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RE: st: RE: list in stata8
> As I suggested previously - I am saddened to see that Stata
> is being driven
> more and more towards accommodating cosmetics rather than
> statistics. I
> assume this is a market-driven neccessity and done with
> reluctance by Stata Corp.
I don't think this interpretation is supported
by the evidence.
Stata Corp have to sell Stata: they are a
commercial enterprise and must respect the market.
Also, development of Stata depends on sales of
Stata. That's self-evident. Beyond that, the
market does include _us_ and we too have a say.
For example, the strength of support for
the old -list- may prompt Stata Corp
to bring it back under version control.
I guess that they could do it in some way
or another -- possibly under a new name --
and they could do it quickly if they were
convinced that enough people still wanted it.
More generally, what's most obvious in Stata 8
and how far is it cosmetics, not statistics?
Graphics does involve cosmetics, certainly.
But good graphics is statistically honest,
scientifically helpful and aesthetically
attractive, as Tukey, Tufte, Cleveland and others
have been reminding us for many years.
The old graphics was long, long overdue for an
overhaul, not least because much of it was limited,
inflexible and behind the state of the art.
Let's not forget that for the last few years
"Where's the new graphics?" was an intermittent
thread on Statalist -- and a predictable staple
at users' meetings. Within a generally friendly
and good-natured user community, and one well
disposed towards Stata Corp, it was
a sore point for many.
Now that it's here, I'll say that a lot of
what is new does help drive data analysis --
statistics in the best sense. And the
presentational side is important. I have
been showing Stata 8 to colleagues who
are good scientists, who don't use Stata
much, and their attitude to the graphics
is typically "I would like to be able to
produce graphs like that for my papers
and talks". This is the way that, I
guess, most of us think about graphics:
"That's nice" is the way that we respond
to a graph that is helpful and attractive.
The command language is a sticking point
for many, especially beginners and those
who only use Stata occasionally. And the
command language for the new graphics
is at first sight -- and even at second
sight -- moderately scary even for people
who like command languages. As Marcello
Pagano said, the GUI is going to be
good for those groups wary of Stata.
In addition, it is a very good way of
learning the new graphics. In many
cases, people will switch increasingly
to using the command language once
they learn it from examples. The GUI isn't
cosmetics: it is about making use of Stata
easier and more effective. I didn't ask
for it, but many users will find it helpful.
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