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st: Thoughts on automatic operations on labels and publication quality output


From   "Renzo Comolli" <renzo.comolli@yale.edu>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: Thoughts on automatic operations on labels and publication quality output
Date   Thu, 28 Aug 2003 13:39:14 -0400

Dear Statlist,

I follow up here on "st: Towards publication quality output"
http://www.stata.com/statalist/archive/2003-08/msg00413.html
And I take the occasion to put down a few other thoughts/wishes

Marcello Pagano wrote, "With Stata 8, there are often complaints about
publication quality tables and regression outputs" 
I agree. My personal experience is that I switched from beginner in Gauss to
beginner in Stata because Stata promised much more in terms of output
formatting (I know there are millions other reasons, but that was it for
me). A quantum leap in the output formatting would also be the natural
complement to the strategy began with the GUI and the graphics. Moreover, my
own questions on this very list are mainly on formatting.


About automatic operations on labels
I am now used to it, but I find "philosophically" (for lack of better word)
strange and counterintuitive that you can write
. recode religion (1=2) (2=1)
But that the labels remain the same. What purpose does this intended
behavior serve?
It would seem to me more intuitive to have the labels adjusted
automatically, maybe with an option 
[, dontadjustlables]

If there are strong objection to this automatism as a default behavior, it
should at least be available as an option.
I imagine there are small hurdles to overcome (e.g. one label is attached to
more variables...), but these are such small hurdles to overcome (e.g.
automatically generate a second label only for the variable you recode)

Same idea for things like
. replace state=state+2

I know of the excellent labutils and I definitely thank Nick Cox very much
for writing it (it saved me a lot of time).
If I can add a little wish, it would be great if Nick were to find the time
to write a wrapper around -labvalch-, let's call it "recodelab" that mimics
-recode- in syntax, so that one could write

. recode religion (1=2) (2=1)
. recodelab religion (1=2) (2=1)

This is just for my own private, selfish convenience, because I tend to
forget the -from() to()- and the -swap()- syntax

Thanks to all who read.

Renzo Comolli


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