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st: RE: RE: RE: Potential bugs in user-written commands


From   Lee Sieswerda <Lee.Sieswerda@tbdhu.com>
To   "'statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu'" <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: RE: RE: RE: Potential bugs in user-written commands
Date   Wed, 19 Feb 2003 18:23:54 -0500

Patrick, I very much disagree with what you are saying, especially about the
difference between official and user-written commands. Your original posting
was explicit that it was a matter of respect as to whether authors should be
given a first crack at fixing bugs. Yes, it is true that StataCorp receives
financial compensation for their product, but that does not imply a
different standard of respect - especially, I might add, in the case of
StataCorp (I might agree with you if we were discussing a less ethical
company). If you demand respect for the authors of user-written commands,
you must also demand respect for the authors of official commands.

Maybe you are only expressing your personal preference with regard to your
own programs? If so, you could indicate your preference in the help files of
your programs.

I do not disagree that it is okay to contact individual authors of
user-written commands with potential bug reports, if you so choose and the
author wishes to make personal contact. I disagree, however, with the
strongly implied converse that it is *disrespectful* to not contact
individual authors and to rather air bug reports, user-written or otherwise,
on Statalist.

I also wonder at your last sentence, "If an author doesn't respond then,
fair game", making the analogy that authors and their buggy programs are
grouse to be shot, but only after some "respectful" fair warning has been
given. Unless I've been deluding myself all these years, I don't think the
Statalist community is like that at all. If it were, who the heck would want
to participate?

Programs have bugs. Big deal. Its not something to be embarassed about, or a
failure to be interecepted before anyone else finds out about it. I'm sure
that if some prominent authors of Stata commands had a nickel for every bug
they've ever been responsible for, they'd be long retired. 

Regards,

Lee

Lee Sieswerda, Epidemiologist
Thunder Bay District Health Unit
999 Balmoral Street
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Canada  P7B 6E7
Tel: +1 (807) 625-5957
Fax: +1 (807) 623-2369
Lee.Sieswerda@tbdhu.com
www.tbdhu.com


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Joly.Patrick@ic.gc.ca [SMTP:Joly.Patrick@ic.gc.ca]
> Sent:	Wednesday, February 19, 2003 4:36 PM
> To:	statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
> Subject:	st: RE: RE: Potential bugs in user-written commands
> 
> Lee Sieswerda
> > [...]
> > Are you suggesting that we also should 
> > first send all
> > of our problems with offcial Stata to Bill Gould et al before 
> > sending them
> > to Statalist, because it would be more respectful to let 
> > StataCorp have a
> > crack at it first?
> 
> No I am not. I was referring to user-written commands exclusively.  Bill
> et
> al. receive monetary compensation for their labour and are thus subject to
> a
> different level of accountability.  There is no point of comparison
> between
> user-written and Official Stata material.
> 
> 
> > This seems to me to miss the point of Statalist. It is true 
> > that there is
> > the occasional posting by a user whose tone would suggest 
> > that he apparently
> > doesn't understand that user-written commands are provided 
> > purely out of the
> > author's sense of community. But we can sanction those users 
> > in other ways
> > without having to change the way the Stata community works. 
> > As Nick Cox
> > says, we can exert "list discipline". In almost all cases, 
> > the intent is not
> > to somehow *disrespect* the authors of user-written commands 
> > by identifying
> > problems and potential bugs publicly, but rather to work together to
> > understand and make the best software possible. I would 
> > submit that this is
> > best done in an open environment. See, for example, most Open Source
> > projects. The lists of bug reports are usually publicly available.
> 
> I really don't see how giving authors a shot at correcting their routine
> would make statalist any less open, or circumvent our
> "working-togetherness".  People who share their programs should be willing
> to stand by their code and be ready to accept criticism (as much as
> praise)
> for it, but the act of sharing should entitle them to proper heads-up, at
> least.
> 
> I have often reported bugs directly to the authors of a package and within
> a
> day or two (sometimes hours), an SSC update was announced.  If an author
> doesn't respond then, fair game.
> 
> 
> Patrick Joly
> joly.patrick@ic.gc.ca
> pat.joly@utoronto.ca
> 
> 
> 
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