Master Count FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

To reduce some of the repetitive questions, we've put a few answers on this page. If you do not find what you are looking for, please send us some feedback and we will try to answer your question as soon as possible.


How do I add my site to the list to be checked?

What advantage does putting a count.html file on my site do for me?

When did we begin to automate this?

What file names can be checked?

How should the file be formatted?

I have a "Cannot Be Parsed" error for my site. How do I correct it?

I do not want my mission listed. What do I do?

I HATE manually updating this count.html every time I add someone new. Can't you do it for me?

How are the count.html files collected?

I put my file up 5 days ago and it still isn't on the MasterCount.html yet! What's the matter?

Can I report the total number of alumni on my own page?

Where do I send questions to be added or that aren't in this file?




How do I add my site to the list to be checked?

All mission.net sites are automatically added to the list to be checked when they are listed on mission.net's listings.


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What advantage does putting a count.html file on my site do for me?

In 1996, R. Craig Harman began to keep statistics on the growth of the mission pages phenomenon. To help him do the count faster (it took him several hours then), he asked mission page providers to create a web-accessible file with a count of their registered missionaries.

By knowing that tens or even hundreds of thousands of RMs have signed onto our websites, members can have the confidence that our sites are solid, stable websites and not fly-by-night operations. This, in turn, shows that our primary concern is the missionary.


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When did we begin to automate this?

By mid-1997, the task of tabulating the counts by hand had become far too time-consuming for Bro. Harman. He was forced to curb them in order to accommodate the demands of school and life. In mid-July 1998, Curtis Jewell decided it might be useful to write a script to collect the data automatically. The MasterCount script began running “for-real” on July 22, 1998.

As I'm originally writing this FAQ, (August 11th, 1998 - only 20 days later) I note that over 50 mission pages now have parseable files (from about 20 when I started) and both the total number of mission alumni and the total e-mailable alumni are over 10,000.

Update: Now that I'm going back over this FAQ almost 2 years later, (June 27. 2000) the number of alumni sites providing information have grown to over 100, but more importantly, the number of mission alumni listed has grown to 47,000. I do have to say to all of the maintainers: Keep up the good work!


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What file names can be checked?

Any filename can now be checked as of March 30th, 2001. Default filenames (if you do not specify something different) are:

count.html
count.htm
count.shtml
count.asp
count.php3
count.php

All default file names are checked IN LOWER CASE.


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How should the file be formatted?

Best to show by silly example.

<HTML><HEAD>
<TITLE>Foo Bar Mission Count</TITLE>
</HEAD><BODY>
Mission: Foo Bar<BR>
Number of alumni listed: 100<BR>
Number of e-mail addresses: 59<BR>
Date last amended: 7/23/98<BR>
</BODY>

Here's another one (with SSI's - use .shtml for this one)

<HTML><HEAD>
<TITLE>Foo Baz Mission Count</TITLE>
</HEAD><BODY>
<!--#config timefmt="%m/%d/%y"-->
Mission: Foo Baz<BR>
Number of alumni listed: 200<BR>
Number of e-mail addresses: 118<BR>
Date last amended: <!--#echo var="LAST_MODIFIED"--><BR>
X-Public: YES<BR>
</BODY>

If you write it by hand, write it with Notepad, (or local equivalent on non-Windows systems) not those garbage programs that pass for HTML editors.


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I have a “Cannot Be Parsed” error for my site. How do I correct it?

Look at the previous example. Often, the stuff on the left side of the colons isn't correct (my script is case-insensitive, however). Also note that there MUST be a space between the colon and everything else.

If you DON'T have a count.* file, note that members.xoom.com and a few other sites do NOT return their 404 (file not found) pages properly. (They return a 200 code and a page that says that they can't find the page you are looking for instead of a 404 and the page. Meanies! Mission.net's 404 page does it correctly by returning a 404 code AND the nice-looking page.)

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I do not want my mission listed. What do I do?

Add a line that says: "X-Public: NO"--just before the "</body>" tag. Your information will be included in the total without listing your particular mission.


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I HATE manually updating this count.html every time I add someone new. Can't you do it for me?

No, but what you can do is run one of the alumni database programs that other people have contributed. Both Dan Wilson's PHP “Site-in-a-Box” and newer version of the RMDatabase script (2.0 and above) create this file.


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How are the count.html files collected?

The LDS Mission Network has a script that collects the files. It picks up information on 25 mission alumni sites a night at about 3:15am MT and a new listing is generated at 5:00am MT at http://www.mission.net/en/mnt_mastercount.html.


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I put my file up 5 days ago and it still isn't on the MasterCount.html yet! What's the matter?

The script that collects the mission count files may not have gotten back to your site yet. The sites are visited in alphabetical order by mission name. You can check which sites have been most recently visited by viewing the source of mnt_mastercount.html and looking at the dates between the comment (<!-- --> ) markers.

There is a quick way to get your site processed once you've added it. Once it has been processed (either normally or via this form) it'll show up at http://www.mission.net/en/mnt_mastercount.html within 24 hours.


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Can I report the total number of alumni on my own page?

Certainly. I do not know if you have to host your page on mission.net to do this, however.

Just include the HTML code below:

There are now <!--#include virtual="/MasterCount.txt"-->
mission alumni listed here and on other mission web pages.

This provides a link to the main MasterCount page as well. You may wish to try specifying the name as http://www.mission.net/MasterCount.txt if you aren't on mission.net. Tell me if it works out.


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Where do I send questions to be added or that aren't in this file?

Send inquiries to cjewell@mission.net.




Last Updated: Tue May 27 15:35:07 2003
Visited at least 1 times since Tue May 27 15:31:24 2003.