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st: Statalist FAQ; some other FAQs


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: Statalist FAQ; some other FAQs
Date   Wed, 28 Sep 2005 22:28:15 +0100

Please note that the Statalist FAQ has been updated. As always the URL 
is given at the end of this post. Once more will do no harm: 

http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/statalist.html

The specific update is to document the welcome addition of a 
Statalist RSS feed within 

http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/statalist.html#archives

As many people know, Statalist has been around for about 11 years. 
As fewer may know, the number of members is well over 2000. 

There was even a 10th birthday party in Boston with a "cake". Statalist itself 
has a physical home at the Harvard School of Public Health not so far away, 
so the place was apposite and the "cake" was too, even though the venue, 
a Chinese restaurant, meant that they produced something else. But I 
digress.

For most of that time we have had an FAQ which codifies rules and recommendations. 
It is not meant to be officious, let alone offensive, but to wrap up experience
of what works well to mutual interest and advantage, and of what in practice
does not. 

A wise Statafriend, with much experience of Statalist and life generally, advised 
me, in effect, not to stress the "rules" bit. Statalist is not a prison or 
a barracks or a boarding school. "Appeal to self-interest!" 

OK. Here it is, the appeal to self-interest. Do you want to maximise
the chances that your question will be answered quickly, fully and 
indeed at all? Of course you do. Well, then do read the r*l*s and 
recommendations and follow them. 

Not so long ago, someone referred to me in passing as a "nice guy". 
That was wrong. I ain't so nice, nor are most of the other gurus. 
(A few really are really nice.) I routinely zap not only most of the 
econometric and all of the survey questions that I don't even 
understand, but a fair fraction of the questions that are impossible 
to answer, too complex, too vague, basically "I tried something, 
but it didn't work", basically "What should I do next in my project?", 
basically "I can't be bothered to read the manual" and so forth. 

Also, I know from postings on Statagurugrumblelist that many other 
Stata enthusiasts behave similarly. 

All these is expressed in slightly more tactful form in the FAQ 
itself, all the way down to why "STATA" is just wrong, so please 
don't use it because some of us have sensitive ears and don't 
like SHOUTING. 

The title promised a mention of some other FAQs. A glance 
at http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/whatsnew.html will show 
that some recent threads on Statalist have been summarised as 
Stata website FAQs. There isn't a systematic process here: the 
whole business of what gets written up is capricious, but what 
does seems worth a mention here. 

Nick 
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk 

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