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RE: st: RE: list in stata8
At 08:12 AM 2/26/03 -0600, you wrote:
IMHO, this is very unfair.
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
The new Stata 8 is substantively enhanced in functionality, whether or not
it comes along with each of our various preferences still intact. The
discussion of "list' reveals substantial differences of opinion regarding
preferred default behavior, and it appears that some of the actual improved
functionality is offset, at least for now in selcted circumstances, by
differences in speed. Where old functionality or ease of use have been
comprimised, sometimes there are workarounds (perhaps at some point "list"
will have user specified default preference settings or somthing like
that), other times one has to learn to live with the changes if one wants
to capture the enhancements.
This discussion of "list" does not in any way negate that the latest
version of Stata is functionally improved in many ways.Having been around
software upgrades for probably too many years, one comes to realize that
every update of favorite software brings a measure of discomfort as what
was customary is replaced. I, for instance, am grateful for other speed
enhancements in Stata 8 that make my use of gllamm fast enough in Stata 8
to be a feasible alternative to having to use yet another different
software program at least some of the time. It is these kinds of
substantive improvements that make upgrading Stata worthwhile.
Even when some of the changes to things like the GUI are "cosmetic", they
presumably contribute to the survivability and viability of Stata in the
marketplace. That viability is important to me, because I don't want to
work on a program that is going to become obsolete, or alternatively,
prohibitively expensive because it has only a limited user base. I suspect
that some of the "cosmetic" changes address the marketability of Stata, and
I support those efforts even if I don't use them. When I was an graduate
student at Cornell basic graduate level stats was taught using a much less
powerful program that was nonetheless simpler to use at that point because
it had a user friendly GUI. It was the first program I bought. It would be
better for most of us Stata afficiandos if it had been Stata perhaps, and
"cosmetic" improvements are integral to what makes a program both
attractive and viable in the long run.
Finally, I am a bit concerned that the tenor of the discussion is more
negative than the Stata Corp people deserve. There will always be offsets
in "comfort" when upgrading; I would hope that the tenor of the discussion
would not make Stata hesitant to plowing forward with new improvements
because for fear of the risks of disturbing some of us as we loose our
comfort zones. For some of us, the "comfort zone" offsets in this release
are minor compared to the gains in functionality. I for instance, would
like them to keep focusing on developing the capacity for heirarchical
models...the issues surrounding "list" pale for me compared to the need for
stronger hierarchical modeling capabilities. Stata Corp is amazingly
responsive to user input...I would hope that where we as users have
legitimate critical inputs we would do it in a positive way that recognizes
Stata's sensitivity to our voices.
Sorry for the length, but the tenor of the criticism has at times been
disconcerting, even if the substance of it has been valid.
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