like it, you are free to block it on your own network, make it never reach your computer.

As for your twit/blogpost, I've used Access at a previous job, and I hate it with passion.


I prefer Python. The Resolver One is a good product.

So kiss my ***

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  • 1) When I only saw it once a week or so sure I just ignored it. But today I saw it a number of times and got tired of it. 2) With your obvious disdain of Access and the minor "twit" insult in your posting I can see why you feel this ad is a joke. 3) It's still insulting. – Tony Toews Apr 6 '10 at 5:45
  • @Tony: 1) In that case, just use adblock. 2) "Twit" as in it was ~140 chars. Excuse myself if "twit" is some kind of insult. I'm not an English speacker user. 3) Insulting to who? You like VBA, good for you. Realize that not many share your enthusiasm towards the platform. Would you get offended if I "insulted" Black&Decker drills by saying something like Who likes red power tools!?!1? – perbert Apr 6 '10 at 7:11
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    What?! How dare you?! Take that back. There is NOTHING wrong with red power tools. sob. – dreamlax Apr 6 '10 at 7:32
  • It was definitely a tweet, or twit, as it was written since your post wasn't actually anything more than you would find posted on Twitter. @ton – random Apr 6 '10 at 8:25
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    @david.w.fenton: It's not stupid at all. If someone is having serious issues with VBA, seeing this advertisement may allow them to realise there are alternative solutions. – dreamlax Apr 6 '10 at 13:43
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    @david.w.fenton As @dreamlax pointed out, someone might be using VBA (and browsing [vba] on SO) because she thinks that is the only way to accomplish a specific goal and she might realize that she could use Python and do the same thing in an environment she likes better. Win-win. – Sinan Ünür Apr 6 '10 at 13:58

I'll take partial credit for this one; we actually worked with Giles over at Resolver One to develop this campaign concept way back in 2008 (originally for TDWTF).

Anyway, the fact of the matter is... most people hate working with VBA. It's not that it's a bad language (it is what it is), it's just that certain people use it for all sorts of crazy things, and because of that, most people would rather pummel themselves to death with their own keyboard that work with it.

Fair? Not fair? It's a reflection of reality, and we're merely playing off of it.

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    You have to understand that some people are delighted to debug through 100s of lines of ON ERROR RESUME NEXT with a pre-historic debugger – waffles Apr 6 '10 at 4:24
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    Alex, it's still insulting. – Tony Toews Apr 6 '10 at 5:40
  • Reality? What are you talking about? The fact that some people hate some languages should not be the basis of an ad campaign, particularly one that ends up targeted on the VBA keyword, so that it ends up showing up for the very people most likely to be using VBA (and almost always liking it). – David-W-Fenton Apr 6 '10 at 12:42
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    "most people hate working with VBA" -- this seems to be an article of faith among people who don't use VBA. There is no factual basis for it whatsoever. – David-W-Fenton Apr 6 '10 at 12:47
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    Lesson Learned, Alex: no matter what you do, somebody will be offended, somehow. Or "you can't please all of the people, yada, yada yada". – Randolpho Apr 6 '10 at 14:54
  • +1 for being able to take partial credit for this wonderful campaign. – David Apr 6 '10 at 15:22
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    @david.w.fenton - I'm sure we could do a scientific survey and all that jazz on who hates working with VBA, but it'd be like doing a survey on whether or not you hate gouging your own eyes out with a rusty spoon. It's basically the same thing, and most people would prefer to do neither. Yes, a "does anyone actually like gouging out their own eyes" would offend eye-gougers... but most would appreciate it. – Alex Papadimoulis Apr 6 '10 at 17:31

Funny that an anti VBA ad pops up on a site owned by a co creator of VBA and owner of the ever so wonderful WASABI

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    Ads give money, money good, nothing else matters – juan Apr 6 '10 at 12:51

They are appealing to people who hate VBA. If you like VBA, you're probably not going to use this product.

The alternative would be "Love VBA? Try something else just for the hell of it."

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  • That slogan wouldn't be irritating to me at all. – Tony Toews Apr 6 '10 at 15:43
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    @Tony - and it wouldn't be appealing to anyone. – user27414 Apr 6 '10 at 15:50
  • Jon, 1) you never know, some folks might find that an interest hook. 2) it wouldn't be insulting to some, few or maybe it's just me and David. – Tony Toews Apr 6 '10 at 16:13
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    @Tony: yes, because the point of advertising isn't to target potential customers, it's to catch the attention of bored people with enough time on their hands to play with tools they don't need. – Shog9 Apr 6 '10 at 16:36
  • @Shog9: why do they have to hate on VBA in order to get that attention? Talk about lazy and unimaginative! – David-W-Fenton Apr 7 '10 at 0:34
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    @david: same reason many soft-drink ads play up thirst and food ads emphasize hunger... – Shog9 Apr 7 '10 at 2:07

And how is "does anyone actually like VBA?" insulting?

I would understand a protest for something like "VBA suxx, try our product".

But there, it's only playing on the fact that many people don't like it. For these people, the ad will make sense. For you it doesn't, because you don't have a problem with it. All I can say is "good for you", the ad is just not for you.

But I don't see an actual reason to offend, unless VBA is like a sacred thing to you. It's just a language which has the reputation to be disliked. It has nothing to do with the fact you, as individual, like it. I'm sure you are great with it as well.

But seriously, it's just a programming language. Get over it.

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  • The question implies the answer. That is quite obvious, and everyone knows it. "Many people don't like" VBA is your opinion. My bet is that there are an awful lot of people who don't let emotions like hatred get involved in their actual work, and when Access/Office/VBA is the best choice, they'll use it. And they won't be wasting their emotional energy on "hating" VBA. At least, not the adult programmers. – David-W-Fenton Apr 6 '10 at 12:44
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    @david - Isn't it "wasting emotional energy" to make a big deal out of this little commercial, as well? My point is mostly this, that this language has bad reputation, and it's not only my single opinion (stackoverflow.com/questions/224867/…). That's why there is such ad. I'm not criticizing the language itself nor saying I hate it. I'm not saying as well that there aren't situations in which it is the best choice. I'm only saying that maybe it's not worth making a scandal out of this ad. – Gnoupi Apr 6 '10 at 12:58
  • I don't think SO should be taking sides in language wars. By approving the ads, it's doing exactly that. – David-W-Fenton Apr 7 '10 at 0:37
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    @david - "Pecunia non olet". If you are offended by this ad, it's your own personal problem. It is not "taking sides", it's only showing an ad. You chose to see it as "taking side", and you chose to take offense from it. – Gnoupi Apr 7 '10 at 7:34

I can fully understand your annoyance at such ads. Especially since I am a Perl programmer and Perl gets far more ... spiteful ... comments about it.

That being said, you don't have to take it so personally. Getting angry at the situation only accomplishes one thing: getting yourself angry.

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    Brad, I think, you have a slight obsession, with the comma. – Welbog Apr 6 '10 at 14:50
  • eats, shoots, and leaves – mmyers Apr 6 '10 at 15:11
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    I'm not angy. I'm irritated. – Tony Toews Apr 6 '10 at 15:44
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    The difference between irritated, and angry, is only a matter of time. – Brad Gilbert Apr 6 '10 at 16:17
  • I'm not angry or irritated by the ad itself so much as by the attitude that it represents. It's the tip of the iceberg among people who really don't know anything about VBA and its proper use and deployment. That part annoys me, and I will call anybody out on expression of bigotry of this kind (I do it frequently in regard to the Access bigotry that is endemic to SO, for instance). – David-W-Fenton Apr 7 '10 at 0:39
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    I didn't saw you championing in favour of Visual SourceSafe when this ad was on, @david. – perbert Apr 7 '10 at 2:18
  • How can I react to an ad I've never seen? – David-W-Fenton Apr 10 '10 at 23:46

"Chill out! It's just a joke ad!"

Ah, yes, the "it's only a joke" defense. This has been used to try to excuse every brand of idiocy and bigotry there has ever been. It is never a convincing answer.

"how is 'does anyone actually like VBA?' insulting?"

Try "does anyone actually like Microsoft Windows?"

The phrasing of the ad's question implies that it's self-evident that nobody really likes VBA, which is a complete falsehood.

As to those who prefer language X and hate VBA, as I said in a comment, I'm gay, which means I prefer men, but it doesn't mean I hate women. Preferring Python or whatever language you enjoy working in does not in any way suggest that you should also "hate" some other language. Mantaining any "hatred" of anything requires a lot of emotional energy and I don't quite understand why anyone would defend something so counterproductive.

Don't like it? Don't use it! Mazel tov!

In fact, most people don't enjoy working in languages that they aren't familiar with, or that use different paradigms for problems they've solved in other languages. This doesn't justify hating the language. It just means that for you it's more work to program in that language.

It seems obvious to me that the ad is counterproductive (it's popping up for the people least likely to hate VBA, i.e., the people who use it all the time), but given that it's based on denigrating a programming platform, I don't think it should have accepted by SO in the first place.

And I doubt there's any other language for which it would have been accepted.

"most people hate working with VBA"

This is an assertion without any basis in fact.

If SO has a policy that VBA is not a real programming language, then it should prohibit posts on the subject. If that is not the policy, then this ad should have been rejected.

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    "does anyone actually like Microsoft Windows?" -> That's not far from what Apple says in its ads. – user27414 Apr 6 '10 at 13:00
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    I prefer python, but I really -do- hate VBA. I was forced to use it for years, If Then End If haunted my nightmares. – Phoshi Apr 6 '10 at 13:10
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    @Jon: The difference is that Apple never says it explicitly, and uses humour to demonstrate its superiority -- and that's why those ads work. This ad does none of that. – Jon Seigel Apr 6 '10 at 13:22
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    Your "don't like it, don't use it" attitude could also be used towards this ad. If you don't like the ad, don't use the product. – dreamlax Apr 6 '10 at 13:27
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    @ran, your comment is weird now that all previous ones were deleted – juan Apr 6 '10 at 21:09
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    @Downvoter: your comment is funny now that all following comments are deleted. – perbert Apr 7 '10 at 2:10
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    "If SO has a policy that VBA is not a real programming language" - nobody said it wasn't a real programming language. You can be a valid programming language and not be liked, such is life. – Gnoupi Apr 7 '10 at 7:36

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